So I know at least one blog reader is a Charlie Stross fan, but as far as I can tell I've never talked about The Atrocity Archives. This will not do. I just started reading it again over dinner (books get read, good books go live on my bookshelf, great books get read again).
Where Accelerando can feel almost like work to read - a struggle to keep up with all the concepts coming in at a significant fraction of cee, Archives is just goofy fun. The simple idea is that esoteric math (the sort that computers are really good at) can contact other dimensions and then various crufty Cthulhu-oid critters come out and play. Well of course there would be secret government organizations keeping a lid on that, and that brings us to Bob - who works for the the Laundry. The Laundry is a bureaucracy first, and he has to deal with matrix management, accountants who break every PC they touch and all the usual. Then he can worry about the dark dimensions if he makes it through those horrors.
Anyway, I'd like to quote one sentence:
When you read that you either A ) at least grinned if not chuckled, B ) have a family relationship with me, or C ) are completely lost and I don't know why you're at my little corner of the Intarwebs. (Hey, welcome and stick around - but I have no idea how you got here. Hiyas!)
This is what you get to live with when you share a house with Pinky and the Brain: I said it was a geek house, and we all work in the Laundry, so we're talking about geek houses for very esoteric — indeed, occult — values of geek.
I've said before that Stross is isn't accessible to SF newbies and I stand by that. The Atrocity Archives is a mash-up of spy thrillers (specifically Len Deighton, who I have never read) and horror (specifically H.P. Lovecraft who I have read, but don't really get - horror just doesn't turn my crank) and I suspect you need to have a passing familiarity with at least one of them. If you don't do spy stories and you can't spell Cthulhu (or at least get close) then maybe it's not for you. On the other hand if you did grin at the quote above pick up a copy The Atrocity Archives. And get the sequel - The Jennifer Morgue. And loan that one to me - I haven't picked it up yet - and I haven't read any James Bond novels, but I have seen the movies.
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