Cixin Liu’s The Dark Forest is a different beast to its predecessor, The Three-Body Problem. The second book in The Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy, I came to The Dark Forest several months after reading the first book. Much of The Three-Body Problem was framed around a computer simulation/game – it was an integral part of the plot and something I really liked about the book – but events in that book meant that The Dark Forest was always going to be different stylistically. In truth, I wondered if it could match up to its superb predecessor; I didn’t think it was likely.
But sometimes it’s nice to be wrong. The Dark Forest is a very different book to its predecessor, but is no less brilliant for it. The author manages perfectly well without the game, and instead the focus of the story shifts to something else (to say more might spoil things) while carrying on the stories of characters from the first volume of the trilogy and introducing new characters, new challenges, and new concepts for the characters to wrestle with.