- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Gollancz (30 Sept. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0575088885
- ISBN-13: 978-0575088887
- Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.2 x 2.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 564,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Quantum Thief Paperback – 30 Sep 2010
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Rajaniemi spins a yarn that ties old-fashioned adventure to cutting edge science without ever seeming contrived. The science fiction debut of the year, no contest. (SFX)
A brilliant debut. (Eric Brown THE GUARDIAN)
It is, at heart, a noir thriller in cosmic drag. In addition to its amnesiac antihero there's a down-at-heel detective and any number of femmes fatales. Wild SF concepts come thick and fast. Cities are mobile, spaceships are sentient, memories can be shared, and portions of a person's lifespan form the basis for financial transactions (time literally is money). (James Lovegrove THE FINANCIAL TIMES)
The first line of The Quantum Thief promises a lot: humour, suspense, time paradoxes, philosophical puzzles and futuristic action, all tied up in a succinct and stylish knot. All this and more, the novel delivers. Inventive, exotic, densely plotted and compelling, this is an impressive debut. (Lisa Tuttle THE TIMES)
"A brilliant first novel. The Quantum Thief, like so much of the best space opera of this century, is a prodigy house, where propositions are instant heritage, and arguments are eyeclick." (STRANGE HORIZONS)
The story unfolds briskly with barely a pause for breath, the plot is gripping, the ideas complex but thought-provoking, and there are all the requisite shocking revelations and intriguing plot twists you could wish for. The Quantum Thief is a bravura debut novel, a confident and accomplished work that reinvigorates the genre. It is easily the best SF debut since Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon. (WERTZONE)
Comes together piece by piece in the mode of M. John Harrison's Light - and it's every bit the equal of that modern-day genre masterpiece. Beneath the science, you see, beneath the staggering speculative wonder of it all, Hannu Rajaniemi has a knack for spare, no-nonsense storytelling that approaches the poetic at times. The Quantum Thief is a revelation, in the end, and make no mistake: we have here the sci-fi debut of 2010. (SPECULTIVE SCOTSMAN)
"With its engaging narrative and characters backed by often almost intimidatingly good sci-fi concepts, it's easy to see why The Quantum Thief is being heavily, and deservedly touted, as the big SF debut of the year." (SCI FI NOW)
The Quantum Thief is bursting with ideas and there sufficient action/battle scenes to slake any thirst for vicarious violence." (INTERZONE)
Serious SF disguised as a crime thriller with great success... a fun, addictive read. (Anthony Brown TOTAL SCI FI)
He's spectacularly delivered on the promise that this is likely the more important debut SF novel we'll see this year. (Gary K Wolfe LOCUS)
A wildly imaginative SF novel. Excellent. (BBC FOCUS)
The most exciting SF debut of the last fiive years - a star to stand alongside Alastair Reynolds and Richard Morgan.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
Why do I mention this? Well, this book was recommended to me on this basis.
First, the good. It’s very well written. Not just the vernacular and curious tricks like repetition and disjointed but imaginative and gratifying metaphors that are in abundance, but structurally, too. The tension, reveals and plot are layered on top of each other expertly. There’s no cheap shock or twist, rather, an inevitable but still surprising and satisfying series of conclusions that make the story feel tight and believable, despite its exotic location and characters. Simply, nothing feels forced in at an awkward angle – either character interactions of plot routes. It reads very much as though it was written with a lot of giant storyboards plastered on walls. It’s careful and modulated with extreme skill. This aspect of the book is delightful.
Another great part of this book is the variety of ideas – most of them excellent. There are concepts and consequences of these that light the imagination with possibility, and if they aren’t delved into too deeply in the story, that’s just fine (although one aspect grates, which I will describe later), because it’s a joy to fill in the gaps yourself. Specifically, the writer’s approach to the issue of privacy in an interconnected future is very well thought through and seems entirely plausible, despite the technology required being little different from actual black magic.
However, for all this, there are many faults, and ultimately they are ones that mean I won’t be reading the squeals until well into the future, when I’ve run out of other recommendations to get through.Read more ›
However on the other hand, I felt these ideas are wrapped in what is essentially a weak story, one where I never cared about the characters at all. At certain points, the book has the reader buried in so many unfamiliar concepts and terminologies that makes identifying with the characters less of a concern. Maybe the author wanted to keep the story short and snappy and decided to sacrifice depth for a fast-moving pace?
The problem is that the story doesn't guide you by the hand but rather expect you to figure out everything by yourself. I come from a science background so the concepts weren't that hard for me to figure out but at times you just feel so overwhelmed and lost that you want to give up. Luckily there is also a glossary available on Wikipedia. Even with the glossary at hand, I didn't have much idea of what was happening in the story until I was in the final chapters when everything finally clicked and realised what a clever ending this is. I felt my "Eureka" moment came too late and spoiled my enjoyment of the story.
This is a book that will definitely benefit from rereading. By the second or third time, you will already be familiar enough with the concepts and can just focus tackling the story. I will let you know if my opinion changes if I ever decide to reread this book.
The Quantum Thief is a book full of potential but not quite getting there yet. Let's see how the sequel, The Fractal Prince will do when it comes out in September.
The tech was a bit laid on with a trowel but didn't seem too distracting.
From the opening, in a "dilemma prison" where Jean le Flambeur is condemned to iterate and reiterate his life, to the ending, in a sort-of garden (and with a hint of more to come) the book is chock full of ideas. Somebody wants to Jean to carry out a crime, but who, and what is the crime? Before he can oblige , he needs to recover his memories, and that takes us to the Oubliette, a society on Mars which is a weird blend of advanced quantum cryptography and steampunk. But there are more challenges here. There are Detectives. There are soul-stealers. There is le Roi. And Jean left a girlfriend behind, who wants to get even.
The action takes place against a well realised background - the Protocol wars. The Spike. The Collapse. Revolution. The Kingdom. We are hundreds of years into the future, and minds can inhabit newly made bodies, migrating from one lifetime to the next through different forms, accumulating memories. What happens if someone can hack the memory mechanism - enabling them to, literally, reshape minds? In order to pay his debt to his rescuer, Jean needs to find out - taking him on a journey that reveals the secrets of the Oubliette. As he says, "Fighting a cabal of planetary mind-controlling masterminds with a group of masked vigilantes - that's what life should be all about."
I just can't praise this book too highly. It deserves to be showered with awards, and to sell by the shipload.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
At first I was distracted by trying to understand how things worked, but once I gave up it was a good read, with involving characters. Need to read the rest of the series!Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who was having a difficult time in following the story. I also had a hard time concentrating throughout the book and felt it was more for a... Read morePublished 5 months ago by S2ky
Great read. Interesting take on the future. I liked the very alternate look at life on Mars. Jean le Flambeur was a great character. Funny, entertaining and intelligent. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Clouseau's Body Double
pretentious but more importantly boring, tries to be too clever and just ends up being a confusing mess,
sorry but this is a crap novel and I normally love all kinds of sci... Read more
Ideas satisfyingly hard to grasp, provide a narrative that I just manage to make sense of, by allowing myself to become immersed, in the wonderful and expansive text. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
Really not my cup of tea this one.
I am an avid reader of what some may consider 'hard core' science fiction, but I'm afraid this book is not a shining example of the... Read more
I really struggled with this book. It has some great ideas in it, but the author makes it incredibly hard work to follow - cleverness at the expense of readability and plot. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Paul Vanags