- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Ace Books (3 Jan. 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0441013651
- ISBN-13: 978-0441013654
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.3 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (94 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,037,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Atrocity Archives Paperback – 3 Jan 2006
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""Stross has gene-spliced H. P. Lovecraft and Len Deighton to produce a SF thriller that is both witty and unsettling."
The explosive first volume in The Laundry Files - a series that combines spy fiction with the supernatural, where George Smiley and MI6 meet Lovecraft, Fringe and Harry Dresden. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
The Laundry is a fun series. The Atrocity Archives starts it with high credentials in geek humour, to the point that most jokes could be quite obscure to anyone who doesn't master Python, the TCP/IP arcanes or the Turing equations. But as the series progress, the jokes are less specialist in-jokes and the humour range from political and social satire to parody.
Lovecraft is an obvious influence from the first volume to Equoid, one of the novellas. But if Stross enjoys Lovecraft as a writer, it's pretty obvious in the novels that he's at the opposite side politically speaking.
The novel revels in exploring the tropes of the SFF genre. But even if Stross uses the tropes, there's no clichés: he actually uses them to turn them on their head and have them making double back flips.
The characters are delightful. Most begin their paper life barely drawn but they quickly become fully fleshed and well rounded, whether it is the main characters, the secondary characters, the male characters or the female characters.
And, oh boy, does Stross know how to write! His style ranges from the tongue-in-cheek political satire to epic moments. The pace is always gripping and the first paragraphs of The Apocalypse Codex are among the best pages I've read in 2012.Read more ›
I've never been a great fan of pure horror but have enjoyed H P Lovecraft's stories; it was sad that he was never able to expand them further. Hence I am always on the lookout for attempts by other writers to emulate his style and further explore the Cthulhu mythos. Some in my opinion have been very successful and I count the Brian Lumley's Titus Crow adventures to be amongst the most enjoyable; I particularly like the more optimistic view in Lumley's take in that it is possible to resist the incursions of the Great Old Ones and their minions; in the original stories the best the protagonist could hope for was a descent into the depths of insanity.
Nick Pollotta's Bureau 13 series is another favourite of mine (incidentally it predates the X-files by several years) containing as it does fast moving adventure and subtle (and sometimes less subtle) horror elements mitigated with a smattering of humour. Interestingly they contain references to the British counterpart of Bureau 13, The Farm, I think you could easily substitute The Laundry for The Farm.
The Atrocity Archives makes a promising start to the series with the mix of malignant ethereal forces and equally malignant human agencies to confuse and muddy the waters. There is humour but it is darker than Bureau 13, the characters are convincing as is the occult technobabble. The series starts with an extra dimensional threat to the integrity of the Universe itself and by book three there are hints of far worse to come!
The question remains as to which poses the greater threat to humanity, the Old Ones or the perfidious minions of Human Resources?
The book contains four pieces: two stories and two "essays" (an introduction, and an afterword from the author). The stories are compelling. My advice would be to skip the "essays". If you read the stories the essays will tell you nothing new.
While the other reviews I have seen (and the "essays" within the book) position it as "spy fiction meets thriller meets Lovecraftian horror" I think that the book stands on its own feet much, much more than this would suggest. The references to these genres - and others - are there, but, like any successful fiction, the final result is a lot more than a combination of ingredients. The book just works - which isn't to say it is perfect, it's not; the writing, for example, is laboured in places - but I am looking forward to reading more by Stross. I'm glad to see that he several more books out and I'll be getting them as soon as I can.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Found the laundry files books a couple of years ago but wasn't sure if I would like them, after the first one I was hooked and quickly found others to read,. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Eric Whitmore
I've been having this authors books flagged up for some time and I finally succumbed about a week ago. Read morePublished 4 months ago by F. M. Muse
This is a tongue in cheek romp through alien magic and spies, guided by a bumbling computer hacker turned master of the dark arts. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Jack
A great book for any one with a nerdish sense of humour or a knowledge of H P Lovecrafts books.
Why this has not been made into a TV series is beyond me. Read more
5 rating for on creating an update on genre bringing Cthulhu mythos into the 21st century. Quirk well drawn characters that are sure to have more depth. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Kindle Customer
When I started reading this book I thought "what the hell have I let myself in for?" but once I got my head round the physics jokes and the intelligently bonkers way he... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Ygraine
This is, at its core a Sci-fi story with heavy eldritch horror themes - masquerading as an Urban Fantasy. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Hisham
Well... It's a decent enough novel and worth sticking with as the later books get better.Published 12 months ago by AbsoluteSpirit