Cixin Lui is the author of the Three-Body Problem trilogy lauded by many as one of the excellent science fiction books to be written by a Chinese author and translated into English. It gained awards, best-seller status, and even a Presidential shout-out from Barack Obama.
Ball Lightning was written before the Three-Body Problem and shows that he has been writing interesting science fiction for a while. Chen is a college student of atmospheric science, obsessed with ball lightning after having watched his parents killed by it as a child. This obsession leads him to be part of a civilian and military team trying to harness the power of lightning both as a power source and as a weapon. Ball Lightning would probably be classified as hard science fiction due to an emphasis on the science parts of the book, but Cixin does an excellent job with the interactions of his characters and their motivations.
Ball Lightning is not the expansive story that the Three-Body Problem was, but it is a well-written, self-contained book about something rarely discussed in modern science fiction. The pulp days had plenty of lightning generators and weapons, but they fell by the wayside in pursuit of more complicated energy sources. But lighting is still one of the genuinely tremendous sources of power and destruction. So settle in and try a science fiction story from another place that will draw you in and make it home for you while you read.
After editing at City Book Review for a few years, I took up the duties of editorial assistant, which include assigning books for review, posting reviews to our various sites, and nagging reviewers for things. In my non-nagging time, I’m a gamer, artist, writer, and notorious black thumb/bane of plants. My answer to every book-related question: read Octavia Butler.
|Author||Cixin Liu • Joel Martinsen, Translator|
|Page Count||384 pages|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|
|Category||Science Fiction & Fantasy|