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Amazon Plans Blockbuster TV Series Based On Chinese Sci-Fi Trilogy 'The Three-Body Problem' (medium.com) 158

hackingbear writes from a report: Amazon is reportedly likely to earmark $1 billion for a television series (Warning: source paywalled, alternative source) based on the ultra-popular Chinese science fiction trilogy The Three Body Problem. The American video subscription service will likely acquire the rights to the Yugo-winning, extremely popular trilogy of novels written by Liu Cixin and produce three seasons of episodes. The rights to the trilogy are currently owned by Lin Qi, the chairman of Youzu Interactive, a Chinese developer and publisher that typically focuses on online and mobile games.
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Amazon Plans Blockbuster TV Series Based On Chinese Sci-Fi Trilogy 'The Three-Body Problem'

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26, 2018 @03:44AM (#56326529)

    Is Yugo the Chinese version of the Hugo award?

  • HUGO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26, 2018 @04:02AM (#56326569)

    The Three Body Problem won a HUGO award: http://www.thehugoawards.org/hugo-history/2015-hugo-awards/

    • A couple of years ago I picked up an edition of "The Hugo Winners" edited by Isaac Asimov, they were full of beautiful flowery descriptions. Plot & storytelling seemed to be of far less importance, so I tend to be weary of anything with a Hugo nomination or award. In fact, I tend to be weary of any awards.

      • They're short stories and novelettes. Moreover they're from the 50's/60's and length for both categories has increased significantly over time. Beyond it's central conceit you're not going to get too much plot or storytelling out of them no matter how good or bad they are.

      • It's a fan award, so tends to go to whatever style is popular at the time. Especially the short stories and novelettes. This is not to say you will like a more recent winner but I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss.
      • by EvilSS ( 557649 )

        ... so I tend to be weary of anything with a Hugo nomination or award. In fact, I tend to be weary of any awards.

        Yea awards make me sleepy too.

      • A couple of years ago I picked up an edition of "The Hugo Winners" edited by Isaac Asimov, they were full of beautiful flowery descriptions. Plot & storytelling seemed to be of far less importance, so I tend to be weary of anything with a Hugo nomination or award. In fact, I tend to be weary of any awards.

        They were written in the style of the day. If the volume you picked up was just titled The Hugo Winners, that was Volume 1, stories written between 1955 and 1961, so they will seem a bit dated, I expect. (Later Hugo anthologies had volume numbers, up to volume 5, going to 1982. The first did not, and was just titled The Hugo Winners.)

        The style will change with the year. Find a later volume to read things with a more contemporary feel.

        • The thing is I love Asimov's work, much of which would have been from the same era, so I don't think it's the style of the time. For me, Asimov used robots, the future, etc as a tool for telling his stories, and that's probably what was I was expecting. Fair dues to him, though, for not just selecting authors like himself.

      • Read Verne; right up your alley. And it's "wary" ("leary" works, too; "weary" does not).
        • And it's "wary" ("leary" works, too; "weary" does not).

          No, "leary" only works in the next story (LSD yada yada).
          "leery" works hear [sic]


        • by erice ( 13380 )

          Read Verne; right up your alley. And it's "wary" ("leary" works, too; "weary" does not).

          Really, "weary" reads fine to me if unusual, but does mean something different than "wary" or "leary". It means literally being tired of it. And, no, I'm not the OP.

        • To be fare, I'm pretty sure you were able to imply what I meant from the context. For all intensive purposes, I'm not bothered by spelling mistakes and grammer, and it begs the question why you'd pick somebody up on it.

          Seriously though, I've never read Verne, and new (or old) authors are always appreciated.

          I really hope theirs an English teacher reading this right now, in tiers, pulling there hare out!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's a fine novel... but it was and is up against some seriously awful modern western SF.

      What the fuck happened to SF in the last 15-ish years.

      • Re:HUGO (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Salgak1 ( 20136 ) <[salgak] [at] [speakeasy.net]> on Monday March 26, 2018 @08:02AM (#56327131) Homepage

        See the "Sad Puppies [infogalactic.com]" story. SF Fandom has diverged into factions: a "Literary" faction (which sometimes refers to itself as 'Trufandom'), which currently pretty much controls the Worldcon, the Hugo Awards, and the Nebula Awards, and a "Spaceships and Rayguns" faction (notionally, the Puppies. There are two major factions in the Puppies as well). It's getting to the point that the two factions have different cons, different preferred publishers, and distinct communities. The split is also fairly ideological, with the Trufen faction trending left, and the Puppy faction trending right

        Quick guide:
        Trufen: WorldCon, Wiscon, ReaderCon
        Puppies: DragonCon, LibertyCon, RavenCon, LTUE

        Trufen: TOR, Orbit
        Puppies: Baen, Castalia

        Trufen: Nebulas, Hugos
        Puppies: Dragons

        This is not an all-encompassing list. There are also favored blogs and associated communities. . .

