Yet more on the Three Body Problem

Please forgive my obsession with Cixin Liu’s Sci-Fi classic “Three Body Problem”.

For anyone interested, it is worth noticing that Chinese streaming platform Tencent has produced a 29-episode live action version of the book. The first episode (link below, English subtitles) looks rather promising, although it may make more sense to people who have read the book. And we have to remember that Chinese TV style is more like Mexican telenovelas – slower paced than the typical Western production.


Thank you for sharing! I will save this for future viewing, along with the animated series you posted. I have not yet read the book, but it will be at the top of my reading list once I finish Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age.

Yay. I’m only part of the way through the history of Chinese Communist Party:

It’s a nicely done show, showing the founder dynamics, but in a political context.


Just another update – now having watched up to Episode 11 of the TenCent series. Probably fair to say that the video version is faithful to the spirit of the book, with some plot modifications to make it fit better with the visual medium.

By Episode 11, the plot has reached back to the Mao era, and the abuse & suffering imposed on the young woman that later led her to send out the distress call to the Universe which drew the attention of the aliens. Emotionally very powerful. Interesting that China will broadcast something which is not at all complimentary to the earlier days of the Chinese Communist Party.

Definitely worth watching!


Well, I have finished watching the “Three Body” series on YouTube, complete with cute Chinese adverts. 29 episodes, taking a total of about 22 hours viewing time. Then I was sufficiently stimulated to re-read the book, taking about 4+ hours.

Really just as a side comment, something I have felt for a while is that video means of communication are rather inefficient compared to reading a written text. In this case, it looks like video communication takes about 5 times longer than reading. On the other hand, the visualizations (with appropriate use of Computer Graphic Images) do add substantially to the telling.

This video series may be an unusual example, because the video is so faithful to the book – the ~390 page long “The Three-Body Problem” first volume of Cixin Liu’s Sci-Fi trilogy. That is very different from, say, the movie adaptations of Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit”, where the movie-makers took great liberties with the author’s text.

In contrast, much of the dialog in “Three Body” is taken directly from the book, along with almost every scene. About the only obvious omissions are scenes where the key figure in the story sees her physicist father beaten to death by four young female Red Guards and where she meets those no-longer young women again about a dozen years later. For reasons which are understandable in a series made in China, those incidents are covered in the video by references in discussion rather than by visualizations.

Since the book & video series cover the life of that key figure over the half-century from the Mao era in the 1960s up to about 2010, her role had to be played by two actresses, for her younger life and her later life. Both actresses are very good, as are most of the other players. Apparently, this series took about 3 years to film – and it is easy to see why, given the wide range of settings.

I am hardly an unbiased reviewer of Cixin Liu’s work – but if you happen to have 22 hours to spare, this video series is well worth your time.