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Supernova Era

Narrated by: Feodor Chin
Length: 12 hrs and 55 mins
4 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An NPR Best Book of the Year - 2019

"Feodor Chin is the perfect narrator to deliver this story.... His voice is clear and precise, even when providing stellar accented inflections for the Chinese dialogue. Overall, a perfect balance of appropriately didactic storytelling and an engaging narration is geared to fascinate listeners." (AudioFile Magazine)

From science fiction legend Cixin Liu, the New York Times best-selling and award-winning author of The Three-Body Problem, comes a vision of the future that unfolds like Lord of the Flies on a global scale in Supernova Era.

In those days, Earth was a planet in space.

In those days, Beijing was a city on Earth.

On this night, history as known to humanity came to an end.

Eight light years away, a star has died, creating a supernova event that showers Earth in deadly levels of radiation. Within a year, everyone over the age of 13 will die.

And so the countdown begins. Parents apprentice their children and try to pass on the knowledge needed to keep the world running.

But when the world is theirs, the last generation may not want to continue the legacy left to them. And in shaping the future however they want, will the children usher in an era of bright beginnings or final mistakes?

©2004, 2019 Liu Cixin; Translation copyright by China Educational Publications Import & Export Corp., Ltd.  (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about Supernova Era

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Makes no sense

Coming from the author of 3 body problem I was quite disappointed.
The premise is really interesting, but the children act based on pure logic and megalomania are not believable, that's basically the whole book.
What freaking 12 year old endures winter's climate on a nonsensical bloody game? How all the military behaves like veteran soldiers without breaking ranks?

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Great start, average finish

I read Three Body Problem and really enjoyed Cixin Lui's way of writing. It was one of the best books/stories, I've ever read. I thought this would be a good book to read as well, and the start of the book confirmed my thoughts. I was excited about the story, something slightly thought provoking, something that would be similar to the TBP universe. However, the book turned into a war story. I didn't find much rhyme or reason with the change of story. While I would agree with certain aspects of how the world would turn out after the supernova era, I simply could not agree with the direction of the story line.

If you like a mix of a dystopian future and war stories, this might be your thing. If not, you can safely skip this book.

I should add, the narrator was awesome and did an amazing job.

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Brilliant ideas marred by average writing

Cixin Liu is one of the most imaginative sf writers ever and I have enjoyed greatly other books of his (3 body pblm, ball lightning). This book has brilliant ideas, but the writing is sentimental and kitschy quite often and there are some sections exhausting in their detail. It might have been more effective as a shorter story. The narration is OK, but lacking in portraying any emotional depth.

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NOT Three Body Problem.

Absolutely loved three body problem and the whole trilogy, even liked a lot of Bao Shu's fan sequel. Dove into this after the promise it was "as epic".... not even close. A lot of it was nice but it simply didn't have the scale or imagination as the other books, and I was completely unable to suspend disbelief. The entire (spoiler) war bit was boring, took forever, and didn't make any sense. Very disappointed.

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An interesting thought experiment!

I listened to this novel because I am a big fan of Cixin Liu. This novel is not like the Three Body Problem; however it is excellent in a different way.

How would society continue to work if only children were left? That is the main question. In a way, the novel describes an extraordinary catastrophe, similar to that of the Black Plague; where society needs to develop a new paradigm for its existence.

I found parallels with Lord Of The Flies, Childhood's End, and to an extent to 2001: An Space Odyssey.

Nonetheless, the author gives his original twists and perspectives from the different characters in the novel; so it becomes a story of humanity and not necessarily the history of nations.

The performance is of the narrator is very good and entertaining.

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Magnificent

Narration was incredible and the story was captivating. The story has the scope of the Dark Forest or Death's End, but condensed to the size of 3BP. I still liked Dark Forest more but this is a classic as well.

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  • Daniel G
  • 2019-10-25

A little torn by this one

I really really wanted to love this book, I actually bought it on pre-sale and waited months for it. The books in the Three body trilogy are my absolute favorite books ever, and ball lightning is really good too, so I had high hopes for this one since the apple can't fall too far from the tree, right?
Well, I was wrong. it pains me to say it but I didn't enjoy this book at all, not the amazing hard science fiction Liu Cixin got us used to, but a rendition of why people under the age of 13 are pretty much the worst people on earth.
I really didn't find it entertaining, or even believable, which is ironic considering that I found the events in the three body far more plausible than the portrayal of a kid society in this book.
Narration is good. no issues there. the story.. meh... if it was a different author I would've rated it zero stars, but I respect Cixin too much.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Cece
  • 2019-11-29

Don’t waste your time

Like the other reviewers, I was very disappointed in this. I waited for almost a year for the translation to come out and really anticipated it because I love Cixin Liu’s other books (“Ball Lightening” and “The Dark Forest” among my favorites). This one started out unrealistic and lackluster, and then it got worse from there. I just don’t feel like any of the children’s personalities behaved like real children would. I am coming from the perspective of a Chinese American (Chinese born) who teaches Chinese students online for 8 hours a day. There’s nothing believable about these characters, their motivation, or plot evolution. Even the ending was totally anticlimactic, to the point where I was doubting that was really the ending (because there were untied threads, in my mind). I’ll be getting a refund for this one... I just wish I could get the refund in time wasted, too.

