The Dark Forest

AuthorLin Cixin
FinishedJune 23, 2021
Rating1.0 / 5

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This book was one of the worst books I’ve read. While the Three Body Problem was actually a lot better, this book kind of made me want to vomit. In terms of storyline, it was okay … the details of the futuristic society felt a bit tacky and shoddy and not well thought out. Especially the societal values of the underground society felt really handwavy. The science part of the spaceships and the space wars were cool, as were the book’s way of addressing the Fermi paradox.

The thing I had the biggest issue with was lack of women. Three Body Problem could get away a little with having few female characters bc it was more historically situated in the 1960s; besides, it did have a few important female characters. Dark Forest on the other hand was almost entirely dominated by men. The only sort of important woman who appears (who isn’t the girlfriend who gets hit by a car or the wife who makes food) is the UN Secretary General, who is described as frail and delicate and slim and having a feminine and angelic voice. This turned me off SO MUCH but I kept reading bc I thought MAYBE IN THE FUTURE women can have more of a role in the book. But it becomes VERY apparent that this book is entirely the imagining of a man because even in the future, all of the main or important characters are males. There are literally no female characters other than the one military officer of the spaceship who gets blown up eventually. Just one, out of ALL of the male scientists and officers and leaders.

I know this is a sci fi book and the science of the book was fine, but the fictional imagining of the future really troubled me. The absolute lack of female characters in the book was so glaring it was such a turn off for me and really focused my attention away from what I would expect to be the main purpose of the book (ie the story and the science). I am astounded that worlds like this can be imagined as real and enjoyed.