The Three-Body Problem
By Cixin Liu (translated by Ken Liu)
Cixin Liu is a big name in Chinese SF, and so the English translation of this, the first part of his Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy, is an event.
In horror at the Cultural Revolution, a scientist joins an experiment being made to contact alien life. It’s obvious that humanity has made a total hash of things here on Earth, so why not? Alas, what must have seemed a good idea at the time gets complicated when our messages are answered by the Trisolarans, an advanced race whose own planet is dying due to their having three suns in chaotic orbit.
When a videogame is unable to solve this classic dilemma (hey, anything was worth a try!) the Trisolarans decide it’s time to pay a visit to Earth, raising a number of political and philosophical issues about the nature of our response.