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What book is Netflix's new sci-fi series 3 Body Problem based on?

cast of 3 body problem
Which book is 3 Body Problem based on?Netflix

After a long wait, Netflix's heavily anticipated new sci-fi series 3 Body Problem is set to arrive on the streamer this week (21 March) and we are beyond excited to dig into this gripping and haunting sci-fi mystery, inspired by a series of books by Liu Cixin.

The eight-part series is developed by the creators of the Game of Thrones TV series, which in a brief synopsis is about the decision a young woman makes in 1960s China that ends up reverberating around time and space. In the present day a group of scientists and a detective team up to confront humanity's biggest threat.

So if you're intrigued and want to learn more about the book that inspired this new series, then here's everything you need to know.

cast of 3 body problem
Netflix

What book is Netflix's 3 Body Problem based on?

Netflix's newest series 3 Body Problem is based on a series of three novels by Chinese sci-fi writer Liu Cixin.

The Three-Body Problem is the first novel in the Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy, and was published in 2008, before being republished in English in 2014.

Cixin was born in Beijing in 1963 and began his career as an engineer before moving onto writing. His first published work is a short story called Whalesong which was published in Science Fiction World in 1999.

The Three-Body Problem is the start of a trilogy which sees Ye Wenjie witness her father's death in China in 1967 and what she does afterwards has a dramatic impact on the rest of time and space. In the present day Beijing police ask engineer Wang Miao to investigate a string of mysterious suicides, which leads him to a mysterious online game and immerses him in a world, "ruled by the intractable and unpredictable interaction of its three suns."

This the 'Three Body Problem' and it's the key to the scientists' suicides, and crucial to the extinction level threat facing humanity.

The novel series has been praised by Barack Obama and George R.R. Martin and has won the Hugo and Galaxy Awards for best novel.

jin cheng
Netflix

How to read the 3 Body Problem books in order

There are three novels in the Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy. The first is The Three-Body Problem published in 2008, followed by The Dark Forest also in 2008 and Death's End which was published in 2010.

The novels are published in the chronological order of the story, so you should read them in the following order:

  1. The Three-Body Problem

  2. The Dark Forest

  3. Death's End

There are also two additional novels tied to the Remembrance of Earth's Past universe. The first serves as kind of prequel to the original novel. It's called Ball Lighting and was written by Cixin in 2004, before he wrote the trilogy. It's set in the same universe and contains events that happens before the first book, so technically you could read it before the trilogy.

The other book related to the universe is The Redemption of Time, which was written by Li Jun, who uses the pen name Baoshu. It was technically written as fanfiction, before Cixin approved it to be part of the canon of the Remembrance of Earth's Past universe.

3 Body Problem is available on Netflix from 21 March 2024


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