Dodger – Terry Pratchett

A geezer, now, well, a geezer is somebody that everybody knows, and he knows everybody, and maybe he knows something about everyone he knows that maybe you wished he didn’t know. Um, and well, he’s sharp, crafty, um, not exactly a thief but somehow things find their way into their hands. Doesn’t mind a bit of mischief, and wears the street like an overcoat.”

That’s Dodger all right, a proper geezer and a tosher to boot. Which, in case you didn’t know, is a sort of sewers scavenger. To paraphrase the book, toshers look for value in the things people above throw away, the things they don’t care about. Pratchett’s homage to Charles Dickens, a story he has probably wanted to write for a long time, is very much interested in this toshing business, literally and metaphorically. Continue reading

The Fractal Prince – Hannu Rajaniemi

Step into the Palace of Stories, taste their body of fractals…

I gobbled The Fractal Prince up in just a few days, hungry to devour as many pages as possible during my daily commute between tube stations. Or maybe trying to slow down and savor them, sorry to see the book come to an end. Anything inducing such paradoxical states of mind must be more than just good. The follow-up to The Quantum Thief is full of such curiosities. It is pretty short as novels go and yet it feels vast, infinite even. The story is involved to the point of obfuscation, but each day I would sink effortlessly into its winding ways and half an hour later would pop out of the underground, one or more self-contained stories sparkling like exotic jewels in my mind. It is a labyrinth and a room full of mirrors where you can easily lose yourself (occasionally even your self) and where subliminal glimpses of massive creatures moving hidden underneath the surface will startle you, grand colorful illusions will dazzle, memes will burrow and most of what you know will be revealed as nothing more than shifting sands. Continue reading

The Quantum Thief – Hannu Rajaniemi

After the release of The Quantum Thief in 2010 I wrote a gushing, ten-out-of-ten review. Its sequel – The Fractal Prince – is already on the market and I hope to subject it to blogoscopy soon. As a segue into that I decided to reread/rereview the first book, Rajaniemi’s devilishly good debut.

I have to admit my first review was a bit too ecstatic. The book is a real gem, it’s certainly among the best SF works I have read in the last years. But it isn’t a ten-out-of-ten and it’s not without shortcomings. That said, the book left me almost as hooked and craving for more as it did the first time. Continue reading