Not only brilliant books in their own right, the Remembrance of Earth’s Past saga serves as a reminder of the presence of impressive and unique science fiction outside the English-speaking world ... another intriguing, cerebral scientific mystery ... Liu covers a lot of scientific and philosophical ground, and he’s not afraid to slow things down to allow his characters to discuss the real-world underpinnings of their work, or the virtues of, for example, pure versus practical research. Some might regard these dips in the pacing as a flaw, but for Liu, the digressions seem to be the point ... he builds tension as masterfully as ever.
Ball Lightning is, in fact, a genuine mystery in contemporary physics and atmospheric science. However, none of the myriad theories proposed to explain it go quite as far as Liu’s speculation, which breaks the tenets of particle physics ... Ball Lightning establishes Liu as a dominant force in so-called 'hard' science fiction ... Liu populates Ball Lightning with logical, well-crafted individuals and manages to conjure a compelling conflict out of a cast of characters who are all trying to do the right thing ... At its core, Ball Lightning is an emotionally compelling and well-written story hiding within a shell of detailed and thoroughly researched quantum mechanics.
...for a while, the novel, like that old airplane, has some trouble catching flight. And I'll admit to wondering occasionally in the early going, while waiting for its momentum to build, whether it might have been better to bail halfway through ... This novel rewards commitment. Eventually, after the introduction of a few late-arriving characters...Liu's own boundless creativity finds its footing. The wayward gears fall in line and the text shudders to life. Vivid, mind-bending life.