Thursday, October 14, 2010

Book review round-up: The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi

Reader reviews of The Quantum Thief (Gollancz, UK, September 2010), the new hard science fiction debut novel written by string theorist and Finnish author Hannu Rajaniemi, are starting to surface. First, 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...

Now, links to some reviews:
  • Australian SF mega-fan Blue Tyson considers The Quantum Thief a “Posthuman Arsene Lupin on Mars,” with “more smart matter and quantum missiles than heat guns, electro blasters and big strange machines.” Blue Tyson gives the novel 4.5 out of 5 stars.
  • British environmental scientist and science fiction writer & reviewer Gareth D Jones states that the “Holmsian character” of the protagonist, Jean le Flambeur, gives “the novel a distinctive voice, an almost Victorian feel to an otherwise high-tech, post-cyberpunk adventure.” Jones thinks Hannu Rajaniemi is going to be an author to watch.
  • Swedish-run Cybermage concludes that The Quantum Thief is “like a Finnish Tango, it got a strange rhythm to it and it takes you places you never imagined before. It is a great debut novel by Hannu Rajaniemi and probably a future classic.”
  • SciFiNow, a British science fiction, horror, cult TV and fantasy magazine, declares that “With its engaging narrative and characters backed by often almost intimidatingly good sci-fi concepts, it’s easy to see why The Quantum Thief is being heavily, and deservedly, touted as ‘the’ big SF debut novel of the year.”
Also worth noting: The Quantum Thief book launch was “in the sumptuous surroundings of the Finnish Ambassador's residence in Kensington Palace Gardens.”

The Quantum Thief is scheduled to be published in the U.S. by Tor Books in May 2011.

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