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  • A reviewer
  • 2019-11-11

Big disappointment from amazing author

The Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy is among my favorite sci-fi works. I’ve been waiting for this book to come out in English. This was not nearly as compelling—I kept waiting for it to improve. It kind of reads like a defense of a strong state (the adults) vs the otherwise unfocused masses (the children). But crap lit criticism of mine aside, it just wasn’t that’s enjoyable (narrator is great though). Bummer.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Your Friendly Neighborhood Trex
  • 2019-11-14

Pretty disappointed with this book.

I had read several of Cixin Liu's other books and loved Three Body Problem. I recommend it to everyone. This book however really misses the mark in so many ways. The style is very much like his other books. A mixture or third-person and historical like accounts which work really well for books that cover a huge period of time like Three Body. This book takes place over the span of 2 years and the constant flip to quotes from supposed history books just feels dull and adds very little.

The setup had my attention. The reveal of the driving conflict and humanity's struggle to prepare a transition of the world to the children. And that leads into how the children solve their different problems. That's where everything falls apart for me.

I would be very curious what actual child psychologists would say about this book. I myself found the entire events completely unbelievable to the point that this drifted from being a published novel to some wacky fan-fiction on the internet. Children would not behave this way on the scale that the author describes. I am a Father and know from first hand experience that children are caring, kind and generally non-violent. The Idea that the author puts forward that children left unsupervised turn into wild destructive idiots that can only think about having fun is just ridiculous. According to the author children don't value life and are indifferent about killing. Such a hard sell! The idea that these kids would have actual war battles and kill each other for months for the sake of fun is just insane. In reality they would wise up real quick as soon as people started dying. Its almost like the author doesn't realize that children have feelings and emotions. The extreme reaction by children aside, any parts involving the U.S.A feels like blatant Chinese Anti-America propaganda. Apparently in China, unsupervised kids will just play with all the toys. But in America they all become Violent remorseless heathens who think murder is fun.... What? No kid would think that way!

There were so many realistic and possible challenges the children could have been faced with that would have still been interesting to see. Like solving production issues, negotiating Trade routes, dealing with split off factions, or just staying alive. You get a taste of that at first but then it all just becomes this absurd journey for kids to find "Thrills and fun" at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives.

As far as the Plot, You keep expecting a twist or a revelation which is common in Cixin Liu's other books. It never really comes. There are a few but they always turn out to be inconsequential. Things like the children realize they have an AI super computer that can do essential anything or that they have a secret nuke left them from the adults. In both cases you are like "wow, this is going to change things and going to get good". Wrong. They only use the computer for a minute to be a robocaller and to act as an auto moderator on an an online forum. Then we learn about the nuke which they use to retaliate against the nuke launched at them by the Americans. Mass Death. but there is literally no repercussions or even hard feelings towards each other afterwards.... What? What kind of world is this? How are all of these children not suffering extreme mental health issues and PTSD after all the horrors they have been through. Through out the entire book there is only a single instance of a kid showing an emotional break down from the violence.

The books conclusion is also very dull and by this point I was just waiting it out. More stuff happens that just makes no sense. Apparently its fun to swap counties? And then there is an abrupt end. No real resolution or satisfying conclusion. The epilogue is just a lack luster account by the supposed narrator of this historical account.and it insinuates he lives on Mars.
The End.

Honestly I just don't know what to say more other then I think the author had a lot of good ideas and tried to shove them all into a single book and that left everything that happens in the book to feel half baked. So may good starts or plot lines that had promise and then they just drop off and may as well not had happened at all.
I can honestly say I wish I had skipped this one.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Molly R
  • 2019-11-06

WTF did I just read?

If you read this book to get some clarification about what Liu said in his recent interview in the New Yorker, good luck to you.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Rhenda I. Strub
  • 2020-05-13

Whopping deus ex machina

If the deus ex machina device annoys you (as it does me) stay away from this failure. I was having serious doubts when the first thing the adults did to prepare kids to be on their own is put them into war games. The child war gaming was boring and done so much better by Pierce Brown in Red Rising. I was ready to bail on the book in that section, but I decided to listen on. The author has great work out there, so I trusted him to bring things around. The war games ended, things started to pick up and when all the adults are finally gone, Cixin Liu indroduces the mother of all deus ex machina, a quantum AI programmed with an adult voice to make it all better for the panicked kids. Good grief.

Wondering now if this will get better, I came here and read reviews. Wish I had done that in the first place. One reviewer says they don't even use the supercomputer except to call every child in the country to calm them down. That's where I am listening now. There are floods, fires, and widespread power outages, but somehow every child in this vast country of China has access to a working telephone to chat with Super Nanny. It's hard to believe the author of The Three Body Problem wrote this. Maybe he's taken retirement and his 13 year old kid has taken over.

Audible's great return policy was made for books like this and that's exactly where it's going.

1 person found this helpful

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  • yourboycarl2016
  • 2019-12-03

Pass

Love all his other books but this was a complete bust. Strongly do not recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Charlie
  • 2019-11-18

sent to the camps

Think China sent author to the reeducation camps and wrote this dud of a story themselves.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Some Random Engineer
  • 2019-11-18

Just not good.

It's like it was written by a child. The premise is great, the execution was a disaster.

1 person found this helpful

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  • blaine
  • 2020-05-29

Unreadable

Rated all prior books by mr lieu 4-5 stars shading on the five star, best sci fi books I have read. This work is politics not sci fi.