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Liu Cixin’s Three-Body trilogy can be profitably interpreted from the standpoint of international relations theory, in particular the offensive realism that is prominent in contemporary IR practice, the logic of which parallels several key developments in the story. Such, indeed, was my initial impulse upon being introduced to Liu’s work (Dyson, 2019). In this talk I would like to supplement and in some degree challenge that original interpretation with a counter-reading, one motivated not by the security focus of international relations theory but by the humanistic focus of science-fiction studies - the academic discipline directed towards the interpretation of science fiction texts.

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