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Netflix’s 3 Body Problem has turned this 62-year-old book into a bestseller on Amazon

Published Mar 25th, 2024 6:50PM EDT
3 Body Problem on Netflix
Image: Ed Miller/Netflix

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Netflix’s epic sci-fi drama 3 Body Problem has brought newfound fame to a 62-year-old book about environmental science — one that’s now an Amazon bestseller thanks to being featured prominently in the new series.

Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson, is an environmental science book first published in 1962 that documents the harm caused by certain pesticides used by soldiers during World War II and which also led to changes in the laws that affect natural resources. One of the book’s themes is that the use of such chemicals is not consequence-free — and that “in nature,” Carson writes about Earth’s interconnected ecosystems, “nothing exists alone.”

If you’ve started watching 3 Body Problem, Netflix’s hit series from the Game of Thrones showrunners that’s currently #1 in the US, you’ve probably already heard that quote at least once; in fact, the first time you hear it is in the show’s first episode. 3 Body Problem begins in China, quickly zeroing in on an astrophysicist named Ye Wenjie, who gets sent to work at a remote military base. Importantly, the soldiers at that base are trying to make contact with aliens, and her work basically sets the entire plot of the show in motion.

During the first episode, someone gives Ye a copy of Silent Spring — and because she can understand English, the text resonates deeply with her. “In nature,” she reads out loud at one point, “nothing exists alone.”

One particularly haunting chapter in the book, titled “A Fable for Tomorrow,” describes how all life in an unnamed American town has been wiped out by the effects of the chemical DDT. And, in a way, that’s sort of in line with the story presented in 3 Body Problem, which is about a highly advanced alien species coming to take over Earth — presumably, to wipe out our lives here so they can start over on our planet.

But while the show is very much an alien invasion story, it’s not totally about that. The looming invasion is really just the opportunity to present the meat-and-potatoes of the story, which is how humans choose to pull together and respond. The end result is a sci-fi drama of immense scale and profundity, with dazzling visual effects to keep viewers entertained throughout. “I’ve just finished watching through eight episodes of 3 Body Problem,” legendary video game designer Hideo Kojima tweeted over the weekend.

“The original novel by Liu Cixin is depicted on a grand scale and in a unique style. With a slow-paced introduction, the ensemble drama spins a timeless story with intersecting characters. Abstract and surrealistic images, like that of ‘a blink in space’ and ‘a countdown reflected on the retina,’ are very difficult to visualize … However, the way this has been incorporated into a drama series with a worldwide perspective is brilliant. David Benioff and D. B. Weiss have done a marvelous job.”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.