Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction
Brought to your by OBS Reviewer Scott
Having read the continuing saga of Jean le Flambeur in The Quantum Thief, The Fractal Police and The Causal Agent, I was quite curious about Hannu Rajaniemi’s shorter fiction. In collective works there are stories that resonate with you and those that don’t; I oft wondered how it was possible, for the Dicksian, psychedelic science fiction of Rajaniemi’s novel format, to fit into the short fiction format. I have to admit I was delightfully surprised with Collected Fiction.
From the opening salvoes of “Dues Ex Homine,” through the sensually virtual war “The Server and the Dragon,” through a quantum ride through the painful “Ghost Dogs,’ to the innovative neuro-fiction of “Snow White is Dead” and the snippets and sundries in “Unused Tomorrows and Other Adventures” the writing in Collected Fiction is stellar – an easy slide through the expanding vistas of Hannu’s unique brand of science fiction.
It’s very visceral worlds that Rajaniemi constructs, carefully and deftly; weaving in and out of the psychedelic atmosphere of a Phillip K. Dick piece. His style is the mark of true professionalism, both to the word and what it conveys. Word economy appears to be loose until the end of a story when you realize everything had its place in the end. This is a rare treat in the many authors I’ve had the pleasure (and occasional displease) of reading. The hard science fiction element and the science fantasy is smoothed over and dictated to the reader such an elegant fashion that even non-science fiction fans can pick up and read easily.
Rajaniemi’s command of the English language is commendable and the words flow like gossamer fabric across the page. The reader enters a trance like state causing suspension of disbelief and immersion into a whole new way of experiencing science fiction. In fact, the hard science is often conveyed so subtly that it almost whizzes past you. Stories with both grace and elegance adorn these pages, and the pounding pulse of the prose keeps the reader turning the pages.
When it comes to selecting a favorite out of the lot, I’ll have to admit that I didn’t have one. Each story resonated with me on some level that transcended the parts. The whole, read over, concentrating on particular stories, seemed to be empty without the sums of its parts. The anthology was pieced together in a perfect mix, in a beautiful flow, that ebbs and flows from one story to the next. I couldn’t have selected a better order, nor a better mix of stories than what appeared here.
For fans of science fiction or science fantasy, or even readers looking for a well written excursion from their usual reading material, I’d highly recommend Hannu Rajaniemi’s Collected Fiction – it’s a fantastic experience.