Nicholas's Reviews > The Quantum Thief

The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi
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Jun 08, 11

bookshelves: reviewed
Read from April 15 to June 08, 2011

It took six months, but I did find another book as good as the first book I read this year, and I was skeptical of that happening at all.

I will go on record right now and forecast a Hugo, a Nebula, and John Campbell award for "The Quantum Thief" next year.

This was both a challenging read, and a highly satisfying victory once I began to understand what was happening around me as I looked through the character's eyes. Yes, the first third of the book was difficult to parse, but it was also very compelling. I WANTED to continue, even when I was confused.

As a mystery, it's resolved via a Deus ex Machinea that may be the Deus ex Machinea to end them all...but within the confines of the world built by the story, encountering the god in the machine was always the intended destination. Also, while the machine and the god play pivotal roles, the resolution of the story is driven by the characters themselves.

As a treatise on the futures of privacy, self-perception and group-perception, aging and death, and what it truly means to steal something valuable in a world where anything can be imitated and reproduced, this book works on a multitude of levels.

My only concern, is that you have to have a relatively good grasp of current emerging technologies and the edge cases of how technology is changing society and culture for the lines to be drawn from where we are now to where this book exists. Nerds will love this book. Geeks will drool for hours over the concepts put forward, long after the final page has been read. People who like that the iPhone "just works" because "they don't have to think about it" might not see the forest through the conceptual trees. That's not a criticism, just an observation that some of this exceeds the expectations and typical limitations of today's crop of Science Fiction novels.

Which is exactly why it will win so many awards.

If you want to read a book that is beyond anything else in it's generation, this is it. It was like reading Neuromancer for the first time in 1984, every new concept was groundbreaking, and as a whole it will define a new generation of fiction.

This wasn't just a good book, or even a great book, it will be a genre-defining book for years to come.
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Reading Progress

05/10/2011 page 188
56.0% "This will win the Hugo and the Nebula. I can tell already, and I'm barely half-way finished."

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