What really amazes me about Cixin Liu’s The Three Body Problem is the extent to which is it able to synthesize complex social contexts and scientific literature into one coherent novel. Taking it back to the syllabus, Liu is able to blend a multitude of global issues into her novel and create literary environments rich enough for the reader to understand the real world implications of said issues. For example, much of her novel pertains to the scientific advanced of technology – nano-tech in particular. This is a real-world issue: nano-technology is reshaping the way humanity thinks about it’s problems and is a tool that humanity has yet to fully exploit. From the medical lab to military test-zones, nano-tech is advancing at light speed.
I suggest (if you haven’t already) to go watch the movie Big Hero 6. Although substantially more light-hearted than The Three Body Problem, it explores much of the same theme. It is an interesting parallel one can draw here when it comes to technological usage: both media’s express the dangers of a new technology and the moral implications of using it. In Big Hero 6, what is supposed to be a robot doctor learns destructive kung-fu and wreak havoc onto it’s enemies. In the Operation Guzheng chapter of The Three Body Problem, Wang and Da shi slices up a hundred in half using nano-tech strings.
These implications leads to a more profound analysis the text: what are the moral implications of new technology? Humanity has always developed new “stuff” – from the wheel to designer babies. However, is it rare that we, as a society, put limits and restrictions onto these new technological advancements. In 2018, a Chinese Doctor recently engineered two babies to be HIV resistant, was this the right thing to do? Was he in a moral position to manipulate the direction of two lives?
There are never a good answer to these questions, and needs continues exploration. To me, The Three Body Problem is a continuation of this exploration and serves as a stepping stone in guiding humanity to the ethical use of technology.