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Literature / The Quantum Thief

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No one else will remember or know what we are going to say here. Even I will forget, unless you let me remember. This is the way things work here. No one has to be a stranger.

The Quantum Thief is Hannu Rajaniemi's debut sci-fi novel, and the first of a trilogy.

In a post-Singularity solar system slowly being eaten by a community of uploaded minds, Mars has remained independent and unique thanks to its extreme attitude to privacy: all memory is externally stored and encrypted, and you can't access a memory unless everyone involved consents. This makes life pretty difficult for detective Isidore Beautrelet, but as a native Martian he wouldn't have it any other way.

Also due to make life difficult for Isidore is the Gentleman Thief Jean le Flambeur, a figure of legend who's modeled himself on Arsène Lupin. A debt of honor requires Jean to commit a daring heist, but first he must steal back his own memories from the Oubliette of Mars. He's accompanied by Mieli, the bitter transhuman masterminding the mission, her flirtatious spaceship, and the goddess she reluctantly serves.


The second part of the trilogy, The Fractal Prince, came out in late 2012. A physicist receives a mysterious paper. The ideas in it are far, far ahead of current thinking and quite, quite terrifying. In a city of fast ones, shadow players, and jinni, two sisters contemplate a revolution. And on the edges of reality, a thief, helped by a sardonic ship, is trying to break into a Schrödinger box for his patron. In the box is his freedom. Or not. Jean le Flambeur is back, and he’s running out of time.

The third and final installment, The Causal Angel, came out in July 2014. After the events of The Fractal Prince, Jean le Flambeur and Mieli are separated. The two protagonists, each in their own way, struggle to decide where their loyalties lie and how to proceed in the catastrophically altered situation. Meanwhile, the Solar System is plummeting into an all-out war. The most powerful factions, the Sobornost and the Zoku, are gathering their forces and making their plays, while simultaneously being torn apart by internal strife.


The Jean le Flambeur Trilogy provides examples of:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Sobornost gave up on trying to create intelligence without sapience or make minds not based on the human cognitive architecture after they ended up creating the mindless, destructive insanity that was the Dragons, which are now used only as terror weapons. Disturbingly, this means that every single system that the Sobornost uses is powered by a spliced, copy-pasted and mutilated version of an uploaded human mind.
  • Alien Sky: A minor example, but part of the Mars terraforming effort apparently involved turning Deimos into a miniature star.
  • The Alternet: The Spimescape is the closest equivalent of a Solar System-wide information network, though it's heavily divided and fragmented.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The last scene of the series is another Jean le Flambeur being rescued from the Archon prison. Whether by the Pellegrini or the effects of the Kaminari Jewel is left ambiguous.
  • Apocalypse How: Before the story starts, with the Collapse wiping out or otherwise altering the entire Earth biosphere, and the Spike destroying Jupiter.
    • Later, everything on Earth gets eaten by the Dragons; Mars is destroyed by the Great Game Zoku; and Saturn is consumed by another Spike event in the climax of the series.
  • Apple of Discord: The original legend is referenced several times, although with a peach instead of an apple. Peaches tend to come up a lot in relation to Meili's romantic life. Make of this what you will.
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: The city of Sirr is a sci-fi interpretation of the trope. It is a great city built in the ruins of a fallen space station in the middle of the Wildcode Desert. Its inhabitants use technological flying carpets as their primary mode of transportation and bind Jinns, actually uploaded human minds living in the Wildcode, into jar-like miniature computers to use them as servitors. The theme of the place is essentially Magic from Technology.
  • Artificial Human: Mieli isn't just a cyborg. She was actually never born but crafted by Pellegrini as a machine with some organic bits tossed in and her personality are various programmed traits to make her an excellent warrior, a tracker capable of hunting down Jean le Flambeur and loyal to the "goddess" Pellegrini.
  • Assimilation Backfire: The All-Defector beats people by simulating them well enough to predict their actions. At the end of The Causal Angel, Jean beats the All-Defector by forcing it to simulate him so well that his simulated copy is enough like him to break free of the simulation.
  • Assimilation Plot: Pops up a few times.
