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Hannu Rajaniemi

Hannu Rajaniemi is a Finnish author of science fiction and fantasy short stories and novels, who writes in both English and Finnish. His works include the Jean le Flambeur series, “Elegy for a Young Elk,” and “Deus Ex Homine.” Hannu lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The Quantum Thief: Unique and interesting, sometimes confusing

The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi

As an avid fan of high/epic/military fantasy, I generally don’t find myself reading much sci-fi. That said, The Quantum Thief has definitely convinced me that I should insert some more space opera into my to-read shelf. On the whole, The Quantum Thief turned out to be a highly promising novel that leaves me wanting more. The premise of the book is interesting, and the setting has some fantastical elements that feel delightfully unique. Furthermore, the storyline was highly engaging and suspense kept pulling me on throughout the novel, while the prose is adequate, if not particularly spectacular. However, The Quantum Thief has a few weaknesses that prevent me from loving it.

The first book of the JEAN LE FLAMBEUR series, The Quantum Thief is Hannu Rajaniemi’s Read More

Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction: Poetry merges with science

Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction by Hannu Rajaniemi

In his Collected Fiction of nearly twenty stories ranging from the micro style of Twitter fiction to a more traditional length, Hannu Rajaniemi displays a generally hopeful, but cautionary, view of humanity’s future and the rapid onslaught of technology. Of primary importance is the need to recognize the value of others amid the increasing electronic noise in which we all seem to live. Rajaniemi is a physicist with the heart of a poet (and vice-versa) who takes data packets, social networks, saunas, and the sea, and weaves them all together into completely unique experiences.

“Deus Ex Homine” features a God-plague which has taken over human minds and bodies. Genetically modified human soldiers fight them by riding around in living armor suits called “ang... Read More

Summerland: Solid plotting, but left me a bit cold

Summerland by Hannu Rajaniemi

Hannu Rajaniemi’s Summerland (2018) is what you might get if you took the setting/premise of Kevin Brockmeier’s The Brief History of the Dead and gave it to John le Carré to turn into a novel, though I’d argue it’s lacking a bit in the character depth and emotional touch of those two authors.

Summerland is basically an espionage/counter-espionage novel set in late 1930s Britain, who is involved in a proxy-war with Russia (led by a sort of over-soul known as “The Presence”) via the Spanish Civil War, while Stalin, as a Russian dissident, is playing his own power games amidst the chaos. What truly sets the book apart from the run-of-the-mill spy nov... Read More

Magazine Monday: Bull Spec #5

Bull Spec is a print and electronic science fiction and fantasy glossy magazine named for its home of Durham, North Carolina. The word “Bull” seems to have become associated with Durham because of a tobacco factory in the city, which itself took the name from the picture of a bull that appeared on the label of a mustard that the tobacco factory owner believed was manufactured in Durham, England; it’s all very complicated, but at least we know that the magazine’s name is based on where it is published. The publisher, Samuel Montgomery-Blinn, seems a bit surprised that the name of the magazine is mysterious to many outside of North Carolina, but he likes it. As well he should, because Bull Spec is a fine addition to the ranks of science fiction, fantasy and horror magazines.

“Mortal Passage” by Roger Willi... Read More

The New Voices of Fantasy: A diverse and worthy collection

The New Voices of Fantasy edited by Peter Beagle

This collection of nineteen fantasy short works, edited by Peter Beagle, is definitely worthwhile if you like speculative short fiction. Many of them left an impact on me, and a few are true standouts. These stories are by relatively new authors in the speculative fiction genre and are all fantasy; otherwise there's no discernable overarching theme.

These stories have almost all been published previously over the last seven years, and several of them are Hugo or Nebula winners or nominees. While a dedicated reader of online short fiction can find many of these short works in free online magazines, it’s convenient to have them gathered together in one volume with other stories that aren’t as readily available.

A brief summary of the short stories, novelette(s) and novella in The N... Read More