Widely discussed at Readercon, this first novel by the Finnish Hannu Rajaniemi is cleanly written, brilliantly imagined, and overplotted. In some ways, it recalls last year’s sensation, Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl, but here quantum mechanics is asked to play the role of Thai History, Culture, and Manners.
The solar system is divided among post-humans. The zoku, descendants of gamers, battle the Sobornost virus engineers. Jupiter has vanished, Earth is seldom mentioned, and on Mars we visit a complex society in which everyone uses external memory banks, mediated by complex contracts for how much of your sensorium and memory you wish to share with strangers. Our protagonists are a thief, a raider, a detective, and a Martian tzaddik who wants to protect the Martian Way from outside interference.
It’s fun, you’re going to need a scorecard to keep track of who wants to steal what, and why.