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The Nightmare Stacks

(Laundry Files #7)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  5,642 ratings  ·  460 reviews
Alex Schwartz had a promising future - until he contracted an unfortunate bout of vampirism, and agreed (on pain of death) to join the Laundry, Britain's only counter-occult secret agency.

His first assignment is in Leeds - his old hometown. The thought of telling his parents that he's lost his old job, let alone them finding out about his 'condition', is causing Alex more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 23rd 2016 by Orbit
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Michael David Cobb Yes you actually can. It explains enough backstory to get you through it but you will not get a deep enough appreciation for the humor of running joke…moreYes you actually can. It explains enough backstory to get you through it but you will not get a deep enough appreciation for the humor of running jokes. This book is a very interesting departure, and if you're new to the series, or dropped it, it's really a great place to start (again).(less)
Marcel Yes you can, but I am not sure you should: Bob Howard is no longer the lead characters and the new lead character's back story is explained in Rhesus …moreYes you can, but I am not sure you should: Bob Howard is no longer the lead characters and the new lead character's back story is explained in Rhesus Factor. So if you want to get back in, start there, but I think it generally speaking makes sense to go even further back, as there is a progression across the various Cases Rainbow which you may not fully appreciate otherwise...(less)

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Average rating 4.23  · 
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Start your review of The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7)
Re-read 7/20/18:

I really can't squeal more than I squealed the first time around, but I will add that it's STILL AS GOOD AS THE FIRST TIME. I love Alex! I love Cassie! And of course, the whole setup and denouement was fantastic!

I mean, just the whole horrific action scenes, the stark immediacy of being a victim of genocide, doing everything possible to save your people, including an ignorant invasion of Earth... I GET IT. The possibilities after that end, though... that's what sticks with me. Sp
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Laundry Files are that rarity in long-running series: they're getting better as they go along.

This one has another new protagonist in the young PhD and newly infected vampire Alex Schwartz who was introduced in the excellent The Rhesus Chart a couple of books ago. Frankly, that's a brilliant move. While Alex's condition is horrific, his distress at what it takes to keep himself alive makes him an inherently likeable character whose youth and relative inexperience with the Laundry injects a m
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this 7th installment about the government agency known as "The Laundry", Bob and Mo (the hitherto protagonists) are merely mentioned but never make an appearance. Instead, Alex Schartz, new v-... sorry, PHANG as introduced in the previous book instead takes the lead.

Alex used to be a banker, then got infected with what effectively makes him a vampire and was "asked" to work for the Laundry. He's 24-years-old, a virgin, a nerd ... and has to find a way to tell his parents. But just when he tho
Jul 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Very weak start, very strong middle, reasonably strong end.

The Good
Stross knows how to create an alien species. He is good at it, at making them convincingly alien and weird and yet operate both within the limits of our understanding and the constraints of the setting. The xenofictional aspects are some of the best parts of the book.

Stross also knows how to write a big, multi-faceted action sequence to cap off the book, and he organizes it well. There are a lot of moving parts, but you never fee
Sherwood Smith
Jun 28, 2016 added it
Shelves: fantasy
Readers who are curious about Stross's Laundry Files and are daunted by the idea of starting at the beginning could actually begin with this latest book. Though it doesn't feature his terrific narrator Bob, or his more problematical wife Mo, this might be a good thing for a new reader, as Alex--newly succumbed to PHANG disease--makes a delightful POV character.

Through the hapless Alex, who is about as far from the usual vampire as you can possibly get, the reader will get a fast introduction to
Danger is looming, and it threatens to be
"A fate four point two degrees worse than death."
When Alex Schwartz took a lucrative job developing high frequency trading algorithms, he had no idea how literal his transformation into a bloodsucking vampire was going to be. In the world that Stross creates, higher mathematics open a gateway to Other Dimensions haunted by Lovecraftian beasties, including the V-symbiotes that invaded Alex's brain and gave him PHANG Syndrome (Person of Hemophagic Autocomb
Jul 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
The first part of The Nightmare Stacks is vintage Laundry series, reminding us who Alex is, and also re-introducing a number of cast members from earlier novels including Pinky and the Brain. The new character of the Dungeon Master is not particularly well introduced so I wondered if I have forgotten him from a previous novel, but it seems not. The middle section dealing with Alex in Leeds and the developing situation builds momentum towards the finale, but the narrative written in various flash ...more
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My favorite of the Laundry Files thus far—and an ending that knocks it out of the park! Even better—you can actually start reading here. You'll miss some of the visceral terror as events spiral so much further out of control than we've seen so far in the series, but the story will still work, and Alex and Cassie (sort of) are delightful lenses through which to view the tale. ...more
Feb 18, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook

