The Fractal Prince

The Fractal Prince

Book - 2012
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A physicist receives mysterious information about how to enable immortality in a city torn by the agendas of "fast ones," shadow players, jinni, and two revolution-minded sisters; while a thief on the edge of reality is aided by a sardonic ship to risk his freedom and find his patron.
Publisher: New York : Tor, 2012
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
Description: 300 p. ; 25 cm
ISBN: 9780765329509
0765329506
Branch Call Number: Raja

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SCL_Justin Jul 26, 2017

In order to buy a copy of Hannu Rajaniemi’s latest book The Fractal Prince I had to learn how to pronounce the author’s surname. Luckily, the owner of my local bookstore is of Finnish descent and could help me out with that. In return, I will talk about mad science fiction with her customers if she asks.

And The Fractal Prince is kind of an insane book. In the best possible way.

It’s the sequel to The Quantum Thief and it’s again about cryptography as the key to an information-based future. While the Quantum Thief was about a score on Mars, this book heads back to Earth, which has a tiny part of it being preserved for people with bodies they don’t jump into and out of as needs must.

There are two parallel storylines going: one follows the thief who must return to Earth to… do stuff, and the other follows the daughter of a politician who is kind of disgraced because she loves monsters. Technological informational djinn who roam the desolate parts of earth. The more advanced technological civilizations (like the thief’s) who don’t usually bother with things that aren’t already virtualized get infected by the code running wild on earth.

What I love about this book (and its predecessor) is how you’re dumped into these mind-bending realities and forced to absorb and deal with them. Part of the genius in how that’s done here is that characters are recognizable as humans in the way that they need stories and metaphor to even explain to themselves what the hell they’re doing.

So it’s a book about cryptography, but it’s a book about djinni who whisper secrets. It’s great but would be a terrible first science fiction book for someone used to more recognizable humans.

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