Since the publication ofThe Three-Body Problem, the first installment of Cixin Liu’s epic science fiction trilogy about making contact with an alien civilization, the series has gone on to earn the Chinese author enormous acclaim and legions of fans worldwide — including President Barack Obama. Next year, Tor Books will publish a new novel set in the same world, titledThe Redemption of Time, but it won’t be by Liu. Instead, the book is written by Baoshu, an ardent fan of the series who originally published it online as a novel-length fan fiction story — one that became so popular that the trilogy’s publisher decided to release it as an official novel.
Liu first serializedTheThree-Body Problemin China’s biggest science fiction magazine,Science Fiction World, in 2006, and published it as a novel two years later. It was followed by two sequels —The Dark ForestandDeath’s End,whichcame in 2008 and 2010, respectively.In China, it became a massive phenomenon that expanded to the rest of the world in 2014, when the book was published in English for the first time with a translation by Ken Liu, and went on to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel the following year.
[Spoilers ahead for theThree-Bodytrilogy]
InThe Three-Body Problem, a Chinese scientist makes contact with an alien civilization known as the Trisolarans, who live on a planet that orbits the three stars in the Alpha Centauri system. The planet has an unstable orbit, resulting in mass extinctions for the aliens, who now realize that Earth could be a suitable new home for them. They ready plans to invade, deploying sympathetic humans to help, and advanced super computers called sophons that disrupt advanced scientific research and spy on humanity, preventing them from mounting any sort of defense.
Dr. Mingwei Song of Wellesley College in Massachusetts, one of the foremost academics studying Chinese science fiction, describedThe Redemption of TimetoThe Vergeas “more playful than the original trilogy,” and that Baoshu “is very interested in exploring the nature of time, what time does to consciousness, and how time shapes our experiences,” saying that it’s a major strength for the book. English speakers will have to wait until July 16th, 2019 to get their hands on a copy, but if the book’s popularity in China is any indication, it will be well worth the wait.