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Publisher's Summary

When Chen's parents are incinerated before his eyes by a blast of ball lightning, he devotes his life to cracking the secret of this mysterious natural phenomenon. The more he learns, the more he comes to realise that ball lightning is just the tip of an entirely new frontier in particle physics. Although Chen's quest provides a purpose for his lonely life, his reasons for chasing this elusive quarry come into conflict with soldiers and scientists who have motives of their own.

©2018 Cixin Liu (P)2018 W.F. Howes Ltd

What listeners say about Ball Lightning

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-11-18

Continues to be one of my favourite authors!

The book starts off absolutely brilliantly and you are hooked in immediately. It is a different feel and pace to Three Body Problem series, but I enjoyed the infiltration of science (however unnatural) into the near future. Narrator was brilliant.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jed1314
  • 28-04-20

Author's afterword contains spoilers

Great book and reading, I've gone on to listen to more of the series but afterword spoils part of 3 body problem. Better to return to this section after you've read the rest of the series.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Gabriel Lopes
  • 18-09-19

Outstanding!

Wow, just wow...

At first i was sceptical about this book because i heard to ignore it as it was supposedly unrelated to the rest of his work (namely three body experience) of which i heard amazing things about. After a quick search i figured out with is a prequel and as wanting to catch the beginning, i bought it.

Oh boy...

This book really catches your attention and tells a gripping tale about the unflinching obsession and the struggles of scientific discovery vs the moral and existential (for the lack of a better word) implications.

I highly recommend this.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-08-20

An interesting story

This is my first time reading a Cixin Liu book, and I picked this up hearing it was a prequel to his popular Three Body series. I was pleasantly surprised, Ball Lightning is a slow but engaging story that explores interesting science fiction concepts. Everything feels very real and grounded in reality, as if some of the things mentioned in this book could be real.
Bruno Roubicek's narration takes a little getting used to, but I do think he did an excellent job. I highly recommend

2 people found this helpful

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  • Justin Murphy
  • 11-02-21

Excellent hard sci-fi

I discovered Cixin Liu with the Wandering Earth, then continued with the Three Body Problem series and now with Ball Lightning. He is very much a “hard sci-fi” author: fictional phenomena based on a kernel of real science. In the Dark Forest it was relativity; in Ball Lightning it is quantum mechanics. I would compare him with Stephen Baxter.

At first I didn’t like the narrator, but after so many books I have grown to like him and I think his steady style of talking matches the nature of the books.

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  • Tatiana / @TCLinrow
  • 15-12-20

A weird and wonderful sci-fi

I really enjoyed this story for its ability to write about incredibly complex scientific theories and possibilities in a way that could be understood easily.

The storyline itself was engaging and captivating, and with a little bit more character development it could easily have been a 5 star read for me.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-11-20

Not for me

Only got halfway but there's nothing captivating about the story after soooo many hours of listening. Mostly enjoyed remembrance of earth's past trilogy but this doesn't compare.
I feel its wrong to review after half a listen but I'm going no further with it despite some reviews saying the ending is cool, it's still 7 hours away....

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  • Dan W.
  • 01-11-20

Wow just wow

Better than 3 body and that was a great book. I enjoy books that get by without the need for constant suspense.

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  • D
  • 12-09-20

interesting throughout, but vaguely dissatisfying.

they want words for the review, so here are some words.the title says enough, but is not enough.

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  • critical friend
  • 09-09-20

This is science speculation: which universe ?

The author takes us on a journey from a tragic and dramatic personal event through an understandable and credible mission to understand the phenomenon of ball lightning into a logical progression involving quantum physics and philosophy. The main protagonist's relationships and interactions with other major figures, especially the female colleague/love interest/superior/mentor as well as the science becomes intense and holds the reader's interest.

The narration is superb and captures the differences between men and women as well as the status and background of the characters. The pronunciation of the Chinese names was consistent and the voice acting helped keep track of who was talking and how the story progressed.

I have deducted a star for the story as at one point there is a reliance upon sophisticated technology to make a novel event happen. This event destroys all technology within a wide radius of the event. A plot necessity is that repeatedly triggering this event in the same place becomes a threat. This overlooks that the event cannot be triggered again in the same place as the necessary technology was destroyed by the first triggering.

Despite this flaw, this book made me think about parallel universes, intersecting time-lines and whether events are really chance or random. I am looking forward to the Three Body Problem trilogy of which this is the prequel.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-08-20

I'm converted

It is an exceptional novel and author, it took me on a true scifi journey.

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  • Kyte Gurner
  • 14-04-19

A fascinating speculation fiction

Ball Lightning's story is okay, but I wouldn't say it is amazing. Where this book truely shines is in its speculation of uncharted physics. I found Cixin's speculation on physics to be quite fascinating and entertaining to listen to, and overall enjoyed this book very much.

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  • Declan
  • 02-04-19

A great prequel to the 3 Body Problem series

Another captivating storyline, one which you could belive actually happens with in depth characters. an enjoyable listen.

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  • Harrison
  • 27-01-19

Awesome

I listened to Ball Lightening after reading the Three Body trilogy. I love Cixin Liu's style. His characters are relatable, his ideas are novel and innovative, he has a talent for making frontier scientific concepts accessible without dumbing things down, and there's always another intriguing turn in the plot whenever you think you've read/heard all the juicy bits. The only thing I could say against his writing style is that it sometimes requires patience, in that occasionally sections or chapters will go on what at first seems a tangent, but read/listen on and your faith is very thoroughly rewarded (Lovecraft was a bit like that oftentimes, come to think of it). Another big plus is Bruno Roubicek's narration. Clear and consistently paced, and suitable for listening in the car or noisy places. Highly recommend.

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  • Dario
  • 22-09-19

interesting but a bit boring

I struggled to finish it. It has a very interesting idea about the physics of ball lightning but too often it overuses monotonous, highly descriptive and sometime unrealistic dialogues.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lucette Cysique
  • 21-09-19

loved it!

great story; great characters, great narrator
i can't wait to start listening to next book