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The Atrocity Archives Paperback – 3 Jan 2006

73 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Books (3 Jan. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441013651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441013654
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 2.5 x 20.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,190,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles Stross was born in Leeds, England, in 1964. He has worked as a pharmacist, software engineer and freelance journalist, but now writes full time.

Product Description

Review

This dark, funny blend of SF and horror reads like James Bond written in the style of H.P. Lovecraft (WATERSTONE'S BOOKS QUARTERLY) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The world's first science fiction/Lovecraftian horror/Humorous spy thriller. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
I'm lurking in the shrubbery behind an industrial unit, armed with a clipboard, a pager, and a pair of bulbous night-vision goggles that drench the scenery in ghastly emerald tones. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 75 people found the following review helpful By S. Cartwright on 15 Nov. 2007
Format: Paperback
I must say I'm a bit bemused by some of the earlier reviews...so let's at least try to cut the confusion a bit. First, the book "The Atrocity Archives" (note the plural) contains two separate items: the short novel "The Atrocity Archive" (singular) and the long short story/short novelette "The Concrete Jungle". They are part of a series, i.e. they make use of the same characters in the same world, but there is no reason to expect plot continuity, any more than there would be reason to expect plot continuity between two separate episodes of Star Trek or two Agatha Christie Poirot stories. The separateness of the stories is quite clear from the layout of the book: why some earlier reviewers wanted to read them as one beats me completely. Oh well.

Second, this is actually Charlie Stross's first book, though it's clearly been reissued on the back of his later success, and yes, it does show. This is a book written as a side project by an IT professional, and one feels that other IT professionals were the intended audience. It does, indeed, work better if you're a geek (I'm not, but I am a university physicist so I got most of the in jokes). When it was originally published, the publishers obviously felt, probably rightly, that an introduction by Ken Macleod would help to sell this unknown author - the subtext, that if you like Macleod you're likely to like Stross, is completely justified in my opinion. Yes, the intro could have been dropped for this reissue, but it would probably have cost money to do so.

The stories in this book (and its sequel, "The Jennifer Morgue") are written as affectionate pastiches of classic spy novels, as the Afterword makes clear.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. Bentley VINE VOICE on 28 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
Science fiction espionage horror. With a dash of comedy. Loads of computer geek stuff. That's what you get from the Atrocity Archives.

Bob Howard (I'm not sure if this is an allusion to the Conan creator) works in IT for a branch of the Secret Service that deals with stopping people from accidently summoning cthulhu type entities using circuit boards. He struggles with the usual minuitae of everyday life, pointless training course, over-officious bosses and bizarre flatmates. Like Harry Palmer, he lives in a lowrent world, eating cheap pizzas and waiting for his flatmates to leave so that he can use the washer/dryer.

But when he's forced to kill a possessed man on a HR course, he attracts the attention of his superiors and soon finds himself caught up in an incipient armageddon and a journey to another universe.

It's good fun. I will admit, like another reviewer, I did feel that events escalated rather quickly and to a degree that one might have expected Bob to feel a bit more out of his depth. However, I didn't think it detracted from the story which was, as I say, good fun, certainly enough to make me want to read the next book in the series, the Jennifer Morgue.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Halo VINE VOICE on 13 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback
The Atrocity Archives is a small book compared to the door-stoppers of modern fantasy and SF, weighing in at only 299 pages once you discount the introduction, afterword and (a very necessary) glossary of terms and abbreviations. But don't let that put you off. The sheer number of ideas contained in those few pages is just mind-numbingly amazing, and keeps the story racing along at break-neck pace.

The premise: The Laundry, a top-secret government agency with the duty of protecting the world from unseen horrors--a troop of Nazis existing on an alternate universe, breaking through the dimensions of space and time; terrorist capable of summoning demons, et cetera, etc! And how does The Laundry do this? With magic of course! Not the Gandalf type, though, but by harnessing technology... For with pure mathematics, anything is possible...

When Bob Howard, a low level techie at The Laundry, goes and gets himself noticed by his superiors, his trouble begins...Forced onto assignments where he's frequently in danger, Bob doesn't think things can get any worse ( a very dangerous thing to think in an organization which uses advanced mathematics to compel there employees to tell the truth!) ...so of course they do!

At times too concentrated with jargon and surplus info, this book is nonetheless a cracking read. Some parts are very funny (particularly when you meet his house-mates, Pinky and The Brain!) and the office characters crucifying Bob (metaphorically) for overdue paperwork, etc will be very real to those unfortunate enough to work for a top secret government agency...or just a normal office!

Very nearly Nine out of Ten, the best Stross book I've read yet!

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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Marcus L. Rowland on 25 May 2004
Format: Hardcover
It's difficult to review this book without comparing it to other authors, simply because they share certain common moods. The actual story concept is original, a fusion of espionage, horror, and SF that won't necessarily appeal to readers who are purists in any one of these genres, but is hugely enjoyable if you can take it all in.
Briefly, the story revolves around agents for a British intelligence organisation tasked with suppressing certain mathematical concepts; the ones that are the keys to other dimensions, most of them containing entities implacably hostile to mankind. The trouble is that they happen to be very interesting mathematical concepts, the ones that are close to the cutting edge of computer research, and there are a lot of people out there that are working on them. In the past it took thousands of man-hours to screw up reality, today a laptop can do it in sceonds. This can result in horrific accidents and is potentially the ultimate terrorist weapon. There is an uneasy peace between the world's intelligence agencies, which pool resources to counter this threat, but things haven't always been that way. The ultimate threat of the book is a remnant of Nazi research from the second world war, and turns out to be much nastier than expected.
I enjoyed everything in this book, from the home-life of the hacker/agent hero to its final apocalyptic scenes on a dying alien world. Thoroughly recommended.
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