Covering decades of Chinese history, this sci-fi novel follows theoretical physicists and other scientists and intellectuals through the Cultural Revolution and Red Guards era to the present day. We are told of a mysterious astronomical facility on a hill and eventually learn it is (or was by the time we learn of it) a SETI facility, one that made contact with an extra-terrestrial civilization. The suspense comes from wondering what comes next.
The history of how intellectuals and scientists were treated in the past and present, told by a Chinese insider/intellectual, was fascinating to me. The story line itself, not so much. Some English speakers may have trouble with the many Chinese names, but there is a list of characters at the beginning to help out with that. The premise is a good one and I enjoyed the first three-quarters of the book, but it went downhill fast at the end. Both the style and the plot stunk, to be frank. The “science” will drive you to eye-rolling or teeth-gnashing at that point. Sure, it’s fiction, but there’s a limit as to how ridiculous it can be even in a novel. There really isn’t even an ending. Now, as I log onto Goodreads, I find that it is the first book in a trilogy. Nothing on the front or back cover or the review I read indicates that (although the inside cover in small print does). If I had known that I wouldn’t have picked it up.
I can give it an “OK” rating for the entertainment value of the first part, but I can’t really recommend it.