        • by Anonymous Coward

          A little more complicated than that, and the distinction between sad puppies and rabid puppies is critical. Unfortunately, the rabid puppies made so much noise and were so obnoxious that the interesting points made by some of the sad puppies got completely drowned out. The nonlinear amplifier amplified all the stupid things said, and none of the intelligent commentary.

          Oh, and the worldcon is open to anybody who wants to attend-- it's not really a "faction," it's a mixture of everybody.

          • by Salgak1 ( 20136 )

            Admittedly. But i was attempting to give a top level view while being as even-handed as possible. Also note, I mentioned that the Trufen CONTROLLED the Worldcon and the Hugos. And, recently, people have been kicked out of Worldcon, or banned from attending. The cases of Dave Truesdale and Jon del Arroz testify to that. . .

        • by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Monday March 26, 2018 @11:01AM (#56327929)
          The only thing I would remove is this : as opposed to "a "Literary" faction" and puppies I view both puppies : the left puppies and the right puppies both pushing an agenda of their own. Both have at time applauded literary work for reason other than pure literature, be it gender promotion or whatever. If you ignore both of them and judge work on their own literary merit, you are better off.

          After having read the some of the controversial "book" the right puppies accused the left puppies of pushing, I could agree at least on some point, that some were obviously pushed for reason other than literature, I can remember one about transgender issue I found the writing so poor I could not see why this book was promoted for Hugo novel. But the same way hold the other way around the right puppies having so obnoxious agenda pushing that you gotta vomit.

          In the end my recommendation is : ignore both puppies, ignore the gender or sexuality of an author, enjoy the story and writing. Only the story content should matter. Which is why I am still reading Orson scott card in spite of its view , I just refuse to pay money for it and loan it from library ;-), and this is why I am still enjoying call of cthulhu in spite of lvoecraft ebing an obnoxious mysoginistic racist.
          • by Salgak1 ( 20136 )

            I was being kind. I avoided the actual label of "boring message fiction" that causes puppies to be sad*

            (* Insider Joke: the original Sad Puppies campaign [monsterhunternation.com] included a tongue-in-cheek pitch about 'boring message fiction' being a major cause of puppy-related sadness. . )

          • While I'd admit I know little of the factions, and care less there have been examples of left/right pushing agenda for many decades, so it is hardly new. Though gaming the system only seems to hurt the readers who might depend on awards to give them reading ideas. Abuse it too much, and people will just stop paying attention to the award, and then it will eventually become irrelevant and go away.

            Though your Lovecraft comment reminded me however that you really need to keep some perspective about when a work

      • Re: HUGO (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Every author has jumped on the #metoo bandwagon.

        Characters now pull a Star Wars and completely forget they were capable of something unless directed by a female.

        Terrible straw men and pointless virtue signaling.

        For examples of all of this just read the latest way of kings. Even worse is clearly these were very late changes. There is little rhyme or reason for random SJW nonsense that shows up. Characters become schizophrenic in their behevior.

        I can't say it's unique and I'm not sure how much these authors r

    • Maybe they only won a Yugo for the book. Obviously not very impressive work if so.

    • What's with No Award winning half the categories?

      Oh, I remember. There's a war going on between SJWs and conservative authors and fans.

      • It's easier to rig the nomination process than the selection process. Many more people vote for the Hugos themselves than vote to nominate. If a minority group can force the nomination of fiction the majority doesn't consider good, that's what happens.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26, 2018 @04:30AM (#56326629)

    Main protagonist characters are Chinese. The antagonists are not Chinese.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 26, 2018 @06:50AM (#56326915)

      Normally I'm pretty uninterested in the issue (particularly with Animes, where generally the original Japanese audience isnt that concerned by it). But this would be a mess if reset into the west. Part of what makes the book so interesting is just how different the chinese world of the protagonists is. The opening chapter set during the cultural revolution would make no sense at all in america or europe. Even eastern europe had a pretty different experience with Stalin than china did with Mao.

