Thursday 2016-03-31

Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin

This book is bait-n-switch science fiction: it starts off seeming like hard sci-fi with an N-body problem and a protagonist who has to determine the orbital configuration of a planet and its stellar system.

However we are given some strange observations: the 3 stars can appear at night (after one of them just provided your daylight), a close pass by one of the suns sets everything on fire and burns off the atmosphere, another close pass splits the planet into a planet + moon.

Putting all that together:

  1. Tidal effects mean the planet probably spends a lot of time as magma soup.
  2. After the atmosphere boils off, where do we get a new one?

Then Liu has another protagonist discover that stars are huge 75 dB gain isotropic antennae for received frequencies over a threshold amplitude.

Assume for a second that this were real: the first pulsar emission to hit another star causes another much larger omnidirectional pulsar emission. It wouldn't be long until our universe became a hot bath of EM radiation (take that Voyager 1!).

That's when I stopped reading.