Trish's Reviews > The Nightmare Stacks

The Nightmare Stacks by Charles Stross
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it was amazing

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 thought nothing in his life could be as bad as a certain family dinner with his sister and her new partner, there is CASE NIGHTMARE RED.
Yup, you read correctly, RED. Apparently, there are a rainbow full of CASES NIGHTMARE and this time we get to see the RED one - which stands for alien invasion.

However, "alien" isn't always the little green martians. Sometimes, it's beings from an alternate Earth, where a sub-species of homo has formed that uses magic instead of technology and cracked their moon in a world war before attracting the unwanted and unhealthy attention of godlike monsters.
The setup for the bad guys here very much reminded me of the short story about Stross' version of unicorns (of which there were some here as well), because the "aliens" are like Tolkien's Elves, only less friendly. And we are the Uruk from Uruk-hai (Earth). *LOL*

So what does happen when magic has caused the downfall of one Earth so the survivors plan on invading this one, resulting in them clashing with a version of homo that uses technology and has a more mathematical approach to "magic"?
Well, let's just say that cosplayers won't get to spend a weekend as relaxed as they thought (thank you, SCORPION STARE), the Elven scout/spy ends up like most Russian ones in the US in the 50s, and it was very interesting to see Lovecraftian dragons going up against Boing 747s as well as Elsa and Raptor drones. ;P

Oh, and Pete (the vicar with his hilarious Vespa) as well as Pinky and Brain (they are to the Laundry what Q was to Bond) are featuring in this so you know it's gonna be a fun romp.

I must admit that I was reluctant to once again NOT get a book from Bob's point of view. I know that we have progressed a number of years since the start of the series and what Bob has lived through has formed him in a way. But especially after what happened to him in the last book from his POV, I wanted to know how he was doing! Besides, I just like the guy so much!
However, the author gave us a worthy replacement in Alex. He's quirky, funny, nerdy, a bit clumsy at times (yes, here, the semi-clumsiness of a PHANG works, unlike in most YA stories), while being realistically kick-ass at others, and has the best family when you try to feel better about your own.

Not to mention that we're nearing the end of all ends and we all knew that Bob and Mo alone wouldn't be enough to fight the horrors soon to come. Cassie, therefore, was a wonderfully bright addition to the colourful cast (excuse the puns), too, and it'll be interesting to see how she will integrate now. Yesyes.
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Reading Progress

July 18, 2018 – Started Reading
July 18, 2018 – Shelved
July 18, 2018 –
7.0% "BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Pinky and Brains scaring Alex (a young vamp) shitless was seriously brilliant!

Not sure how much I'll like the new POV although I do understand the need for it (somewhat). After Mo's book, I just wanted to be back with Bob, I guess. *sighs* Anyway, the 24-year-old fanged virgin is entertaining so far so ..."
July 18, 2018 –
28.0% "There is not just a Case Nightmare Green but Cases Nightmare Rainbow??? Holy Tentacles!

Also, Agent First and her kind are interesting as the author, once again, greatly blends actual scientific facts with pop culture details (in this case mostly Tolkien) and his own made-up take on fantasy and scifi elements."
July 19, 2018 –
68.0% "Read straight through and am likely to finish this tonight even. I just can't stop. Especially after the HILARIOUS dinner with Alex's parents. BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Remind me to read that scene every time my family comes over for Christmas and I can't deal with their antics."
July 20, 2018 –
87.0% "Well, that didn't go as planned. Guys, a word of advice: don't cosplay, it could kill you. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!"
July 20, 2018 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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Bradley I absolutely loved how she considered showing up to the family dinner in full punk or full nudity. :) That, and the whole fixation on earth movies. :)

Glad you like Alex and Cassie as much as I did! :)


Trish I liked how she played the "I'm not from this world" angle as being a method actor. *lol*


Bradley Brilliant. And transparent. :) She DID go naked!


Trish Well, it's all about interpretation.


Lindsay Be careful what you wish for in terms of having Bob back. He’s older and a lot darker. The next book has a much darker tone.


Trish Well, I still want him back. And I get the darkness. We must also not forget that despite the author's usually light(er) tone and jokes, this is about the end times and they are, by definition, dark. ;)
Besides, after what his beloved wife did, I'd be dark too.


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