Can you make a vampire-geek boring? Yes, yes you can. Fun concepts and I liked the tidy ending. The overall story was not as engaging, and I wish the POV was back to Bob.
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If you ever wondered what happened to Pinky and Brains Kettenkrad, what would an engagement between magically controlled wyvern and an Eurofighter Typhoon look like and how the Maginot blue star basilisk enhanced traffic cameras work against an alien incursion, this book might be the right one to respond to your questions :)

N+1 krat precitane (resp vypocute)
Stale vyborna knizka so spravnou mierou humoru, fantasy, over-the top a never-happens scenarii (dokonca aj pre prepracovanych a otrlych zame
Miloš Petrik
Aug 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
On par with the rest of the series, though not a favourite. No Bob Howard, no Mo O'Brian - and a good thing, too, since they'd be much too powerful by now. I found it somewhat short and the ending a smidge abrupt, though. ...more
Alex Sarll
The latest in Stross' Lovecraftian horror/spy thriller/bureaucracy-com Laundry Files series again gives us a new point-of-view character, this time vampire and former banker Alex Schwartz, to whom I instantly warmed simply because he's another Alex S. But that's only one of the reasons I enjoyed it considerably more than its rather wonky predecessor, The Annihilation Score. And to say any more than that gets us into spoiler territory, but there are degrees of spoilers, aren't there? So, to give ...more
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
Not my favorite Laundry Files entry.

I understand *why* Mr. Stross decided to veer away from Bob. Characters are harder to write and less interesting to read when they level up as dramatically as Bob has. But Alex was not the best character to switch to, and this story was not a great showcase for him.

Because, in the end, I'm not reading a Laundry File book for (spoilers, I guess?): "Awkward boy is v smart but falls in love with fairy princess assassin and saves her and the world."

That's the act
I like the Laundry books, they're generally fun, the style is enjoyable. But this one had a big flaw. It was hard to have sympathy for a 24 year-old who thought avoiding his parents was kinder than just telling them he doesn't have a girlfriend right now. Avoiding them because he was a vampire I could have understood, but that wasn't his problem. This is a book written for adults, right? It sure had a young adult energy through too much of it, but not in a good way. I read lots of YA, that isn't ...more
Ann Schwader
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Charles Stross just keeps ringing new changes on his popular Laundry Files. This time around, he's added urban fantasy. Or rather, the Secret History behind it. As newly minted Laundry employee -- and PHANG -- Dr. Alex Schwartz discovers, elves are not only quite real, but remarkably unpleasant. At least, most of them are . . .

The Laundry, Leeds, and possibly the planet are all under attack in this one, as CASE NIGHTMARE RED (alien invasion) picks an otherwise ordinary weekend to manifest. The
Patrick Hurley
Sep 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Charles Stross is always an entertaining author and I've really enjoyed the Laundry series so far. The new characters this volume focuses on, Alex the vampire investment banker turned government operative and a literal manic pixie dream girl named Cassie (Bob and Mo are mentioned in passing, but never show up) didn't quite work for me--nor did the rather Tom Clancy-esque meandering toward the latter third of the book. Some of that could have been quite pared down for a more compact book. In any ...more
Don't start this one anywhere near your bedtime... D'oh! This is about one of the PHANG's we met in a previous book, who is trying to adjust to working for the Laundry instead of for an investment baking firm. ...more
Wing Kee
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was not what I was expecting from a Laundry book.

World: The world building was not what I expected. I had expect Bob or Mo cause this is a Laundry book and this has been the case in a while. I don’t mind this at all as this world is bigger than these characters and what Stross has built here is so much more interesting than one single character (not that Stross characters are the deepest, cause they not). This new piece of the Laundry world is pretty great, it ties into the events with V-S
Peter Tillman
An incoherent book -- but it has a cool outline!
OK, I did finish it, with a lot of skimming. The book finally (finally!) came together in the battle scenes, as the Forces of Faerie are vanquished by the Forces of Britain. Not really a spoiler....
And there are flashes of brilliance here, in with the clunks. Stross, as always, has done his homework.

But the book is, well, a mess. Stross's cool Crib Notes for the thing are linked below, but my advice is to Power Skim until you find something fun an
Allen Adams

I’ll say this right off the top – Charles Stross’s “Laundry Files” books might well be my favorite sci-fi/fantasy/speculative series currently going.

