Easily the best science-fiction series I've ever read. Three reasons why:
Categorised as 'hard science fiction', the plots within the book, however complicated or surreal, are firmly within the realms of scientific possibility. Don't get me wrong, I love books set in realms of fantasy and magic. But TTP's foundation of realism instils an irreplicable sense of wonder that accompanies the knowledge that everything described - inter-dimensional travel, light speed propulsion, folding hoverbikes - will one day be possible.
Beginning against the backdrop of the gruelling Chinese Cultural Revolution, the fate of the world is intertwined with Chinese culture and way of life. Rarely do we see English novels that dive so deeply into this segment of history. Of course, the book was originally published in Chinese, which makes its Hugo Award all the more notable. (The award assesses the version translated into English).
Perhaps most impressively, Liu offers a truly pragmatic insight into human nature, prompting us to question our core beliefs about what is 'right'. He illustrates values through extreme and conflicting paradigms; eroding morality in the face of death, unwilling sacrifices for the greater good and a supposed sense of righteousness that ultimately destroys the world.