The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files #1)
Bob Howard is a computer-hacker desk jockey, who has more than enough trouble keeping up with the endless paperwork he has to do on a daily basis. He should never be called on to do anything remotely heroic.
But somehow, he is.
Read on the plane from London to Vienna and whilst being bored to tears by Vienna
So Vienna is dull, a complete waste of time for anyone looking for a vibrant, friendly and warm city. On the plus side it gave me the chance to sit in the sun drinking coffee and finish reading this great book.
I'd always thought Stross would be a difficult read, henc...more
"Imagine a world where speaking or writing words can literally and direclty make things happen, where getting one of those words wrong can wreck unbelievable havoc, where with the right spell you can summon immensely powerful agencies to work your will. Imagine further that that in this world there is an administered division of labour, among the magicians them selves and those who coordinate their activities. It's bureaucratic and also (therefore) chaotic, and it's full of people at desks mutte...more
If I had to capture the tone of the Atrocity Archives in one sentence, I'd describe it as three parts Men In Black, two parts The Office, and two par...more
I'd never heard of these... they ended up on my "to be read list" because someone "here" had read them. I keep adding books faster than I can read them. (Thank you Stephen).This is actually Atrocity Archives and The Concrete Jungle in one "volume" (are Ebooks volumes?).
I don't know if I can accurately describe these/this books/book. The influe...more
Jumpin' Jehosophat, did I just have an encounter with Tim Powers and The Anubis Gates? Is The Atrocity Archives not a reincarnation of that 80's
70's cult book? But I could just swear that is what I just read on finishing this, Charles Stross's maiden offering in this series. The similarity in style and sheer wackiness are striking. Stross is decidedly more technological. But the stream-of-consciousness flow of thoughts and references is deja vu inducing.
The volume also includes the much more co...more
Add a few dungeon dimension critters, a bit of Hitler on the moon, and (worst of all) an acre of bureaucratic red tape to this comic
and you've got the Atrocity Archives.
If you dabble in computer science, you probably already know that if we were able to prove that P (polynomial time) = NP (nondeterministic polynomial time), it would be a serious game-changer and result in some grade-A chaos: for one thing, RSA would go straight to hell. In Charles Stross's Laundry Files, it tur...more
Told as a sort of first person tumble down a particularly frightening rabbit hole, there is a particular kind of humor that permeates the whole thing. If you can laugh at UNIX jokes, life as a cubicle slave in a go...more
And that is the problem I had with this book. I read a lot of SciFi and Fantasy and I think I'm good at embracing whatever world the author has created and going with it. I'm fine with Stoss's world; the idea of technology...more
Let's start with "The Atrocity Archives" proper.
I liked it. It's sort of an alternate history spy thriller with H.P. Lovecraft elements thrown in to turn the stakes up to 11 with some cosmic horror.
In essence, the premise of the book is that Turing discovered...more
In Stross's world Alan Turing, the father of cryptography whose theories are still used in modern encryption, has completed the "Phase Conjugate Grammars for Extra-Dimensional Summoning," better known as the...more
On the other hand it touches a lot of high-level theoretical concepts from all manners of fields, so being passingly familiar with eso...more
If Lovecraft or Cthulhu say nothing to you, this is not for you. If you want to take a very British romp through the twin horrors of Bureaucracy and Horrors out from Outer Space, this is it. Stross clearly loves both subjects, and meshes them faultlessly and funnily.
The reason this receives only four stars, despite being an almost perfect take on its subject, it is because it delibe...more
Scott has gotten on a Charles Stross kick, and I asked him to pass along the best book by this almost-new-to-us author. (We read Iron Sunrise and both liked it.) Scott passed on Accelerando. I read the first 50 pages and had to put it down. It's all context and no story. It felt like Stross was just playing with the reader to see how weird a world h...more
I should have guessed. I may not be into Cthulhu as a general rule, but Cthulhu plus bureaucracy? British secret service meets red tape? Horrible summoning rituals and literally trying to make an omelette without breaking eggs?
Yeah, of the Charles Stross books I've read so far (this is number 4),...more
Stross builds his Laundry series of stories on the world of H.P. Lovecraft, where parallel universes inhabited by immensely powerful and ancient evil beings can gain access to ours through mystical incantation. Stross makes it science fiction by equating mystical incantation with modern physics and mathematical research.
This book is the first 2 Laundry stories, a novella and a short story.
Thus we have a secret U.K. spy agency, "the Laundry", devoted...more
The book has two stories: The Atrocity Archives & The Concrete Jungle
Atrocity Archives (first story and the bulk of the book) gets 3 stars. It was uneve...more
This book is a Lovecraftian spy thriller. There, I said it. I don't think I've ever seen three words encapsulate a book so well, but at the same time explain so little.
The premise behind the book, briefly, is that Cthulhu and other Lovecraftian horrors are real, and they can interact with our world. They can also be summoned using mathematics and computers, using various theorems proven by Turing before his death. The British intelligence has a secret agency (known as the Laundry ) which is...more
Bob, the main character, is part of the Laundry, the British Secret Service’s answer to the X-Files. He is a secret agent, but he can do magic — literal proper magic – with computers. He’s also a real secret agent in the, as Stross points out, in the way James Bond is not. Between world-saving adv...more
There was a lot of mathematical and scientific stuff that sounded like mumbo jumbo to me (I discovered later that these things were real, just unknown to me). I also felt that a lot of it was boring, although I got the distinct impression that it was supposed to be, in order t...more
What a delicious book; a fantastic combination of spy thriller (ala Le Carre and Deighton); mingled with the claustrophobic, cranial horror of H.P. Lovecraft; and infused with enough tech jargon as to qualify as a hacker's delight. Imagine if you will that Alan Turing not only invented the computer, but was also able to untangle complex algorithms that unlock doors to countless outer dimensions which coexist with...more
This and all the Laundry Files books are great. Bob Howard is smart, and geeky and brave but in the greatness-thrust-upon-him way; very likable.
As opposed to MacX (sp) the hero of some of his short stories is smart and geeky but also creepy and weak. And it's hard for me to care what happens to h...more
Stross is sometimes regarded as being part of a new generation of British science fiction writers who specialise in hard science fiction and space opera. His contemporaries include Alastair Reynolds, Ken MacLeod, Liz Williams and Richard Morgan.