English language cover
|Series||Remembrance of Earth's Past|
|Preceded by||The Dark Forest|
Death’s End (Chinese: 死神永生, pinyin: Sǐshén yǒngshēng) is a science fiction novel by the Chinese writer Liu Cixin. It is the third novel in the trilogy titled Remembrance of Earth's Past, following the Hugo Award-winning novel The Three-Body Problem and its sequel, The Dark Forest. The original Chinese version was published in 2010, while the English version, translated by Ken Liu, was published on 20 September 2016.
Half a century after the Doomsday Battle, the uneasy balance of Dark Forest Deterrence keeps the Trisolaran invaders at bay. Earth enjoys unprecedented prosperity due to the infusion of Trisolaran knowledge. With human science advancing daily and the Trisolarans adopting Earth culture, it seems that the two civilizations will soon be able to co-exist peacefully as equals without the terrible threat of mutually assured destruction being used as a deterrent. But the peace has also made humanity complacent.
Cheng Xin, an aerospace engineer from the early 21st century, awakens from hibernation in this new age. She brings with her knowledge of a long-forgotten program dating from the beginning of the Trisolar Crisis and her very presence may upset the delicate balance between two worlds.
The story line is divided into seven eras:
- Common Era: The period before humans learned of the existence of Trisolaran civilization. The book starts during the Fall of Constantinople with the story of a prostitute seemingly able to retrieve objects and even human organs without penetrating their enclosures. Offering her services to Constantine XI, she is thus tasked with killing Mehmed II, but mysteriously loses her powers the day before Constantinople falls.
- The Crisis Era (present era – 2208 AD) is the time period after Trisolaris and the Trisolarans become widely known and Sophons begin to block all scientific progress. The story of this era starts with Yang Dong, the daughter of Ye Wenjie, having uncovered her mother's conspiracy with Trisolaris and losing hope in life; she has a conversation with a colleague that suggests to her that civilization can change the state of the universe. The plot then moves to Yun Tianming, who suffers from terminal cancer. Receiving an unexpected sum of money, Yun Tianming secretly buys a star, DX3906, for scientist Cheng Xin, whom he has loved since college. Cheng Xin is working on a project called the Staircase Program, using nuclear pulse propulsion to send a spacecraft containing a human to the Trisolaran Fleet to potentially gather information. After being forced to lower the maximum weight multiple times, they realize that they will only be able to send a brain, and will not be able to preserve it - the host will have to be dead. They must hope that a Trisolaran ship intercepting the brain will be able to restore the brain to life. The government sends out applications to be the host of the brain. Yun Tianming, about to be euthanized, is told about the program and terminates the euthanasia. He eventually becomes the final choice, and, on death, his brain is sent on an intercepting course towards the Trisolaran fleet, though a mistake in bomb detonation sends Yun's brain off in an unknown direction, lost forever. Cheng Xin's superior, Thomas Wade, reveals that Yun Tianming was the one who gave her DX3906, triggering a persistent guilt in her that the Trisolarans will be able to clone his body when they intercept his brain. Cheng Xin enters hibernation to be the Staircase Program's liaison to people of the future.
- The Deterrence Era describes the age after Luo Ji deters the Trisolarans with the threat of mutually assured destruction by broadcasting the location of their home world. Luo Ji becomes the first Swordholder, the individual endowed with the sole responsibility for initiating broadcast. Earth Federation recalls the two human ships that survived the Doomsday Battle. Upon their return, the crew of Bronze Age is charged with crimes against humanity for destroying other ships in the fleet, but the captain manages to warn Blue Space not to return to Earth. Earth Federation and Trisolaris together send the ship Gravity to pursue Blue Space. Two Droplets are also sent as assurance to Trisolaris because Gravity has the ability to broadcast the location of Trisolaris. Earth and Trisolaris lose contact with Gravity as the pursuit reaches the Oort cloud; the crew of Gravity begin seeing patches of space disappear or see the crew of Blue Space on their own ship, which they rationalize as hallucinations. Cheng Xin awakens from hibernation and meets Ai AA, an astronomer who has discovered valuable planets around DX3905. They sell the planets to Earth but retain ownership of the star; with the money from this transaction, Cheng Xin starts the Halo company, managed by AA. They meet Sophon, a Trisolaran android who provides a diplomatic and communicative link between Earth and Trisolaris. Cheng Xin is elected the next Swordholder as humanity find her unintimidating image reassuring. Trisolaris predict Cheng Xin's inability to broadcast their location and begin an invasion, destroying all broadcasting stations, and simultaneously the Droplets attack Gravity and Blue Space.
