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Death's End

de Cixin Liu

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

Séries: Remembrance of Earth's Past (3)

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1,580608,460 (4.2)39
With The Three-Body Problem , English-speaking readers got their first chance to experience the multiple-award-winning and bestselling Three-Body Trilogy by China's most beloved science fiction author, Cixin Liu. Three-Body was released to great acclaim including coverage in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. It was also named a finalist for the Nebula Award, making it the first translated novel to be nominated for a major SF award since Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities in 1976. Now this epic trilogy concludes with Death's End . Half a century after the Doomsday Battle, the uneasy balance of Dark Forest Deterrence keeps the Trisolaran invaders at bay. Earth enjoys unprecedented prosperity due to the infusion of Trisolaran knowledge. With human science advancing daily and the Trisolarans adopting Earth culture, it seems that the two civilizations will soon be able to co-exist peacefully as equals without the terrible threat of mutually assured annihilation. But the peace has also made humanity complacent. Cheng Xin, an aerospace engineer from the early 21st century, awakens from hibernation in this new age. She brings with her knowledge of a long-forgotten program dating from the beginning of the Trisolar Crisis, and her very presence may upset the delicate balance between two worlds. Will humanity reach for the stars or die in its cradle?… (mais)
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A science fiction series that gets rave reviews from both Barack Obama and George R. R. Martin is certainly worth investigating. Since the books are heavily philosophical, so is my review. These are disconnected observations rather than a summary of the novels; so be it.

Observation 1: Almost all the science fiction I’ve read comes from American/European culture. This is from China. Is there anything different? After all, a science fiction writer is supposed to predict the future – or at least come up with a future that’s plausible; does the future look different to someone from a different culture with a different political ideology? It does, a little – and I found the differences surprising. The Western science future has often been the playground of the rugged individualist – especially during the “Golden Age” from the 1930s to 1950s. Stories from this era make space travel the province of the wealthy industrialist or the inspired inventor; what actually happened is that governments took over until very recently. In Cixin Liu’s trilogy, governments are in charge from the start – but do a pretty poor job of it; the United Nations is portrayed as particularly inept, for example blocking lines of scientific research because they are deemed too dangerous only to find that this forbidden research is just what’s needed to solve developing problems. Fortunately, “rugged individuals” come along and pursue the forbidden research – sometimes with extreme measures, like assassination – and save humanity. The difference from the Western versions is said individuals are not defying international law for their own interest, but for the interest of humanity as a whole.

Observation 2: Ideology doesn’t appear much, and when it does it’s again not what I expected. I assume this book had to get through Chinese censors to get published, but one of the heroes (sort of, he’s eventually punished for “crimes against humanity” because he violated UN laws on forbidden research) is a wealthy Western capitalist (to be fair, he’s portrayed as acquiring his wealth in an unusual fashion, and he’s also portrayed as having unpleasant personality characteristics). And one of the villains announces “The era for humanity’s degenerate freedom is over. If you want to survive here, you must relearn collectivism…”. And the results of that “collectivism” are pretty grim – just like the actual results of collectivism in the recent past. The era of the “Cultural Revolution” in China affects some of the protagonists, and they’re not very happy about it.

Observation 3: Cixin Liu is very hard on environmentalism and anti-intellectual/anti-science movements. These are consistently portrayed as anti-human, and are generally terminated with extreme prejudice by the powers that be. Since the PRC is technocratic society, I imaging that had no trouble getting past the censors.

Observation 4: The trilogy deals with the Fermi paradox from the very beginning, and in what I consider a more logical fashion than Western science fiction. In our popular science fiction – you can take Star Trek and Star Wars as examples – alien civilizations are portrayed as having roughly the same degree of technological development as the Earthlings that encounter them. In actuality – assuming there are alien civilizations at all – that’s vanishingly unlikely. If you consider the entire history of Earth, and the history of technology, alien life forms will most likely be either single celled organisms – that’s what the average living thing on Earth is, over time – or beings so advanced they are indistinguishable from God. Or Satan. All it would take in the four billion years or so of Earth history would be a minor difference – the development of intelligence occurring a little earlier or a little later, by a factor of 0.00001, say – and we’d be either at the Mesolithic level or have 40K years of further advance under our belts. It’s scarcely imaginable what technology will look like 40 years in the future, much less 40000. If you extend that across the entire galaxy, it’s likely there will be some civilization out there (again, assuming that there are any at all) that’s billions of years more advanced than ours. A corollary to that is Western science fiction usually assumes that advanced alien civilizations will be benevolent – or at worst neutral – toward humanity; the trilogy does not make that assumption and the results are viscerally horrifying. It’s one thing to imagine aliens invading Earth for resources or slaves or Lebensraum; it’s another to find them treating us as something like cobwebs in the corners – needing to be swept up to make things neat.

