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REVIEW: "The Quantum Thief", Hannu Rajaniemi
From: "Rob, grandpa of Ryan, Trevor, Devon & Hannah" <rmslade () shaw ca>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2012 12:28:28 -0800

BKQNTTHF.RVW   20120724

"The Quantum Thief", Hannu Rajaniemi, 2010, 978-1-4104-3970-3
%A   Hannu Rajaniemi
%C   175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY  10010
%D   2010
%G   978-1-4104-3970-3 0765367661
%I   Tor Books/Tom Doherty Assoc.
%O   pnh () tor com www.tor.com 
%O  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0765367661/robsladesinterne
%O   http://www.amazon.ca/exec/obidos/ASIN/0765367661/robsladesin03-20
%O   Audience n Tech 1 Writing 2 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
%P   466 p.
%T   "The Quantum Thief"

This is the type of space opera that creates whole worlds,
technologies, and languages behind it.  The language or jargon makes
it hard to read.  The worlds are confusing, especially since some are
real, and some aren't.  The technologies make it way too easy to pull
huge numbers of deuses ex way too many machinas, which strain the
ability to follow, or even care about, the plot.  In this situation,
the plot can be random, so the impetus for continued reading tends to
rely on the reader's sympathy for the characters.  Unfortunately, in
this work, the characters can also have real or imagined aspects, and
can change radically after an event.  It was hard to keep going.

Some of the jargon terms can be figured out fairly easily.  An agora,
like it was in Greece, is a public meeting place.  Gogol wrote a book
called "Dead Peasants," so gogols are slaves.  Gevulot is the Hebrew
word for borders, and has to deal with agreed-upon privacy deals.  But
all of them have quirks, and a number of other terms come out of

I was prompted to review this book since it was recommended as a piece
of fiction that accurately represented some interesting aspects of
information security.  Having read it, I can agree that there are some
cute descriptions of significant points.  There is mention of a
massive public/asymmetric key infrastructure (PKI) system.  There is
reference to the importance of social engineering in breaking
technical protection.  There is allusion to the increased fragility of
overly complex systems.  But these are mentions only.  The asymmetric
crypto system has no mention of a base algorithm, of course, but
doesn't even begin to describe the factors in the PKI itself.

If you know infosec you will recognize some of the mentions.  If you
don't, you won't learn them.  (A specific reference to social
engineering actually relates to an implementation fault.)  Otherwise,
you may or may not enjoy being baffled by the pseudo-creativity of the

copyright, Robert M. Slade   2012     BKQNTTHF.RVW   20120724

======================  (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
rslade () vcn bc ca     slade () victoria tc ca     rslade () computercrime org
`So...do you believe me?' I say. `Do you believe we're sisters?'
For a moment Jess just focuses on her feet, which are encased in
thick socks and brown hiking boots.  She raises her head and
surveys my turquoise diamante kitten heels, all scraped and
covered in mud.  My Marc Jacobs skirt.  My ruined glittery
T-shirt.  Then she lifts her eyes to my bruised, battered face,
and we just look at each other.
`Yes,' she says at last.  `I believe you.'
                          - `Shopaholic and Sister,' Sophie Kinsella
victoria.tc.ca/techrev/rms.htm http://www.infosecbc.org/links
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