      • It could be Amazon trying to make inroads into the emerging Chinese market. A massive country, with a rapidly increasing quality of life and more money to spend on media.
    • Main protagonist characters are Chinese. The antagonists are not Chinese.

      The antagonists are aliens from a triple-star system, so, no, by definition they are not Chinese.

    • No. They will cast Idris Elba.
    • The Japanese characters in the TV series Man in the High Castle seem to be portrayed by reasonably Japanese-looking actors, and Amazon made that.

  • by itsme1234 ( 199680 ) on Monday March 26, 2018 @04:39AM (#56326659)

    Just when you'd think everything on the small/big screen would suck forever. The announcement that they're making the Martian came as I still had vivid in my mind the book, so with this trilogy.

    And this is really, really, really good for a series - and I mean for people with attention spans longer than 30 seconds. The book(s) just don't seem to end - in a very good way. I did have quite a few times the sensation that things are winding down and "this is it", nope - here comes more. And more. And more.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This and "Ready, Player One", too. If anyone of the movie industry wants to keep on filming what I've just read, please look into the "Fifth season" trilogy.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I'd love to see a billion dollars spent on The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons.

    • by llamalad ( 12917 )

      Agreed. This trilogy is the best Science Fiction that I've read in decades.

      I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do with a tv version.

  • extremely popular trilogy of novels written by Liu Cixin

    I don't read much sci-fi any more, but I like to think I at least know of the major authors. I've never heard of this person, or series. Or even that Chinese sci-fi was a thing. Anyone can comment on what they thought of it, or what the basic premise is, given TFS doesn't say anything about that? I presume it takes place beyond Earth, given the title.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Stephan Schulz ( 948 )

      I don't read much sci-fi any more, but I like to think I at least know of the major authors. I've never heard of this person, or series,

      Then you live under an SF rock. It was/is a major bestseller.

      Or even that Chinese sci-fi was a thing.

      There is about 2 times as many Chinese as Europeans and USians combined. They probably have a good dose of everything we know of ;-). This was one of the rare cases of a breakout into the West.

      Anyone can comment on what they thought of it, or what the basic premise is, given TFS doesn't say anything about that? I presume it takes place beyond Earth, given the title.

      I only read the first part ("The Three-Body-Problem"). It basically has three main strands of action - one set during the Chinese cultural revolution, one in the here and now, and the third describing an alien civilisation in what is hinted to be the Alpha C

      • Book 1 is just the warmup. The trilogy ends with the heat death of the universe.

        • by tehcyder ( 746570 ) on Monday March 26, 2018 @11:56AM (#56328223) Journal

          Book 1 is just the warmup. The trilogy ends with the heat death of the universe.

          Jesus fucking Christ have you never heard of spoiler alerts?

          • What idiot downmodded this? This is the cleverest joke here all week.

            See, the heat death of the universe is one predicted end of the universe, with all energy so spread out among particles there are no usable delta gradients and all protons have broken down. This is inconceivable powers of ten years into the future.

            So, "Spoiler alert please!" in conjun...ya know what? Just stop modding.

          • That's why I didn't add the twist that Clueless AC did.

      • I also read the first book only, and found it to mostly contain rudimentary SF ideas that were simplistically presented.

        I would describe the near-future and alien part as "aliens are incapable of numerically simulating N-body gravitational interaction, so send a probe to earth to host a mathematical version of The Last Starfighter and obtain an analytical solution".
    • I've never heard of this person, or series.

      Liu Cixin writes in Chinese, so his works are available in English as translations.

      Or even that Chinese sci-fi was a thing.

      Umm ... China has roughly the population of North America and Europe combined, so Chinese anything is a thing.

      • Re:What Now? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Monday March 26, 2018 @06:33AM (#56326873) Homepage Journal

        It will be interesting to see if Amazon tries to change the setting to the west. The novel deals with events that are well known in China but which most people in Amazon's markets have never heard of. Plus, there is a reluctance among TV execs to have a Chinese lead with a cast of Chinese actors.

        • Plus, there is a reluctance among TV execs to have a Chinese lead with a cast of Chinese actors.

          Well, there was Memoirs of a Geisha, a successful English language film with a Chinese lead and mostly Chinese cast ... in a movie about Japan.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            I'm reminded of the recent Ghost in the Shell movie. Altered Carbon kinda did it too, but I think it was probably just them wanting to reduce the amount of body-swapping to make it easier for the viewer to follow who is who.

        • The Cultural Revolution drives the plot of the first book. I mean, I wouldn't put it past Hollywood to ruin anything, but I don't see any easy way of changing it.

