The problem of the three bodies in Spain

The television adaptation of The Problem of Three Bodies, one of the most prestigious science fiction novels of recent years, written by the Chinese author Liu Cixin, has just been released.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
30 March 2024 Saturday 11:26
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The problem of the three bodies in Spain

The television adaptation of The Problem of Three Bodies, one of the most prestigious science fiction novels of recent years, written by the Chinese author Liu Cixin, has just been released. The adaptation of Netflix, very westernized, is getting quite an audience, although some information claims that the managers of the platform in the United States expected more. It is not easy to transfer to television language, which demands a lot of speed, intense emotions and a high capacity for synthesis, a complex story in which Mao's exalted red guards intersect, the steadfastness of persecuted scientists, radio telescopes that search for extraterrestrial civilizations in full cultural revolution, messages that come and go, problems of celestial mechanics, a powerful game of virtual reality, politics and philosophy, notes of space sociology and fear of the unknown universe, all added and strung by a police investigation. The novel is exciting.

I read The Problem of the Three Bodies in the summer of 2018, following Sergio Vila-Sanjuán's recommendations. It seemed to me a clever vindication of Chinese civilization. A subtle warning to the West about the high degree of development of the scientific mentality in China, a country that is already capable of producing fictional stories capable of competing with the best Anglo-American fictions about science and the future of humanity. Dismissed, held by Ivan's shadow in the barracks of the Federal Security Service, the unstoppable Chinese technological development begins to challenge the United States in the last frontier: the scientific imagination, the mysterious encounters in the third phase. China, the Country of the Center, also aspires to represent all of humanity in hypothetical contact with extraterrestrial civilizations. It is one of the keys to the story of Liu Cixin, an engineer of a hydroelectric plant before dedicating himself to writing.

The success of the novel has been so great that it already carries a crime on top of it. Fourteen years ago, Liu sold the film reproduction rights to a group of Chinese filmmakers for a handful of dollars. As more copies of the novel were sold, the rights were resold to a billionaire named Lin Qi, owner of the video game company Yoozoo, who began to negotiate astronomical figures with Amazon and Netflix. The deal closed with Netflix in 2020, Lin Qi was killed by the CEO of his company. He poisoned him. A Shanghai court has just ruled that Xu Yao, who used toxins to eat his boss's lunches, has been sentenced to death. The author of the book has been "terrified" by the story and by the speculative spiral of the rights of a novel that fifteen years ago could seem marginal in a vast country. Over the past decade, China has become passionate about science fiction, which can also be interpreted as a sign of the vast expansion of the middle classes. A certain social comfort is needed to begin to consider existential problems based on the imaginary dialogue with an exoplanet of the Alpha Centauri star system subjected to a crazy orbital dance. The great merit of The Problem of Three Worlds, of which there is also a Chinese television version, is the great amount of suggestions it contains. "It is a wildly imaginative novel," said Barack Obama.

Liu Cixin's work is so suggestive that one could even find analogies with Spanish politics. The novel tells us about a rather complex orbital system. The three stars of Alpha Centauri are a torment for the planet Trisolaris. The instability of the orbits prevents us from predicting with certainty stable eras and chaotic eras. A long period of stability allows civilization to thrive, but a single scorcher can appear over the horizon at any moment. The people of Trisolaris have two concerns: to refine a prediction model of the three stellar orbits and to find a relatively nearby planet that can be invaded and colonized. They can already guess which one it is.

Spanish politics revolves around three systems in dance: Europe, Madrid DF and the autonomies. While Europa's orbit has remained stable, the other two bodies have moved in relative harmony. Madrid DF has gained volume and luminosity, and the third body, made up of sixteen spheres always waiting to see what Catalonia will do, has remained more or less aligned. At the moment when Europa's orbit is altered, the other two bodies are out of control. It happened during the last economic crisis, and it may happen again now with the winds of war coming from Eastern Europe. European politics is a big question mark today. Spanish politics today is an almost irresolvable tie dominated by fury, and the autonomous spheres, with the right to call elections when it suits them, make any orbital calculation almost impossible. The variables are more and more.

We live in Trisolaris and strange signs are beginning to be seen in the sky. Just yesterday, the CSIC reported the mysterious appearance of an artificial balloon that came from France, which would have flown over the Mediterranean coast to the south of Valencia at midnight on Friday. In a public statement, they first opted for the possibility that it was a ballistic missile. A missile! A missile fired from France to mock the defenses of Spain and greet the countries of North Africa? Wrap it up strong. Once the alarm was triggered, the Institute of Space Sciences corrected it: possible re-entry of an artificial object into the Earth's atmosphere.

Get over her, this Liu Cixin.