The cover of Ball Lightning

Ball Lightning

by Cixin Liu

Three-Body Problem was one of my favorite reads of 2017. The scope of the trilogy, the twists and turns of logic and narrative, the unique perspective of the author; Three-Body Problem had everything I love in hard science fiction. I went into Ball Lightning expecting the same experience, or maybe something close to it. I was a little disappointed.

What I like most about hard sci-fi is that it doesn’t lean on suspension of disbelief as much as other genres of sci-fi and fantasy. Ball Lightning has a lot of hand-waving moments that skirt the constraints of reality, making it harder for to be invests in the characters or the world Cixin builds.