    • The goal of Sobornost and the Great Common Task is to upload every human mind to the guberniyas. Unfortunately for everyone else, Utopia Justifies the Means.
    • In the third book it is revealed the ultimate goal of the All-Defector is to use the Kaminari Jewel to become an expanding bubble of space time and assimilate all other universes into itself.
    • Also in the third book, in an unusual benevolent example, the King of Mars unlocks ALL of the memory locks moments before the Oubliette is destroyed, connecting every person on Mars at an incredibly intimate level to give them some measure of comfort. As they say, on Mars no one has to be a stranger.
  • Barbarian Tribe: The Oortians are seen like this by the rest of the Solar System. They live in hollowed out comets in small family groups and construct handcrafted spaceships, A.I.s and other fantastic creations out of smartcoral through religious rites.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • The hsien-kus are eccentric scholars, generally considered the silly aunts of the Sobornost family. They devote themselves wholly to preserving as much of the past world in their virtual constructs as they can. And they are building a system that would tear Earth apart molecule by molecule to be uploaded in perfect accuracy to their guberniya forever.
    • The Zokus are generally considered the "good guys" compared to the Sobornost, as they respect individual choice and freedom, but they will Mind Rape you if you get on their wrong side or have something that they really want. In the latter case they're just really apologetic about it. In the former, they get creative.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In the end the Supra City Zokus are whisked to safety, Chen and the All-Defector are defeated... and Sobornost's primary opposition is gone, leaving the remaining Founders to do as they will with everyone who's left.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Most spaceships in this universe tend to be quite small, sometimes small enough to fit in a pocket, but those made by Sobornost or the Zoku have virtual spaces that are only limited by their owners' imaginations.
  • Bilingual Bonus/Meaningful Name: The Oortians speak the author's native tongue, Finnish. Mieli means "mind" and Sydän means "heart". Perhonen stands for "butterfly", or strictly speaking "Lepidopteran", encompassing both moths and butterflies. Every other faction looked at in detail in the story also uses at least some elements of an existing language as their own, giving them a distinct identity.
    • While Not strictly a Bilingual Bonus, knowing that 'oubliette' is a word for a type of dungeon does make a reveal at the end less surprising.
    • Zoku means "community" in Japanese. It's also the word used for a gaming clan.
    • The name Sobornost comes from a Russian Orthodox word referring to spiritual harmony through unity. All the larger Sobornost vessels also use Russian names for government divisions or provinces.
    • Flambeur is French for gambler. Very fitting for a conman.
    • Jean le Flambeur's Oubliette alter ego is named Paul Sernine — an anagram of Arsène Lupin, on whom Jean's character is based.
      • We later learn that Jean is a longtime fan of the Lupin stories, which strongly implies that the choice of name was intentional in-universe, on Jean's part.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The city of Oubliette on terraformed Mars is built on the backs of titanic Atlas Quiets, uploaded human minds controlling gigantic robots. In result it's always on the move, and its layout is constantly changing as the Quiets move around each other. As far as bizzareness of architecture goes, it's actually one of the more normal locations in the novel's transhuman future.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Sobornost see it as their duty to preserve every mind in existence, but hold all matter in disdain and have no kind of respect to the concept of free will. The Zoku on the other hand don't believe in any kind of permanence, and cheerfully alter their own identities to suit their latest game. They also loathe the concept of devoting oneself to any kind of ideal, considering anyone who is controlled by an ideology living dead.
    • The All-Defector. It's a perfect sociopath who believes in nothing but its own survival. Its ultimate goal is to use the Kaminari Jewel to become an expanding bubble of space time and assimilate all reality into itself, since from its perspective this is the only rational conclusion to be made and the fact that they're still alive is just evidence that no one else has been able to do it yet.
  • Boxed Crook: After getting broken out of the Dilemma Prison, Jean is put in a Sobornost body that's functions can be limited or cut off by Mieli at any time to ensure his compliance.
  • Brainwashed: The Tzaddikim along with the majority of the Oubliette. From the Cryptarchs' perspective it's Brainwashing for the Greater Good, as the true history of the Oubliette is rather unpleasant and the relatively small amount of mind theft they allow and facilitate keeps Sobornost from seriously considering invading.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: One of the only ways to get around gevulot on Mars is by using a simple chemical camera and publishing a paper newspaper.
