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In the deterrence era, Luo Ji has become the swordholder, standing ready at all times to broadcast the location of Trisolaris and thus also Sol , thus ensuring peace. This works for a while, but humans forget how precarious their situation is and lose the appetite for hard choices.

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The men of this era, it is noted, are soft, and not true men. The number of warning stations and backup broadcasters is cut back to save money. They manage to notify the other ship that has escaped Earth, the Blue Space, to warn them not to return home, so a Trisolarian probe and an Earth ship are sent in pursuit and are on top of them ready to strike, but in no hurry.

Earth has decided the time has come to select a new swordholder to provide deterrence. Later, the remaining candidates again try in vain to convince her not to run for the position, but she feels obligated and does anyway. In a true instance of You Had One Job, the public chooses her as someone they like better, despite her being obviously less of a deterrent and Trisolaris still being able to watch literally everything everywhere all the time when making choices.

But I get ahead of myself with the editorializing. And of course, the second Cheng Xin takes over, the Trisolarians send probes in to dismantle what little broadcasting ability we have left and cripple us. Instead, she proclaims, all Humans must dismantle their technology and move to Australia, except for a few million who will coordinate this move and hunt down the resistance. Australia and an area on Mars are, she claims, our reward for what our culture has brought to Trisolaris, including the concept of deception, which allowed their technological progress to restart after stalling out for eons, but we must give up most technology.

Before that can happen, it is revealed that the ship Gravity, which was pursuing the renegade ship Blue Space, has been taken over by the crew of Blue Space, who also managed to somehow defeat the probe attacking both of them, and together the crews voted to reveal the location of Trisolaris and therefore Sol. The tomb explains that higher dimensional civilizations have no fear of lower dimensional ones, and lower dimensional ones have no resources higher dimensional civilizations might need, so the two have no reason to interact.

With Earth now a dead planet orbiting, the Trisolarians divert their fleet elsewhere and allow humanity to return to its planet and technology. Humans turn on those who managed to save its cities and civilization while also, to be fair, laying the groundwork for xenocide , and greatly rewards those in the resistance including Luo Ji. Trisolaris is destroyed when a photoid hits one of their three stars. Before leaving Earth, Sophon gives Cheng Xin a chance to speak with Yun Tianming, but is warned they can only speak on personal matters and to avoid revealing technical or scientific or otherwise valuable intelligence, or Cheng Xin will be blown up by a nuke before she can share what she has heard.

They then promise to meet in the future at her star. Cheng memorizes the tale and reports the contents back, and she is congratulated on her success as all of our finest people work on figuring out the hidden meaning in the tale. Humanity figures out a little of it, but misses a lot more and knows it has done so, and comes up with three potential solutions to its crisis. So we could build space cities to house our population. Second, we could build faster than light ships and escape the solar system in time. Trisolaris developed light speed ships, and our older slower ship Gravity was on its way to another star even without this, so we know such a thing is possible.

Third, we could take a concept gleaned from the fairy tale and from a question once asked to Sophon where she confirmed that there is a way to credibly communicate that we are not a threat and thus be left in peace. Humanity puts almost all its resources into plan one, and succeeds in moving everyone into space. It bans plan two, and mostly gives up on plan three.

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Wade then meets Cheng Xin our characters go into cryogenic sleep so they can move between eras as the plot requires and demands she turn over her company to him so he can research light speed travel, since without it humanity will never be great even if we somehow survive, and also this plan of hiding behind Jupiter and hoping no other civilization thinks we might do that seems kind of unlikely to work when you think about it, ya know?

Cheng Xin agrees and turns her company over with the caveat that if Wade would do anything to threaten human lives he has to awaken her and give her control back. He agrees to the condition. Cheng Xin is awakened to news that Wade has made great progress in his research, but the authorities are trying to shut it down because escapism, and his response has been to seed soldiers with anti-matter bullets on the space cities so that he can threaten reprisals that would destroy them if his work is stopped.

Cheng Xin is horrified, once again refusing to use such threats, and orders him to surrender. Amazingly, he does, fulfilling his promises to Cheng Xin. She goes back into hibernation again. She is awakened to warning of a dark forest strike. Our hour has come, and a different type of weapon is attacking us, collapsing space around the solar system down to two dimensions.

Laws against escapism are repealed, but escape velocity is light speed, so it is too late. Except for one ship that Wade managed to finish, with two seats, which Cheng Xin and her friend Ai Aa take, first to Pluto to help distribute priceless artifacts as a memorial to humanity, and then to escape the ongoing attack. She does escape and directs the ship to her star.

When there, they attempt to meet Yun, but an accident causes them to miss each other. They do meet up with a descendant of the crew of the ships Gravity and Blue Space, which survived and became human civilization. He explains that dimension-collapsing weapons are being used throughout the universe, bringing it down from its original ten plus dimensions to now mostly two and three dimensional space with a few four dimensional pockets, and other laws of physics are under attack too. They are given instructions to enter a pocket dimension to await the big crunch, which will reset things and restore all the dimensions.

