This year’s Hugo award winner. All the shenanigans around the awards has, at least, got me reading some more sci-fi.
Starting with China’s Cultural Revolution, the story initially follows a woman’s progress as she sees her father killed for failing to renounce his scientific discipline. She is also a theoretical scientist, a career now barred to her through association. Through a series of political missteps, she ends up finding herself assigned to a secret radio telescope project at Red Coast Base, where they want to use her knowledge, even though they don’t trust her. As the story unfolds, we find out what happened to her at the base, and how her actions there affect Earth’s place in the universe.
The story unfolds as a mystery in the present day, with flashbacks to events at Red Coast Base until just what happened, and the danger it has put the world in, is revealed.
There’s a lot of telling, rather than showing, going on, and many of the conversations feel stilted. I don’t know if this is a fair representation of the structuring of Chinese novels, or if the translation couldn’t do the original justice. Having said which, the story drew me in and pulled me along with it. At no point did the drawbacks of the language put me off.