Kathleen's Reviews > The Quantum Thief

The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi
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Jun 07, 11

bookshelves: science-fiction
Read in June, 2011

I originally included the plot summary from Amazon in this review, but you know what? You can click up there and read it for yourself if you want, right? So let's shorten this up a bit.

I quite enjoyed this book; however, I can see that it would be annoying to someone who is not into hard sci-fi. The reader is dumped into confusing action and unfamiliar vocabulary and jargon without pause for explanation. About a third of the way in, the reader is handed some background, so if they hang on until then, the story really gets interesting.

The setting is everything: a moving city on Mars called the Obliette, where citizens wear timepieces that measure their time left before they "die". When their time runs out, they are required to become part of the Quiet, part of the machines that help run the city. This work earns them back Time to spend as a citizen. There is also something called gevulot, which is a system of thought privacy where people can control their interactions with other people, down to manipulating someone else's memory to forget they ever interacted with them.

I felt like it was a sci-fi version of a Sherlock Holmes brilliant scene-of-the-crime detective facing a highly skilled but flawed master thief. But the thief is someone you like and root for to get away with the crime, and the detective is someone who you feel sorry for because of their crazy relationship problems.

The story was entertaining, challenging, and fun. I didn't realize this was a first of a trilogy. (Aren't they all these days?) That explains some of the hanging plot lines at the end.

keywords: science fiction, hard sci-fi, post-singularity, post-humanistic society, Mars, telepathy, virtual reality, quantum states, artificial intelligence

Read-alikes: Charles Stross, William Gibson
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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The Holy Terror Thank you for the link to the wiki page! I just started this, and I was semi-prepared for feeling lost, but this is seriously hardcore science fiction. It's also making me feel a bit dumb for not realizing some of the words are not made up ...


Kathleen You are welcome! I read a lot of science fiction and even I got lost with this one. It was a cool story though.


The Holy Terror Good to hear! I am going to try to plow through it.


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