Jul 23 2013 12:45pm

Tor Books to Release The Three-Body Problem, the First Chinese Science Fiction Novel Translated Into English

The Three-Body Trilogy Liu Cixin Tor Books Chinese science fiction Ken Liu translate

Tor Books is excited to announce that The Three-Body Trilogy is coming to America! The award-winning series by Liu Cixin—the first of which will be the first Chinese science fiction novel translated into English—has already sold over 400,000 copies, and helped spark a new wave of science fiction writing in China. Liu uses the “three-body problem” of classical mechanics to ask some terrifying questions about human nature and what lies at the core of civilization. The series explores the world of the Trisolarans, a race that is forced to adapt to life in a triple star system, on a planet whose gravity, heat, and orbit are in constant flux. Facing utter extinction, the Trisolarans plan to evacuate and conquer the nearest habitable planet, and finally intercept a message—from Earth.

The Three-Body Problem, the first book in the Three-Body Trilogy, will be translated into English by Ken Liu, the author of “The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary,” “Music of the Spheres,” and “Altogether Elsewhere, Vast Herds of Reindeer.” Mr. Liu’s 2012 story “The Paper Menagerie” became the first work of fiction to sweep the Nebula, Hugo, and World Fantasy Awards, and his recent story “Mono no Aware” has been nominated for this year’s Hugo.

Cixin Liu's The Three-Body Trilogy: index | next ›
Dave Thompson
1. DKT
Yayyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!! Congratulations to all involved!

Looking forward to it.
J. Taliaferro
2. J. Taliaferro
The City Trilogy by Chang Hsi-kuo was published in 2003. Granted he is a Taiwanese author, but it is a Chinese language sci-fi novel novel.

Probably not as big a seller as 400,000 copies though.
Niall Harrison
3. niall
Heck, Lao She's Cat Country was published in the US in 1970. I'm sure there are many other examples.
Liz Gorinsky
4. TooMuchExposition
Hey, J Taliaferro and Niall: I believe that Ken and CEPIEC were limiting their definition to mainland China, and to what we would consider intentional science fiction rather than slipstream or satire. With those restrictions they do think it's the first, but the ones you cite are certainly worth mentioning in the lineage.
Sky Thibedeau
5. SkylarkThibedeau
I have Chan Koonchung's 2011 Dystopia 'The Fat Years' (Chinese title '
Prosperous Age: China in the year 2013') in English. I guess you mean Chinese science fiction that wasn't banned by the government nor published in Hong Kong.
J. Taliaferro
6. akaSylvia
Oh wow! I can't wait to read this.
J. Taliaferro
9. Hyakki
Did they keep using the Three-body? Why not triple-astrosphere or others?
It seen like a Chinglish translation .
The novel is really fantastic .Hope all the good story in the book can be prefect deliver to USA reader.
J. Taliaferro
10. Hyakki
But ...The first book maybe difficult for US reader to understand or got any interest....such Chinese historical....
The second book is my favor ...Luo Ji is the hero ^Q^~~~~
The third book .lol I hate the B*tch of St.Chen :|
J. Taliaferro
11. FansOfLiuCixin
Gooooood! I'll translate the comments....
J. Taliaferro
12. XXs
....It sounds like they have just started to do the translation...
J. Taliaferro
13. Steve2
The description in this article kind of spoils the first book -- the background of the aliens isn't made explicit until fairly far into the story. Though to be fair I'm not sure how you'd describe the series without spoiling the first book.
J. Taliaferro
14. Damien He
The Three-Body Trilogy has been a phenonmenon over the past 3 years in China.It is HUGE?You can even talk with girls about it and they actually know it... Yes, I am not joking.
Can't wait to see it in English.
J. Taliaferro
22. weiqian
Three-body is one of the best science fiction I have ever seen.
J. Taliaferro
23. WallFacer
Agree with upstairs!
Ian Johnson
24. IanPJohnson
Awesome. I'd heard about how incredibly varied and diverse the current Chinese SFF scene is. But, since I don't speak any Chinese, I haven't been able to check any of it out.

It's really too bad that there isn't very much translated SFF out there. English-language science fiction seems in danger of stagnating. Hopefully some excellent foreign-language science fiction will be a well-needed shot in the arm for the genre.

Hyakki: I'd assume that they kept the name "Three-Body" for the trilogy because the three-body problem is a problem involving modeling the movement of three planets or other astronomical bodies (like the moon, the sun, and Earth), or by extension, three subatomic particles. It's actually a real English phrase, and not a mangled literal translation of Chinese at all! So you have nothing to fear there.

