The Quantum Thief

Hannu Rajaniemi
The Quantum Thief Cover

Jam Packed, Occasionally Confusing, and Damn Cool


Rajaniemi's debut novel is no one trick pony. This book is filled to the brim with cool ideas rendered in some interesting ways: mind uploading, quantum technology, posthuman augmentations, radical societal organizations, mind hacking, etc. Jean le Flambeur is a legendary and mysterious thief, but he was captured and his mind was impressoned by an Archon of the Sobernost. Broken out by the equally enigmatic Meili and her sentient ship Perhonen, he is offered his freedom if he helps Meli complete a task. First, however, Jean needs to reclaim the powers and memories he left behind before being captuerd. Throw ye-olde-heist narrative in the pot along with some quantum-powered superheroes, a society that has evolved around privacy (whereas ours is moving more towards full sharing), some gamer gods, a detective chasing a criminal, and a little social revolution and you've got a story that doesn't stop for much and keeps you in pure sensawunda...too much so at times. A chunk of the first portion of the book is written to reflect the confusing state of Jean in the virtual Dilemma Prison that has entrapped his mind, and beyond that Rajaniemi decided to go for a heavy show-don't-tell approach to the rest of the first portion. It's confusing, but you just have to roll with it, because once the book opens up and lets you in it's a pretty cool ride with some very compelling prose supporting a story of conspiracy and revelation that left me chomping at the bit for the next one. I might actually buy the sequel, the Fractal Prince, new when it comes out in hardback, and if you know me and my miserly nature that would impress the socks off of you!