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The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi
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The Quantum Thief

by Hannu Rajaniemi

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1,029568,234 (3.73)47
Member:jerhogan
Title:The Quantum Thief
Authors:Hannu Rajaniemi
Info:Tor Books (no date), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:science fiction, hard science fiction, challenging, detective, dense, future sociey, future society, mystery, prisoner's dilemma, prisons, technology

Work details

The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi

  1. 10
    Lord of Light by Roger Zelazny (Lucy_Skywalker)
  2. 00
    Glasshouse by Charles Stross (ianturton)
    ianturton: A similar world of interchangeable bodies/minds
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English (52)  Finnish (2)  Hungarian (1)  French (1)  All languages (56)
Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)
Really impressive merging of a story of a thief and his relationships with an amazing world informed by the mergings of bits and atoms, the physical and the digital.

This book is hard sci-fi that is more about data than rockets and with a warm beating heart. ( )
  nnschiller | Sep 18, 2014 |
Really impressive merging of a story of a thief and his relationships with an amazing world informed by the mergings of bits and atoms, the physical and the digital.

This book is hard sci-fi that is more about data than rockets and with a warm beating heart. ( )
  nnschiller | Sep 18, 2014 |
Wowza. Throughout the first half I kept wondering if I was going to finish the book -- so many weird concepts, so little explanation. And then suddenly the second half became gripping and I raced through to the end. Hannu's unwillingness to explain things is definitely a challenge, right through the epilogue, but in the end worthwhile because I can't get the book out of my head. ( )
  AlexDunae | Aug 30, 2014 |
For a book that isn't thick the story is nice and dense. There are ideas in it that are not new but they were used to good effect in the story. The reader is plopped down right in the middle and you have to keep up there is no spoonfeeding any back story to the reader at all and it was a nice change of pace. Straight up SF novel and that was certainly a change of pace for me. Not sure if I will pick up the next one as soon as it comes out or wait until the third one and read them back to back.
( )
  Glennis.LeBlanc | Jul 8, 2014 |
Ok read, but much of the tech in the book is explained way to vaguely, and there's 0 to no background as to how things got to be the way they are.

Bit disappointing ( )
  Lorune | Jul 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 52 (next | show all)

Rajaniemi’s pacy debut novel is set in a far future where both Jupiter and Phobos have been turned into suns in the aftermath of a war between the godlike Sobornost, who control most of the inner solar system, and the Zoku, now exiled to Mars from their Saturnian home.

On Mars all off-world tech is proscribed. The city called the Oubliette is constantly on the move, built on platforms which change their relative position as it is carried across Hellas Basin on vast articulated legs. Rajaniemi does not fetishise this creation as many another author would. Far from being almost a character in its own right the city is merely an exotic backdrop for his story, not its focus.

In the Oubliette, interactions between people (and buildings) are mediated by technology known as exomemory which captures every thought, dream and action. A filtering system known as gevulot acts as a privacy screen but is opened for speech and donation of information packets called co-memories.

The city’s inhabitants all carry Watches which store the Time they use as money. When your Time runs out, death follows. Resurrection Men decant memories and implant them in a new body in which to serve the city as one of the Quiet till enough credit has been accrued to live normally again. On occasion criminals dubbed gogol pirates deliberately kill in order to steal the deceased’s memories and enslave the minds. This is anathema to anyone from the Oubliette (but philosophically it surely differs from being Quiet only in degree.) Tzadikkim, a vigilante-type group with enhanced powers, act as an informal police.

The narrative is shared between the first person account of Jean le Flambeur, the quantum thief of the title, and the third person viewpoints of an Oortian, Mieli, who kicks the novel off by springing Jean from an unusual prison round Saturn, and the somewhat too intuitive detective Isodore Beautrelet. Both Jean and Mieli have (rarely used) Sobornost enhancements. In addition, several Interludes fill in backstory and -ground.

The text can be dense at times. Rajaniemi deploys technological terminology with a flourish; qdots, ghostguns, qupting, Bose-Einstein Condensate ammunition, quantum entanglement rings, qubits, but these can be allowed to wash over any technophobic reader prepared to follow the flow.

By implication Rajaniemi emphasises the importance of memory, not only in the idea of exomemory or the uploading/decanting of personality but also as a component of individual identity. Jean le Flambeur has hidden his past from himself and has no recall of it until others restore it bit by bit via gevulot exchanges.

Rajaniemi’s Finnish origins are most revealed by some of the names he uses. Mieli’s spidership is called Perhonen - butterfly - and he slips in a Finnish expletive in the guise of an Oortian god. There are also borrowings from Japanese, Hebrew and Russian and a subtle Sherlock Holmes reference.

“The Quantum Thief” is bursting with ideas and there are sufficient action/battle scenes to slake any thirst for vicarious violence but sometimes it seems as if incidents are present in order to fill in background rather than being necessary to the plot. The motivations of some of the characters are obscure and despite the prominence of gevulot in the Oubliette, conversations and interactions seem to be more or less unaltered in comparison to our familiar world, though had Rajaniemi presented them otherwise they may have been unintelligible.

The denouement brings all the threads together satisfyingly while the final Interlude sheds additional light on the proceedings and sets up possible scenarios for sequels - for which there will likely be an avid audience.
added by jackdeighton | editInterzone 230, Jack Deighton
 

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hannu Rajaniemiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brick, ScottNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holicki, IreneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Juhász, ViktorTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moore, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
`... there comes a time when you cease to know yourself amid all these changes, and that is very sad. I feel at present as the man must have felt who lost his shadow ...'

Maurice Leblanc, The Escape of Arsène Lupin
Dedication
This is for Nana
First words
As always, before the warmind and I shoot each other, I try to make small talk.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
Jean le Flambeur is a post-human criminal, mind burglar, confidence artist and trickster. His origins are shrouded in mystery, but his exploits are known throughout the Heterarchy - from breaking into the vast Zeusbrains of the Inner System to steal their thoughts, to stealing rare Earth antiques from the aristocrats of the Moving Cities of Mars. Except that Jean made one mistake. Now he is condemned to play endless variations of a game-theoretic riddle in the vast virtual jail of the Axelrod Archons - the Dilemma Prison - against countless copies of himself. Jean's routine of death, defection and cooperation is upset by the arrival of Mieli and her spidership, Perhonen. She offers him a chance to win back his freedom and the powers of his old self - in exchange for finishing the one heist he never quite managed . . . The Quantum Thief is a dazzling hard SF novel set in the solar system of the far future - a heist novel peopled by bizarre post-humans but powered by very human motives of betrayal, revenge and jealousy. It is a stunning debut.
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Broken free from a nightmarish distant-future prison by a mysterious woman who offers him his life back if he will complete the ultimate heist he left unfinished, con man Jean le Flambeur is pursued in worlds where people communicate through shared memories.… (more)

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