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coffeetable
Feb 5, 2006


First up: for many people, the joy of Rajaniemi's work is in figuring out his world from the passing references made. This thread will undoubtedly contain a lot of words towards that end, enough so that it's unreasonable to expect all of it to be spoilered. If you're the kind of person who likes to come to books fresh, consider just buying them now and returning to this thread at a later date.

Over in the Sci-Fi thread there's a new heartthrob: Hannu Rajaniemi. Two books into his first trilogy, his writing is solid, his plots are complex and his universe will knock you on your rear end. Set in the deep future, the inner solar system is ruled by the Sobornost, the innumerable software clones of seven people who are bent on uploading and enslaving every mind that's ever been. Against them is set our protagonist, a legendary thief born anew in his liberation from a digital prison.

As a warning, Rajaniemi does not suffer lazy readers gladly. What little straight-up exposition there is is well-placed and brief, and you're largely expected to figure things out on your own. Think Mieville, think Peter Watts. Many find this to be endearing, but there are equally many who won't be able to stand it. Personally, I consider The Quantum Thief to be fantastic, and The Fractal Prince to be some of the finest scifi I've read in a very, very long time. It's impressive just how different the setting manages to be without ever resorting to an infodump: there are plenty of traditional SF tropes recognizable here, like uploading, nanotech and AI, but they're much better integrated into the narrative than you'd expect. It actually feels like the story grew out of the setting, rather than the setting getting grafted onto the story.


The Books

The Quantum Thief


Amazon - 3.5 stars
Goodreads - 4 stars

Fresh from jail, Jean le Flambeur is off to recover his memories from the Oubliette, a Moving City of Mars. By means of nanite gevulot, every citizen possesses perfect privacy, but every citizen must also time-share their mind in order to keep their home alive. First framed as a simple heist, much greater things eventually come to pass.

The Fractal Prince


Goodreads - 4 stars
Amazon - 4.5 stars

Picking up a few weeks after The Quantum Thief, Jean heads to post-Collapse Earth, a wildcode wasteland overflowing with the minds of the dead. While the action is centred around The Shard, an oasis in which fiction is taboo and salvaged minds are traded to the gods for magic, through a whole pile of nonlinearity the universe is fleshed out, and we learn exactly what it is Jean is to steal and how he ended up locked up in the first place.

The Causal Angel



That's the causal angel, not the casual angel. Due out July 15th 2014. Here's the (terribly vague) synopsis, which is all we know right now:

quote:

With his infectious love of storytelling in all its forms, his rich characterisation and his unrivalled grasp of thrillingly bizarre cutting-edge science Hannu Rajaniemi has swiftly set a new benchmark for SF in the 21st century. And now with his third novel he completes the tale of his gentleman rogue, the many lives and minds of Jean de Flambeur. Influenced as much by the fin de siecle novels of Maurice leBlanc as he is by the greats of SF Rajaniemi weaves, intricate, warm capers through dazzling science, extraordinary visions of wild future and deep conjecture on the nature of reality and story. And now we find out what will happen to Jean, his employer Miele, the independently minded ship Perhonnen and the rest of a fractured and diverse humanity flung through the solar system.

Guidance on spoilers: To avoid huge walls of black text, I think the best way to do this would be to stick setting spoilers in plain view, but redact plot spoilers. For example, saying that Sumanguru is a Founder of the Sobornost would be fine, but saying that in the Fractal Prince he's being impersonated by Jean wouldn't be.

coffeetable fucked around with this message at Feb 5, 2014 around 14:58

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Loving Life Partner
Apr 17, 2003

You want to file a WHAT!?

Are we spoilering Fractal Prince discussion?

EDIT: Nevermind, missed the bit at the bottom.

HUMAN FISH
Jul 6, 2003

I identify as a twinlit irl.

I felt so loving clever towards the end of TFP, around the time all the things started to get together and I finally started getting all the pieces together. Sometimes 2+2 was 3 though (and a couple times 5), but I felt clever.

Then I got to the final 50 or so pages of the book.

Not so clever anymore.

Loving Life Partner
Apr 17, 2003

You want to file a WHAT!?

I felt more clever reading TFP than TQF, I think I got a good handle on just about everything that's going on now.

TQF just threw me with that last sequence of events inside Jean's uhh, memory storage room? With the other person who is now him for some reason? I still don't understand what exactly happened there.

