Richard Sprague

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[book] Ball Lightning by Liu Cixin

Created: 2019-07-23 ; Updated: 2019-07-23


A boy devotes his life to understanding a strange static lightning phenomenon after seeing his parents incinerated by it.

This Chinese author is gaining worldwide fame, and I concluded that the phenomenon he has become is well-deserved. Chinese SF is carving out its own niche as an interesting genre involving semi-realistic technology in the near future, explore its effect on people, individuals. This book fits the bill.

A few excerpts:

“I realized that beauty for most people is characterized by fragility and powerlessness. True beauty needs to be supported by an internal strength, and develop itself through sensations like terror and brutality, from which you can both draw strength and meet your death. In weapons, this beauty is expressed to the full.”


“All the forces of the natural world, including those that people believe are the most gentle and harmless, can be turned into weapons to destroy life. The horror and cruelty of some of these weapons is beyond imagination, unless you have seen them yourself… Fearsome things may fell your countrymen and your family, or strike the tender flesh of the child in your arms, but the best way to prevent this from happening is to create them yourselves, before the enemy or potential enemy has that chance!”