The Redemption of Time by Baoshu – A Three-Body Problem Novel


Future Publication Date: July 16th, 2019

Execution: ⭐⭐.5
Enjoyment: ⭐⭐⭐

Applicable /r/Fantasy Bingo Squares: Published 2019, AI Character

“The average person used only a small part of their brain, and the cruel Trisolarans unintentionall forced Tianming to realize more and more of his mind’s infinite potential. Despite repeated all-out assaults in this epic of pschomania, the technologically far superior Trisolarans failed to breach the fortress Tianming had constructed in his mind, and had to admit defeat.”

The Redemption of Time by Baoshu is a paraquel within Cixin Liu’s Remembrances of Earth’s Past trilogy, containing The Three-Body Problem, The Dark Forest, and Death’s End. The events within The Redemption of Time take place in parallel with the events in Death’s End and shed light on a few open-ended questions raised in the primary trilogy.

While I think there’s a lot for Three-Body fans to enjoy in this novel, I felt that Baoshu’s contribution to the universe lacked the urgency and depth of the main trilogy. Where Cixin had a set, specific danger within each of his books, Baoshu takes on more of a historian role; the first third of the book is entirely contained within a conversation between two characters, Tianming and AA, discussing what has already happened to them. The section felt very dry, as it removed much of the tension – we know how it ends and we already have a general outline from The Dark Forest regarding the interim. The “romance” (if it can be called that…) between Tianming and AA felt forced and didn’t have that je ne sais quoi that makes a love feel genuine. I can buy that two people who live on a planet together without any other human contact would eventually fall in love. I can’t buy

However, that said, it was interesting to hear a few more details on Trisolaran culture, history, and appearance. I’d always been curious as to what they looked like and how their society was structured, and The Redemption of Time absolutely pays off on this front with clear and reasonable explanations that fit nicely in to the overall series mythos.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the direction the final two thirds of the book took. It changed the scope from being “multiple civilizations against one another” to, essentially, “God vs his fallen son, Lucifer” (albeit with altered terminology). It felt rather lazy and off-tone compared to the original trilogy, which had more nuance and made a statement about existence as it is rather than creating an off-shoot fantasy-style universe. It was an odd blend of fantastic elements, scifi, and religion that simply did not work well for me.

The prose is similar to that of Cixin Liu, likely due to Ken Liu being the translator for both authors. While it’s nothing to write home about, it is functional and easy to read. Fans of poetic, purple prose are not likely to enjoy this book unless they’re also okay with dry, workmanlike writing.  

Overall, this is a short, worthwhile read for fans of Three-Body thirsting for more information with the Cixin Liu stamp of approval… but if you didn’t absolutely love Three-Body, I would not recommend it.

The Redemption of Time can be found on Amazon and Goodreads.

Recommended for fans of:

  • The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
  • The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
  • The Chronoliths by Robert Charles Wilson


Published by Christine Sandquist

Christine Sandquist is an NYC-based sensitivity/developmental editor and author assistant to writers such as Hugo Award Winner Mary Robinette Kowal, World Fantasy Award Winner Tobias S. Buckell, and SOVAS Award Finalist Cadwell Turnbull. They specialize in analyzing and providing feedback on works that include diverse, queer casts, representations of sexual trauma, and broader gender-based violence. They are part of the team behind Reddit r/fantasy, the internet’s largest discussion forum for the greater speculative fiction genre.

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