And Rajaniemi keeps hinting at this past life, seemingly of Jean's, on current day Earth or very shortly into the future. If he wants to explore this at all, he'll have to do a lot of back plotting in the next book. I hope he sacks up and basically doubles it in length.

Also, I think another success of his, is to paint normal sci-fi kind of "shlock" with a beautiful brush. There are passages I read full of laser lights and blackholes and slabs of smart matter and whatever that have no reason to be as gorgeously composed as they are. The man can be lush as hell.

Loving Life Partner fucked around with this message at Nov 17, 2012 around 12:24

coffeetable
Feb 5, 2006


HUMAN FISH posted:

Sometimes 2+2 was 3 though (and a couple times 5), but I felt clever.

The one thing that rubbed me the wrong way about the ending sequence was that Chen's haven was basically a nuclear artillery shell. Did that get foreshadowed but I just missed it?

Also, how much scifi do you think you'd need to have read to appreciate TQT/TFP? Having gorged myself on it SF for ten years, I didn't really think about it until I tried to give TQT to a friend and the simulation stuff just brought them up short. She just couldn't keep up with which scenes were real and which were digital, and that killed it for her.

From the other thread:

PrBacterio posted:

Loving Life Partner" post="409656054 posted:

So many buzzphrases and ideas, and a lot of them kinda stale by now.
Honestly though, I felt exactly the same way reading (what little I did of) Rajaniemi... except for the "but I can't stop reading it" part, but this thread/forum still seems to love him for some (inexplicable to me) reason

The opening for TQT stopped me short the first time round. I find it kind of surprising that he chose to open with the prison, as on page 1 it requires a leap of faith on behalf of the reader to continue even though they're drowning in jargon and don't have a damned clue what's happening. By half-way through the book that's fine, as you've realised that Rajaniemi will explain things eventually, but at the very start it's jarring.

That could well have been the intention though. If you are willing to take it on faith that everything makes sense, then you're very likely to enjoy the rest of the book.

coffeetable fucked around with this message at Nov 25, 2012 around 10:16

Loving Life Partner
Apr 17, 2003

You want to file a WHAT!?

I did appreciate the more thorough and flagrant info dumping he did in TFP.

And I think anyone without at least a moderate amount of sci-fi experience is going to be lost in something like TQT. It assumes a lot about the reader's knowledge of cornerstone sci-fi tropes, and even really obscure ones.

HUMAN FISH
Jul 6, 2003

I identify as a twinlit irl.

coffeetable posted:

The one thing that rubbed me the wrong way about the ending sequence was that Chen's haven was basically a nuclear artillery shell. Did that get foreshadowed but I just missed it?

I just took it as a safety mechanism, like a nth century panic room. I didn't see any foreshadowing and I agree it was a bit deus ex machina, but still cool.

Need to read it again starting tonight I think.

edit: I read and liked Malazan so being dropped in the middle of things with 0 exposition has grown on me.

Loving Life Partner
Apr 17, 2003

You want to file a WHAT!?

HUMAN FISH posted:

I just took it as a safety mechanism, like a nth century panic room. I didn't see any foreshadowing and I agree it was a bit deus ex machina, but still cool.


It was an escape mechanism. It was a big nuclear device underneath a super dense exotic shield, and when it detonated it rocketed the entire server cluster into space extremely quickly.

EDIT:
I may have misunderstood whether you guys got that or not, I dunno. WHO CARES!

I thought the best sequence of TFP was Mieli's beast mode activation, the battle angels falling out of the the structure around the Earth (forget the weird name it had), and tearing poo poo apart. Again, lush as hell:

The deaths of her other selves are hammer blows in Mieliís mind. The hot twisting burn of the wildcode. The tearing claws of chimera beasts. The pure white of a fusion explosion. The quick sharp self-destruct that some choose, before the wildcode turns them against their sisters. Mieli is there through every last moment, every final darkness, and there is a strange joy in each one, a purity that makes her feel like a brass bell, ringing.

This is what I was made for.

This is what I am.



Also, Rajaniemi doesn't really do anyone favors by switching from third to first perspective at a whim.

Loving Life Partner fucked around with this message at Nov 17, 2012 around 16:39

HUMAN FISH
Jul 6, 2003

I identify as a twinlit irl.

Yeah I totally got it, just commenting on the nature of the thing.

