Hannu Rajaniemi’s second novel, The Fractal Prince, was an enjoyable a read as his first novel, which I finished up last month. Like that first book, the author disdains giving you those helpings of information that assist you in knowing what’s going on. He leaves you to figure it out by yourself. As a result the reading experience has no anchor for the first two-thirds of the book. It demands some attention to detail. Not a bad thing. But not fluff reading like much space-n-shooting science fiction.
For some of the book, I thought I had taken a wrong turn into a really fractured (fractal?) Arabian Nights. No matter. I like mythology, too.
The heroes of The Quantum Thief reappear and share the stage with the desert aristocracy of a future Earth ravaged by technology gone awry. By the last third of the novel these two strains pull together in a surprising way.
The ending is fairly satisfying, but like many middle stories in a trilogy, enough is left open to develop in a third book.
One thing I like about the regular incomprehensibility of the book is that it reads just like a 21st century person’s experience in the far future. The apostle Paul, for example, would be baffled by blogs, smart phones, jets, and such. But I think he would catch on pretty quick. There’s no religion to speak of in Mr Rajaniemi’s narratives, even in the ones that give a nod to 1001 Arabian Nights.
What else can I say? Read this book if you dare. I liked it. But my friends know my tastes run pretty eclectic.