Hannu Rajaniemi is strange. Start talking about writing with him, and you soon find yourself discussing mathematics. (And vice versa.) His seasonal greetings arrive on eight-dimensional Christmas Cards. Though his engagement and thoughtfulness are never in doubt, the overriding impression is that he is neither a writer nor a mathematician, but a creative and unexpectedly personable hybrid.

Hannu’s 2010 debut novel, The Quantum Thief, astounded the field. A humane puzzle piece about game theory and redemption, it was fiendishly complex, yet won praise from readers outside the SF genre: a neat trick, and a rare one. A sequel, The Fractal Prince, is due in September: it is easily the most eagerly awaited genre title of the year.

Topsight, written exclusively for Arc, is his story of a friendship, a death, a cultural miscommunication and a new way of seeing the world.

"It was crazy," Chris was saying. “She just came to the office one day, asked me if I wanted to buy a city in Mongolia. I thought she was crazy, but it turned out there was a whole ghost city there, all wired and ready to go, control systems, ubicomp, you name it. Built for a supply-chain war somebody lost. They rented it out for testing city apps. I own it now. I was there last week. You haven’t played Pacman until you’ve played it with trams. I’m going to open-source the whole thing, give it to city hackers. Tiritror, it’s called."

"She was from somewhere called that," Branjo said. His voice sounded rough.

“Well, I don’t know where she was from,” Aoko said, “but I know she was homesick. We worked at the Nero at the airport, see, and whenever we’d have a break, she’d go and look at the planes. I thought she liked them, but you see them all the time there, get used to them, you know? But she would always look. So I asked her. You know what she said? ‘I look at the big snakes in the sky, fighting.’”

Branjo tossed back the contents of his cup, looked down, eyes dark. Aoko squeezed his knee. “She’s here with us, you know. Don’t be sad.” Then she turned to Kuovi. “What about you, Finnish girl? Do you have a story about Bibi?”

Arc is delighted to feature in its debut issue a new story by this Finnish science fiction sensation. Acquire further Topsight in Arc 1.1, available next Monday on  Zinio for iPhones, iPads, Android devices, Windows PCs and Mac computers, and on Kindle.

And we’ve still got more author announcements to come… stay tuned.

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2 years ago
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