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Preview — The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross
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
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
...plainly all nations would have a secret agency dedicated to protecting the public and keeping them blithely unaware of the outrageously dangerous world they really live in.
Enter Bob Howard, junior...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
I hate when a book has the most amazing, incredible, awesome idea . . . then doesn't really live up to its promise.
That is definitely the situation with The Atrocity Archives.
The idea is kind of James Bond meets Cthulhu, but it just didn't work for me. I think the biggest problem was all the hype about how FUNNY this book is -- TECHNICAL (like, so technical I had to literally skim pages just to finish the damn thing), yes. Funny? Not so much. Unless griping about your boss is funny, somehow...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
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
"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
It sort of reads like a Robert Rankin story but it had some IT nerd humor that most people won't get. That in addition to all the science behind timespace travel, the development of supernatural weapons and the whole premise of parallel worlds, well... I did find myself skimming a bit (too complex for my simple brain). However, this was a unique story and really interesting and I look forward to reading more about the Laundry.
Our hero, Bob Howard, works in the...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
There are many many allusions to computer and physics esoterica in this book, not to mention snippets of Monty Python skits and other random references. Therefore, in order to get full value from the book, the reader does need to have some knowledge of both science and humor. Nonetheless, there is an enjoyable read here even if you don't score 100% on the "w...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
Stross' protagonist, Bob Howard, is a Gen X hacker who gets drafted into the Laundry, the code name for the UK government agency which protects England from nasty beasties from beyond. It turns out all that complex math th...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
The central conceit here is that math and science are magic. As such, computer scientists routinely summon evil written as a paean to H.P. Lovecraft (literally, references to things like Miskatonic University abound).
Where this book is at its best is when it stays truest to the voice of...more
Call of Cthulhu meets "The Office" meets "the X-files". Two novelletas in one book, "The Atrocity Archives" and "The Concrete Jungle" written with dark humour, very interesting concepts and taught me tons of new stuff on physics and other scientific ideas. LOVED IT.
European urban fantasy at its best -- joining the Masters of European UF Lukyanenko and Kim Newman.
The Concrete Jungle is available here for free:
Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.
In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
If you're not at least slightly familiar with H. P. Lovecraft's mythos; if computer science is not your cup of tea, and technobabble tends to irrita...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
This is a review of the first novel of the series: The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross.
The premise for the series is that certain mathematical computations, the Turing-Lovecraft Theorem, can be used to open gates to ot...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.