R32. The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi

Year Published: 2010
Pages: 330

First Sentence: As always, before the warmind and I shoot each other, I try to make small talk.

I'm not sure that I'll be able to summarize or even review The Quantum Thief in a coherent way.

I guess it starts out fairly simply. The warrior Mieli breaks the thief Jean le Flambeur out of jail so that he can help her to ... do ... something. Mieli's motives aren't quite clear, beyond the fact that she's serving a mysterious and powerful employer. Jean is suffering from memory loss, so the two of them travel to his old home, the Oubliette on Mars, to retrieve his memories.

From there it becomes extraordinarily hard to continue explaining what happens because the technology becomes an integral part of the story, and the technology is full of crazily complex concepts. Or, if not crazily complex, then certainly they are indistinguishable from magic.

Hannu Rajaniemi is, I think, a good writer with an engaging style, but he is by no means a hand holder. I'm not sure I've ever read such a mind-punch of a book. This is bewildering future tech at its absolute finest. It's disorienting, to say the least, but it was also a wild ride that I really enjoyed. I might've done without the use of present tense, which seems to maybe be trendy at the moment (not that I read a whole lot of current fiction).

I can't even begin to speculate as to the genre of this book. I used to call anything involving post-humans cyberpunk, but that's not right at all. There's also a detective in this novel, so I guess it can be considered a mystery, and he's probably one of my favourite characters in the whole thing, too.

The only thing that I found weird and a bit distracting about the book is that for some reason many of the characters have French names. I can't/couldn't figure out any reason for that.

I'll definitely be obtaining and reading the sequel to this book, The Fractal Prince. But if you end up deciding to check it out, try not to use it as light reading. This is a book that requires time and brain power.

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I didn't write down anything in particular, but here's a few sample phrases:

But secrecy is one of the mission parameters. So she wears the temporary gevulot shell the black-carapaced customs official Quiet in the beanstalk station gave them (no imported nanotech, q-tech, sobortech; no data storage devices capable of storing a baseline mind; no—), keeps her metacortex and q-stone bones and the ghostguns and everything else in camouflage mode, and suffers.

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