15 August 2017

Hugos 2017: Death's End by Cixin Liu

Trade paperback, 724 pages
Published 2017 (originally 2010)

Acquired May 2017
Read July 2017
Death's End by Cixin Liu

Each successive Remembrance of Earth's Past novel has gotten longer than the previous, duller than the previous, and worse than the previous. I struggled with Death's End a lot, though maybe that was exacerbated by my need to read all 700+ pages quickly because I was coming up tight on the Hugo voting deadline. As in The Dark Forest, the bland characters here are less than interesting, but unlike in The Dark Forest, the cool concepts don't seem to come very quick or fast to make up for it. Every now and then something really arresting happens (the Post-Deterrence Era was traumatizing, and the journey into the four-dimensional realm was great), but then it goes back to slow banalities.

That is, until the end. The last couple hundred pages suddenly get weird and wacky and completely fascinating, with low-entropy entities and fantastic weaponry and beautiful imagery and a mind-boggling scale beyond anything seen in this series up to now by several orders of magnitude. If the whole book had been like that, or if we'd just gotten to that stuff sooner, this would have been a much better book, but it was just to boring to get there that I got intensely frustrated.

This Friday: My reaction to the actual Hugo results!

Next Week: At last, my Hugo journey comes to a belated end, in Saga, Book Two!

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