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The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi
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The Quantum Thief (edition 2010)

by Hannu Rajaniemi (Author)

Series: Jean le Flambeur (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,062976,489 (3.7)83
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.
Member:nephster
Title:The Quantum Thief
Authors:Hannu Rajaniemi (Author)
Info:Gollancz (2010), Edition: 2010, 331 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi

  1. 21
    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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» See also 83 mentions

English (91)  Finnish (2)  French (2)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (96)
Showing 1-5 of 91 (next | show all)
Þjófinum Jean le Flambeur er rænt úr fangelsi til að fremja þjófnað. Hins vegar er hængur þar á því hann faldi minningar sínar fyrir sjálfum sér og þarf að byrja á því að finna þær til að geta þjónað bjargvætti sínum - og þær er ekki að finna í hausnum á honum sjálfum.
Öfugt við flestar vísindaskáldsögur sem gerast í framtíðinni þar sem farið er hægt í sakirnar, ekki miklu breytt samfélagslega og þar sem nýjungar eru útskýrðar fyrir lesandanum er manni hent beint í djúpu laugina hér. Gerbreytt umhverfi, oft óskiljanlegar aðstæður og tækni sem smám saman sýjast inn í mann. Heillandi umhverfi og saga sem hlaut þó nokkur verðlaun. ( )
  SkuliSael | Apr 28, 2022 |
This book was very hard to start but after reading a few reviews I decided to let the stream of unexplained worldbuilding just do its thing and I stopped trying to visualize the story and it came out all right in the end. ( )
  JoshEnglish | Mar 25, 2022 |
Oh, wow. I normally don't read SF -- I got bored with it about ten years ago and haven't given it a chance since -- but a friend really liked this so I decided to try it. I'm glad I did. It was really interesting, had some plot twists I wasn't expecting, created a very cool universe, and I liked the way the characters were written. I will definitely be reading the rest of the trilogy! ( )
  SwitchKnitter | Dec 19, 2021 |
Well imagined, well crafted space opera, in the vein of READY PLAYER ONE, but basically YA genre stuff - didn't bother finishing... ( )
  wordloversf | Aug 14, 2021 |
I hoped since I love the show The 100 so much I would finally be able to get into a SciFi book. NOPE.
  Jinjer | Jul 19, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 91 (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 (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rajaniemi, Hannuprimary 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.
Quotations
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Canonical LCC
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.

No library descriptions found.

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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Average: (3.7)
0.5 1
1 10
1.5 3
2 45
2.5 8
3 132
3.5 46
4 218
4.5 26
5 107

 

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