The best part for me was trying to connect the terms used in Tales of Transhuman Nights to the ones in Quantum Starship Boogaloo. The only one I didn't really get by myself was the ather, well ether (obviously) but in the all three lines of exposition we get Flambeur said it was analogous to the spimescape.

I'm probably stupid but when they revealed that Sumanguru was actually Flambeur, it all made so much more sense.

Loving Life Partner
Apr 17, 2003

You want to file a WHAT!?

I tend to think of athar and spimescape as the evolution of wi-fi. It's explicitly described as a kind of "virtual reality", but I imagine more mundanely it's a link to digital networks and computational horsepower to do a variety of things, like interface with other minds, transmit data, investigate or run gogols, etc. Kinda like cloud computing.

OnceIWasAnOstrich
Jul 22, 2006



I started reading Quantum Thief when I got so incredibly bored reading the Mars Trilogy, I think sometime during the second book of that series. For whatever reason where I couldn't make myself finish Green Mars, I couldn't put down these books, and read them both in a two-day span.

I can definitely understand the people who can't keep track of where certain events are taking place. I've read sci-fi for half my life and spent my share of time bullshitting about these types of altered reality with people sober or with some mind-altering chemical, and a lot of the time I was lost. For whatever reason I was reading them in a mode where I read them quickly and just sort of let everything wash over me. In some ways it felt kind of like I was reading The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, and in a lot of ways the Sobornost remind me of the CAN-D shared hallucinations in that book.

I'm pretty sure this is the shortest time span I've ever had between finishing a book, and starting it over again.

Hallucinogenic Toreador
Nov 21, 2000

Whoooooahh I'd be
Nothin' without you
Baaaaaa-by

Loving Life Partner posted:



Also, Rajaniemi doesn't really do anyone favors by switching from third to first perspective at a whim.

First person is only used for one character Because the whole of both books are stories told by Jean.

Loving Life Partner
Apr 17, 2003

You want to file a WHAT!?

Hallucinogenic Toreador posted:

First person is only used for one character Because the whole of both books are stories told by Jean.

It switches to Mieli first person at one point in TFP, and also to Sumanguru before you really know it's Jean in his skin.

But yeah.

Turin Turambar
Jun 5, 2011


Uhmm I think I need a summary of the Quantum Thief (which I read a pair of years ago), before starting The Fractal Prince. I had a vague memory only...

Loving Life Partner
Apr 17, 2003

You want to file a WHAT!?

Turin Turambar posted:

Uhmm I think I need a summary of the Quantum Thief (which I read a pair of years ago), before starting The Fractal Prince. I had a vague memory only...

Mieli the Oortian viking warrioress rescues Jean le Flambeur, the god of thieves, from a Dilemma Prison where his mind has been savaged by countless Dilemma scenarios.

Mieli's employer is The Pellgrinni, a Sobornost goddess who wants Jean to steal something for her. Jean and Pellegrini have a history of working together.

Jean has a hunch that he's going to have to start his quest on Mars, in The Oubliette society, where he lived a life not too long ago and buried a secret.

On The Oubliette, a young inspector tracks down a criminal, and chases up a larger conspiracy. It seems that someone is manipulating the minds of the Oubliette citizens when they're 'dead' and then uploaded into The Quiet, where the labor and toil for several years before being allowed to live again. Someone is making small changes to their demeanor and memory to facilitate a total control over the populace.

Jean arrives and chases down an old love who (reluctantly and after some violence) helps to guide him to his destination: A complex machine that (I think was a VR of some kind) houses his old memories, and a special box with the aspect of a God trapped inside.

In the mean time, to help the Inspector and the special group of agents (Tzaddakim, special forces basically), Jean steals a minute of time from a time-rich man going into early death, and uses the minute to revive him to interrogate him about the the history of Mars and The Oubliette, to discover the discrepencies within, etc.

The same entity manipulating the minds of the Oubliette society also enters the Jean VR and assumes Jean's identity, I think? Jean then defeats him by releasing a fragment of the Dilemma prison that takes over the simulation and traps the evil Big Bad inside his own dilemma prison.

I think that's everything, right? Gah this book.

Turin Turambar
Jun 5, 2011


Loving Life Partner posted:

I think that's everything, right? Gah this book.

Gah, indeed. But thank yhou.

What happened with the inspector at the end?

I remember a third party in the mess, like another society in the same city, which was more advanced but being secluded in an area. Zoku, I read in the wiki. Did they had any involvement in the end?

