- Series: Jean le Flambeur (Book 2)
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (January 21, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0765336790
- ISBN-13: 978-0765336798
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #801,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Fractal Prince (Jean le Flambeur) Paperback – January 21, 2014
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If, after beginning this sequel to The Quantum Thief (2011), you find yourself wondering what the heck is going on here, don’t panic: Jean de Flambeur, the novel’s centerpiece, is wondering the same thing. Sprung (in the first novel) from a virtual prison by Mieli, a powerful woman who offers Jean his freedom in exchange for a service, he must return to his thieving ways and steal something for the pellegrini, a sort of godlike entity. But, even now, Jean still doesn’t know exactly why he was busted out of prison, or what, precisely, he’s stolen. He does know that, until he can pay off his debt to Mieli, he won’t be able to recover his lost memories. To repay his debt, he must safecrack a Schrödinger box and release the god that might or might not be trapped inside. Fans of the author’s popular debut novel, which mixed hard science with wild fantasy, will probably be lining up for this follow-up, which resolves some of the questions posed in The Quantum Thief but, on the other hand, asks several more, for which there are, as yet, no answers. --David Pitt --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Intimidating sequel to The Quantum Thief (2011), Rajaniemi's spectacular, paranoid-conspiracy, hard sci-fi whodunit debut.” ―Kirkus Reviews
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Top Customer Reviews
Not only is the Fractal Prince a worthy sequel, I think it might actually top the Quantum Thief -- certainly, the implications of its world have continued to haunt my thoughts (or perhaps I should say, its memes live a life of their own in my mind) daily.
The set piece for this second book is a (dying) Earth, peopled with a post-crisis culture which is consciously evocative of the fables of the Arabian Nights. In his portrayal of a society which is, if not post-literate, at least post-fiction on the edge of a tech-as-magic desert, Hannu pays homage to Wolfe (and in turn Vance), Simmons, in an odd-but-effective dual evocation of mythology from our distant and near pasts.
Hannu's style is consistently minimalist. This has been criticized by those not familiar with some of the tropes of modern science fiction or modern physics, but I think there's enough here for the clever and Googling reader to answer any questions. And besides, the minimalist approach appears to be the right one for a world so far advanced that it is on the edge of comprehensibility. Bare description leads to fertile imagining -- read this book, and you may come to dream of ruined cities ruled by merchant-slavers astride a desert haunted with spirits and memes, or have a nightmare of a pharaonic dynasty with its Founder's boots on the face of (virtual) humanity.. forever. Read it, and see if "Here be Dragons" isn't just a bit more terrifying by the time you're done.
Honestly, I can't get enough of this world and its characters, and have been busily recommending it to all my friends -- and I think that if you like science fiction in the best tradition of "If This Goes On" type stories, I think you'll love it.
However in The Fractal Prince, Rajaniemi unfortunately seems to have completely lost control of himself with the sheer excess of neologisms (again, no glossary), and his editor does not seem to have been able to control him. The consequence is that far too many paragraphs in the book become unreadable and incomprehensible. Try this one, as just one random example among too many: "She interrogates the gogols in the ship's sensors array who spend their bodiless existence watching the ship's ghost imagers, neutrino imager, neutrino detectors and other sensors. They are on one of the lesser Highway branches, engineered by Sobornost to provide pathways for their thoughtwisp traffic. Apart from old scattered zoku routers... " It sounds beautiful as most of Rajaniemi writing, and also somewhat incomprehensible. The plot is considerably less interesting than in the Quantum Thief. Half of it is not about the thief but rather a more fantasy than science-fiction tale in a far future almost unrecognizable Earth, which seems to have been inspired by the One Thousand and One Nights oriental fairy tales. At the end of the day, in this type of science fiction novels, the science and the technology are assumed to be so advanced and incomprehensible that everything is allowed without any need for rational justifications, the heroes (and the villains) become super powerful superheroes and the science fiction becomes almost pure fantasy, again as a fairy tale would be.