The Quantum Thief
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The Quantum Thief

4.0 67
by Hannu Rajaniemi

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A crazy joyride through the solar system several centuries hence—and the most exciting SF-adventure debut in years

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A crazy joyride through the solar system several centuries hence—and the most exciting SF-adventure debut in years

Editorial Reviews

Sara Sklaroff
There are scores of complex ideas in this impressive first novel…
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Rajaniemi melds a caper novel, New Wave aesthetics, and theoretical physics into a stellar debut. Broken out of a quantum prison in which he'd been forced to play endless games of prisoner's dilemma, often against himself, master thief Jean le Flambeur is forced to take a job working for the mysterious and beautiful Mieli. They travel to Oubliette, a moving city on Mars where time and memory are quantifiable and transferrable goods, and privacy is paramount. Their nemesis, the detective Isidore, reports to the enigmatic tzaddiks, a group of self-appointed law enforcers. Rajaniemi deftly introduces nifty concepts: a society of quantum MMO players, public servants who have used their allotment of Time and must labor to earn more. The plot itself is straightforward, allowing the mix of multiple narrative styles and viewpoints, elegant world building, and gonzo futurism to astonish without overwhelming. The ending sets up a sequel, but the story still stands nicely on its own. (May)
From the Publisher

“The next big thing in hard SF. Hard to admit, but I think he's better at this stuff than I am.” —Charles Stross

“Spectacularly and convincingly inventive, assured and wholly spellbinding: one of the most impressive debuts in years.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

VOYA - Dotsy Harland
Notorious interstellar thief Jean le Flambeur is whisked out of an Archon prison in a dramatic rescue by a strange, winged space adventurer, Mieli, and her talking ship, Perhonen. Mieli has been instructed by the powerful Sobornost to use Jean's expertise in accomplishing a mission in the Oubliette, a bustling mobile city on Mars. Life is especially frenetic in the Oubliette, where time is literally a form of currency, and memories, thoughts, and feelings are transferred between citizens through a complex etiquette system known as gevulot. Jean, having lived in the Oubliette long ago in a different body and persona of which he has only faint memories, is trying to discover the secrets of his past. In the meantime, brilliant Oubliette investigator Isidore Beautrelet is feverishly working on a case that causes him to cross paths with Jean le Flambeur, exposing unexpected connections between the two of them. Rajaniemi presents an astoundingly detailed post-human existence in which people live for hundreds of years in many different worlds, inhabiting manufactured bodies of various species. The greatest strengths of this novel lie in the author's remarkable imagination and visionary understanding of physics. Unfortunately, the plot is choppy and disjointed, and plowing through the constant barrage of unfamiliar terms and concepts will be a chore for most readers, leaving little energy or motivation to connect with the characters in a meaningful way. Though Rajaniemi's novel is impressive on many levels, only the most dogged science fiction fans will find it enjoyable. Reviewer: Dotsy Harland
Library Journal
Liberated from the infamous Dilemma Prison run by the Archons of the Sobernost collective of the Inner Solar System, master thief Jean le Flambeur agrees to accompany his rescuer, a mysterious woman named Mieli who owns a sentient spaceship with a taste for flirtation, to the Oubliette, a moving city of Mars that traffics in time as currency. Flambeur's tale intersects with that of detective Isidore Beautrelet in an intricately woven, highly charged pas de deux that brings both men to a startling discovery that reinvents the story of their experiences. VERDICT Finnish author Rajaniemi's outstanding debut demonstrates a level of complexity and storytelling skill rarely found from even the most experienced authors. Rajaniemi belongs in a class with Gene Wolfe and Samuel Delany and deserves a wide readership.

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Tom Doherty Associates
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Jean le Flambeur , #1
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Meet the Author

HANNU RAJANIEMI is from Finland and lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he was a director of a think tank providing business services based on advanced math and artificial intelligence. He holds a Ph.D. in string theory and is a member of the same writing group that produced Hal Duncan. He wrote The Quantum Thief in English.

