Rajaniemi, Hannu -- The Quantum Thief

This was on everybody's best-of-year list... well, everyone with a taste for semi-singularitan caper novels, heavy on the programmable matter and socially mandated brain-hacking. No FTL, no AI; all the hard work seems to require uploaded copies of actual people, so we get all the wacky tech showpieces of post-scarcity SF while still having, you know, scarcity. (This must be a conscious choice on the author's part -- far-future SF without lapsing into lax Culture-ness. It would be caddish to point out that they should be able to clone the brain-patterns after upload, and thus dispense with all the slave farms and brain piracy.)

As for the story -- a thief escapes from prison (with help), goes to Mars, and tries to figure out what's going on. (He's not the man he used to be, you see.) Along the way we run into three different sort-of-posthuman human societies, get glimpses of historical background (what did happen to Jupiter, anyhow?) and watch people get tangled up in the kinds of awkward teen relationships that apparently won't change at all, ever. Plus, there's a costume party and a chocolate gown. Really, why aren't you reading it already?

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