Ball Lightning by Liu Cixin

Ball Lightning

A new standalone military SF adventure from the bestselling and award-winning author of The Three-Body Problem.When Chen’s parents are incinerated before his eyes by a blast of ball lightning, he devotes his life to cracking the secret of mysterious natural phenomena. His search takes him to stormy mountaintops, an experimental military weapons lab, and an old Soviet science station. The more he learns, the more he comes to realize that ball li...

Details Ball Lightning

TitleBall Lightning
Release DateAug 14th, 2018
PublisherTor Books
GenreScience Fiction, Fiction, Did Not Finish, Science Fiction Fantasy

Reviews Ball Lightning

  • Petrik
    3.5/5 starsCixin Liu greatly examined the effects of obsession, science, and weaponry in Ball Lightning.I’m a fan of Cixin Liu’s Remembrance of Earth Past trilogy. The second book in that series, The Dark Forest remains in my personal top three sci-fi novels of all time and will most likely stay there for a very long time. Plus, the fact that Ball Lightning is translated by Joel Martinsen, the same translator of The Dark Forest, made me eager...
  • Bradley
    When I got this book, I freaked out. I mean, let me put it this way: Cixin's imagination is heads and shoulders above most of the crap out there. Maybe even a large portion of a torso. :) So the moment I got it, I started dancing around and played the fool because anyone who puts so many AWESOME ideas on the page is going to make me do the happy-jig.Fast-forward half a second. I'm reading this. I dropped all my other projects like hot potatoes an...
  • Claudia
    Three Body is my favorite SF series of all times. It surpasses everything I ever read. The protons theory, the two and four dimensions universes, the scope, the droplet, the Singer, in a word The Imagination blew my mind. I expected nothing less from this one, but it did not quite raise to the expectations.Chen, as a fourteen-year-old boy, watched his parents turn to ashes from a ball lightning. From that moment on, he dedicated his life in under...
  • Scott Hitchcock
    3.5*'sInteresting premise and as always the author opens up new worlds to those of us without a working understanding of advance theoretical physics. I didn't love this like I did the Remembrance of Earth's Past Trilogy but it was still very thought provoking. This also serves as a prequel of sorts with some character overlap and the first signs that somebody is watching us.
  • Lashaan Balasingam (Bookidote)
    You can find my review on my blog by clicking here.Have you ever been so deeply fascinated by something that it hence led you to dedicate all your life into understanding the very core of that object of interest? While finding your purpose in life can lead a person to fully actualize themselves in the long run, this inevitable tunnel vision can also turn toxic one’s self and their immediate social circle. It’s being able to distance yourself ...
  • Karmologyclinic
    I can't even imagine the situation inside Liu Cixin's head. He has a "what if" idea and then explosion after explosion happens. He also has an uncanny ability to create tension not from characters or plot, but from the realm of ideas. Speaking of characters, if you read scifi for character development, then he might not be the best writer for you. You should be able to accept that he comes from a literary tradition that is not western, somewhere ...
  • Jerry Jose
    While this book leaves readers vacillating between the possibility of story being a loose prequel to The Three Body Problem and a solid standalone on its own, Liu collapses that state function in the afterword. Maybe this is a good time to publish an updated version of 'The Dark Forest', with Tyler's actual plan from the chinese version. According to Liu, The Ball Lightning belongs to the earlier strand of chinese science fiction than the expansi...
  • Kate
    I can't get enough of Cixin Liu's incredible imagination and vision. I love everything he's written and Ball Lightning is a brilliant book. It's not the easiest read in the world - its ideas and science are challenging at times- but the effort is so worth while. Love these characters, their stories and this vision of co-existing dimensions. I also saw Ball Lightning myself many years ago and so I read this with extra fascination. Review to follow...
  • Odo
  • Jason Furman
    Ball Lightning, by the author of The Three Body Problem, is the story of a man who watches his parents get incinerated by ball lightning and ends up devoting his life to the study and control of ball lightning. Evidently a real phenomenon that is rarely observed and not well understood, the book starts by having him go through the current scientific theories but then the science gets into increasingly exotic macroscale quantum mechanics as his se...
  • Xavi
    7'5. Mantiene su estilo característico, pero la historia no me ha atrapado como con otras de sus obras, y los defectos tienen más peso entonces. El final me ha gustado mucho y le he subido una estrella, sino se quedaba con tres.
  • Lori
    Only one word needed, brilliant. Don’t go looking for deep character, but the story and quantum physics is mind bending.
  • Mya Alexice
    "I knew I was leaving something behind forever, and I knew I would never return." Word of warning: do not read this Liu Cixin book first if you're just getting into the author. Read The Three Body Problem.Review: Liu Cixin does it again. I can't believe i'm giving a book five stars that really had me wondering if I was going to finish it at all during its first third, and then becoming overwhelmed with WTF (in a good way) in the final third. The...
  • Eric
    Another really great story from the leading Chinese author of sci-fi. What a fantastic and novel explanation he came up with for ball lightning. The book even acts as a bit of prequel to the Three Body series.
  • Azeem Azhar
    RecommendedLiu’s writing combines a hard science fiction with a Chinese perspective. It gives the characters and lot a quality we don’t often get in the UK.
  • Mario Lopez
    The first half of the book was a bit weak, but right at the middle there’s some heavy science fiction thrown in that’s fantastic. Cixin Liu is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read almost all of his English translated short stories, and I’ve read the Remembrance of Earth's Past (Three Body Problem) trilogy twice. This book, however, was probably his weakest one from the bunch. The second half makes it worth reading, but I wouldn’t rush ...
