The Fractal Prince is a hard book to review. It picks up where The Quantum Thief left off. But were left it off? And were to? The Thief is after something but what, we don’t know, just as no one else in the tale seems to. Except perhaps Matjek, the head of the disembodied Sobornost; those who believe Mind is more precious than Matter and thus have left it behind. Who might be the one the Thief is after.
But not even the Thief knows, being denied his Sobornost qualities as part of a punishment.
Making any sense? Weeeell…
In this book the Thief is trying to get hold of a back-up copy of Matjek and the hunt takes him to Earth. And beyond everything else the Thief is a con artist so he cons his way into Earth politics, meeting up with the other thread of this story – the Gomelez sisters, living on an Earth were stories are viral, in all respects; in a post-apocalypse so wide it could just as well be another part of the galaxy.
The Earth parts I think the best. The overall context is still Brit SF, what with quantum theory and metaphysical minds, but Rajaniemi’s vision of a future Earth is poetic and visually wonderful, even in it’s monstrous ruin, filth and poverty.
Rajaniemi writes well – he manages to drag me into the book even as I sometimes have no clue about what really is going on. Not a book for everyone but I, I am looking forward to the next one which I hope will hold the conclusion.
I want to know what this is about!