cover image The Fractal Prince

The Fractal Prince

Hannu Rajaniemi. Tor, $25.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2950-9

Rajaniemi’s fun if sometimes torturously convoluted follow-up to 2011’s The Quantum Thief returns to the adventures of Jean le Flambeur, posthuman master thief, still unable to remember much of his past and now forced to work for space captain Mieli and her goddess/debtor Joséphine Pellegrini. On Earth, meanwhile, Tawaddud Gomelez schemes to advance her powerful father’s political fortunes and put behind her a blemished past that includes a dalliance with a jinni. Rajaniemi plays with Arabian Nights references, from a character named Dunyazad, after Scheherazade’s sister, to multilayered storytelling, but these elements never quite work alongside the hard postsingularity SF of Jean’s story. The plot can get muddled as a result, but Rajaniemi’s witty language (“On the day the Hunter comes for me, I am killing ghost cats from the Schrödinger Box”) and charmingly wry hero will make the read well worth the effort for the first installment’s fans. Agent: John Jarrold, John Jarrold Literary Agency. (Dec.)