“The Wallfacers are undertaking the most difficult mission in human history.”
— Liu Cixin, The Dark Forest
I’m very late to the game here but I recently read the masterful science fiction trilogy Remembrance of Earth’s Past from Chinese writer Liu Cixin, consisting of The Three-Body Problem, The Dark Forest, and Death’s End. First published in China in 2008, the trilogy was hugely popular in its home country, making Liu Cixin one of the best selling Chinese sci-fi authors of all time. When it was then translated to English beginning in 2014, it quickly became a critical and commercial smash hit internationally as well, winning the prestigious Hugo Award in 2005 (the first time a Chinese writer has ever won the award), joining the New York Times best seller list, and now in development for a billion dollar TV adaptation from Amazon.
Spoiler alert for those even more behind the times than me: some plot details are to follow. You have been warned.
In the first book, The Three-Body Problem, scientists discover that a technologically superior alien race called the Trisolarians are journeying to Earth with the goal of invading our planet and conquering all humankind. Because of the vast expanse of space, the invading alien fleet will still take more than 400 years to arrive which gives world leaders time to mount a defense, although one unlikely to succeed.
So in the second book, The Dark Forest, the United Nations creates a desperate plan called the Wallfacer Program where they select 4 different people and give them almost unlimited resources and authority (with minimal oversight) to formulate their own secret, unorthodox, Hail Mary battle strategies. The 4 Wallfacers end up creating wildly differing and truly crazy solutions over a 200 year period, before the most unlikely of the quartet surprisingly succeeds in stopping the invasion. Truly great science fiction.
Here’s a proposition that is as similarly farfetched. What if we had Wallfacers in the real world — individuals given unprecedented power and influence to implement whatever plans they wanted in order to battle a superior foe? Or more specifically, what if we had Wallfacers in my…