Death’s End – Remembrance of Earth’s Past Series Review

I finished the third and final book in the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy by Cixin Liu today and it has now become one of my most favorite series ever. It is a hard sci-fi series, originally written in Chinese and later translated into English. The series is full of amazing innovative ideas and was a delight to read. I gave the first book 3.5 stars and gave the other two books 5 stars.

The first and third book were translated by Ken Liu and the second book was translated by Joel Martinsen. Out of all the three books, second book was my favorite. It is probably the best science fiction book I have ever read. Third book was my second favorite and the first book was my least favorite in the series. Even if you did not like the first book much, you should still give the second book a try. Second book was mind-blowing and so different from every other sci-fi I have ever read in my life. I have a detailed review for Dark Forest in this blog post.

Death’s End

Coming to Death’s End, it is sort of like Dark Forest with interesting concepts but the author takes it one notch up with the ideas on an even bigger scale. The author is a genius throwing one mind-blowing idea after another at the reader.

(I made couple of paintings while reading this book. The first painting is that of ring structure in space and a spaceship entering fourth dimension while approaching the ring and the second painting is of an alien droplet – probe)

Just like the other books in the series, the characters are boring and frustrating. It is difficult to empathize with any of them. The main protagonist in Dark Forest was Luo Ji who was the reason for the sexism in the book. This book has a female main protagonist Cheng Xin, but still the book was full of sexism. Cheng Xin was irritating and I felt like punching her so many times. Luo Ji at least redeemed himself in the previous novel towards the end. But not Cheng. The sexism reminded me of Indian novels which are full of “showing women their rightful place in society (near kitchen)”. Most of the negative reviews are because of the unlikable characters, which is a bit unfair.

Like I said in my previous review for Dark Forest, this book is not about the journey of a few characters. Even the plot does not matter as much in this series as we see events unraveling over a period of hundreds of years. It is about Universe as a whole. This book is not even about Earth, like the other books in this series. It talks about formation of Universe, about aliens, about the fact that we are not alone in the Universe. How can an alien species defend itself against the dark forest strikes from other aliens? How can you create a black hole? Multi-dimensional time? Concepts that you never even thought about. You read 10 pages and sit and contemplate about what you read for an hour. Never has a book/series made me think so much about the big questions like our place in Universe. What makes this series worth reading is that I cannot think of another series which tackles issues of grand scale and magnitude as this one does. If you like hard science fiction or science, you must read this series soon.

This was my first Chinese series and we get to learn a lot about their culture too. At some point in the novel, the characters have to decide whether to rebel against the government and they decide to just give in. Most of the main characters are PhDs, unlike American novels. In Western novels, degrees and education of characters hardly matter. A person who is college dropout and fills groceries can be a main protagonist. But Chinese seem to be obsessed with education and degrees, just like Indians. All the major decisions are made by scientists and not by dumb politicians, which I liked.

Spoilers:

Some cool concepts that I came across while reading this book –

  1. “The Earth gave birth to life, but life also changed the Earth. The current environment on our planet is the result of interactions between the two.”
  2. Spaceship equipped with radiation sail, like solar sail
  3. Droplets
  4. Hibernation
  5. Sending just the brain of a person – the Staircase Program
  6. Future civilizations on Earth
  7. The swordholder, Dark forest deterrence system
  8. Deterrence game theory
  9. Gravitational waves, neutrinos
  10. Strong-interaction material
  11. Fourth-dimensional space, concepts from “Flatland” novel about 2D and 3D spaces
  12. Warped points, bubbles in space
  13. Rosetta System – database to teach Earth languages to Trisolarians
  14. Decay of four-dimensional space into three dimensions
  15. Photoids, destruction of Trisolaris
  16. Four-dimensional ring
  17. Space Elevators
  18. The Bunker Project using the four gas giants in solar system
  19. Lightspeed research, spaceships
  20. The Black Domain, creating reduced-lightspeed black holes
  21. Space cities near gas giants – cylinderical, sphere, wheel with spokes
  22. L2 Lagrangian points
  23. Own artificial suns for space cities
  24. Testing bunker project using asteroids
  25. Curvature propulsion
  26. Yun Tianming’s three stories and what they conveyed
  27. Bubbles, trails – ships with curvature propulsion
  28. Circumsolar particle accelerator around sun
  29. Microscopic black holes
  30. The Black Hole Project
  31. Paper slip from aliens
  32. Solar system becoming a 2D painting
  33. Hypergravitation seats
  34. Earth civilization museum on Pluto
  35. Average age of humans is 150 years
  36. Mini Universes
  37. Exoplanets
  38. Light Tomb, Light Curtain or Black Domain
  39. Lowering spacial dimensions – for attack
  40. Lowering speed of light – for defense
  41. Death of Universe
  42. Death lines – trails left by curvature propulsion
  43. Resetters, Zero-homers, Zero dimensions, Universe reset
  44. Neural computers – operate under reduced lightspeed
  45. Backup antimatter drive
  46. Multi-dimensional time – a plane instead of a line. “An infinite number of directions and we could simultaneously make countless choices”.
  47. The Returners
  48. Supermembrane broadcast

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: