royalty-free-writing-clipart-illustration-1146779This novel was published by Tor Books. The author’s name is pronounced “sea-zin”.

Scientists are persecuted during the Cultural Revolution. After her father is killed during public interrogation, young physicist Ye Wenjie goes to work for the Construction Corps. After a news reporter falsely accuses her, she is given an opportunity to escape prosecution if she’ll work for a secret research project that broadcasts searches for alien intelligence. Years later, nanotech engineer Wang Miao is drafted to infiltrate the Frontiers of Science research society, where he finds the laws of physics seem to be breaking down. There seems to be an attack on scientists. Aliens have intercepted the signals and begun an invasion.

The title of this book is about a problem in orbital mechanics, and in the story it’s a game of predicting the motion of suns. There are some serious topics discussed here, from the effects of the Cultural Revolution on science to the stability of the universe to the difference in philosophy between scientists and working people to the likely effects of alien contact on human civilization. It is strongly supported by technical information. Aside from the main theme, the author also presents several other creative concepts. It suffers from a slow start and a major plot hole or two. The translation is very readable. Four and a half stars.

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