    • Comes up again on Earth where the most cost effective way of getting around without having to deal with Wild Code is by using a steam engine and train tracks.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: The Zoku approach life as a complex system of games. Make them think they've won or solved the puzzle and they tend to stop working as long as they're suitably convinced.
  • Broken Bird: Mieli. She devoutly serves the Sobornost Founder Pellegrini to get the uploaded mind of her beloved Sydän back to her.
  • Bullet Time: Used copiously and a necessity when someone can increase their subjective perception of reality.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: Perhonen's avatars aboard ship take the form of a bunch of butterflies whose wings make a flickering human face. Rather fitting since she's a gogol made from the uploaded mind of an ancient Oortian who Meili recalled from the alinen.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Mieli's ankle bracelet. It goes for most of the series as little more than a foot note.
    • A literal antique gun in Raymonde's apartment. It turns out to be the memory key Jean and Mieli are searching for.
    • Almost everything Jean picks up along the way is used at a later date. in the Quantum Thief The Archon he traps is eventually used to defeat the King of Mars, while in Causal Angel he reuses both the Sumanguru mindshell and the Axhotl's body stealing story that he acquired in the Fractal Prince near the end of the story.
    • Also an example that is both very literal and meta at the same time. Early on in the Causal Angel, Le Flambeur visits a place called the Arsenal, where the Zoku have stored a rather sizable collection of doomsday devices. One piece in particular draws special attention, and true enough, it comes back to play a role in the finale. The (female) character who designed it is called Chekhova.
  • Clark's Third Law: Given that it's a post-singularity setting, it's inevitable that borderline-impossible things pop up, most blatantly the Kaminari Jewel and the Zoku Realm Gates. The Zoku in general seem to like to play up this aspect of their technology to cater to their personal aesthetics.
  • Clock Punk: The Oubliette, most notably with the Watches that measure each citizen's time as a Noble before they are turned into robotic Quiet.
    • Also used, though not described in very great detail, in the wildcode desert surrounding the city of Sirr on Earth, as complicated electronics and nanotech get destroyed in a flash by the native nanotechnology.
  • Colony Drop: Sirr used to be in earth orbit but crashed during the Collapse. The time it took to crash was enough to let them avoid the worst of the damage from the Collapse, thus becoming the only city left on earth.
  • Cool Ship: Mieli's Perhonen and Jean's old ship, Leblanc, definitely qualify.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: The near-magical technology of the Zokus and Sobornost are that level and some of the societies have that mystical crystalline aesthetic.
  • Death Is Cheap: For the Zokus and Sobornost, at least. The Zokus are primarily defined by their degree of entanglement with others, so as long as enough of their jewels are intact making a new body for someone who "died" is a trivial matter, deserving no more acknowledgement than having a party with close friends. For Sobornost, they fork so many copies of their gogols that the only risk destruction has is a loss of information. Hell, copy-clans leave their names in lower case just to emphasize how meaningless their individual selves are.
  • Deus ex Machina: At the end of The Causal Angel, Mieli uses the Kaminari Jewel to teleport the Supra City Zokus into a different universe moments before they would have been destroyed.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Sobornost combat autism in a nut shell.
  • Dungeon-Based Economy: Sirr's main industry revolves around going into the ruins of Earth and finding artifacts to trade.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Earth by the Dragons in The Fractal Prince.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Dragons and the All-Defector are (post)human creations, but they are alien and terrifying enough to qualify.
  • Emperor Scientist: Most of the seven Sobornost Founders were originally some of the world's most brilliant scientists from the early era of mind-uploading in the 2060's, and continue their experiments in increasingly massive scale to the present day. Notably, they work in very different fields of expertise; the hsien-kus are sociologists and historians while the chens focus on physics, for example. The King of Mars also qualifies.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The All-Defector always defects, no exception.
  • Expendable Clone: The Sobornost Founders have uploaded their minds to millions of artificial bodies. These collectives are called copyclans, and their members synchronize their memories and brainpower whenever they are together, allowing them to be everywhere in their massive empire at once. It doesn't matter if a few die, since there's always backups. Although their interests don't always coincide, and some of the Founders are said to be in war against themselves. Also, the main protagonist, Jean le Flambeur has millions of copies of himself trapped forever in the Dilemma Prison, but he's just happy that he was the one that got away.
