Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi

I finished reading The Quantum Thief in early December. I stumbled across this book in a list of science fiction books that NPR published: Mind-Bending Sci-Fi Books For A Fantastical Summer.

I enjoyed the book as much as any science fiction book I have read in years, but it is a little disorienting. The book introduces a lot of ideas and words without any context; one review suggested that it needed a glossary. As you read, you slowly fill the details behind many of the words. The ideas include: a city that marches across the Martian desert; a cloud of universally accessible data called "exomemory" that floats in the air around people, places and things; a quantum-jail; interpersonal communication re-imagined as a dense network of negotiable privacy settings; the individual minutes of a person's life used as legal tender.

The main character is actually based on a fictional thief from a series of french books written in the 19th century. This character was literally a french version of Sherlock Holmes.

I was intrigued by the description of the author. Thirty-one year-odd Hannnu Rajanieumi is from Finland and holds a Ph.D. in string theory. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he is a director a think tank providing business services based on advanced math and artificial intelligence.

The Quantum Thief is the first book in an intended trilogy. The second book--The Fractal Prince--will be out in April of 2012. Alhthough I am still trying to wrap my brain around the last 40 pages of the first book, I have already pre-ordered second book from Amazon.

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