The Fractal Prince
The Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi is a wonderful sequel to The Quantum Thief. If anything, I enjoyed this book more than the first volume.
In this volume, Rajaniemi plays a complex game of storytelling. On one level, there are only a few characters but as you progress and loop deeper into the book the story branches and twines back and forth. Fractal is not in the title by accident.
We find Jean le Flambeur, Mieli from the Oort cloud and after they have left Mars in the previous volume. Jean is trying to open the quantum box of memory he obtained. In order to open the box, they will need to make a stop at a quantum state router (from the Zoku side of things) and in order to make use of what they find they will need to go on to Earth. Jean’s tale here and tales from his past (or at least the past of other versions of himself) and their relationship to the factions at dangerous war within the solar system compose one set of threadscapes.
Interspersed is the tale of Tawaddud Gomelez, a native of Sirr–the last human city on Earth. Earth has become a strange and dangerous place and Tawaddud will eventually need the help of a downloaded instance from the cloud–from the Sobornost side of things. The Zoku are essentially those who embrace quantum reality while the Sobornost are trying to impose a classical, no playing of dice view. A very interesting power struggle.
This is a complex book. I found it very satisfying. It is a book in which the line:
“I’m going to find a job that does not involve breaking into giant machines full of lesbian dragon sex.”
is not at all out of place.