Damien He: Well, I don't know how it is in China, but here in the English-speaking world, we have plenty of girls who read SF. It's pretty cool.
J. Taliaferro
25. Cham
Congratulations to Liu Cixin! A small step for three-body but a big step for Chinese Science Fictions.
J. Taliaferro
27. Si-FiTauren
Duuuuuuuuuuude, what a damned spoiler! What have the sifi fans who haven't read the story done to you : (

For anyone who might have any problem comprehending the political s**t in the first book, a piece of advice: in a nutshell, it is meant to describe how stupid, cruel and disappointing human can be.

Anyways, hope English readers enjoy the book! It blew my mind three years ago and to this day and probably forever, the world hasn't been and won't be the the world as I had once known it.
J. Taliaferro
31. Alex G
Who's who in the pictures at the top of the article?
Katharine Duckett
32. Katharine
@31 Lu Cixin on the left and Ken Liu on the right!
Charlie Young
33. LiveLongandProsper
As a Chinese and a SFer,I am very proud of this.Wish USA SFers enjoy it,nice to talk about it with everyone! ---Live long & prosper!
J. Taliaferro
34. duplica123
Do you know the ISBN for the novels yet? Goodreads.com can't seem to find the title "Three-Body Trilogy" and there is an author, Liu Cixin, but I'm not sure it's the same one.
J. Taliaferro
36. WwDz
1st: ISBN: 9787536692930
2nd:ISBN: 9787536693968
3rd:ISBN: 9787229030933
J. Taliaferro
37. LAN
I'm so glad to hear this news.
J. Taliaferro
39. I_Sell_Books
When will this be available? I'd like to order it for the store.
J. Taliaferro
40. GRC
Will these be available DRM-free around the world? In particular, in the UK? Not like Redshirts, which I cannot buy DRM-free (so haven't bought at all).

I hope so, as I look forward to buying them and reading them.
J. Taliaferro
41. Xiaoxi
At least many Chinese readers would buy it just in order to find out how does it feel in English this trilogy :)
J. Taliaferro
42. Nix
IanPJohnson@24, definitely not a mangled literal Chinglish translation. Ken Liu is *good* at this sort of thing. Hey, if we're lucky we might get a translation as good as the Kandel translations of Lem (but that would be unreasonable luck for anyone to expect, I think!)
J. Taliaferro
43. changyemm
Cool! Please kindly finish the translation asap, I will take 10 books as gifts to my friend who could read English
J. Taliaferro
44. LiveLongandProsper
Must be the same one,I don't think there is any Chinese who writes SF named Liu Cixin.
I do will,I am a Chinese.
OJZ...how good a man you are!
J. Taliaferro
46. lzx
Liucixin himself said,"I'm not sure if this trilogy would be popular among the US readers" when interviewed,but the three-body trilogy really blew my mind, hope more people could enjoy it:)
J. Taliaferro
47. WesY2K
So, when will this come out???
J. Taliaferro
48. ??????
well?when I first read this series was in university?and it is very amazing and exciting?Now finally it will be translated in English?I wish everyone can enjoy it and learn a little more about China LOL.
J. Taliaferro
49. A Chinese Boy
I must say,it's a nice book of fantasy science.Liu Cixin use his
imagination write this book.It really sell over 400,000 copies.
A nice book,really nice.I know.
J. Taliaferro
50. lai Jiang
As a chinese people.I must say it really a good book.I can't wait it published in America.
J. Taliaferro
51. Madmaxi
Im reading them for a third time and its still blowing my mind. Its worth it and I gurantee...... Lucky I can read Chinese....
J. Taliaferro
52. Peter F Wang
This series is indeed revolutionary. Critics in china descrebed it as the personal success for Liu to bring the chinese sci fi novel to world level. The only question i have is, why so late?!
J. Taliaferro
53. LazyConi
Actually I just said that Three Body is my favourite fiction when I introduced myself to my college students monthes ago - and hell yea they are finally coming to US.
I'll definitely buy a bunch and scatter them around our campus!
Just wait and see, US fiction lovers! The best Chinese fiction is about to blow your minds!
Peter Koller
55. kop11
Release date? When? When? No news since July 23rd...
J. Taliaferro
56. flippertie
Bump! Six months since the article. Anyone seen a publication date yet?
J. Taliaferro
57. nikosal
Amazon says Oct 2014
J. Taliaferro
58. Raymond Tan
I've read the chinese / original edition, and it was great. It's one of the best sci-fi I've read. It's backed with lots of scientific theories spanning from classical mechanics, quantum mechanics and relativity...etc. Of course, the author has come up with such a great fictional story line. I'm looking forward for the english edition as well ;)
J. Taliaferro
59. Nick Liang
When does it come out............
I heard the information about this book would be translated in 2012, but it still have not come out yet.
J. Taliaferro
60. ctph93
Just finished the 1st of the translated books... WOW, simply brilliant. Ive no clue how im going to wait 4 months for the 2nd one!

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