Very enlightening and thought-provoking, although sometimes the thoughts are nightmarish. I had a minor problem dealing with names; although international in scope many of the characters are, understandably, Chinese and it was hard to remember who’s who. ( )
1 vote setnahkt | Jul 26, 2021 |
Each of the books in the series progresses in scale, with this one being the grandest of them all. Some of the relatability that the other books had gets lost because of this, but it still manages to inspire with the raised stakes. ( )
  loaff | Jun 7, 2021 |
Second read. Still brilliant. In lots of sci-fi novels time jumps make the narrative less relatable; not here -Liu Cixin makes you feel like you're living in every age he describes and he makes you *care* about the fate of the world. Also, the entire trilogy is a master class in character development - I feel like Luo Ji's story alone would be worth an entire trilogy. ( )
  marzagao | Jun 1, 2021 |
Mind blowing conclusion for an awesome series of books. ( )
  FirstSpeaker | Apr 16, 2021 |
Liu Cixin. Death’s End. 2010. Translated by Ken Liu. Remembrance of Earth’s Past No. 3. Tor, 2016.
Death’s End is the concluding volume of the trilogy that began with The Three-Body Problem and continued with The Dark Forest. Be warned that what follows may contain unwanted spoilers for the earlier novels. The prologue of The Dark Forest begins with the story of an ant making its way through a dangerous landscape of which a nearby human being is completely unaware. That controlling metaphor of human beings as ants in a dark forest of advanced and uncaring galactic civilizations continues in Death’s End as human civilization struggles to survive obliteration by uncaring spacefaring cultures. The invasion by the Trisolarian fleet and surveillance by a ubiquitous artificial intelligence, it turns out, were the least of our problems. The novel takes us deep into future history with a hibernation technology that allows us to stay in touch with characters we have come to know. If that were all there were to this novel or this series, it would be a monument of epic space opera. But that is the ant’s-eye view. At one point in Death’s End, a character uses a fairy tale to embed complex scientific data that evades surveillance by alien censors. Thus does Liu Cixin let us know that nothing in his story is as simple as it seems, that there are several metaphorical levels on which it should be read. Unfortunately, I am too ignorant of Chinese culture and history, not to mention of astrophysics and mathematics, to have a chance of seeing the whole pattern. But I certainly did like what my small brain could grasp. 5 stars. ( )
  Tom-e | Apr 16, 2021 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Cixin Liuautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Betz, KarinTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Liu, KenTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Martinière, StephanArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Roubicek, BrunoNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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With The Three-Body Problem , English-speaking readers got their first chance to experience the multiple-award-winning and bestselling Three-Body Trilogy by China's most beloved science fiction author, Cixin Liu. Three-Body was released to great acclaim including coverage in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. It was also named a finalist for the Nebula Award, making it the first translated novel to be nominated for a major SF award since Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities in 1976. Now this epic trilogy concludes with Death's End . Half a century after the Doomsday Battle, the uneasy balance of Dark Forest Deterrence keeps the Trisolaran invaders at bay. Earth enjoys unprecedented prosperity due to the infusion of Trisolaran knowledge. With human science advancing daily and the Trisolarans adopting Earth culture, it seems that the two civilizations will soon be able to co-exist peacefully as equals without the terrible threat of mutually assured annihilation. But the peace has also made humanity complacent. Cheng Xin, an aerospace engineer from the early 21st century, awakens from hibernation in this new age. She brings with her knowledge of a long-forgotten program dating from the beginning of the Trisolar Crisis, and her very presence may upset the delicate balance between two worlds. Will humanity reach for the stars or die in its cradle?

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