They then get a message from the universe. It notifies them that both Earth and Trisolaris made the list of impactful civilizations in the universe, and asks that all matter in pocket universes be returned because too much matter has been removed from the main universe into various pocket universes and this lack of sufficient mass will prevent the big crunch, dooming the universe to heat death instead of renewal. They decide to put most of the mass back into the main universe, leaving behind a message for the next cycle and taking a ship to explore what is left of the main universe.

Trisolarians have several characteristics on which to hang their planet of hats. Their entire culture should be alien to us. Most characters are Chinese, but even those who are not continue to mostly think and act in this similarly alien style. I appreciated the opportunity to see the view of humanity from someone in a completely different culture.

How much of this is how the Chinese or some Chinese group view humans and think about the world, versus how the author does?

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I cannot say. People, all but a handful of them, are absurdly fickle, petty, short-sighted, self-interested and self-defeating. They are obsessed with status and how they are relative to others, and on the margin wish others harm rather than well. When times are good, they lay back on universal benefits and forget the universe is a harsh place, and that their very survival depends on hard work, sacrifice and hard choices, and explicitly condemn and go after anyone who makes hard choices or makes sacrifices.

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They will believe and put their hope in any damn thing they are pointed at, for a while, no matter how absurd. Then they will despair of any action, or turn in desperation to any hope for change. They will alternatively hail the same person as a hero, and arrest them as a villain, multiple times, for the same actions, based on how they want to feel at the time and what hopes they are given.

The intellectuals are even worse, and at the start of the book the bulk of them are actively working to sell us out to the aliens for no reason other than environmentalism and humans sucking, so why not turn things over to a race determined to conquer us and hope for the best? The few who are not all of that, or even are a little bit not all of that some of the time, because the plot needs them not to be, are good bets to outright save humanity.

It is not hard to see why Ye Wenjie, victim of the cultural revolution, might despair for humanity or her country, and take any opportunity for intervention. Yes, it was an open invitation to an alien race of would-be conquering warmongers, about whom you know nothing else, so thinking this is worth a shot seems rather like a lack of imagination on how bad things can get.

That fits what the few recruits we see say — it seems the book thinks that most intellectual people are disgusted by and despise humanity, and want it to suffer and die. Those who play it unravel the nature of Trisolaris, after which they are asked to come to a meeting in real life, where they are asked their opinion on humanity and whether it would be a good idea to betray us all in favor of Trisolaris.

It seems most people who get that far say yes, and the organization got very large this way without being infiltrated.

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I hope that this perspective on what intellectuals think is not too common among Chinese or those with the deeply conservative views of the author. It seems such a horrible thing to think, and its implications on what one should do are even worse. I try to stretch and see how one might think this, and I can sort of kind of see it? But not really. My best sketch is a logic something like, they despise so many of the preferences of the common folk, seeing them as sexist and racist and wasteful and destructive and full of hate and lack of consideration for their fellow man, so they must hate them in return?

I can also understand how, seeing the things many people say nowadays, one might reach this conclusion.

Scott Alexander recently wrote an article noting that many believe that there are zero, or approximately zero, non-terrible human beings on the planet. It also offers the hypothesis that there are approximately zero, or perhaps actual zero, non-terrible human beings in history. Direct quote from the top of the article:. Good enough is hard. A lot of people who oppose hate a lot sure seem to hate, and hate on, a huge portion of all humans who ever lived.

You can and would be wise to love the sinner and hate the sin.

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I can also see a religious perspective. Suppose you think that all men are sinners, and kind of terrible, but that they are redeemed by faith, or by the forgiveness of God, or some symbolic form of penance, or what have you. Certainly not one that a non-nominal portion of people could meet.

In the book, the character we are following does what I would presume almost everyone would do when offered the chance to support an alien invasion and takeover of Earth backed by zero promises of anything for themselves or the rest of humanity. He reports the situation, cooperates with authorities, infiltrates the organization and with almost no effort sets up a raid that takes down a huge portion of their membership including their leader.

To see a book that expects not just a handful but the majority of intellectuals to, when given the choice, take the opposite path, is true alien perspective stuff. If you were in command of an organization whose goal was to ensure that humanity would fall to an alien invasion fleet scheduled to arrive in four hundred years, what would you do?

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At the rate humanity is advancing, by the time their fleet arrives, our science and technology would by default advance to the point where we could crush the invasion fleet. On the other hand, if we could be prevented from advancing our knowledge of physics, no amount of technological tinkering on the edges will make a dent. This is what we later see, as the strong-force-powered probe proves immune to everything we can throw at it.

At first, they utilize their control of the intellectual elite to cause culture to turn the people against science and technology. It is not hard to see that perspective after yet another young adult dystopia. Once the threat from Trisolaris is discovered, the jig on such strategies is up, the same way that America embraced science after Sputnik. Instead, Trisolaris relies on the sophons, which randomize the results of experiments in particle accelerators, cutting off progress in theoretical physics.

To advance Science, one must fill enough beakers to discover the secret of advanced particle physics, which then allows us to fill beakers to discover the secret of strong force interactions or light speed travel. Progress is based on the sum of the science done, so ask if any given effort produces an efficient amount of science.

If you cut off a link in the chain, everything stops.