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The Fractal Prince

(Jean le Flambeur #2)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  7,793 ratings  ·  597 reviews
“The good thing is, no one will ever die again. The bad thing is, everyone will want to.”
A physicist receives a mysterious paper. The ideas in it are far, far ahead of current thinking and quite, quite terrifying. In a city of “fast ones,” shadow players, and jinni, two sisters contemplate a revolution.
And on the edges of reality a thief, helped by a sardonic ship, is tryi
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published September 27th 2012 by Tor Books (first published September 1st 2012)
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Average rating 4.05  · 
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Jun 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Only for hard sci-fi readers
3.5/5 stars

The Fractal Prince currently sits at the top of the most complex and difficult sci-fi book I’ve ever read; probably soon to be replaced by its sequel.

Rajaniemi continues his uncompromising no exposition storytelling style. Other than one or two short sentences, all terms were left unexplained; it’s up to the readers to make sense of what each terminology means from the narrative. For example gogols, Spimescape, Wildcode, and many more. Feel free to call me stupid or dumb if you want b
Jan 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, my-collection
Oh... my.....god.....
Reading this diamond hard sci-fi novel is certainly not for space opera virgins. My mind is bleeding from the attempt. But then again nothing previously written in the genre (except volume one) could prepare one adequately for this frenetically paced, incredibly complex, fractally dense, relentlessly overwhelming work. It is post human, post singularity and post current imagination.
Sui generis indeed, and the gentle reader is not provided with a easy roadmap. Or a lifebelt.
“On the day the Hunter comes for me, I am killing ghost cats from the Schrödinger Box.”

I luuuuurve this opening line. His craft is exquisite, so far.

Update: The imagery is almost better than anything I've read in either sci-fi or fantasy. If you took out the better and deeper images from all thee matrix movies, threw them up against the wall with jinn and fairies and the greatest heist mysteries, heavily spiced it with near-impossible mathematical concepts and theorems that really need some dee
Aug 24, 2013 rated it liked it
More post singularity thief nonsense in a wildly inventive future solar system.

Look, the thing is. I like a story that skips infodumps as much as the next girl. The prequel had that great setup where you could actually steal time off of someone's life, and this book does the same trick of plopping you down into a culture and never actually explaining the rules so it takes a few hundred pages to figure shit out. He makes it worthwhile, because these settings really are great. But at a certain poi
Alexander Popov
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
(The review was originally posted in the blog Random's 23 Cents:

Step into the Palace of Stories, taste their body of fractals…

I gobbled The Fractal Prince up in just a few days, hungry to devour as many pages as possible during my daily commute between tube stations. Or maybe trying to slow down and savor them, sorry to see the book come to an end. Anything inducing such paradoxical states of mind must be more than just good. The follow-up to The Quantum
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-sci-fi
Nothing pleases me more than when a novel refuses the reader exposition. Instead, they immerse you in the world and let you sink or swim. And let me tell you, that first gulp of air is so sweet. I read 'The Quantum Thief,' to which this book is the sequel. I was worried that, having already swam in that ocean of post-human lives, sentient machines, and cultures based solely on MMORPGs, that navigating these waters would be too easy. I was delightfully wrong. I had many gasps of sweet sweet air, ...more
Wildly entertaining. It's a puzzle and a heist and an interesting mix of science fiction and fantasy.

But to be completely honest, I understood maybe 50% of the plot and about 20% of the science (and even less of the theoretical science). Didn't get in the way of my enjoyment of the story though. The prose is fast-paced and a lot of fun (the rollicking kind). Hannu Rajaniemi has an interesting way with words and a unique plotting style that kept me turning the pages late into the night, even tho
Dec 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daniel Burton
Nov 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
One of the reasons I read non-fiction and classics is that they tend to challenge me more than the books I enjoy reading the most. I'll pick up science-fiction or fantasy because I want to escape, relax, and take a break. But too much, and I get bored.

I did not have that problem when I read this book. Not one bit.

