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Thursday, August 30, 2018

Ball LightningBall Lightning by Liu Cixin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I got this book, I freaked out. I mean, let me put it this way: Cixin's imagination is heads and shoulders above most of the crap out there. Maybe even a large portion of a torso. :) So the moment I got it, I started dancing around and played the fool because anyone who puts so many AWESOME ideas on the page is going to make me do the happy-jig.

Fast-forward half a second.

I'm reading this. I dropped all my other projects like hot potatoes and felt very little guilt about it.

The establishing text is very down-to-earth despite the fantastic beginning of this kid's parents being turned to ash a-la a certain Avengers movie. Cue Deep Fascination Time. More establishing character moments in school, studies, post-work, and still he's devoted his life to the one phenomenon we STILL don't understand well... Ball Lightning.

Since this is near-future and everything is very recognizable as our reality, it really comes as a shock when, after certain military projects finally take off and other discoveries come to light, the world we knew and understood took a HUGE turn to the strange.

Not magical strange. Our understanding of reality strange.

And once we get to that slow boiling point, we're fully ready to eat. The novel TAKES OFF.

I don't want to spoil things, but OMG I'm still reeling from all the freaky AWESOME stuff that goes on here. Remember Three-Body Problem's AI housed in a multidimensional TINY matrix? Remember Death's End crazy bubble universes created to spec? Well, how about electrons in the macro universe hitting an excited state every once in a while? Or how about Schrodinger's observer effect played LARGE?

OMG all the possibilities and explorations, not least in the military-apps. A small boat versus a flotilla of Cruisers? Check. A macro-nuclear explosion precise enough to burn the hair from every living thing on the Earth? Check.

For the pure idea realm, I give this book ten stars and a Hugo nomination for next year. Easy.

I should mention this is a new translation of a book published in the mid-oughts. In point of fact, it came out before Three-Body Problem. So putting that all together with all those ideas running around in his head, I think this MIGHT be a more standard and accessible novel than TBP while running with one aspect of the coolness that made the other book so wild.

Who knows?

All I really know is that I'm going to EAGERLY await every single novel finally translated into English for my devouring pleasure. :)

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