Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Forthcoming hard SF debut novel: The Quantum Thief by Finnish writer Hannu Rajaniemi

The marketing buzz for The Quantum Thief (Gollancz, September 2010), the forthcoming hard science fiction debut novel by Finnish writer, Scottish resident and string theorist Hannu Rajaniemi, started last spring when Rajaniemi signed a three book deal with Gollancz after the British publishing house read only about 25 pages of his manuscript. Here’s the official promotional piece for The Quantum Thief:

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 . . . [on Mars!]

According to award-winning British science fiction and fantasy author Charles Stross: “If you dropped Greg Egan's hard physics chops into a rebooted Finnish version of Al Reynolds with the writing talent of a Ted Chiang you'd begin to get a rough approximation of the scale of his talent. It made the hair on the back of my neck stand up when I read it. Hard to admit, but I think he's better at this stuff than I am. And The Quantum Thief is the best first SF novel I've read in many years.”

The Quantum Thief is scheduled to be released in the United Kingdom by Gollancz on September 30, 2010, and in the United States by Tor Books in May 2011. A few pre-pub reviews of The Quantum Thief have been bouncing around for months, but I’ll do a review roundup in a couple of weeks.

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