Book corner

2019-06-26 06:02
Ball Lightning is now available.photo: supplied

Ball Lightning is now available.photo: supplied

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Book: Ball Lighting by Cixin Liu.

Liu Cixin may be the best living science fiction writer. After receiving high praise for his alien invasion trilogy Remembrance of Earth’s Past (which will forever change the way you look at space colonisation), we now have one of his earlier works made available to English readers.

Thankfully, Ball Lightning only justifies the attention the Chinese author is receiving, and as I reel in the book’s effect, I can only salivate over what Cixin’s unfettered imagination is going to serve up next.

In the novel, a young boy named Chen witnesses the death of his parents by the strange (and real-world) phenomenon of ball lightning. This sets him down a road of curiosity and obsession to understand it, crossing paths with others equally in fascination (if for entirely different reasons).

Cixin’s scene settings are surpassed only by his skill in using metaphors to demystify quantum physics theories. Beyond that, about the only other highbrow observation I can make about the book is, “Seriously, how freaking cool is that cover?”

If you long for the days of vintage science fiction when far out concepts trumped heroism and romance, the offerings of Liu Cixin may act as a satisfying substitute for that time-travelling trip you’re craving.

Other recent notables: America – The Farewell Tour (Chris Hedges); The Bookshop (Penelope Fitzgerald).

Reviewer: Omar Sayed

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