原创翻译:龙腾网 http://www-ltaaa-com.hkbmwzone.com 翻译:mahat 转载请注明出处
论坛地址:http://www-ltaaa-com.hkbmwzone.com/bbs/thread-480054-1-1.html

大家好,大刘的英文版书评准时又来了。8月14日,《球状闪电》在美国正式上架,之后将会不断有新鲜书评。本次,我将与“未来事务管理局”合作,相关书评译文,也会在未来局的相关微博上发布,喜爱科幻的朋友也可在微博上关注未来局旗下的@不存在 / @三体宇宙 。



Cixin Liu’s Ball Lightning Is a Tense, Thoughtful Examination of Scientific Obsession

刘慈欣的《球状闪电》:科学执迷里的一场紧张而深思的试炼

by Ross Johnson/撰
August 9, 2018 at 11:00 am

The 2014 release of the English translation of Cixin Liu’s trilogy-opener The Three-Body Problem, already a massive success in China, hit Western SF like an asteroid (how often does a brainy hard sci-fi novel show up on a sitting president’s list of worthwhile books?). Not only brilliant books in their own right, the Remembrance of Earth’s Past saga serves as a reminder of the presence of impressive and unique science fiction outside the English-speaking world.

虽早已在中国大获成功,于2014年发行的刘慈欣的三部曲开篇《三体》的英译版,仍如小行星般震动西方科幻界(出现在时任美国总统的好评书单里的脑洞硬科幻小说,能有几何?)。《地球往事》这部长篇史诗不仅打出了自身的名气,还证明了英语世界之外仍有别开生面的科幻作品的存在。

ltaaaTxt

Chen’s research seems to come to a dead end early on: though he makes several fascinating theoretical leaps, real-world experimentation is wildly expensive, and terribly impractical. That is, until he meets Lin Yun, an army major exploring the idea of weaponizing lightning. Where Chen is idealistic and inquisitive, Lin is driven and goal-oriented. From here, the real tension arises from that essential conflict, as academics of varying stripes put in appearances to help explore the both paths further. There’s a war brewing in the background, but the author doesn’t spend much time worrying about it—perhaps because Chen finds it of little concern. He’s not the kind of person to worry about the broader world when there’s a compelling scientific mystery to unravel.

陈的研究起初似乎陷入停滞,尽管他在理论部分做出精彩飞跃,但现实世界里的实验,离谱地贵、极度地难以实践;直到他与林云的相遇,一位探索将闪电武器化的军队少校。此时,陈理想主义打破砂锅问到底;林孜孜不倦不达目的不罢休。至此,本质上的对立导致了真正的矛盾冲突,而学术上偶露出的分道扬镳有助于在两条路径上探究得更远。故事背景里,战争暗流涌动,然而作者并未花费太多时间挂虑,或许是陈不太在意的原因,陈是那种但凡有科学大秘密等着解开就不操心广阔天地的一类人。

Until the 1960s, ball lightning wasn’t a broadly accepted phenomenon in scientific circles. The closest thing we have to a photograph of it is a 2014 image of the light spectrum produced by ball lightning using a high-speed camera in Lanzhou. Most of the data around it comes from eyewitness accounts, which places it on just this side of rationality. But it’s just what it sounds like: a form of lightning somehow condensed into floating balls that linger much longer than a typical lightning bolt, and often explode—sometimes with deadly consequences. It’s an incredibly mysterious natural force that we’ve only recently moved from the realm of the near-paranormal into the field of science.

直到十九世纪六十年代,球状闪电才作为一种自然现象被科学界广泛接受。我们拍摄到最接近球状闪电的影像,是在2014年的兰州,以高速摄像机拍摄到的球状闪电产生的光谱。由于相关资料多来源于目击者描述,这份影像使得球状闪电勉强能与理性沾边。但正如字面所言,它是一种闪电形式,未知原因使其压缩成漂浮的球体,比典型的闪电所徘徊的时间更长;经常产生爆炸,并不时产生致命后果。球状闪电是种非常神秘的自然力量,直到最近我们才将其从超自然领域移至科学范畴。

Liu uses the liminal nature of ball lightning to his advantage: a book about scientists pursuing ghosts would be fantasy, but here, he gets to have all the fun of a ghost story while dealing in concepts much more tangible. It’s such an ingeniously perfect premise, I’m surprised no one thought of it before. He starts with what we know about ball lightning and extrapolates wildly from there, yet the cutting-edge nature of the subject means there’s at least some possibility his speculations will turn out to be correct.
Remembrance of Earth's Past: The Three-Body Trilogy (The Three-Body Problem, The Dark Forest, Death's End)

ltaaaTxt

Liu does something different here than in his celebrated trilogy. There is no looming alien invasion, and the most dramatic moments involve discovery. But he builds tension as masterfully as ever, as Chen’s indifference to the real-life consequences of his ruthless pursuit of knowledge ultimately become a threat to himself and to the world. He comes to see ball lightning as an almost conscious force that exists to vex and intrigue him, and so do we. Ball Lightning makes an antagonist out of atmospheric phenomena and finds moments of unbelievable suspense in scientific research. It’s a quieter book than The Three Body Problem, but but no less potent a reminder that Cixin Liu is a vital, singular voice in modern science fiction.

刘慈欣本作中的笔下与他的知名三部曲颇有不同。没有阴魂不散的外星侵略,最戏剧性的时刻发生在揭示部分。然而他对紧张冲突的塑造一贯地老辣,陈某对知识的无情追求产生现实后果的漠不关心,最终对其自身和世界造成威胁。他终于认识到,球状闪电几乎成为自身的意识力,深陷其中挥之不去;我们(读者)也一样。《球状闪电》将一种大气现象塑造为小说的反派,探究了科学研究中不可思议的悬而未决的时刻。本作相较三体系列略显不起眼,但有同样的说服力,证明刘慈欣在现代科幻领域里有着必不可少且独一无二的声音。

Ball Lightning is available August 14.