Review: The Dark Forest

The Dark Forest
The Dark Forest by Liu Cixin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Very original and thought out hard sci-fi, with a bit of a whodunit element similar to the previous book.

This book is the 2nd one in a trilogy, and the story in the first book was so gripping that I had to read this one too. Again, it has the same originality of plot and storyline as the first book.

Now that the stage has been set, in the first book, The Dark Forest can freely move on with the story. A doomsday battle is fast approaching and humanity is far from ready. The book explores the political, psychological and moral elements of preparing for such an event. All the while maintaining it’s core of scientific explanations, as all good hard sci-fi books do.

What impressed me in this book was how the subplots tie into the scientific explanations and thought experiments. No plot or explanations were wasted.

Though the character development in the book was pretty weak, I’d say that character development is not the point of the book. Looking past this flaw, the book is great. Plot development is the majority of the book.

The book is sort of divided into two parts. It goes through a lot of ups and downs, and there are many mini-climaxes. However, only at the end does the book go finally into The Dark Forest Theory for which it was named. That bit was fascinating and makes the book worth reading. I haven’t seen it anywhere else. Without spoilers, it’s an explanation for the Fermi Paradox.

I have one personal gripe about this book. The instance where, far into the future, English and Mandarin have merged into one seamless language. I suspect that Liu has never heard of Singlish before. The merging of the two languages is already here. I speak it, in all it’s crude forms. I’m pretty sure it is unintelligible to pure English and Mandarin speakers.

View all my reviews