In the end of The Fractal Prince, it is revealed that

as as child, Matjek Chen had imaginary friends, and was trying to make them real. These are the Green Soldier, the Chimney Princess, the Lightning Kraken and the Flower Prince

The bit I'm uncertain about is

Is Jean le Flambeur the Flower Prince - so then is he originally an imaginary friend of Matjek Chen, whom he managed to make "real"?

Also, about the Aun:

Are the Aun the other imaginary friends of Chen? So is Jean le Flambeur also an Aun? What is the current relation of the Aun to the Sobornost (Pellegrini, Chen, Sumanguru)? If I understood correctly the central idea was that the Aun managed to live as stories that could be "released" on Sirr when a mind recounts the stories. Do the Aun (other than Jean) only live on the minds of the people as stories on Sirr, or and these just one instances of the Aun that happen to be there? Or am I just completely off base here? :)

1 Answer 1


Ilari -

This one I can offer a bit more help on, I'm pleased to say. I emailed Hannu last night, and he got back to me this afternoon with the following -

"I am aware that this is one of those confusing issues with TFP.

Briefly, the Aun (Soldier, Princess, Kraken, Prince) are vastly evolved versions of Matjek's imaginary friends which he manages to liberate from the confines of his own skull... memetic parasites, if you like. They went on to become the dominant posthuman lifeform on Earth after the Collapse happened. And indeed, they exist as tangled webs of pure consciousness-narratives in the wildcode desert and partly in the minds of the people of Sirr. So you are pretty much on the money there.

The Sobornost does not know much about them and just treats them as a part of the hostility of the desert. Due to the nature of Sobornost technology (all gogol-based), it is very vulnerable to the Aun.

And yes, we are meant to infer that Jean has at least a part of the Flower Prince inside him, the FP being a kind of mythical trickster archetype.

There is a little bit more about all this in The Causal Angel so I don't want to say too much. And on the whole I prefer people to create their own interpretations, they are usually much more interesting than mine."

If it's not to presumptuous, I would also point you to my interview with Hannu from last summer which may also be of interest -


  • Well, this is a much better answer than I hoped for, thanks! Also, thanks for the link! Jan 7, 2014 at 15:52
  • Totally welcome :-)
    – Pixel
    Jan 7, 2014 at 16:29

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