Ages ago Isaac Asimov grafted the detective story trope on the science fiction stem (Caves of Steel), and over the years the two have become more comfortable with each other – in The Quantum Thief so much so that only allusion is needed to convey the set of ideas; in itself a sign of maturity, perhaps?
The Quantum Thief is the début work of Hannu Rajaniemi, and as such an impressive one. Well written, and then I haven’t even considered the fact that he doesn’t write in his native tongue. Well conceived. A main character that grows on you, even if his main feature is neither he or we really knows who he is (more than once he reminds me of Hergé’s Tintin, in his relative featurelessness). Interesting concepts, well drawn. Hints of lifestyles and cultures I’d love to know more about.
But. Is it me or is this just one more of the same? One more in the British Literary SF canon, bravely daring the quantum ice ledge? One more experimenting with the texture of time and reality, of perception?
I’m not ready to answer that yet. Time will show if this is the start of a series featuring dashing breathless adventures against an exotic but inconsequential backdrop culture, or if he’ll be ready to tackle the ethical, moral and ideological consequences of the world he has created.
Will he be able to break free from the Brit SF idea-maze?
But for a début – well done. Very well done.
I’ll definitely look out for his next book, with the hope that I won’t have to wait an eternity ;-)