In a postscript to the American edition of The Three-Body Problem / 三体, the author says:

In science fiction, humanity is often described as a collective. In this book, a man named “humanity” confronts a disaster

But I cannot recognize any character's name as being "humanity."  Maybe the man who most clearly sees the disaster is Wang Miao (汪淼).  I don't think that can be "humanity."

Is there a character whose name can be read as humanity?  Or perhaps is Liu speaking metaphorically in the postscript?

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    Here is the original text: "在科幻小说中,人类经常作为一种整体来被描写。而在这本书中,一个名为“人类”的人遭遇了一场灾难。" I don't think the author means there is a character named 人类, instead he means that the human kind is like an individual among the countless cosmic intelligent species, facing a disaster. Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 0:24
  • @TooskyHierot Thanks. I think this is right. By using your quote I find the text at douban.com/group/topic/70417017 But I am not sure that Chinese is the original. Of course Liu will have given his thoughts in Chinese but I think this text may be translated back from the published English by someone who signs the name realleaf. Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 13:38
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    @ColinMcLarty I assume the link from most upvoted comment in your link is originally written by LiuCixin. link for Chinese forum And this is one of the most ancient bbs in China btw.
    – Shaw
    Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 20:57

2 Answers 2


In fact, basically no character will ever be called a human, because it's a catch-all. Liu Cixin refers to billions of people collectively as human beings, and writing it that way emphasizes a common human consciousness, a common human response to a crisis, etc., which can be interpreted as a metaphor. If this helps you, please take it!


I think the character should be Cheng Xin(程心). She was the main character in the third book of the Three Body Problem. Cheng Xin, in Chineses pronounces as sincerity. And in the book Cheng Xin was a kind and sincere person, she has been chosen by people to be the sword holder to deter the three body civilization.But because of her kindness, it has caused huge disasters like earth being intruded by the three body civilizations(even though it didn’t really happen)and etc. Liu Cinxi loves to use the same pronunciation Chinese words to represent the personalities of the characters such as 维德(Wei De) the disobedience of moral and Luo Ji(logic) and etc.So in conclusion, Cheng Xin is the one who represents humanity but actually brought disaster. And Liu was not only emphasizing the humanity of Cheng Xin, but also the whole human beings.

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