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Should you read the novel The Three-Body Problem before watching the Netflix series?

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The streaming giant's phenomenon series has just been released, and offers an adaptation of a famous novel: do you need to have read Liu Cixin's book before watching The 3-Body Problem ?

Chinese author Liu Cixin's seminal work, first published in 2008, has gotten its Netflix series adaptation. The 3-Body Problem tells the story of a first contact with an extraterrestrial civilization, but also of a humanity divided over several hundred years. To transcribe it on the small screen, it is the showrunners of Game Of Thrones David Benioff and DB Weiss, and that of season 2 of The TerrorAlexander Woo, who were chosen.

Novelist Liu Cixin has created an award-winning trilogy in total, with the first volume winning a Hugo Award in the United States and a Galaxy Award in China, among others. But to fully enjoy the story, do you need to have read the novels before the series? The 3-Body Problem on Netflix?

The 3-Body Problem : should you read the novels before the Netflix series?

To put it simply: no, it is not “necessary” to read the novel to fully appreciate the series The 3-Body Problem. The showrunners made sure that the story was accessible to newbies, but also to readers who already knew the story invented by Liu Cixin.

Not having read the books will in no way prevent you from understanding the Netflix production. Likewise, readers might be surprised and not suffer the frustration of déjà vu.

Indeed, the adaptation covers the key points of the story, retaining its narrative framework. But she also made adjustments: the showrunners decided to move half of the plot from China to the United Kingdom. As for scientific theories, the kind of hard SF is respected since a lot of room is left for the rules of physics to add plausibility to the story. However, the complexity has been reduced to ensure that every viewer can follow the episodes of the 3 Body Problem.

Can we read and enjoy the books after watching the series? The 3-Body Problem on Netflix?

If you like science fiction and more particularly “hard SF“, which seeks to implant the story in a plausible plot using contemporary and not imaginary science, Liu Cixin's novel is certainly for you, even after watching the Netflix series.

alex sharp aka will downing in the 3 body problem

Readers will notice the absence of certain scenes: adaptation required, it was necessary to make a selection from moments which could not be shown on the small screen. As locations have also changed and plots have been slightly simplified, characters have also been modified, some removed, and others added. It is therefore entirely possible to return to the pages of the book and be surprised.

For those who have been won over or would prefer more depth, it is therefore highly recommended to discover the novels of Liu Cixin. The trilogy begins with The 3-Body Problembut also offers a second volume, The Dark Forestfollowed by the third novel entitled Immortal Death.

Series The 3-Body Problem will be available on Netflix from March 21, 2024.

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