The Three-Body Problem – Cixin Liu (2006)
This cult phenomenon is definitely one that lives up to the hype with a plot line that is complex, yet readable, and characters that are both human and intriguingly unique; this is the series for you. As a quick aside, it is only 3 books, so don’t worry, you are not about to be drawn into a 14 book long mega journey of the likes of Robert Jordan.
The general narrative follows a group of physicists and a computer program, which is also related to some tests, ran during the Cultural Revolution in China. That’s it. I am not revealing any more, because to do so would be both confusing and beside the point. The real draw card for this series is its intense narrative structure and Liu’s otherworldly ability to explain complex physics and technology phenomena in a way that is not only comprehensible, but gripping.
As a suggested reading order for the series, the first book is essential, but the precision of the writing allows it to be read alone, or in conjunction with the series. If you’d like some further reading Ken Liu (the incredible translator of the series) writes some sharply different science fiction in the form of magical realism. I would recommend The Paper Menagerie as the best place to start there.