The Three-Body Problem

The Three-Body Problem - Liu Cixin, Ken Liu This is the kind of book that Science Fiction should always be like. The author gives a history of science (through the game embedded in the book) and shows science is not what most people think it is. Science and its theories are always under-determined. There is never a unique right answer to how we can explain the universe from the finite evidence we have at our disposal. There are multiple ways of explaining what we think we know (auxiliary hypothesis are always lurking around) . Induction and a scientific method only gives us partial peeks into reality as a whole, but ultimately seems to lead to real understanding.

In the book, the author asks the questions: "Do you believe we live in a Shooter (S) or a Farmer (U) universe"? That is did a shooter continuously move and fired a gun on a regular basis and created a hole as he moved through out creation or are we like Betrand Russel's turkeys the day before thanksgiving who are certain that they will be feed because all their previous data points indicated they will be feed and not end up as Thanksgiving dinner. For the S, the laws of nature differ in different places, for the F the laws are always constant but have the problem of induction.

String theorist think of the universe as an S and it plays a big part in the second half of the book. The background of the Cultural Revolution showed how the progress of science is often depended on its contextual background. All my heroes are featured in the game, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, von Neumann, and Einstein, and he'll explain how they each had a way of looking at the universe in such a way that the previous reference frames before them were nothing more than mystical thought. I always like it when an author uses 'entanglement' the same way as I would if I were writing science fiction.

One can read a long book on the history of science and what is its true nature, or one can be completely entertained by reading this science fiction story. It's always nice to learn while being entertained.