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Introducing…Hannu Rajaniemi

June 8, 2010

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!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. June 8, 2010 7:12 pm

    Wow lucky Hannu! It’s unusual for an author to generate so much publicity before a debut book is released. (unless they are a celebrity) Maybe, I should think about applying for a PhD in String Theory…

  2. June 8, 2010 7:36 pm

    @Olive I’d like to try one of those PhDs in Air Guitar. I reckon that’d generate a wealth of publicity 😉

  3. June 9, 2010 7:30 pm

    Do you reckon there is a PhD for watching movies? Wait that’d be film studies wouldn’t it? Thats claimed 5 years of my life so far, not sure I could justify another 3. Maybe I could do an official PhD at home, at no cost. I could make my own diploma and everything. Though I’d probably have to rent a mortar board. We didn’t have mortar boards at out graduation, can you believe that? I know. Whats the point of going to Uni if you can’t even wear a funny hat in front of everyone.

    That has to be the coolest cover art for a sciencey book I can remember.

  4. June 12, 2010 9:59 pm

    Be careful what you wish for. A Quantum Leap movie wouldn’t do any of us any good.


  5. Darren permalink
    June 16, 2010 7:56 am

    Nifty. Strange how it’s hard science fiction and yet undeniably pulp science fiction at the same time. I’m not sure my head could handle it though.

  6. June 16, 2010 4:24 pm

    Very Cool! I really like the cover, but the book might be a bit “heavy” for me 🙂

  7. June 24, 2010 8:30 am

    Wow, sounds interesting! Great post about it, I’m glad to have found out about his book, that’s awesome! 🙂

  8. July 7, 2010 10:16 am

    Here is an advance review of The Quantum Thief.

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