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The Quantum Thief 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 67 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a pretty great book with a lot of interesting concepts. It was so full of new ideas that often there wasnt enough time to explore all the implications of the ideas fully New and interesting author who takes science fiction to the limit. Often the new vocabulary takes some time to internalize, but once done was a pretty great read. Definitely worth trying
Rolanni More than 1 year ago
I'm in neither in the "My god; it's brilliant!" or the "It's too complicated to read/too brilliant for me to comprehend." camp. Briefly, and under the bling, which is considerable, it's a fairly straightforward story of a man who is valuable to someone very powerful, who therefore springs him from prison, using an unwilling cat's paw to do the job and also ride herd on him. However, before the project for which he was freed can go forth, the prisoner must return to his old stomping grounds and recover his memory. Shenanigans ensue; a mystery is solved; and the set-up for the next book is put into place. The characters are understated, but perfectly comprehensible and sympathetic. I found the thief to be annoying, but not unbearably so. Yes, the author uses made-up words and doesn't explain them; it's not really a problem, doesn't impede the story, and I can't imagine that an adult reader of science fiction would be put off by the vocabulary. So, not a bad read; I'm not sorry I read it, and I would recommend it to readers of science fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is good, but can be frustrating for a while. You are not really given any explanation for the first 100 pgs or so, just thrown in and have to learn...however i think, after finishing, that this helps the reader identify with the main character more (he is just as confused for a while and cant remember some important stuff) I did not give it a full five stars because for me, i wanted to keep reading, but also wanted to be done because i could be frustrating. Im sure i missed a ton. Great book though...def worth a read...good start to a trillogy.
LostAnvil More than 1 year ago
It took some time, but in the end I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The first third can be difficult because of the amount of unexplained vocabulary, but once you get the terms down (or at least the gist of it) it's pretty much straight forward from there. There are also some online dictionaries to help as well, which I highly recommend. Since this is going to be a trilogy, I'll forgive the author for the complex foundation, but would have likes a few explanations here and there; which is what kept me from giving it five stars. I loved the concepts, the technology, the structure and the story line. Also, I appreciated how the author didn't give too much depth to the characters. Some hard sci-fi novels work better this way. If you have an open mind and some patience, this is well worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The imagination + understanding how math and quantum work. Kudos
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A story set within the complex otherness that is quantum space. You never can fully know how what goes off in this brilliant work about the never dull, seldom understood uncertainties so rampant within quantum space. The best thing about thr story is its engaging dialogue anfd fanciful storyline that pits a master thief against a seasoned detective. What might go wrong does so with deft adherence to uncertainty, improbable as that may sound. Homage is paid to many including the first family of hot air manned balloon flight, and the latest in sentient space vessels. Add in a few more problematic, probabilistic entities and the like, and you have the thief whose stock in trade is dealing with the monetary value of horologic constructs. A uniquely fascinating read, if you can suspend your disbelief that what can go wrong, will do so with only a slight degree repidation at the mere thought of this conundrum. Suffice it to say, the cat is probably the most fanciful of characters, survivor of Schroedinger's box, and who barely makes it into the book, maybe...A fun read with a highly probable uncertainty about what the prison really is. And that is just the start of the improbable uncertainties! The detective aspect of the story is probably its least uncertain aspect, and it is definitely at half of the reality ou can see and believe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very nice read, wonderful world-crafting! I enjoyed this story tons and am looking forward to the next.
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Wonderfully mystery novel set in a hyper technological future. Like Zelazny in Lord of Light, the reader is dragged into the byzantine milieu of the solar system some centuries hence. We are anchored by the familiar humanity of relationships, murder, and greed as the protagonist literally discovers himself as the plot is unwound.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Quantum Thief is a fun if at times dense read with a good mix of action, sci-fi and intrigue. LOTS of complex terminolgy and physis references, so be prepared to do some lookups or daze out through descriptions of technology. Far enough in the future to feel more science fantasy than hard science fiction, but fun nonetheless. Will probably be reading the sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ZeroCore More than 1 year ago
This book is a lot like a classic video game. The learning curve when you start reading it is high, but once you start to figure out the terminology and the concept it becomes addictive. The book almost forces you to keep reading it. It hints at happenings and has as many twists as a well made roller coaster.  Anybody who like books like Snow Crash, Necromancer, or Ready Player One I'm pretty sure will like this book.
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I thoroughly enjoyed it. And the sequel comes out in 3 days :)