Hannu Rajaniemi, though, has found a way to both escape and challenge my mind at the same time. The challenge is such that, as I have seen one reviewer note, I would not recommend Raja
May 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved the previous book, but I read it too long ago to remember if I found it as hard to grasp as this one. There's several story-lines that play out simultaneously in very different worlds, and on top of that there's what feels like a very deliberate tribute to 1001 Nights in the use of nested stories and many of the universe's elements. Once everything is revealed, the layering and plot manipulations are simply grand, but I was well past the halfway point of the book before I felt like I had ...more
David Katzman
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review is for Book 2, The Fractal Prince and Book 3, The Causal Angel. Books 2 and 3 were just as entertaining as Book 1, The Quantum Thief, although neither achieved the thematic heights of Book 1 (the premise of rewriting history that impressed me profoundly). Instead, we are treated to further adventures in this surreal far future world created by Rajaniemi. Rajaniemi continues to impress me with his ability to project into the extreme future what life might be like if consciousness coul ...more
Feb 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013, e-books
4 Stars

The Fractal Prince is a bit of a letdown to me after having reread book one tQT by Hannu Rajaniemi. It is like the first piece an incredibly ambitious and complex piece of hard science fiction that will challenge you as a reader to keep things straight or even to simply understand what he is talking about. As I mentioned in my review of book one, there is a Wiki page that goes into great detail on the vocabulary, the world, the creatures, and of course the science behind the story of The
Tudor Ciocarlie
Dec 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Hannu Rajaniemi had managed to do something unique in SF: to write a hard-SF novel in a far-future, post-human, post-singularity world. No other SF writer has had the courage to immerse the science, the narrative and the prose, so deep in the far future. Adam Roberts was right in saying that "there's nothing quite like it in contemporary SF". It's not an easy book, but this is science-fiction at its best and an incredible piece of literature in general. ...more
Aug 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So glad I reread this. There are still many things I couldn't quite understand, but this time I really enjoyed the ride and, as in The Quantum Thief, some concepts and the level of creativity really took my breath away.
This time, I'm ready for the final book!
“An awesome, epic hard-sci-fi follow up to The Quantum Thief makes sure that The Fractal Prince was one of my favourite books of 2012.” ~The Founding Fields

The Fractal Prince was the last book that I finished in 2012, and it was a great year to end my reading on. As The Quantum Thief was one of my favourite novels of 2011, I seized the chance to read a copy of The Fractal Prince and I am grateful for Tor for sending me a copy to review – I just couldn’t put this book down, making it two out of t
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Returning to the futuristic Solar System of his highly-acclaimed debut novel, The Quantum Thief, after a dynamic entry to the science fiction field that brought to the forefront his talents, Hannu Rajaniemi comes in The Fractal Prince, the second book featuring the gentleman thief Jean le Flambeur, with a different style, traveling us in a story of body thieves, jinni, aristocrats and hunters, but also in an adventure of immortality, love and betrayal, in an imaginative, ambitious sequel.

Chris Berko
Apr 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Holy F'ing S, this series is incredible. This one though was a little bit darker than the first one. The Quantum Thief was kind of like those Oceans movies with Clooney only if they were directed by Christopher Nolan. It was a fun, heist/caper novel set in a unbelievably imaginative post-singularity future. This second novel does not have as much humor as the first one and the actions and behaviors of the characters carries a much darker influence. The action remains as original and visual as a ...more
Ben Thurley
Nov 16, 2012 rated it liked it
I think Rajaniemi's two novels, this and his earlier, The Quantum Thief teeter on the edge of greatness, almost but not quite living up to their promise. They are full of big ideas, a richly imagined future where new ways of being human play out across the solar system. He is uncompromising in chiselling exposition away, and his language often achieves an elliptical kind of lyricism, even when describing the sharp edges of some technological horror. Although, to my mind, it equally often seemed ...more
Peter Tillman
The Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi. Sequel to The Quantum Thief.
A/A+. May be the best "middle book" in the history of science fiction?

I was late reading The Quantum Thief, waiting for the paperback after reading some rather forbidding reviews. And it was a slow-starting, not especially reader-friendly book -- hey, it was his first novel -- even though I ended up liking it a lot.

The Fractal Prince resolves most of those writing-craft issues, and crackles along, though it's certainly not a page
Ira Nayman
Jan 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
The science fiction book club I attend looked at Karl Schroeder’s Lady of Mazes one month. One of the members stated that he didn’t much care for post-Singularity novels because there really wasn’t any way of predicting what would happen after all matter in the solar system or galaxy became computation. That, on the other hand, is exactly why I love those stories, as I was reminded by reading Hannu Rajaniemi’s The Fractal Prince, the awesome sequel to his awesome The Quantum Thief.

When I experie
Holly (The GrimDragon)
“Mieli has been acting strangely. She is not the life of the party at the best of times, but she has been even quieter than usual during the slow weeks of our journey from Mars..”

The Fractal Prince is the follow-up to The Quantum Thief in the Jean le Flambeur series by Hannu Rajaniemi.

I’m not sure what type of actual monster is perhaps reading this review without having already read the first book in this glorious series, but if that happens to be you.. I can’t guarantee that there won’t be spoi
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that I had a hard time putting down when inconvenient things like work, food and sleep got in the way.