Was one of the Founders behind everything? It seemed there were factions or interests between them.

Loving Life Partner
Apr 17, 2003

You want to file a WHAT!?

I don't remember the reasons behind the Big Bad's machinations. I think he was just a city council person or someone, he went un-named for a long while.

The Zoku had a colony on Mars near The Oubliette, they're the big advanced sect like Sobornost, except diametrically opposed in ideals.

The Inspector and his Zoku girlfriend escape the madness together.

OH!

There were some wild martian beasts involved that were attacking the city as well. The Zoku fled, but Inspector's girlfriend stayed behind.

Maybe the Sobnornost were rattling their sabers as well?

I need to re-read...

Hallucinogenic Toreador
Nov 21, 2000

Whoooooahh I'd be
Nothin' without you
Baaaaaa-by

Loving Life Partner posted:

The same entity manipulating the minds of the Oubliette society also enters the Jean VR and assumes Jean's identity, I think?

My take was that the king of Mars had always been a copy of Jean who had been imprisoned in Oubliette sometime after their experiences diverged.

Turin Turambar
Jun 5, 2011


Well, gently caress it, I started reading The Fractal Prince. It's short, depending of my day tomorrow, I may finish it in one more day.

The writing, where way-advanced-tech, culture, history, myths and invented terms mix and merge, always makes me smile. It gives a sense of a bit more weighty reality to the pretty fantastic and lofty setting, while still clouds it in mystery and wonder.

navyjack
Jul 15, 2006

If I win, I get to be a king. If I lose, I get to be a legend!!


I think that Martian society is incredibly fascinating in these books. The Gevulot, the Quiet...I would read an entire series that revolved around the Investigator and the Gentleman solving crimes in a world where reality has privacy settings.

Someone said something about Martian animals attacking the moving city. I think they are more like the minmints/Karakuri from the Richard Morgan novel "Woken Furies." Self-aware, self-replicating combat machines.

Base Emitter
Apr 1, 2012

and collector.

navyjack posted:

I think that Martian society is incredibly fascinating in these books. The Gevulot, the Quiet...I would read an entire series that revolved around the Investigator and the Gentleman solving crimes in a world where reality has privacy settings.

Someone said something about Martian animals attacking the moving city. I think they are more like the minmints/Karakuri from the Richard Morgan novel "Woken Furies." Self-aware, self-replicating combat machines.

Weren't they terraforming machines?

The Investigator's cases would make a great short story collection.

Turin Turambar
Jun 5, 2011


I think someone should make a glossary or some poo poo. Lots of terms

Primes, Founders, Gogols, Guberniya, Sobornost, Zoku, Jinn, Anu, etc etc

coffeetable
Feb 5, 2006


Loving Life Partner posted:

I tend to think of athar and spimescape as the evolution of wi-fi. It's explicitly described as a kind of "virtual reality", but I imagine more mundanely it's a link to digital networks and computational horsepower to do a variety of things, like interface with other minds, transmit data, investigate or run gogols, etc. Kinda like cloud computing.

My interpretation was that the atmosphere and landscape were loaded with nanites, and it's their distributed hardware that the gogols run on.


Hallucinogenic Toreador posted:

My take was that the king of Mars had always been a copy of Jean who had been imprisoned in Oubliette sometime after their experiences diverged.

Yeah, this was my interpretation too. It's definitely implied somewhere during the spire fight, but I can't remember where.

Also the villain's name is Le Roi while Jean is the Prince of Flowers in TFP.

Base Emitter posted:

Weren't they terraforming machines?

The Investigator's cases would make a great short story collection.

The Quiet are terraforming machines, I think the Phoboi were weapons developed for the revolution:

quote:

She looks at me with the same curious intensity she gave her lunchtime apple, and for a moment I wait for the bite. ĎA lot of people think that. But of course, we did have a horrible civil war first that unleashed self-replicating killing machines that undid the terraforming our slaver overlords managed to do before we killed them.í She smiles. ĎBut yes, there is a dream in there, somewhere.í

Rajaniemi, Hannu. The Quantum Thief (Kindle Locations 2385-2388). Orion.