  • Roy
    Read this over 2 days. The science is very informative just like his previous novels. Although from what I've read, this was written prior to the trilogy. I felt like it wasnt written as well. The dialogue felt strained and wooden at times. Not sure if it was the translation. The plot was ok but I felt like the science took over too much. The characters were good and I did like the 1st person pov. Not his best. Reccomended for people whl love sci...
  • Kevin Grubb
    Liu's science fiction works, for all of their faults, are just so interesting. I appreciate how focused he is on both the science and the possible societal consequences of the technologies he explores. He asks "what if" and answers it in fascinating detail. Ball Lightning is no different.As usual, Liu falls short in two key areas:1. Dialog. The characters love their exposition. Paragraphs of it. It makes the book feel like a series of college lec...
  • Jing Gao
    Liked this one better than the Three Body Trilogy. There are much more details on how the technology was conceived to finally made available for military usage. You don't have to be stuck there wondering about how 智子 works, because the development of the spherical lightening is step by step showed to you as the story goes on. Also loved the theoretical physicist, who is the protagonist to some other works of the author...(who probably is the ...
  • David Hill
    I put this in the "big idea" category of science fiction. It's primarily about a big idea (the study of ball lightning) rather than character or plot. The plot exists for us to explore the big idea and how the world might be changed by it. Often in these "big idea" stories we get characters that verge on cardboard cutouts and perhaps the peripheral events in the book are either not very well thought out or not sufficiently explained such that the...
  • Ursin Raffainer
    As expected, once again a brilliant book by Cixin Liu.Ok, you dont necessarily bond with the MC but his life between Obsession and the search for purpose in his life easily make you care enough. I read the book in 2 days because i wanted to know what happens next. Its a real page turner.Also as expected from Cixin Liu, the book has a few very technical parts which might be hard to understand/follow for some. Especially the Quantum Physics parts.B...
  • Erin
    i didn't love this as much as i love the three-body problem series, but it's still a great bookliu cixin does hard science fiction, in this case investigating the phenomenon of ball lightning, but he also uses it as a way to show morality in science. should it be pursued at all costs, are there mysteries we shouldn't probe, and how do we balance the risk to human lives with the opportunity to advance our knowledge of the universe? the theoretical...
  • Nilesh
    Every author can have only one best work! This is going to be Cixin Liu's biggest, forever problem. Three Body series was so extraordinary that it is nearly impossible to surpass, and yet everything before or after from the author will be compared against this impossible yardstick.Ball Lightning is tremendously imaginative. Unlike in the Trilogy though, the creativity is largely based on a single strand of sci-fi thought. The story, however, is f...
  • Scott Humphries
    Ball Lightning. Even if you don’t read Cixin Liu’s fantastic sci-fi novel, spend a few minutes learning what mankind knows about ball lightning. You couldn’t pick a stranger, less-understood natural phenomenon on which to base a science fiction thriller. Mysterious, luminescent floating balls of energy drifting through walls and other matter leaving them untouched then exploding selectively into random objects, leaving other nearby objects ...
  • Jean-Marc
    (This is my first e-book, I finally made the jump and bought a tablet).I really enjoyed this book because like the ‘three body problem’ this is (obviously…. ) written from a Chinese point of view and it gives the book a different flavor from our normal fare. There is a more fatalist outlook and it is also interesting to see the US (or the west in general) as the ‘enemy’.It is an excellent hard science story. There is the classic issue o...
  • Oren
    I had never heard of ball lightning, which is most likely a "vortex of high-pressure plasma which rotates rapidly internally, creating equilibrium with the atmospheric pressure exerted on the surface".. Other theories are that they are balls of compressed gas experiencing chemical reactions but at energy equilibrium. Or even that they are oxidizing silicon nanoparticles... Ball lightning wasn't even formally recognized by the scientific community...
  • Elchamaco
    La novela está entertenida, no llega al nivel de the wandering earth o la última del problema de los tres cuerpos. Sufre para mi gustó en ciertas partes de estos personajes poco o nada empáticos. Nada más empezar el libro los padres del prota mueren por una BL, y es como mira lo que ha pasado tú.O luego van sucendiendo fenómenos extraños y es que ni se despeina.Por otro lado la idea principal del libro es esta del BL no sucede como en el ...
  • Jeanne Boyarsky
    This book is a sort of prequel to the three body problem. I say sort of because it is self contained and doesn't add much insight into the universe. There are a few references like the alien observers messing up quantum state.That said, the book is awesome in creating its own world. The book explores ball lightning, giant atoms, tornado eggs and more. Oh and quantum state on a human level. It was great.Two of the characters are involved in "New C...
  • Fred P
    There's so much to say about this book. First off, it's written by a Chinese author, but it reads like cutting-edge "western" sci-fi. It doesn't shy away from criticism of military research, and tells a cautionary tale about the pursuit of next-generation weapons. It's also a believable character story, with a likeable narrator. The science and action are realistic, futuristic and grounded. The topics of weather control as a weapon, and the tamin...
  • Jerry Pogan
    As far as I'm concerned Cixin Liu is one of a kind. He has a complete understanding of advanced particle physics and quantum mechanics, subjects that fascinate me although I have a very superficial understanding of them, and he has the most brilliant ability to weave his understanding of the subject into fascinating and imaginative stories. This book is a tale about a young scientist who, because of a personal tragedy, devotes his life to the stu...