          Plus, it'd be a shame since this is the first Chinese sci-fi novel to really break through into the west.

        • there is a reluctance among TV execs to have a Chinese lead with a cast of Chinese actors.
          Thats a pity, depending on region of origin, Chinese especially the women, are the most beautiful people on earth.
          I just saw a nice martial arts (fantasy) movie on youtube a year ago, over 100 women breathtakingly beautiful and only 10 men or something ...
          Who would not want to watch that?

      • +1 for the factoid that "China has roughly the population of North America and Europe combined"; I never realized.
    • It takes place on Earth.
      Some of it during the Cultural revolution.
      Some of it takes place in an advanced computer simulation / virtual world.

      It is ... different.
      Very different from a typical "western world" SciFi. I have tried to read it three times. Every time I got further in and then I abandoned the book. I will try again. Soon ;-)

      • What stopped you each time?

      • The cultural part is fascinating.

        The science does not make a lick of sense. Weirdly cool in some places, but not science.

        • by Zorro ( 15797 )

          Like Magic? So it is Chinese Harry Potter in Space?

        • by jythie ( 914043 )
          Yeah, I would more describe it as science fantasy, there was a lot of mysticism involved. It reminded me of the stuff I read on conspiracy theory sites about how 'science actually works'.
          • Well,
            considering that physics in Star Trek or Star Wars are utter nonsense, a bit mysticism does not hurt, IMHO.

            E.g. this would also be a good series to make action movies from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] (By John Ringo)

            They have a race, called the Indowy, which are basically the "engineering caste", they build weapons and star ships etc. But they somehow use a mystical mind power approach ... for some reason the author ditched that idea and never went deeper into it. Would have been interesting if h

            • by jythie ( 914043 )
              True, science themed mysticism in and of itself doesn't have to be a bad thing, but I think in this case it really did not work esp for a work people are describing as 'hard science fiction'. It was mostly used as a power up, with magic level technology completely outclassing things below it. I guess it kinda worked with the defeatism theme of the series, but it meched really poorly with the use of repetition.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by itsme1234 ( 199680 )

      It is hard to describe what is about without giving out major spoilers. It starts with something about first contact, earth politics, cold war, early space exploration stuff, virtual reality and goes to more than "sky's the limit". The plot for each of the books is easy to find and skim through but I strongly recommend you just go and read the books, they are available in English from all the usual places, including in digital form (and even audiobooks).

      If you liked any of Greg Bear, Heinlein/Clarke/Asimov,

      • The theme I liked best was the idea of aliens softening Earth up for attack by messing with terrestrial politics, crippling society with defeatist anti-scientific movements like the Maoist Cultural Revolution.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          I really hope Facebook isn't the prelude to an alien invasion and the downfall of the human race.

          • More relevantly, I’ve had my suspicions about the anti-science movement. One wing denies climatology, and the other wing denies all the other sciences.

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              Or the ones who cling to science, the existentialists, while deliberately misinterpreting it to suit their views. Biological essentialists are the most obvious example, but the so-called Rational movement makes extensive use of it with history, statistics and social sciences too.

          • Na, no worries. If it were, it would be posted on facebook.

      • If you liked any of Greg Bear, Heinlein/Clarke/Asimov, Peter Hamilton, Joe Haldeman, Hal Clement - just get the books and enjoy them without any spoilers..

        With the caveat here that if you like Hal Clement for the science, don't expect to find that here. There is some gosh-wow superscience, perhaps reminiscent of Peter Hamilton, but only the superficial appearance of based-in-real-physics worked-out science that Hal Clement was famous for.

      • Thank you for the delicate approach to recommending this book. I HATE spoilers, so much so that I won't watch trailers for movies I intend to see.

        I enjoy all of the authors you mentioned so I will pick it up and most certainly enjoy it.

        • Basically it is a book about a woman who invites aliens (who have some problems with their planet) to visit Earth. They then setup a group on Earth (the Three Body Society) to help the invading aliens. The group soon splits up into competing factions. One guy solves the aliens problem. The aliens invade but soon humans and aliens coexist. But then there is a lot of stuff about humans leaving earth and the struggle continues.
    • Perhaps you could read TFA and follow some of the links?

      Like the one to the wiki article of The Three Body Problem?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      The Wiki is quite comprehensive in plot, characters etc.