The Fractal Prince takes place mostly either on Earth or on the ship Perhonen. On Earth, a woman named Tawwadud is drawn into her family's political machinations in a small outpost town that is constantly being assaulted by wildcode. Tech functions a lot like magic in this place, and knowing the right word triggers and thoughtforms can protect a person from wild nanot
Clay Kallam
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf-fantasy
According to the blurb on the book jacket, Hannu Rajaniemi is a Finn transplanted to Scotland who directs a think tank that helps businesses by using higher math.

If you think that’s a little confusing, try reading his two books, “The Quantum Thief” and “The Fractal Prince” (Tor, $25.99, 297 pages). Set a few hundred years down the road, the connected books (absolutely read “The Quantum Thief” first) take place in a world where virtual realities are pretty much indistinguishable from the real thi
Jan 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, sf-fantasy
A character's comment towards the end sums up the experience of this book for me: '... the data stream is a bit of a headfuck. If I go mad or spontaneously transcend in the next five minutes, I'm going to blame you.'

Well, this is certainly a headfuck, and I think Rajanieni is going to have to account for a lot of exploding heads and/or spontaneous transcendence with this one. It is beautifully written and exquisitely crafted, and really has quite a simple by-the-numbers whodunnit plot.

Tacked ont
Mary Catelli
Continuing onward from The Quantum Thief, set in the same future of nanotechnology and AIs and a full occupied solar system.

The thief and Mieli are still traveling on her ship, this time to Earth, to steal something for Mieli's goddess and the thief's old acquittance Josephine Pellegrini.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Tawaddad is interrupted while entertaining a jinn by her sister -- she has to get busy, doing actual work for the family. A politically powerful ally had died last night, and she is needed.

Jan 13, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I look at my review for the first book and see delight and enthusiasm. Reading the Quantum Thief was hard work but getting to understand the world and the characters that inhabit it was such a reward, brought such enchantment. Reading the Fractal Prince felt like hard work and that's about it. I had some vague curiosity about one of the characters but everyone else felt so flat. Most interactions felt so negative. Most descriptions felt so confusing. There was nothing for me in this book. Maybe ...more
Dec 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
THE FRACTAL PRINCE is the follow-up to Hannu Rajaniemi’s THE QUANTUM THIEF, and, like its predecessor, is a complex, fast-paced tale of gentleman thief Jean le Flambeur battling gods in a post-singularity world that only a mathematician or physicist will feel completely comfortable. But this time, Rajaniemi adds a layer of Arabian Nights and the power of stories to this hard-SF tale.

As you can probably guess from that first paragraph, THE FRACTAL PRINCE is not the easiest read. There is a reason
Michael Burnam-Fink
May 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, 2014, 2018
Rajaniemi's fiction is the biggest, most ambitious work of visioning I've encountered since Sterling's Schismatrix. Master thief Jean Le Flambeur has escaped from Mars with more of his memories, on a course for the Jinn-haunted deserts of Earth to steal the childhood of a God. But the universe is a terrifying place, and great powers that imprison souls, enslave minds, and blast holes in space-time are on the same path as Le Flambeur, and immortality and death are two sides of the same bad bargai ...more
Feb 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Well, exposition is so scarce in Hannu Rajaniemi's Jean le Flambeur series that I found myself getting excited and highlighting passages whenever a modicum of the stuff ever did finally come around. Though while there's something challenging about being dropped into a strange world with no explanation, it can also be incredibly satisfying to stretch one’s mental muscles in the way that only such a sink-or-swim lack of background can provide.

The Fract
Shantnu Tiwari
Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
This sequel to the Quantum Thief follows the same style as the 1st. New words are thrown about, and their meaning only explained much later. But we know a bit more about the characters and events mentioned in the 1st book.

The story starts from the last book's end. The thief is going to Earth. While Mars was like ancient Greece, Earth is like the Arab stories. There are jinns in the desert that take over human minds. Adventurous men go out into the desert to steal these jinns (really just bodyles
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audiobook? 1 14 Sep 28, 2012 11:13AM  

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EN: Hannu Rajaniemi is a Finnish author of science fiction and fantasy, who writes in both English and Finnish. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is a founding director of a technology consultancy company, ThinkTank Maths.

Rajaniemi was born in Ylivieska, Finland. He holds a B.Sc. in Mathematics from the University of Oulu, a Certificate of Advanced Study in Mathematics from the University of Ca

Other books in the series

Jean le Flambeur (3 books)
  • The Quantum Thief (Jean le Flambeur, #1)
  • The Causal Angel (Jean le Flambeur, #3)

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