The look of incredulous disgust on their face when I admitted I hadn't read 'Three-Body Problem'. It was too much to bear, so at my earliest convenience I picked up a copy and devoured it.
This is incredible! I know I've been saying a lot of great, hyperbolic things about a lot of the sf I've been reading in the last years since getting back into professional bookpushing, but Cixin Liu is the real deal.
The official back-cover synopsis sets up the plot better than I can, but the story's roots are in the Cultural Revolution when a discredited scientist is sent to a remote laboratory to conduct experiments with a large antennae set up in opposition to SETI. The People's Republic would have contact with aliens before the corrupt West. Shockingly, they do. Or rather, one woman does, the discredited scientist, but she hides the evidence. It is an advanced and hostile civilization that is contacted, and they are coming to Earth. The invasion forces will not arrive for many years. In close enough to present-day China, and across the world, people are taking sides in the secret struggle to welcome the invaders and those who would oppose them.
Its a fascinating plot, but what makes the story shine is its roots in hard science and in how the story is slowly revealed. There are many surprises and the whole trilogy has been translated into English and is in paperback! Fuck Amazon, and get them from your local bookstore.