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Book Salon
The Three-Body Problem

  • This month we're reading The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin (translated by Ken Liu). Our faculty host is Karla Oeler.

    Listen to an interview with our Book Salon host.

    "The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin challenged some of my assumptions about science fiction and has given me a more capacious understanding of the genre. I'm hopeful that it will likewise surprise and delight Stanford Book Salon readers who may be more familiar with Anglophone or European science fiction. Three-Body creatively and vividly de-centers human concerns, even though it foregrounds the history of the Cultural Revolution and is set in our own empirical world. "

    Karla Oeler, associate professor of art & art history

How to Participate

>> Read the audio transcript with this quarter's host, Professor Karla Oeler

>> Post a message to the online discussion group by emailing 

>> Familiarize yourself with the Book Salon FAQs & Ground Rules

About this quarter's book selection

The Three-Body Problem is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience this Hugo Award-winning phenomenon from China's most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin.

Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.

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About the Faculty Host