behind on reviews
, so don't be surprised if the recent reviews are a bit sparse.
Tao Te Ching
by Lao Tzu
· published -600 · read 2020-03-26
This review is for Ursula K. le Guin's rendition of the Tao Te Ching. It's not exactly a translation (she didn't know Chinese) – she compared a bunch of translations and consulted experts, but also wrote poetry and what seemed right to her. A translation with more poetic license than usual. Some chapters have end notes with her interpretation – surprisingly (to me) I did not care for those at all. The book closes with notes on her choices of phrasing and with some specific comments for individual chapters, plus a short commentary on the translations she relied on, which I enjoyed to read.
by Hao Jingfang
· published 2015 · read 2022-08-24
Points for creativity. A city that folds up and down, resource management. An underworld that doesn't even know it's the underworld. Plus all the classic dystopian surveillance stuff, which hits somewhat different when it's written in China. Translated by Ken Liu, very well done too. This book is part of the 2022 Backlog Incident.
The Three-Body Problem
by Liu Cixin
· published 2006 · read 2018-08-10
I came into the first volume of Liu Cixin's Remembrance of Earth's Past with high expectations, as there was somewhat of a hype surrounding the book. It's nearly as good as (and too me, evocative of) Subjective Cosmology by Greg Egan. It's very nice physics (and physicists) scifi. The characters were irritatingly flat a lot of the time (a common hard scifi illness), and often felt over the top to me. The beginning of the book was slow, and compared to that, the ending felt sudden (not rushed, mind, only sudden), and I missed some information and worldbuilding there – I can't be more specific without heavy spoilers. I appreciated the somber ending (although the very final scene was over the top for me). The translation was decent. There remained occasional phrases that sounded weird/unidiomatic, but it happens, especially if there's so much culture to translate.
The Dark Forest
by Liu Cixin
· published 2008 · read 2018-09-24
I felt both bored and annoyed at The Dark Forest (sequel to Liu Cixin's The Three Body Problem). The plot was convoluted and wandering, but not all that bad – but the people in it continued to be cardboard cutouts of one motivation, and optionally one emotion or one habit, if you were lucky. Also, the vanishingly few female characters had even less of a personality (and were mostly partners-of-somebody with little page time and even less impact). One female character was literally introduced directly as the protagonist's fantasy and then fridged to provide motivation for him.