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The Dark Forest

The Three-Body Problem, Book 2
Written by: Cixin Liu
Narrated by: Bruno Roubicek
Length: 23 hrs and 4 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Trisolarian fleet has left their home world and will arrive in four centuries' time. But the Sophons and their extradimensional emissaries are already here. This is the motivation for the Wallfacer Project, a last-ditch defence that grants four individuals almost absolute power to design secret strategies, hidden through deceit and misdirection.

Luo Ji, an unambitious Chinese astronomer, is baffled by his new status. All he knows is that he's the one Wallfacer that Trisolaris wants dead.

©2008 Cixin Liu (P)2016 W F Howes Ltd

Critic Reviews

"A milestone in Chinese science fiction." ( New York Times)
"The best kind of science fiction." (Kim Stanley Robinson)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A better book than The Three Body Problem

"If I destroy you, what business is it of yours?"

The second part of the epic saga that is the Remembrance of Earth's Past is far, far better than the first.

The human civilization has 400 years to prepare for an attack from a far more technologically advanced civilization called Trisolaris. What can you do to defend yourself against an enemy that has better weapons and is privy to any and all defence strategies you can come up with? What is the psyche of the people living their life knowing that a few generations down the line, their descendents will face certain death? The Dark Forest is an imaginative exploration of these questions. But I liked that it was not simply an alien invasion story. We learn so much about Trisolaris and their unpredictable weather in the first book that their threat, though dangerous, seems reasonable. They want to survive and they have nowhere else to go!

200 years after the discovery of the Trisolaran threat, we see a world that is supposedly modern. The new generation thinks that they are so much more advanced than their ancestors but the hibernators, who lived through the initial threat, know that the advancement is just not enough. I found their patronizing attitude towards their ancestors as believable as it was misguided. For some reason, I identified with the hibernators and felt a weird sense satisfaction when the harmless looking Trisolaris probe destroyed half of their space fleet. But when I got to this point, the helplessness of the humans made me suffocate a bit. I had a vivid dream when I had to come up with a solution to save humanity and it did not end well. And this is why the book wins. No matter how wild the author's imagination was, the dangers felt so real and disturbing. Kudos to Liu Cuxin for setting up the dangers slowly throughout the book rather than suddenly flinging it at you for shock value.

The first thing I noticed when I started reading was that the main character, Luo Ji, was much more interesting compared to the MC in the first book. He is an aloof and a bit narcissistic astrophysicist and he is suddenly thrust the responsibility of saving the world. It was a little surprising but also interesting to see that the 'chosen one' trope was being perpetuated in a science fiction book. But overall, the growth of Luo Ji as a character throughout the book was remarkable and believable.

I have not read enough science fiction to really know what good sci-fi is, but I can recognize a good story. And The Dark Forest is one hell of a story. I also loved the stories within the story like Luo Ji falling in love with a character he creates or the incredible story of Zhang Beihei who always did the right thing even if it was wrong.

The pacing was slow now and then but it's not really supposed to be a page turner - this book wants you to stop and think about the complicated concepts it is introducing. I appreciate the story and the science. And I appreciate the very real way in which this unreal story. I recommend this book to everyone who appreciates a good story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

It's OK.

Worth buying if you have extra credit, otherwise a mediocre sounding and ending novel, you just keep on expecting mind twisting turn that never happens.

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Cixin Liu has promoted India China friendship

I know that the reading doesn't make any sense to most people but Padmini science fiction fans in India this kind of awesome science fiction can certainly help build bridges between these two great Asian nations. Full marks to the author for an awesome second book in the Trilogy, full of weird ideas, incomprehensible extrapolations and the plot that keeps on twisting and turning and going to places never thought of, gripping and original.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Æ Mann
  • 20-11-17

A gem

This is the kind of book you always hope for when you open up that first page. This was the book I never knew I needed. A classic outside of the western culture bubble where I usually find my reading material. I was so glad that I had the opportunity to read this. This was a rarity. Exceptionally clever, thrilling, a single book exploding with enough ideas and ambition to rival even the longest fantasy series out there.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • vlo
  • 10-02-17

Forces you to reflect

A great piece of work that forces you to reflect about humanity, science, space and all of it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 09-11-19

Intriguing

I will never look at the stars the same way again. Very detailed story indeed.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Evan Lum
  • 05-11-19

Truly Fantastic!

listen to it. read it. the scope only grows with each passing chapter. An amazing book.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 17-06-19

It's not bad

A bit unrealistic within the constraints set up, a little inconsistent, but mostly enjoyable. The author seems to aim for a somewhat sociorealistic feel, which somewhat falls apart with characters that can be a bit flat. There's a bit of zeerust to the novel too, even if you obey the premise setup in the first novel, but that's somewhat to be expected.

