The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi… aka “Beam me up, Scotty!”

The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi… aka “Beam me up, Scotty!”

Let’s face it, science-fiction writers bluff a LOT. With the reader, with their characters, sometimes with the whole universe and other times even with themselves. This novel, however, reached a whole new level (practically invented it), because this author has bluffed his way through the entire story. And I’m not just saying that because its protagonist is an almost omnipotent thief.

The first couple of chapters are fantastic. The prison and what the thief goes through inside it are described perfectly and yes, the whole thing gets you hooked. Unfortunately, after the first couple of chapters, the book turns into an anime script (with very few exceptions).

This would have been a pretty fun read if not for several lethal facts:

*Grown-ups with, literally, centuries of life experience are acting like a bunch of moody, angsty teenagers. I get the eccentricity is some cases, but this is almost ridiculous. I expected huge egos, limitless power and almost omniscience… and I got huge egos, cheap tricks and almost no one having any kind of control over anything.

**Something that was quite disturbing and unforgivable for me… and, I should think, for any female individual reading this book: the sex scene… which the author tries to gloss over by repeating several times that no, Mieli was not present during the important bits because her mind wasn’t actually connected to her own body (consent, anyone?), so it was actually ok… no, no dear author, it really wasn’t…

***The showdown – much like the entire book, come to think of it – is so choked on terminology (one that is never quite explained, mind you) that you can barely understand what the hell is going on. It is one giant linguistic/phraseologic chaos… featuring lethal particle beams, computer viruses… and honest-to-God sword-wielding pixies straight out of a “Magical Girl” game/anime…

Recommended to: people who like lasers, conspiracy theories (although the storytelling fell quite a bit short in the build-up), explosions and anime!!!

Still, the book gets two stars (on Goodreads) because I liked the ship (though I understand that it gets destroyed at some point in the future, so there’s that…), the time beggars scene and because the whole thing wasn’t boring. The pacing was pretty well done and while there will be groaning in annoyance and LOTS of eye-rolling, there won’t be any sighs of boredom or keeping one’s eyelids open with toothpicks.

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