    • The narration refers to the Sobornost Founder copyclans with a lower-case initial to emphasize their expendable nature: the hsien-kus, the sumangurus, the chens, the pellegrinis, etc.
  • Fantastic Slurs: The Zoku refer to the Sobornost and anyone else who devotes their life to an abstract ideal as "meme zombies", while the Sobornost call the Zoku and anyone else opposing their plan to remove uncertainity from the universe as "quantum filth".
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Oortians are descendents of Finns, while the Zoku date their history to the Internet subcultures of the 21st century.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Mieli swears like a sailor at times — in Finnish.
  • Gentleman Thief: The title character.
  • God-Emperor: The Sobornost Founders have programmed every uploaded mind in their collective to feel religious awe towards them — including their own later generation copies.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: The pellegrinis almost always appear to be smoking cigarettes when they make an appearance.
    • Sumanguru smoked cigars when he was human, but unlike Pellegrini, his avatars don't follow the habit.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In The Fractal Prince Perhonen performs one to save Jean and Mieli from Chen and the Dragons.
    • In The Causal Angel Jean performs one to save Child!Chen from the All-Defector before the guberniya is wiped.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Oubliette. Subverted to a degree, as their security is less from isolation and more from the layers and layers and layers of cryptography that infuse every aspect of society and daily life, and they allow immigration and tourists to visit.
  • Hive Mind: The Zoku Volition system. Someone in a Zoku can make a request to the Volition proportional to their entanglement, so long as it is in keeping with the general purpose of that Zoku, and in return they have to do what they can to grant the requests others make. This means, oddly enough, that the more one can influence the Volition, the more they are influenced by it. For a new member the Volition can be ignored at the cost of a small amount of entanglement, but for an Elder it pretty much dictates their actions.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Many aspects of the plots of the books depend upon one or another of the villains not thinking things through.
    • The Pellegrini failed to realize that the All-Defector was well named, and releasing it from the Archon Prison lead directly to it enslaving her.
    • In The Causal Angel Past!Jean's plot would have gone off without a hitch without the Archon Prison rehabilitating him and making him a better person. This means that the Sobornost were instrumental in engineering their own defeat.
    • For its part the All-Defector underestimated Jean in the Chen guberniya and didn't stop to consider the wisdom of making endless perfectly modeled copies of him. This ultimately lead to its and Chen's defeat.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The Sobornost Founders arguably qualify, especially the highly evolved forks from Deep Time in a guberniya. The All-Defector only ever appeared humanoid, but it's exact nature was never really clear
  • Impossible Thief: pretty much any time Jean le Flambeur pulls of a serious con he qualifies for this. Most spectacularly, in the closing moments of the second book it turns out the artifact everybody is fighting over is a fake, and he had already stolen the real one from them without leaving a single trace
    • Jean's reputation is this in general, what with him having stolen things like thoughts and memories in the past. It tells you everything you need to know that when he threatens to steal one of Saturn's rings, the Great Game take him perfectly seriously.
  • Info Drop: The author seems particularly averse to exposition, so the only hope a reader has to figure anything out about the setting is to piece all the disparate tidbits together. Depending on your disposition, this is either part of the series' charm, or horribly frustrating.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Jean's threat to steal the F Ring of Saturn, otherwise known as the Zoku bank, is really just a ploy to retrieve Mieli. The actual trick was tweaking the volition system enough to make sure she was the one sent to catch him.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The Jannah of the Cannon is really an ancient computer system that contains a brain backup of Chen as a child. Inside it the gogol of Chen is playing on a beach, with his memory resetting every few minutes so he won't notice he's alone.
  • MacGuffin: The Kaminari Jewel doesn't do much in the first two books besides set up the plot of the series, though it takes a more central role in The Causal Angel.
  • Magic from Technology: In The Fractal Prince, the inhabitants of Sirr couch their understanding of Wild Code in terms of Middle-Eastern stories, mythology, and mysticism. And technology in this time period is pretty much Clarke's 3rd Law, such as Sirr's flying carpets that appear seemingly out of nothing and the Zoku faction creating a solid item uniquely made from space-time.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The Aun. Were they ancient gods hiding in the memetic noise inside monkey brains, or the imaginary friends of a lonely child genius elevated into post human entities by the collapse?
