Who’s my favorite writer? Glad you asked…

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 When I was in Junior High (’82-’83), I found a book in the school library called The Long  Afternoon of Earth by Brian Aldiss.  I thought it was absolutely fascinating!  It was an abridged  version of Hothouse, but I wouldn’t learn that until many years later.

 Flash forward to sometime in the mid-90’s and I had been trying to remember the title, but it  escaped me.  I remembered the author though.  I’d ask in various used book stores whenever I  moved somewhere new (I never spent more than 2 years in any one place from 1988 to 2002).    All I could remember was that the cover was kind of green, it took place very far in the future and  the Earth had stopped rotating on its axis.  There were gigantic, mile-long spiders that had spun webs from the Earth’s surface to the moon.  Humans had devolved into these three-foot-tall little monkey-dudes.  That’s it, that’s all I could remember.

Around 1997, I was in a used bookstore in Coeur d’Alene, ID, asking the owner if he’d heard of such a thing and naturally he didn’t have a clue.  I turned around to leave and (swear to God – if I’m lyin’, I’m dyin’) noticed the spine of a book on the scifi shelf about 10 feet away.  I walked toward it like a freaking cat stalking a robin and sure-as-shit, there it was.  People talk about miracles.  That, my friend, was a miracle.  The odds of that happening were nil.  I bought it and still have it.  I found a copy of Hothouse a short time afterwards in a used bookstore in El Cajon, CA.

I had decided that Aldiss was my favorite author when I first read that book in the early 80’s and I’ve considered him such ever since.  The adventure of finding that book really clinched the deal and holds some pretty special meaning for me.  I’ve read about a dozen of his stories and have seven or eight of his books on the shelf.

So, yeah… if you were to ask me who my favorite author is, it’s Brian Aldiss.

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“Eliminate Human Tyranny!”… Guest Blog by Author A.D. Bloom.

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“Eliminate Human Tyranny!”

The excerpt on the The Three-Body Problem‘s amazon page might give the impression you need to know something about Chinese history to enjoy the book. You don’t, other than to understand there was a time in the 1960s and early 70s when China was engulfed in a wave of violent, anti-intellectual reform known as The Cultural Revolution. That historical occurrence frames two other important elements in the book – the idea of a ‘chaotic era’ when society cannot advance and the question of why we would bring disaster on ourselves as China did during the Cultural Revolution (and as some characters do in the story). But now, I’m making it sound like a primarily Chinese sci-fi book. It’s a epic sci-fi book, period. It is, specifically, the ‘blow your mind’ kind of sci-fi with a pleasing sense of scale, full of the sort of ideas that give you a little thrill to think about.

Cryptonomicon and The Three-Body Problem are totally different kinds of books, of course, but for me the experience of reading Three Body Problem felt like the first time I read Cryptonomicon.  Maybe it’s because The Three-Body Problem incorporates physics into the story in much the same way that Cryptonomicon incorporates computers and crypto.  (Knowledge of physics isn’t a prerequisite!)

Reading up on MH317, I discovered the mainland Chinese population spend a lot of time quietly discussing conspiracy theories. Three-Body Problem‘s tough-guy / regular everyman cop character, Da Shi, says several times how any occurrence sufficiently weird must have an intelligence behind it. A number of global trends and events are actually (I now understand) part of the Trisolairan plot.

I read this during a blackout, the urban American equivalent of a Trisolarian Chaotic Era. There was nothing but me and this guy’s story glowing out of my kindle so he had my full attention. I won’t go on about virtuosity in a medium or how this is masterfully written (and translated). It’s evident once you settle into this story that you’re in exceptionally capable hands.

The portraits of humanity painted with the characters are the kind that create empathy in a reader’s heart, but somehow saying that might make The Three-Body Problem sound less attractive. Plenty of people have praised it for things like that. I’m really writing this so I can say something more like “awesome aliens”, “cool-ass shit abounds here”, and “damn good story”.

Yes, 12.99 is too much for an ebook. But it’s really good. Promise.

The Three-Body Problem, written by Cixin Liu (aka, Liu Cixin), translated by Ken Liu

http://www.amazon.com/Three-Body-Problem-Cixin-Liu-ebook/dp/B00IQO403K

A.D. Bloom writes scifi (The War of Alien Aggression) and knows a guy like Liu Cixin doesn’t need his help finding more readers, but he liked the story and sometimes he makes an effort to share what he likes so other people can have as good a time as he did.

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