Turin Turambar posted:

I think someone should make a glossary or some poo poo. Lots of terms

Primes, Founders, Gogols, Guberniya, Sobornost, Zoku, Jinn, Anu, etc etc

There's a partial one for TQT here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossa...e_Quantum_Thief
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...e_Quantum_Thief

When I go for my third read through I might try compiling a more comprehensive one.

coffeetable fucked around with this message at Nov 19, 2012 around 12:50

Mr.48
May 1, 2007


I like Peter Watts, but I find most of Mieville's stuff to be self-absorbed wankery. Are these books more like the former or the latter?

coffeetable
Feb 5, 2006


Mr.48 posted:

I like Peter Watts, but I find most of Mieville's stuff to be self-absorbed wankery. Are these books more like the former or the latter?

Former. I compared him to Mieville because they have the same let-the-reader-figure-it-out approach, but Rajaniemi hasn't swallowed a dictionary like China has.

Mr.48
May 1, 2007


coffeetable posted:

Former. I compared him to Mieville because they have the same let-the-reader-figure-it-out approach, but Rajaniemi hasn't swallowed a dictionary like China has.

Sounds good, guess I'll have to pick these up someday soon.

Neurosis
Jun 10, 2003

All right, all right, spare me your life's story.


Hallucinogenic Toreador posted:

My take was that the king of Mars had always been a copy of Jean who had been imprisoned in Oubliette sometime after their experiences diverged.

Having just finished it, yep. He said something to the effect that Jean used to be really good at cracking any limitations on software so he was able to make copies of himself, and Jean Le Roi was one of those who was caught pre-Collapse. Pre-Collapse they thought a good way to deal with criminals was to ship them off to Mars as gogols, where they'd work. They had an inability to leave Mars hard-coded into them. Eventually the inmates took over Mars, and Le Roi over time killed the other inmates until he was the final one left. He's Isidore's father, too, I think.

Loving Life Partner
Apr 17, 2003

You want to file a WHAT!?

I need to re-read now armed with my better Hannu-fu reading glasses.

But if that is correct.

So Jean gets arrested on Earth and shipped to Mars as a prisoner. Uses his talents to hack out the revolution that turns it from a prison planet to the Oubliette society. Presumably at some point split / made a copy of himself / shed the life of the king and lived as a regular artist type and stashed the king aspect in that machine in case he needed it later? Was Sumanguru also stashed there because that was the bounty he originally stole?

Sigh.

I hope the next book goes more into the past.

Neurosis
Jun 10, 2003

All right, all right, spare me your life's story.


I don't think the King (Le Roi) and the artist had any nearer root Jean than when on Earth. The Paul character Jean was acting as was Jean Prime, I think. The King talks about envying Jean when he was on Mars, in particular Raymonde... Although I'm not particularly certain of this. The King was running around before that, certainly - as we see in the story earlier in the novel.

Hallucinogenic Toreador
Nov 21, 2000

Whoooooahh I'd be
Nothin' without you
Baaaaaa-by

Also, my understanding is that there was no revolution; Le Roi just hired the zoku to make images of "pre-revolution" society and inserted them into the gevulot so that no one would question his system of hands off rule.

voodoospork
Oct 13, 2009


Hannu Rajaniemi is the insane, time traveling genetic abomination formed from Roger Zelazny, Peter Watts, Scott Lynch, and Charles Stross, and I love him dearly. TFP really defines some of the assumptions that turn TQT into harder SF than it might be on its own, and I am definitely adding these to my "re-read this poo poo forever" list. There probably aren't any novels I'm looking forward to more than however many sequels this bastard can churn out.

Neurosis
Jun 10, 2003

All right, all right, spare me your life's story.


Having finished the Fractal Prince, I am a little confused on a few things:

What was the Spike? Like a Singularity? How did that work, and what kicked it off?

What is the jewel?

So the thief is a mixture of some kind of story archetype and the guy reading a book picked it up? If I'm reading this right, the Aun are general ideas that have been kicked around in human heads for centuries, but it wasn't until Chen removed them from his head and set them adrift in the aether that they were given real agency. So the thief is a human-story AI amalgam. Is that right?

Also, the closest thing I have to science knowledge is stat classes from my economics degree; i.e., I don't have any such knowledge. This may be asking too much, but could anyone elaborate on the core doctrinal differences between the Zoku and the Sobornost?

Hallucinogenic Toreador
Nov 21, 2000

Whoooooahh I'd be
Nothin' without you
Baaaaaa-by

Neurosis posted:

Having finished the Fractal Prince, I am a little confused on a few things:

The spike is referred to as a singularity, but given that the use of singularities as weapons or power sources seems fairly common I think it may have been a technological singularity rather than a gravitational one.