  • Memory Gambit: Jean pulls this surprisingly often, with mixed results. The biggest is unveiled in The Causal Angel, wherein we learn that an earlier, more ruthless Jean le Flambeur arranged to be incarcerated in the dilemma prison after a memory wipe, hoping he could escape as a better person to activate a powerful device that can only be used by those with good intentions. Of course, the new, nicer Jean is horrified, and promptly rebels against his former self.
    • The climax of The Quantum Thief revolves around the reveal that the public history of The Oubliette is all one big gambit on the part of the Cryptarchs. It was really a penal colony meant to terraform Mars, and the Cryptarchs have been systematically altering the memories of everyone who becomes Quiet and using the Zoku to produce physical artifacts.
  • Mind Rape: The Dilemma Prison runs on this. Whenever an inmate 'dies' their mind is subtly and randomly altered. Eventually the most cooperative alterations will win out and ultimately be released as a proper upstanding citizens of Sobornost.
  • Missing Mom: Isidore's mother withdrew her permissions from her family to remember anything about her, effectively disappearing completely in an instant.
    • He later learns she's the Tzaddik he's been working with for years.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In The Causal Angel it is revealed that Jean and the Pellegrini were responsible for The Collapse. Upon realizing what he had done, Jean was horrified leading him to abandon her and become the God of Thieves. When he learns this again - see Memory Gambit - he decides he wants nothing to do with his past self and becomes even more motivated to save Mieli and Child!Chen.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In The Causal Angel, Jean crashes the Zoku's quantum communication network as a distraction in order to rescue Mieli. Unfortunately, in doing so, he cripples the Zoku moments before they're attacked by a force of Sobornost ships controlled by the All-Defector. Oops.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Also in The Causal Angel, thanks to the near limitless resources of the Chen guberniya, the All-Defector is able to model Jean's mind with such accuracy that some of the simulations are able to escape into the main Vir they're in. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Not a Game: Isidore's detective work, as he tells Pixil.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: The Zoku Elders. This gets firmly established when they blow up Mars.
  • Order vs. Chaos: The Sobornost see their entire existence as embodiment of Order, imposing themselves on the chaotic universe to eliminate death and uncertainity, but in particular their Protocol War against the Zoku was motivated with this ideology, since the Zoku base their technology on the unpredictable quantum states of matter and reject the concept of permanent identity.
  • Post-Cyberpunk: In 2060, the rich and multinational corporations are working on Brain Upload technology while the poor comfort themselves with high-fidelity virtual reality entertainment. Meanwhile MMO video game junkies are becoming a major power. But all that was in the past and the "present" is thousands of year after that time and the technology is so advanced it's transformed society into something well beyond cyberpunk definitions.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy:
    • Pixil's Zoku. What would you expect from an upload collective descended from online roleplaying guilds?
    • The Sumanguru Warminds of the Sobornost Collective, based on an African warlord adopted in the Founders' ranks, is a more grim version of the trope.
  • Political Officer: The chens have acted as observers since the Dragon Wars to ensure that inter-Founder conflicts don't get in the way of Sobornost's larger goals.
  • Practical Currency: The currency on Mars is time. When one's time as a Noble runs out, their mind gets put into a Quiet work body for a few years to earn more. Think community service meets forced labor.
    • In The Fractal Prince, the city of Sirr uses a more disturbing form of currency: human minds. The city only exists because of the Wildcode Desert that protects it from Sobornost assimilation, but the Sobornost lust for all the minds forcefully uploaded into the Wildcode Desert that they can't touch, so they hire the baseline humans of Sirr to "mine" them from the 'Code one at a time in return for scraps of their posthuman technology.
  • Reformed Criminal: Jean initially tries to pull this on Mieli to get out of his debt of honor to her. In the end, it turns out he really has been reformed by the Archon Prison, resulting in his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Sapient Ship/Spaceship Girl: Perhonen.
  • Scary Black Man: The sumangurus when they lower themselves to wearing flesh.
