I read all 3 books in this series, which is technically called Remembrance of Earth’s Past, but everyone just calls it by the name of the first book, The Three Body Problem. Here are my favorite quotes:

The Three Body Problem

This is possibly the best sci-fi book I’ve ever read. It starts by tapping into a general feeling that scientific progress has stalled recently, which I think lots of engineers appreciate… and then it launches into an incredibly imaginative plot that mixes fundamental science, world politics, and deep (if not slightly ridiculous) characters.

  • But Ye had the mental habits of a scientist, and she refused to forget. Rather, she looked with a rational gaze on the madness and hatred that had harmed her.

  • To achieve moral awakening required a force outside the human race.

  • He believed that technological progress was a disease in human society. The explosive development of technology was analogous to the growth of cancer cells, and the results would be identical: the exhaustion of all sources of nourishment, the destruction of organs, and the final death of the host body.

  • In China, any idea that dared to take flight would only crash back to the ground. The gravity of reality is too strong.

  • She stared at her father’s lifeless body, and the thoughts she could not voice dissolved into her blood, where they would stay with her for the rest of her life.

  • Shi continued to speak roughly. “So I’m working in the hope of redeeming myself by good service? I thought you told me that all my techniques were dishonest and crooked.” “But useful.” Chang nodded at Shi. “All we care about is if they’re useful. In a time of war, we can’t afford to be too scrupulous.”

  • I’m a simple man without a lot of complicated twists and turns. Look down my throat and you can see out my ass.

  • So much information is hidden beneath a simple representation.

  • In this gray life, a dream appeared especially colorful and bright. But one always awoke from a dream, just like the sun — which, though it would rise again, brought no fresh hope. In that moment Ye saw the rest of her life suffused with an endless grayness.

The Dark Forest

This book combines even more conflict on an intergalactic scale, a solar-system scale, a global scale, and an interpersonal scale. It’s a remarkable combo of game-theory and inter-personal drama. The characters are ok, but the plot is just so wild!

  • The turbulence was purposeless, but in huge quantities of purposeless turbulence, purpose took shape.

  • First: Survival is the primary need of civilization. Second: Civilization continuously grows and expands, but the total matter in the universe remains constant.

  • Without the fear of heights, there can be no appreciation for the beauty of high places.

  • Growing up, his father had used silence rather than speech to educate him, and words were merely the punctuation between the silences.

  • For the majority of people, what they love exists only in the imagination.

  • During research conducted with the neuroscientist Keiko Yamasuki, he discovered that brain activity for thoughts and memories operated on the quantum level rather than on the molecular level as previously believed.

  • “Do you really believe that I can change all of that?” Luo Ji asked, raising his head. “Why not try?

  • The world, made complex by technology, was becoming simple again, its technology hidden deeply behind the face of reality.

  • There are no permanent enemies or comrades, only permanent duty.

Death’s End

This one gets abstract and reeeeaaaally extrapolates science to some specific conclusions. But again, I’m constantly amazed at how Cixin Liu transports me into a totally new world, with new rules, while hammering home fundamental science via complex parables told by star-crossed lovers.

  • Was it really so bad to live only half a life?

  • His sister was shrewd but not smart

  • It’s like … if, as soon as you were born, you were locked inside a small box, you wouldn’t care because that was all you’ve known. But once you’ve been let out and they put you back in, it feels completely different.”

  • From now on, even if the feminized humankind saw him as a devil and a monster, they all had to admit that his victory was unsurpassed in the entire history of civilization.

  • For a population used to a super-networked world full of information, it was as if they had all gone blind.

  • The era for humanity’s degenerate freedom is over. If you want to survive here, you must relearn collectivism and retrieve the dignity of your race!

  • Mere existence is already the result of incredible luck. Such was the case on Earth in the past, and such has always been the case in this cruel universe. But at some point, humanity began to develop the illusion that they’re entitled to life, that life can be taken for granted. This is the fundamental reason for your defeat.

  • Patterns were ugly, but the lack of order was beautiful.

  • Upon awakening, no one knew what was going to happen that day, or who they were going to meet. Life was stimulating and astonishing.

  • Death is the only lighthouse that is always lit. No matter where you sail, ultimately, you must turn toward it. Everything fades in the world, but Death endures.”

  • In her life, moments of happiness were only gaps between mass catastrophes. She was now afraid of happiness.

  • Weakness and ignorance are not barriers to survival, but arrogance is.