So this week I was reading The Quantum Thief, by Hannu Rajaniemi:
Now, I had literally just started reading the book when I did this post, so this Teaser comes from the very beginning. I haven’t read enough of it to come up with my own characterization of what the book is about. I don’t even know what a quantum thief steals. I would say it’s the smallest amount of a physical quantity that can exist independently, but then, why bother stealing that? It sure would take a lot of them to add up to anything useful, unless maybe we’re talking about one of those mythical substances that is incredibly valuable for no apparent reason, such as explodium, unobtanium, macguffinium, or Bitcoin. But I can say this: I’m not sure the book’s definition of “Prison” is the same as the usual definition of “Prison”.
As always, before the warmind and I shoot each other, I try to make small talk.
‘Prisons are always the same, don’t you think?’
I don’t even know if it can hear me. It has no visible auditory organs, just eyes, human eyes, hundreds of them, in the ends of stalks that radiate from its body like some exotic fruit. It hovers on the other side of the glowing line that separates our cells. The huge silver Colt would look ridiculous in the grip of its twiglike manipulator limbs if it hadn’t already shot me with it fourteen thousand times.
‘Prisons are like airports used to be on Earth. No one wants to be here. No one really lives here. We’re just passing through.’Hannu Rajaniemi, The Quantum Thief
Now I’ll grant you that no one wants to be in a prison*, but it doesn’t really seem accurate that the people who are in prisons are just passing through (well, except that one guy), unless we’ve got hold of some new interpretation of “just passing through” where it means, oh, let’s call it eight to ten years, with time off for good behavior.
Meanwhile, speaking of people who may or may not be just passing through, work continues on Blue Roses! I didn’t get as much done on it as I’d hoped last week, because reasons, so we’re still in the scene where the gardener is making a little yurt of vines and roses, while simultaneously making small talk with a couple of the other characters.
“You have no idea what I am doing. Yes, I am talking to you, but you do not have my full attention. You have the barest fraction of it.” She smiled. “If I turned all my attention on you, you would know.”James V. Viscosi, Blue Roses
Will she be turning her full attention on somebody at some point? Who can say? First I have to get us out of this scene before anything like that can happen. But it does seem likely, doesn’t it?
* Or an airport.