Depending on how much sci-fi you've read, you might find this much more enjoyable than I did.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Florian H.
  • 15-06-19

What am amazing story... great narrator too

Some parts of the early chapters felt long and not that interesting but overall it was simply a really amazing experience to have this entire reading. So thankful for to Liu Cixin the book and can just absolutely recommend. Narratornis also great.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrey
  • 09-04-19

Great story and a lot of deep thoughts

I really enjoyed this second part of the trilogy, it is continuing to keep me captivated and the author's view of the universe is very thoughtful and unorthodox. The narrator's performance is quite good, too.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Martin Bolbroe
  • 18-08-18

Pure Genius

I just love the way interplanetary disputes are handled by a genius mind. A long story but wait for it.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sik
  • 18-07-18

It starts slow, but has an epic ending

It's worth the time. At many points early in the book it feels really slow, but once it picks up pace is nice.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Chin
  • 20-10-17

An epic which reflects the humanity

Liu Cixin has a theory on cosmic-sociology, which cover military, history, economy and technology, and may be the greatest threat to humanity.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniel Suss
  • 01-05-18

Cold, emotionless SF is an international problem

enjoyable despite being a bit inhuman. hopefully the last one in the series will warm up.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Wras
  • 09-08-19

Three incredible books.


This is a trilogy that will change you, it is full of ideas and characters that will enter your life and take you places and to events that are wonderful and unexpected, do not worry about your time investment it is worth a thousand times that and you will feel it.
Best read this year.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mirzhan Irkegulov
  • Leicester, UK
  • 30-08-17

Very smart and consistently unpredictable

This is what science fiction should be. I loved every chapter of it. Marvellous improvement over the previous book, which was already great. The characters are much more well-written, the plot constantly keeps you on the edge, the scale progressively gets more enormous.

The narration is top-notch. Would absolutely recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • MR A CARLIN
  • 08-01-18

Where is the third book in this trilogy?

I really enjoyed this and the three body problem. However I can't find the third book on audible which is very frustrating. What's the issue audible? I wouldn't have bothered getting these books if I knew I couldn't listen to the whole trilogy.

12 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • James
  • 29-04-17

long winded but just about enjoyable

took a while to get used to the new narrator, but he did a better job all told. pretty heavy going for me, but had to see where the story led.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • D
  • 31-10-17

Where's the sequel Audible UK?

A superb story exceptionally read by Bruno Rubicek but where is Book 3? I need the finale!!

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ms. N. J. Andrews
  • England
  • 11-09-19

Great if you write off the token love interest

A very good follow up that felt like lots of different stories in one.

Lost points for its really odd and slightly creepy romantic aspect. It felt almost like somebody told the author they needed to throw some love interest in, and so he did, but with minimal effort, relying on cliche. It's almost a bit cringey.

Write that bit of it off though and it's great!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Dog Latin
  • 09-09-19

Even bigger and more complex than Three Body

A marvel of modern hard sci-fi writing with riveting narration. Some parts might seem far fetched or even puzzling to Western readers, especially as the scope is much more macro than the preceding book. But I love Cixin Liu's intelligence and imagination, and Ken Liu's translation is spot on. Looking forward to the next book

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  • Slothamphetamine
  • 11-08-19

Best booked ever read / listened too

After listening to the entire Trilogy. This book stands out as my favourite

The end of this book at a very specific moment will stick with me forever. Never thought a book could leave me in such awe

Three body problem is a 8/10
Dark forest is a 10/10
Deaths end is a 9/10

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  • osgerdrummer
  • 09-08-19

Enjoyed reading it but can’t listen to this audible version

I really enjoyed the trilogy thinking it to be one of the best science fiction series I have ever read. However, I find this audible version unlistenable; incredibly wooden and well, tedious. Maybe the translation doesn’t do well as an audio book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • simmax
  • 04-04-17

great plot, consistently good

consistently good plot intelligent and creative. culturally interesting. recommend the series book one and two. Book three restricted in audible Australia due to copyright laws.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Brian
  • 07-12-16

A great second book

A fantastic extension to the Three Body Problem. An brilliantly constructed story. Can wait to start for final in the series.

The narrator is even growing on me.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Gary Beilby
  • 23-04-19

fascinating story, but some cliched story fails

loved many aspects of this, but flying cars in an underground City wasn't one of them. neither was the sending the entire earth fleet to one tiny probe.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • cerw
  • 15-01-18

Love this book

If you could sum up The Dark Forest in three words, what would they be?

Amazing sci-fi world that will surprise you every page

Who was your favorite character and why?

Luo Ji - because he had the most different vision.

Have you listened to any of Bruno Roubicek’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Love his voice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David Payne
  • 04-04-17

Sweeping near-future Sci- Fi

Epic in scope and richly developed characters add to a swashbucklingly believable sci-fi plot that had me binging to finish.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kai
  • 21-01-17

Even better than the first book

This book is the pinnacle of hard sci-fi. The ideas are revolutionary, the creation is unique, and Bruno Roubicek is a fantastic narrator, well suited to the novel.

Read it if you liked The Three Body Problem. I look forward to listening to the third book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • chris schuck (amazon)
  • 30-11-16

Great story!

Excellent sci fi storyline ... great attention to detail.

I look forward to the 3rd book when it's released in audible.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Lucette Cysique
  • 03-12-19

One of the best books I have ever listened to!

Thank you Cixin Liu for this master piece! I enjoyed the book at so many levels: science, philosophy, creativity and humanity!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 14-10-19

Chilling and Mind Bending

Explores some far reaching science fiction concepts with hair raising implications. Terrific sequel that will leave you excited for the next book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jamie Fitzgerald
  • 29-08-19

what can I say? it's fantastic

I found it brilliant. i hope others experience this series also. this book connects with so many different concepts that transcends cultures