‘Starbound’ and ‘The Three-Body Problem’ Problem

Those readers in the know may think the ‘problem’ in my title refers to one in physics, i.e., extrapolating the future movements of three bodies from the character of their properties at a specific point in time–and I dropped physics after GCSE, so I have no idea if that made sense or not, but since I now have it on good authority that physics doesn’t exist, I’m feeling pretty confident.

However, the problem in this post is not referring to a discussion of that problem; which you might have guessed when I said I dropped physics at GCSE. And I mean, I only got a C even at that stage, so you know everything I say is bollocks.

No, this is about the novel; the novel up for both a Hugo and a Nebula award, and apparently loved by all sides of the award controversy. See, what’s happened is, I recently picked up my next book for the Rachelloon Review Show; a book called ‘Starbound’. Head’s up, everyone: ‘Starbound’ is bad. Like, really bad. Gloriously bad. It starts with the protagonist, Katia, musing on how she can’t believe that people don’t believe in ‘magick’, because rainbows exist, and how else would you explain fucking rainbows, man?

I got a third of the way through in one sitting; it was that hilarious. But as all fun must come to an end at some point, I eventually put it down to get back to work. (Yeah, “work”, lol). But since I bought ‘The Three-Body Problem’ right after ‘Starbound’ they were right next to each other in the display on my kindle when I went to start the latter, and 3BP and my earlier promise to read it stuck in my mind. So, while I had been apprehensive that a ‘hard’ sci-fi book like 3BP might prove inaccessible to C-in-GCSE-Physics-girl, an hour later I decided to at least start the book.

I’m now 27% of the way in, and in my opinion, 3BP is not inaccessible to the girl who has forgotten everything she’s ever learned about physics. And here are some other things it isn’t:

Boring. Flat. Filled with 1D characters. Unoriginal. Mindless. Mediocre. Bad. Good. Yeah, you might be confused about that last one, but I stand by it. 3BP is not good.

It’s amazing.

So far, anyway. I mean, ‘Vikings’ was amazing at first but we all know that’s jumped the shark. But, my gripes with ‘Vikings’ aside, what then, exactly, is the problem?

The problem comes from the literary existential crisis that occurs when you read 3BP half an hour after ‘Starbound’. For the last few years I have (excepting non-fiction and historical texts) read nothing but YA shit, save for two books/series: ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’, and ‘World War Z’. And I liked the previous two but it has been almost half a year since WWZ and 3BP blows it out of the water in my opinion–not in terms of enjoyability since I think WWZ wins that by just a few degrees, but in terms of ‘objective’ quality.

And I’ve also spent that time, reading that shit, thinking to myself ‘yay! Even if my work never becomes as popular, at least I’ll always know I’m not a shitty writer like these guys!’. Reading YA romance after YA romance and thinking I was so great (well, I mean, I am so great, but never mind that for now 😉 ) because I was miles better than those idiots, and imagining my future critics praising me with shit like “Well, she’s clearly still young, but compared to what we see in the market today, she just puts so much more thought into her worlds and her stories!”

3BP is to my books what my books are to ‘Starbound’. I’m not even kidding, unless 3BP jumps the shark in the other 73% I have left to go, and when you’re over a fourth of the way in you usually have some idea about these things.

Sigh. I feel like such a loser.

Ah well, I thought up some funny dialogue for ‘Ritual of DUELS’ today, so it’s not all bad–and I am enjoying a book unironically for the first time in months, so it’s not even a bit bad, really.

Although the election results were bad. I mean, fuck it, homeland–do I really live in a country where, like, one in six people thought it would be a good idea to re-elect David Shithead Cameron? Ugh. I know they were all shitheads, but couldn’t we at least have agreed to have some variety in the shittiness in our lives? Or did you all figure we were better off with the devil we knew?

Bloody Hell. Have a cartoon of three of the bodies from the two novels I’m currently reading: both highly recommended, if for very different reasons.

The Three-Body Problem Problem

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2 thoughts on “‘Starbound’ and ‘The Three-Body Problem’ Problem

  1. The cartoon is funny! Can I post it in a Chinese Three-Body trilogy online community?

    Liked by 1 person

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