Hannu Rajaniemi’s 2010 debut novel is not conventional science fiction. He drops the reader into a strange future and he gives only sparing directions on what’s going on.
Well, not quite. In the first two chapters, a Weird Idea is introduced, a prisoner is freed on a jailbreak in the outer solar system near Neptune, and a battle in space commences.
From there, I spent most of the first half of the book trying to figure out what was going on. I had company. Most everyone who read this novel seems to have scratched their real-world heads trying to figure out what was going on without the customary info dump. (Like what you see at the start of a Star Wars movie.)
The Quantum Thief unfolds with some romance, a little bit of sex (but not as much as other recent Scottish sf authors), and a healthy dose of intrigue spiked with espionage. The second half of the book picks up the pace considerably. The last forty pages reminded me of a roller coaster: I don’t know how many times the ride spun me around, but I do know it was thrilling. And I’m pretty sure it all hangs together logically. I thought about reading it again, just to see. But there’s a sequel out and maybe I’ll read that one instead.
Would I recommend this book? I enjoyed it a lot. But you have to understand that as a man of faith, I don’t need it all explained. If you need to know what’s going on, you won’t like this book. The prose is quite excellent. I wish I could write like that.