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Previous BotM--DISCUSSIONS > The Quantum Thief -- Finished Reading **SPOILERS LIKELY!**

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message 1: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (tantara) | 1207 comments If you've finished reading The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi, this is the place to share your thoughts with the group.

Caution: There will likely be **SPOILERS** in this thread.


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 225 comments I read the first 100 pages, then I started over again. That was better. This is a very challenging and interesting novel. I loved it!


message 3: by Ken (new)

Ken (ogi8745) | 1348 comments I sort of liked it
The story, when you get down to it was not bad, unfortunately it was covered up with some impressive technobabble. This was a mishmash of a bunch of different SF genres and it sort of worked ok, again I point back to technobabble. The author seemed to get caught up in his cool tech stuff with the cool names for it.


message 4: by Chris, Moderator (new)

Chris (heroncfr) | 545 comments Mod
This book was a lot of work, full of neo-technical terminology that bordered on magic. I thought it was a reasonably good story; I liked the heist aspects. I was impressed by the depth of detail in the author’s vision for the world. Gevulot was memory block chain before block chain was cool. But I didn’t care for or identify with any of the characters, and the whole memory-recovery plot line seemed unnecessarily complicated.


message 5: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new)

Kathi | 3219 comments Mod
This was not an easy book to read or to like, and yet, I did. Or at least, I think I did.

The author has stuffed his story with undefined terms, expecting the reader to discern the meanings through context and repetition. I Googled a lot.

He has created characters who are flawed, post-human, and quite opaque, yet I cared about them and wanted them to succeed (although I didn’t always know just what the characters were trying to accomplish).

Each struggle or conflict seemed to be part of a larger conflict, until ultimately, all the conflicts apparently are engulfed by a cosmic war.

The unreliability of memory is a major theme, and other recurring themes include the nature of reality and what makes a person who they “really” are. Are there any fully human beings left in this version of the universe?

This is the first book of a trilogy—I am not sure I will pursue the other two installments.


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 225 comments The author has a Ph.D. in Mathematical Physics. He actually 'gets' quantum physics more than the majority of us. I wouldn't be surprised if he has a smart house with an AI which has sentience, and Siri/Alexa call him 'Sir'.

I was lucky to get through calculus in school, and I still don't understand basic math story problems. I am convinced Möbius strip thingies are real magic. I was born too long ago to play the video games today with any competence or understanding (winning at Pong was my best accomplishment, Pacman was too fast for me). I remember three Spanish words from my foreign language class in high school, one of them being 'ayuda'.

I was googling paragraphs, needless to say, not just words. So, to finish this was amazing. I even understood most of it. Eventually. Maybe. I read it only twice. Yay, right? Right? I did it by assuming an emotional state of total hilarity at my presumptuousness as I read.


message 7: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new)

Kathi | 3219 comments Mod
Has anyone read the rest of the trilogy? No spoilers, just some impressions, if you have.


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 225 comments I read The Fractal Prince, but no character in it appeals. Plus particle manipulation is the point of living to the characters, exclusively, to such a degree that in my point-of-view and opinion, personally I could not see why being alive at all would have any value to anyone in the book. However, the book's characters somehow still strongly feel desires for power, competition and sex. Why? It is a world similar to one where food has no taste, flowers by have no scent, the sun has no warmth, etc. It doesn't compute for me, Why have any desire to be alive? But maybe because I think emotion in relationships, such as love and affection, are important to adding value to wanting to continue to breathe or wake up, and that life is not 100% about only math and struggling to be the top god of the universe. If my memory is correct, as I read it a long while ago.

That said, 'The Fractal Prince' is a marvelously intellectual physics math exercise and amazing conceptual idea book of a science fiction. Particle mathematics manipulation is Life and Life is particle mathematics manipulation, the two things having become so intertwined there is no separation, but being human is no longer a need. It seemed to me this was a world that people with autism would feel ecstasy everyday in having. IDK.


message 9: by Xan (new)

Xan  Shadowflutter (shadowflutter) | 24 comments Kathi wrote: "Has anyone read the rest of the trilogy? No spoilers, just some impressions, if you have."

I read all three, liked them all, and especially liked Meili. I treated the technobabble as stream of consciousness writing and just moved through it not caring how much I understood. IIRC the technobabble lightens up in book 3. I also liked the story, and I liked the author's imagination most of all. I give him high marks for imagination and attempting this.


message 10: by Ken (new)

Ken (ogi8745) | 1348 comments aPriL does feral sometimes wrote: "The author has a Ph.D. in Mathematical Physics. He actually 'gets' quantum physics more than the majority of us. I was lucky to get through calculus in school, and I still don't understand basic math story problems."

Same here, basic math I am fine with, higher order Math my brain goes to mush. I read Seveneves a few years ago and the author had a few pages devoted to mathematical reasoning to complete a orbital manoeuvre, my eyes glazed over and I still dont claim to understand but I found it fascinating


message 11: by Kathi, Moderator & Book Lover (new)

Kathi | 3219 comments Mod
Thanks for the insights. I will keep an open mind about the sequels, but will not be rushing out to buy them.


message 12: by David (new)

David Fox (talk2dfox) | 12 comments I didn't get Quantum Thief out of the library until mid-month, and then had a week or so where I didn't have the concentration to get into it, but I started again about a week ago, and just finished it.

Definitely my kind of book - I love to puzzle out out-of-order narratives. When it is done well, I find the shock when you put everything together heightens the emotional impact. This is more true of Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury), or even Iain Banks' Use of Weapons. The Quantum Thief didn't quite have that kind of impact, partly because I don't understand Le Flambeur well enough to really feel for what he gave up and why, but then again, this is just the first volume of the trilogy.

I also loved Rajaniemi's world-building; I can't learn more about the Sobernost and how they have affected human civilization.

I must say, though, that the Prisoner's dilemma at the start doesn't seem to me to bear much resemblance to the actual prisoner's dilemma in game theory.


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