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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 listeners say about The Dark Forest

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Cold, emotionless SF is an international problem

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

5 people found this helpful

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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Good on the whole

Some of this book was great but there was a point in the middle where I seriously considered giving up because it turned into a dreary love story.

Also there were some very uncomfortable parts , especially when talking about women (talking about how a characters wife was beautiful because she looked like a child rather than a mother, the perfect woman not having too high a level of education etc.).

Despite enjoying this book and the first in the series overall, the parts mentioned above have got me reconsidering continuing with this author.

3 people found this helpful

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Science, drama and philosophy artfully combined.

I really enjoyed this book and and especially its philosophical leanings. I am knocking off 1 star because there was an incredibly clumsy set up for a key twist. thankfully the book continued to give more what you would expect from Cixin Liu. thought provoking with a real sense of veracity in the science. I am looking forward to the third part.

3 people found this helpful

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Worth reading, cannot stop thinking when finished

One of the best sci-fis, the dark forest theory is shockingly thought-raising, hands down.

2 people found this helpful

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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.

4 people found this helpful

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Great book - didn't enjoy the narration

I love this book and thought this would be a good way to recap before finally reading the third. Unfortunately I really didn't enjoy the narrator. In fairness to him it's not an easy gig with so many international characters and a balance to strike in making their accents distinct without sounding like mockery. The pace was also incredibly slow so I bumped it to 1.5 speed.
I recommend the book but not this reading of it.

1 person found this helpful

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A testament to Chinese culture?

For the longest time, while listening to this book I felt the heaviness of the human nature reflected through the cultural and perceptual prism of the author. It was semi crushing at times. But it all pays off. Makes me feel like we have a chance as a human race after all.

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This review is part of the plan

If you liked first book you will like this one too. Writer managed to keep lot of things as mystery all the way to end.

This series is first Chinese writers works I have read or listened and you can feel its little bit different than what I am used to.

Interesting with good ideas, recommended.

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  • 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!!

9 people found this helpful

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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 people found this helpful

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  • 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 people found this helpful

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  • Oliver
  • 12-08-22

How to not set up a twist and how to redeem

This book is where I was closest to giving up. Slow, unnecessary plot threads, cringeworthy dialogue (worse than Book 1), and finally the author goes through excruciating lengths to spoil his own story. The written equivalent of showing a walking person, then a banana peel, then having a narrator explain why a banana peel on the ground is dangerous, then people saying that bana peels are indeed dangerous, but that there are only two outcomes: slip or not, and then defining that the only possible outcome will be "no slip", with the "twist" being: the walking persons slips. If you've read the book, it should be clear what I'm talking about.
After this however, there's a side story with a very unexpected twist which I absolutely didn't see coming (nor did some of the people in the book), good enough that I can forgive the banana catastrophe.
If your story progresses in chunks of 50 and 200 years, you should not make the reader feel the passage of time. I had to replay about 5 hours of the story because I kept falling asleep. My problems with the narration have been explained in my review of Book 1.
While overall I've enjoyed the first 2 books and I'm currently really enjoying the third, I think it could've been written so much better. A tighter story, more natural dialogue, and letting the reader participate in the plans of the Wallfacers (especially the one that could) are on my wishlist. On the other hand, Liu gives a moment of highly interesting insight into the mind of a writer when he/she creates a character, I wish a similar insight on natural dialogue writing would've helped him with the books. I live in China and I know the weirdness of official speeches and declarations, so perhaps the issue is with the translation, that addressed the language but not the way English is spoken by people. It gets better in Book 3.

So, of course I recommend this book, it gives a conclusion to the story set up in Book 1 and it's also required reading for Book 3. If the three books were unconnected stories, I'd say "only for fans". The entire trilogy is worth listening through this one (sitting or walking, in a bright environment, with the volume a little louder than normal), and there are a number of great moments, but they are oases in the desert.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-07-22

Starts as a slog, but gets better

I almost abandoned the book about 1/3 in, because the pace was so bad. I don't mind longer expositions in hard sci fi, but I really don't care about how the protagonist feels about stars, or how river looks, and especially when such topics take 40 minutes. However, around half point, the story gets going, and it is interesting from then on. I don't know if I would mark this with such high praise as others, but it is worth listening.

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  • Adam R.
  • 20-01-22

excersise in suspension of disbelief

The narration is perfectly fine. A little flat at times, but nothing too bad.

The story however, it just seems like a vessel to present author ideas about the universe and such and while those theories and ideas are generally quite thought provokingz the story that's supposed to carry them largely lack good pace or much cohesion or bothers to develop characters (in restrospectnthis really was the least of my issues). Overall however, my largest problem was with suspension of disbelief - the book had too much of a serious tone for me to blindly acces some of the concepts it displayed, but rarely bothered to describe in any meaningly way to make them remotely believable.

It's ok, better then the first one which was just a mess. However, I won't be picking up the last book. While this one was better than the first, the author didn't really improve upon his style in a way I would need for me to sink more hours into his works.

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  • Florin
  • 11-08-21

Excellent book. Clever. Philosophical. Yet simple.

I haven't enjoyed so much a SciFi book since Isaac Asimov The Foundation Trilogy or Orson Scott's Card Ender's Saga. Brilliant work Cixin Liu - I'm honoured to be able to enjoy your work. And a special mention for Bruno Roubicek - the reading and interpretation were excellent too.

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  • Radek Sipka
  • 10-07-21

Too long and very tedious

Ouch. I gave first book 3/5, but this one... i would give 1/5 for the story, but since narrator is very good, i give 2/5.

Mainly because the story is too long, just few random ideas that wouldn't work most probably, and are hard to buy in into them. Also, the socio political situations are just laughable. unfortunately, i didn't enjoy the book at all, and i won't continue the series.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-04-21

good hard science fiction

good hard science fiction that is original and remains unpredictable the entire story. The cosmic sociology part is brilliantly executed

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  • Alexander Eieland
  • 22-04-21

An exceptionally great story read perfectly

This is a perfect story for someone who loves science and sci-fi. It is somewhat easy to follow and still contains so many fantastic and unpredictable moments and is somewhat of a dream for a nerd like me. I am sad that there is just two to books left of the series after this.

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  • Cliente Amazon
  • 09-09-20

Even better than the Three Body Problem

Absolutely captivating and brilliant. Every chapter builds upon the promise of a fantastic conclusion. And it keeps delivering on these promises in incredibly clever ways.