A 30 year old Finnish physicist with a PhD in String Theory – What’s the natural progression with a biodata like that? To become a science fiction writer, of course.
Interest is beginning to build around the work of Hannu Rajaniemi, whose debut novel “The Quantum Thief” is soon to be released. The string theorist achieved a book deal on the basis of one chapter. Amazon gave the following synopsis:
Jean le Flambeur is a post-human criminal, mind burglar, confidence artist and trickster. His origins are shrouded in mystery, but his exploits are known throughout the Heterarchy – from breaking into the vast Zeusbrains of the Inner System to steal their thoughts, to stealing rare Earth antiques from the aristocrats of the Moving Cities of Mars. Except that Jean made one mistake. Now he is condemned to play endless variations of a game-theoretic riddle in the vast virtual jail of the Axelrod Archons – the Dilemma Prison – against countless copies of himself. Jean’s routine of death, defection and cooperation is upset by the arrival of Mieli and her spidership, Perhonen. She offers him a chance to win back his freedom and the powers of his old self – in exchange for finishing the one heist he never quite managed . . . The Quantum Thief is a dazzling hard SF novel set in the solar system of the far future – a heist novel peopled by bizarre post-humans but powered by very human motives of betrayal, revenge and jealousy.
The buzz around this book stems not only from the high quality of the writing, but also its inclusion of “hardcore” physics. British agent John Jarrold explains how Hannu has brought originality to the science fiction genre of writing:
Hannu’s first chapter was entirely enticing; yes, it was brimful of energy, originality, and fascinating science but these were bonuses. What caught me and left me desperate for more was the masterful way he set up the characters, created relationships between them based on intrigue and need and suggested a rich past and a dangerous future for all concerned. I haven’t been this excited after reading just one chapter in a long, long time…
Hannu Rajaniemi also has a history of short fiction writing for a number of Finnish magazines and is certainly not new to the craft. This writer sounds like he has produced something that could take the art of science fiction in a refreshingly new direction. Here’s hoping that with a quantum leap of faith, we might see a string of film adaptations…
For anyone who wishes to learn more about String Theory, I began my string journey some years ago by watching The Elegant Universe – Simplified and entertaining. I urge you to embrace it!