- The Post-Deterrence Era describes the age when Trisolarans prepare Earth for Trisolaran settlement. Within a year, nearly all of humanity is forced onto Australia under the threat of Droplet attacks, nearly leading to genocide. Cheng Xin and Ai AA live under the protection of Fraisse, an Australian aboriginal leader, and Sophon, who still respects them, and thus do not suffer the material shortages of other human refugees. The Droplet attacks miss the ships, as they are incapacitated by the crew of Blue Space. The two human ships congregate and vote to broadcast the location of Trisolaris in retaliation for the attack. Blue Space crew members explain that they have found patches of 4-dimensional space that 3-dimensional beings can enter, through which they manipulated the Droplets, by breaking the strong-interaction forces that held them together. They find a large patch of 4-dimensional space and are able to communicate with an AI aboard an abandoned ship in this space, which claims that 4-dimensional space is shrinking and that many 4-dimensional civilizations are leaving ships as tombs in the patches that are left.
- The Broadcast Era begins after humanity broadcasts the location of Trisolaris from the Oort cloud. Trisolaris is destroyed by a photoid attack, and Trisolarans cease their planned colonization of Earth on the assumption that Earth will soon be destroyed as well. Humans, including Cheng Xin, return to the other continents. Before leaving, Sophon tells Cheng Xin that she can speak to Yun Tianming, who has indeed been cloned. Their conversation is meant to be personal and is monitored for intelligence that Trisolarans do not want to be divulged, however Yun Tianming tells Cheng Xin three interconnected fairy tales. Cheng Xin understands that these are coded messages, and humanity is able to decode most of the content. In anticipation of a similar photoid attack on Earth, humans choose between building space cities shielded by the outer planets, isolating the solar system in a "Black Domain" with reduced light speed, and developing light-speed ships to escape. Cheng Xin enters hibernation after turning ownership of her company to Wade, but asks that she be woken if Wade's research threatens humanity.
- In the Bunker Era, most humans living on Earth move to space cities in the shadow of Jupiter and other gas giants, having chosen to use them as shields. Research on light-speed ships is halted due to fear of escapism. Cheng Xin is woken as Wade has threatened armed resistance should the government prevent them from researching light-speed travel. Cheng Xin urges him to surrender to avoid bloodshed and again enters hibernation. She is woken upon a dark-forest attack warning, where human fleets discovered a square projectile targeted at Earth, which begins to collapse space into two dimensions, and which can only be escaped with an escape velocity of the speed of light. Cheng Xin and Ai AA are given a mission to fling selected human artifacts into space so as to preserve them in two dimensions unadulterated by nearby matter.
- The Galaxy Era focuses on the lives of humans who were able to escape in one secretly-built light-speed ship, and civilization founded by crews of Blue Space, Gravity and their decendants referred to as "Galactic Humans" .
|2017 Hugo Award for Best Novel||nominated|
|2017 Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel||awarded|
|2017 Dragon Awards for Best Science Fiction Novel||nominated|
- Liu, Cixin (20 September 2016). Death's End. Tor Books. ASIN 0765377101 – via Amazon.
- "Three Body - Ken Liu, Writer".
- Liu, Cixin (20 September 2016). "Death's End". Tor Books – via Amazon.
- Publications, Locus. "Locus Online News » 2017 Hugo and Campbell Awards Finalists". www.locusmag.com. Retrieved 2017-09-09.
- Publications, Locus. "Locus Online News » 2017 Locus Awards Winners". www.locusmag.com. Retrieved 2017-09-09.
- Publications, Locus. "Locus Online News » 2017 Dragon Awards Winners". www.locusmag.com. Retrieved 2017-09-09.