I think Jean is a human who had the prince of flowers Aun in his head for a while; at the end of the Fractal Prince after the Aun leaves he says he feels "small again, barely more than human"

I'm not really sure about the jewel; it may be a way around the problem of making perfect copies at a quantum level.

voodoospork
Oct 13, 2009


Neurosis posted:

Having finished the Fractal Prince, I am a little confused on a few things:

What was the Spike? Like a Singularity? How did that work, and what kicked it off?

What is the jewel?

So the thief is a mixture of some kind of story archetype and the guy reading a book picked it up? If I'm reading this right, the Aun are general ideas that have been kicked around in human heads for centuries, but it wasn't until Chen removed them from his head and set them adrift in the aether that they were given real agency. So the thief is a human-story AI amalgam. Is that right?

Also, the closest thing I have to science knowledge is stat classes from my economics degree; i.e., I don't have any such knowledge. This may be asking too much, but could anyone elaborate on the core doctrinal differences between the Zoku and the Sobornost?


The Spike does seem to be a singularity driven by a sort of cognitive bootstrapping arms race. This relates to what the Sobornost are, because they are basically a fairly loose alliance of the "winners" in this race to the top in terms of cognition, technology, and resources. They got far enough ahead to cement their advantage by keeping everyone else subservient by design.

The dragons seem to be a weapon developed for this war that wound up ending the war due to the resources, and thus alliances, required to prevent them from consuming all of the resources themselves and wiping out the human-descended sentiences.

The jewel relates to the schism between the Sobornost and the Zoku. The Sobornost are about top-down control by design, their worldview requires all elements to be known and defined that they might be accounted for in the system of control. This causes them to attempt to limit access to large-scale quantum tinkering because the word "probably" is anathema to immortal authoritarians. The Zoku are a less hierarchical group that uses some form of quantum computing to calculate trajectories of optimum cooperation, obsolescing and bypassing central authority. The Zoku jewels are artifacts of space-time that allow some sort of reality hacking related to this. It seems like the weaker Zoku jewels are more for coordinating actions between Zoku parties and that perhaps the Kaminari jewel allows for more substantial reality hacking of some kind.

The thief lived pre-collapse, so I don't think he's one of the meme gods. Now, the meme gods are essentially defined by human cognitive architecture initially, so this doesn't rule out the idea that he is a manifestation of the trickster archetype or that he perhaps merged with or simply incidentally emulated this archetype in his own journey of cognitive modification. The Aun are interesting, especially in light of the end of TFP, because their story-defined architecture could be a game changer in terms of the appeal of retaining human-descended cognitive architecture. They'd be powerless against the dragons, for instance.

The person reading the book in the beginning is Matjek Chen in a simulation designed to force him to reveal the transform (the attack on his father) necessary to turn the innocent Chen gogol found on earth into one that can give up some or all of Chen's Founder code.

Loving Life Partner
Apr 17, 2003

You want to file a WHAT!?

TFP:
I think The Spike, The Kaminari jewel, and the experiment that Jean gets captured by Chen during/after are all linked together. It probably kicked off the Protocol War. It has something to do with the disconnect between the Sobornost and the Zoku ideologically.

Something about quantum mechanics loving with The Great Common Task, the Zoku's use of quantum weapons and physics to their advantage, and what was discovered with the Spike and/or what truth about reality exists inside the Kaminari jewel.

Now, RE: Kaminari jewel. The All Defector gives it to the Pellegrini at the end of TFP right? But then there was one of Jean's calling cards that questioned the genuineness of the jewel? Bah.



Should be interesting to see how it all ends up.

MRC48B
Apr 2, 2012


Do we have any information on the third book?

Groke
Jul 27, 2007
New Adventures In Mom Strength

I'm about a third of the way through the first book now and need to keep the drat discipline to stay the gently caress out of this thread for a few more days. See you all later.

TouretteDog
Oct 20, 2005

Was it something I said?

Loving Life Partner posted:

TFP:
I think The Spike, The Kaminari jewel, and the experiment that Jean gets captured by Chen during/after are all linked together. It probably kicked off the Protocol War. It has something to do with the disconnect between the Sobornost and the Zoku ideologically.