  • Shout-Out: Countless, both obscure and popular.
    • Causal Angel briefly features Notch-zoku that is devoted to building megastructures out of tiny cubes and whose symbol is a crudely carved man with a pickaxe.
    • And Mythos-zoku. And Evangelion Zoku. The Zoku are one big collection of Internet-culture Shout Outs because many of them are supposed to be the very same people who contribute in those today and feel nostalgic about them.
  • The Singularity:
    • The breakthrough that lead to the discovery of mind uploading happened approximately 300 years before the story, and the development of technology went out of control in the matter of years, culminating in the event known as the Collapse, which rendered Earth nearly uninhabitable.
    • Another Singularity-event known as the Spike, which lead to the total destruction of the planet Jupiter, happened only some years before the story, and is a driving force in the background of the plot, as all parties are attempting to find out exactly what happened.
  • Social Engineering: Like all good conmen, Jean plays his opponents and innocent bystanders like a fiddle to reach his desired goals.
    • The only cost effective way for Sobornost to gather gogols on Mars. All the encryption is really the only reason The Oubliette is still around.
    • The Great Game Zoku prefer to gather information through this rather than Mind Rape, if they have the time. They can build immensely elaborate scenarios for the person they want to probe and determine what they know from their choices and actions inside the simulation.
  • Space Amish: The residents of the Oubliette and the Oortians. They're for the most part just baseline humans who lack the extensive modifications of the Zoku and Sobornost who just want to live their lives.
  • Spaceship Girl: Mieli's ship Perhonen has a female personality. Though her avatar takes the form of a swarm of butterflies, not a humanoid.
  • Spanner in the Works: Jean is a spanner to just about every plotter in the Solar System, eventually including himself, thanks to his past Memory Gambit he failed to take into account that by allowing his personality to be modified to accomplish his greatest achievement he might no longer be willing to follow the steps of his Xanatos Roulette exactly as he originally planned.
  • Steampunk: Some Zokus are fond of the aesthetic. At one point in Causal Angel Jean has to remind himself that the man he is trying to con is not a goofy steampunk cyborg, but a 300 year old posthuman entity with a quantum brain pretending to be one for his own amusement.
  • Sticky Fingers: Jean will risk going to a literal hell just to steal a piece of jewelry.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Pellegrini honestly thought that she could use the All-Defector for her own ends, forgetting what defines that entity. It's in the name!
  • Transhuman: Practically every character in the story, to greater or lesser extent.
    • Uploaded Brains and Quantum People and Ursamorphs, oh my!
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: The book introduces numerous exotic concepts by simply referring to them by name, and expects the reader to deduce from the context what they mean. Even when a concept is described, it's rarely done in great detail, or more than once. A great deal of the author's astronomical expertise is also poured into the story, using for the moment hypothetical laws of physics as basis for several Sufficiently Advanced technological innovations, such as strangelet bombs.
  • Vigilante Man: The Tzaddikim. Undeniably good, protecting the Oubliette from mind thieves and trying to root out the Chryptarchs. Subverted, as they are the brainwashed, Unwitting Pawn of the Chryptarchs.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Sobornost highly values all individuals (as long as they aren't part of a Zoku, anyway). Unfortunately for their gogol slaves, they only apply the term 'individual' to the original copy, regardless of what subsequent copies might feel on the matter.
  • Wife Husbandry: For the Zoku, you make children for a reason. It can be for something as benign as easing assimilation into a new culture, or as insidious as making a personal connection with a prisoner to extract information without their knowledge.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: For uploaded minds subjective time can be increased by ridiculous amounts relative to baseline speeds. It's especially true for the guberniyas' Deep Time where subjective millennia can pass in days.
  • You Will Be Assimilated:
    • If the Sobornost has their way, all minds will be uploaded as Gogols into their planet-sized gubernya diamonoid brains. It seems that they will ask a permission from Transhumans first, at least if they're not hostile. Baseline humans don't get a say in the matter.
    • The All-Defector's ultimate goal is nothing less than to become the entire universe.
  • You All Meet in a Cell: The Quantum Thief starts off with Jean and Mieli meeting in the Archon Prison.
    • And The Causal Angel ends the same way.