Book Review – The Quantum Thief

The Quantum Thief (The Quantum Thief Trilogy #1)The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Like Alastair Reynolds, the stories of Hannu Rajaniemi require a certain level of…not faith, exactly, but a desire to immerse oneself in a brand-new sci-fi universe of technology. A willingness to put up with a barrage of terminology, concepts, and advancements without the aid of a glossary, companion “History of This Universe” book, or anything like that. In short, you have to love hard sci-fi, and you have to trust the author won’t leave you out of your depth for too long.

Rajaniemi does a great job helping the reader to understand the most pertinent concepts, then dolling out information as it becomes necessary for his compelling caper plot. He’s got a unique vision for the fractured future of humanity, and the interplay between various factions is at the heart of this novel. It’s an entertaining read – not necessarily for casual, Star Wars-type fans – but solid enough for those of us immersed in the genre. I’m honestly curious how the rest of the trilogy turns out.

My only reservation about this book was the shifting point-of-view. For one character, we’re presented with first-person POV, and soon after, another main character is told from an close third-person POV. In a novel chock full of “new/different,” it’s more hurdle than technique; I’m already learning about q-dots, Mars, a ton of unconventional names, etc, and the back-and-forth POV switch felt like an obstacle at times. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it does make the reader work a little bit harder.

A solid effort, I’d recommend The Quantum Thief to anyone who enjoys sci-fi, mystery, likes a bit of a challenge.

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The Moment

It’s the kind of night where the magic comes back.

I write to you with the wind blowing in my house, carrying the sounds of an early fall night (by my reckoning). The winds are cool and wet after a gentle rain. I can let the outside in, anud that goes both for my house and myself.

It’s been a tough week, coming off vacation and dealing with a day job that’s a little like having a slow form of cancer. Going from what’s probably my lowest gear to the usual unoiled grind has been tiresome. My dog Rand also has gone back to his usual routine, getting me up in the middle of the night to pee. Every night. Last week I got to enjoy seven hours or more any time I wanted, bur even seven is a long time for me, especially uninterrupted. I’ve been on a swing.

Despite this, the writing couldn’t be better. Bemann, the next book, passed 500 pages this morning. I remember when I despaired at the idea of ever getting to 400, and that wasn’t so long ago! Now the end is in real sight, not a thought but a thing, with a shape and a measurable distance. I’m not adding so much anymore, just tying all the ends together into a braid which will twist tight in the conclusion. It’s bug, it’s got twists, and it’s definitely my best writing, even if it’s nowhere near as goofy as it’s been with, say, Redheads & Bubblegum. I still love that book. I also still love Beavis & Butthead, so you see my state of existence, don’t you?

Tell you what: I sure do.

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Stanley Cup Predictions

2011 Edition
The Stanley Cup Finals
Boston vs. Vancouver

To-Date:  The Canucks and Bruins have both overcome adversity this postseason, with Vancouver triumphing in Game 7 of the first round versus my beloved Blackhawks, and Boston fighting off disaster and sending the Flyers packing in a grudge match.  Vancouver has had more rest; the Bruins seem to thrive on pressure.  Both teams are rested after a longer-than-usual breaks before the Final.

Result: Bruins in…more than 5.  There’s a very slim chance this will be one-sided, but weird things do happen in the Finals.  I think 6 is most likely, six close games.  Plus, the Cup tends to be won by overdue teams when they’re on the road.  7 is a very real scenario, but there’s no real predicting how we’d get there, given it’s these two teams.

Conn Smythe (playoff MVP): A goalie.  Thomas or Luongo, dead-heat even if they wind up on the losing side.  This is a battle of goaltenders who have sparkled this spring, period, and could easily be the brightest star in the sky, despite hailing from a runner-up galaxy.  So, one or the other, with a certainty of 90%.  There are, however, a plethora of damned excellent big-game skaters on both teams.  Most of them have been hotter than hell this postseason, and could parlay that into a dominant performance in the Finals.  Even the ones who haven’t been top-shelf (and this includes defensemen), could come up consistently huge and take the trophy.

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Another Randy Bemann Ditty

‘kay, like so this one time, Randy Bemann found one of his shirts inside-out, and he hates that, so he turned it rightside-out, but it turns our it wasn’t inside-out in the first place, so it ended up outside-in.

‘kay, bye!

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The Challenge

The big question for this week is, since I’m sitting out in the woods, can I get through all of Part 3 of The Bemann Files? Be nice to come home to the home stretch…

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Ah, Yes!

Hi everybody!  Remember that scene I was worried about for the new book The Bemann Files?  I just finished, and I’m happy to say I nailed it!  This is the official halfway point of the story, and I couldn’t be more excited!  With this mostly right (as much as any first draft can be), I now have the framework to kick names and take ass (or maybe the other way around, but with this book you never know) right down the line to the end.

Time to celebrate with some cartwheels!  Happy Monday!

Nik

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Two Milestones

Good morning, Friends & Neighbors!

Today I have two tidbits of good news.  First, I passed page 200 of The Bemann Files this morning.  Second, I began work on the hardest section of work I’ve ever imagined.  It forms the middle of the book, kind of like…not a turning point for the characters, but a kind of ramp-up.  What they’re doing passes from nuisance to the territory of dangerous right here, and I can’t fuck it up, or the rest of the book won’t sound right.  So far, so good.  I’m pumped like an old Reebok shoe.  The trick is not overpumping myself, like I used to do with those shoes.

Happy Thursday!

Nik

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