In Cixin Liu's The Three-Body Problem, protagonist Wang Miao starts having strange experiences, beginning with a "timestamp" appearing on photographs taken with his old-fashioned non-electronic film camera. These only appear in photos he himself has taken, and not other people. Then he finds the same thing occurring when he uses a friend's digital camera. Finally, he sees the "timestamp" imprinted on his own vision.
He notices that the "timestamp" is counting down, and that it contains components of hours, minutes and seconds.
The countdown began with 1,200 hours. And now there were about 1,194 hours left, just under 50 days.
Later, he notices that the countdown stops when he pauses his nanomaterial research, and he is given to understand that if he resumes then the countdown will also resume.
Is it ever made clear exactly what will happen when the countdown runs out?