Tag Archives: quantum sf

Self-reference ENGINE

Self-reference ENGINE / Toh EnJoe

Why do you keep so many Freuds under the floor?

So. Now we come to Self-reference ENGINE, the final book in this series of posts (for now?).

Self-reference ENGINE is a novel

Self-reference ENGINE is a book of short stories

Self-reference ENGINE is an incoherent mess

Self-reference ENGINE is a blueprint, a literary virus that will infect the reader and as it propogates itself our world will become overwhelmingly strange

This post is gonna get pretentious.

Brief… summary

Self-reference ENGINE is structured as a series of… chapters? short stories?

I’ll call them vignettes. There are a couple of recurring themes, and some characters appear in multiple vignettes.

There are a number of possible reading orders. The book would probably make just as much sense following any of them. There’s a diagram at the beginning of the book that shows these.

Some of the recurring elements:

“self-organizing corpora of knowledge”

a nameless narrator who appears to be living backwards, or who is somehow unstuck in time

an invasion of furniture that grows from the ground and must be constantly pruned back

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The quantum thief

The quantum thief / Hannu Rajaniemi

What did I just read?

The quantum thief is a quantum sf heist novel starring a futuristic version of Arsène Lupin. Rajaniemi has a number of fancy degrees in complicated fields, and this book (first in a series) almost requires a graduate degree to decipher.

Brief plot summary

Legendary thief Jean Le Flambeur is in prison. This prison takes the prisoner’s dilemma and puts it into literal practice: prisoners are confronted with each other and given the choice to attack or to cooperate. If a prisoner attacks and “kills” the other prisoner, they are rewarded. If the prisoners cooperate, they are both rewarded. A prisoner who is “killed” receives nothing.

Broken out of prison by a relatively human woman and her sentient ship (possibly also her lover) acting on behalf of the Sobornost, Le Flambeur travels to Mars where his task is to reconstruct his missing memories as the first step in a larger mission.

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