      • by mentil ( 1748130 )

        I don't like reading the Wikipedia page for works I'm considering, as they tend to be spoiler-laden and I have trouble stopping reading. I.E. it's TOO comprehensive.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I thought it was an average book, that I found really interesting because it really showed off the differences in what Chinese culture finds important vs western culture. Then I got to the second half of the third book, and I thought that was one of the best SF endings I've ever read. Don't read spoilers for the ending because it's worth reading the series to experience it.
    • by jythie ( 914043 )
      It is sci-fi for people who don't read sci-fi. It is about what I would expect out of a 50s sci-fi writer with a few bits of updated pseudo-science and quantum woo and some serious social axes to grind. If you do try it, the first book is actually reasonably good, but I would not recommend the second and the 3rd was a serious slog that I wanted to throw across the room multiple times.
    • Pick up Carbide Tipped Pens: Seventeen Tales of Hard Science Fiction.

      There's a story in it by Cixin, which is lifted from the Three Body Problem books (or which was adapted into the book... whichever came first).
      It involves building a computer with basically neolithic technology.
      See if you don't mind or don't find any of holes in its logic.
      Cause whatever is in that story, it's in the books as well (story itself is a part of the book... though with some changes).

      Personally, first book can be almost forgiven

  • by mapkinase ( 958129 ) on Monday March 26, 2018 @05:45AM (#56326783) Homepage Journal

    Answer the following question without your typical deceit: Between the years of 1962 and 1965, did you not decide on your own to add relativity to the intro physics course?”

    “Relativity is part of the fundamental theories of physics,” Ye answered. “How can a basic survey course not teach it?”

    • I liked this: "Life is a distraction for physics."

      • If the whole dialog from the excerpt I am reading is not in, it will be a contrarevutionary betrayal.

        Imagine a dialog of two physicists, not in Pasadena, but one of them is an old physics professor with a huge metal "crown" on his head and a metal door hanging on his neck, arguing about Copenhagen interpretation with his wife, a physicist as well, who succumbed to the Hóng Wèibngs pressure and forced to participate in public humiliation of her husband:

        - Ye Zhetai, you cannot deny this charge! You

  • Let's see whether the series does better. If not, all the better, more time to do other things!

    • I didn't find the trilogy boring, but I didn't find it covered any new ground either. Likewise, the premise and the conclusion seemed to be rather weak. I guess it's rather unexciting that they should turn this into a TV series..

      Something like Gibson's Bigend trilogy would work better for me (I guess the sprawl trilogy would be misconceived as a copycat of all of it's copycats) - or any of the Mieville novels. Lem's Star Diaries would be fun - or the cyberiad. Even though Tarkovsky had a go, the Strugatsk

  • Just finished Cixin Liu’s trilogy:

    The Three-Body Problem
    The Dark Forest
    Death’s End

    Great hard science fiction.

    I particularly like Cixin’s exploration of pessimistic outcomes in a matter-of-fact manner.
    Heinlein without with family values and a historical sense.

  • by Pumpkin Tuna ( 1033058 ) on Monday March 26, 2018 @09:26AM (#56327425)
    I really tried to like this. There were some good ideas and plot points, but it felt stilted and clunky. I think the translation was to blame. I didn't like it enough to read the second one.
  • Hollywood has made many movies that do not have any relation to the book that the movie was purportedly based on. We shall we see how they do it this time. One of the better lines from a author that had a movie that was only tangentially made from one of his books and the audience was saying they ruined the book when something like this, " How could they have ruined the book? The book is still the same as when it was printed".
  • 1) The Three Body Problem was very much full of internal narratives and contemplative plot points; I have to imagine that's all going to vanish in the screenplay in favor of a massive CGI budget for SFX.
    2) Chinese-origin fiction is commercially a great idea regardless considering the potential audience.
    3) personally I thought the books were pretty bad structurally and shallow/2-dimensional in terms of character, comparable very conceptually to the 'fantastical' sci-fi of the pre-Golden Era books (Perelandra

  • I always thought the "three body problem" was how to ensure the other two don't get jealous of each other and ruin everything.
  • Looks like there will be a lot of hype to happen with this story. Maybe a game and movie version? The question will be, "How will it play in San Diego?" Personally, it is nice to see something different.
  • And slashdot was equally ignorant to post without correction.

    The author did not receive a car from a company in one of the nations of the former Yugoslavia.

    He did, however, receive the Hugo Award (tm, really) for Best Novel for the first book. The Hugo Award is named after Hugo Gernsback, who started the first science fiction magazine, Amazing, in 1926.

"If the code and the comments disagree, then both are probably wrong." -- Norm Schryer