It achieved that spot through chronicling the adventures of Bob Howard, IT guy-turned-paranormal espionage operative working for a government organization tasked with preventing magic from bleeding into everyday life and basically ending the world.

He was surprisingly busy.

However, the adventures of Mr. Howard
The most sweet and sentimental book about eldritch horrors I've ever read. It may be that Stross is getting over his trauma about middle management.

Sometimes when you're a government mathematician defending the realm against Lovecraftian monsters you meet a cute girl. Sometimes, when you're an advance scout of a Lovecaftian invasion force, you meet a cute mathematician. Sometimes your housemates ply you with tea wine and loan you a tank to take her out a date.

I suspect there's something sly in
Dec 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
This book is a lot like a Wikipedia Article. It is a very interesting info dump written in a compelling fashion. So while it can be interesting to read a wiki, this is a novel, and it should have a story to go along with the world building.

I read that before the sixth Laundry Files book Stross had to decide whether the series was about a character (Bob) or the world. As we have seen, he opted for the world. That's cool, he has developed an absolutely fascinating world that he continues to nurtur
John Carter McKnight
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book really gets going around page 85 or so, and from there is a terrific adventure ride, with trademark Stross humor and logic-of-the impossible. It's a shame that the beginning is a slow mess of POV- and time-hopping, and a protagonist who just isn't up to the job. With series hero Bob Howard promoted upstairs and out of the field, we've now got his much more boring clone, a virginal ex-banker turned vampire. Alex is (intentionally) as dull a metahuman as possible, and it was difficult to ...more
Peter Hollo
Jul 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The previous Laundry Files novel switched protagonist from Bob Howard to his now-estranged wife Mo. It was a nice move that made a lot of sense, but it felt like Charlie was trying too hard to write from a middle-aged female point of view. It's not that there was anything particularly offensive, but Mo as narrator couldn't help but still sound like Charlie, the laconic, nerdy know-it-all Scottish-resident pom.

So with another switch here - to Alex Schwartz, recent vampire and consequently recent
Michael David Cobb
Jul 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daisy Madder
Jul 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well that was a step up from the previous episode, both in terms of quality and in terms of threat level. When it was announced that Alex, the PHANG former city banker, would be the narrator this time around, I was definitely concerned, having not particularly liked him in his previous appearance. I shouldn't have worried, Stross manages to give him a distinct voice, much more unlike Bob (can I just say, I miss Bob, looking forward to his return in later books) than Mo managed to be in the last ...more
May 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The gazillionth Laundry File confirms that the success of its predecessors depended heavily on the voice of Bob Howard by again not using it. Instead we get Howard-lite in the form of newbie vampire and Laundry recruit, Alex. Alex is the kind of nervous, out of his depth nerd Bob was way back in the mists of time, without the wit or distinctive turns of phrase. This makes the first half of the book a little dull. Circa p200 however, things start to go crazy, the viewpoint widens and war breaks o ...more
Stig Edvartsen
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: male-author

I am very much a fan of Stross' Laundy Files and his mix of The Office, Yes, Prime Minister, Lovecraftian horror and pure math and computer-geekery.

In this installment we follow Alex the vampir...sorry...PHANG as he manouvers the fine line between dating as a virgin, coming to terms with his vampirism and getting involved in a invasion by an eldritch variant of the cast of A Midsummer Night's dream.

Hi jinks and divers alarums do indeed ensue.
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have read this book at least 3 times, make of that what you will 😉
April 27 2020: at least 4...
Bryan Brown
Nov 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-noir
I have very much enjoyed this series but part of the reason why is that it was easy to empathize with the "everyman" Bob Howard. That made the series very easy to like and easy to read. The last two books have followed a protagonist that is not Bob Howard. In this case following the PHANG introduced previously Alex.

Alex was also involved in the supernatural accidentally and as a result gained some supernatural powers of his own. While similar to Bobs initial exposure to the supernatural Alex is
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Castle Dracula: Anyone read "The Nightmare Stacks"? 3 28 Dec 13, 2018 01:01PM  

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Charles David George "Charlie" Stross is a writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. His works range from science fiction and Lovecraftian horror to fantasy.

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.


Other books in the series

Laundry Files (9 books)
  • The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1)
  • The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files #2)
  • The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files #3)
  • The Apocalypse Codex (Laundry Files, #4)
  • The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5)
  • The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6)
  • The Delirium Brief (Laundry Files, #8)
  • The Labyrinth Index (Laundry Files, #9)

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