I'm not sure that the experiment and the Spike are linked, or at least not all that tightly. I think the Spike was something that happened on or to Jupiter; if I'm remembering right there's a reference to watching it in Quantum Thief. The original heist that gets Jean caught was near Mercury.

Plus, don't we learn in Fractal Prince that Sydan got sucked into an information-processing singularity that the Sobornost deliberately induced in orbit around Saturn? The Sobornost aren't afraid to play with singularity-related technology.


I really think that the big gap between the Sobornost and the Zoku boils down to who they consider a "person". The Sobornost think that deterministic simulations of people really are people; you can make a million copies of someone and they're just as real as the 'original'. The Zoku think that the Sobornost and their gogols are all just dead code, and it's impossible to copy people. To steal a phrase from somewhere else: "computers just compute, only people count".

The funny thing is, the entire story opens with Jean very clearly shown to be a gogol running in the dilemma prison, but we're given enough 1st person access to his internal states to show that the author at least considers him a "real" person. Same thing for Mieli when she and all her gogol-copies tear poo poo up at the end of Fractal Prince. Rajaniemi seems to be sort of on the side of the Sobornost, at least as far as "duck-typing" people goes.

Edit to add: the Great Common Task is literally resurrecting everyone who's ever lived inside of one of their simulations, and making everyone who's still alive immortal the same way. If you can't copy someone (which the Zoku believe), you can't possibly resurrect them. I think it's not that one faction's technology fucks with the other ones, it's a fundamental disagreement on what's even possible to do. Zoku think that the copies are all dead, and the Sobornost are mass murderers; the Sobornost think that the Zoku are standing in the way of the Great Common Task, and so are basically trying to be murderers on a cosmological scale.

TouretteDog fucked around with this message at Nov 21, 2012 around 00:45

coffeetable
Feb 5, 2006


Loving Life Partner posted:

TFP:
I think The Spike, The Kaminari jewel, and the experiment that Jean gets captured by Chen during/after are all linked together. It probably kicked off the Protocol War. It has something to do with the disconnect between the Sobornost and the Zoku ideologically.

Should be interesting to see how it all ends up.

The Kaminari was the Zoku clan who were building things out of strings & spacetime. Either accidentally or as a side-effect, the Spike happened and destroyed Jupiter, and that prompted the Sobornost to go out to there and see what happened and how they did it. That caused the Protocol War, though the higher-generation gogols used the cover story of it being about

quote:

The Great Common Task requires the taming of physics, the eradication of the quantum filth, taking the dice from Godís hand, the creation of a new Universe with new rules, inside guberniyas, where all those who died can live again, turning away from the laws written down by a mad god. Thatís what the Protocol War is about. Stopping the zoku from defiling that dream.

Anyway when the chens find out the Jewel has been captured they destroy the fleet that got it secret it away. The Sobornost Experiment is an attempt to repeat the Spike themselves, but to Matjek it doesn't matter as he's got the product - the Kamanari Jewel - already. Since the Jewel is called "the key to the Planck locks" and as the pelligrini wants it because it can "change the rules", I'm guessing it allows access to the computational substructure of the universe.

Thing is, only the innocent can use the Jewel, in that your wishes are only accepted if they improve "the happiness of the whole zoku". So Matjek can't use it, but it listens to Mieli at the end of TFP.


Also while reading the above I remembered this bit:

quote:

The old thing inside me wants to say yes. To be with the Prince of Stories again. But something pulls me back. Perhonen. A promise. I keep my promises. Whatever the serpent things are, I am something else. I remember reading a book in a cell. I remember a door opening. Thatís when I was born, out of the crystal stopper. A creature made from La Bouchon de cristal, a boy from the desert and an old god.

So Jean isn't entirely Aun - he only picked that bit up in the opening scene of the TQT, when he's reading La Bouchon de cristal.

One thing I don't get though: How does the physical Kaminari Jewel get from chen's guberniya to the Perhonen?

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Base Emitter
Apr 1, 2012

and collector.

One thing's already clear from this thread - I need to carve out some time to reread both books and see what all I missed or misunderstood.

One thing confuses me about the Sobornost vs. zoku and quantum computing: the Sobornost generating artificial singularities on Venus in order to produce prodigious computational density on an evaporating event horizon. Near the Planck limit that process can't be described classically.

The Sobornost must have recorded the 'output' of the singularity and still have access to Sydan's information/gogol if Mieli is willing to serve Pelligrini to get her back.

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