Atrocity Archives Hardcover – 1 May 2004
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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." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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 the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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!
For more reviews, amazing and regular competitions, and author interviews visit: [...]
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.
This is a well conceived mix of spy thriller, Cthulhu-esque terror and comic romp - as our hero (A technical support adviser, for the secret British agency known only as The Laundry) Bob Howard braves the terrors of the unknown universe, middle management, undead nazis and other things both Squibbous and Rugose.
The first tale - The Atrocity Archive (note no 'S') itself it intelligent, witty and imaginative; and leaves you screaming out for more from Bob Howard. Which is quite fortunatly answered straight away by the follow on novlette "The Concrete Jungle", which makes up the last third of the book.
Here Bob is entangled in another plot to turn all of Britain's CCTV cameras into lethal disintegration rays using a 'magic' system, and he must track down the psychotic hackers who have taken it upon themselves to sludge various unwitting members of the public. Can he figure out who, why and where?!
Two tales, both super - and both part of what we can only hope becomes an ongoing series (if the world were truly right - a TV series). And Mr Stross is currently writing the second story...so watch these spaces.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 1 month 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 2 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 2 months ago by Hisham
Well... It's a decent enough novel and worth sticking with as the later books get better.Published 3 months ago by AbsoluteSpirit
An odd novel. If you're really into late 90s computing and horror, then you'll likely enjoy this, however as just a horror fan this left me quite cold. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Simon
Sorry: I tried hard to like this book but found it really slow going with long periods of basically nothing happening. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Stephen Davies
A tricky one this, from the one star you can see I didn't like it. But why? I've thought about this myself... I suspect it was because it didn't conjour any atmosphere for me. Read morePublished 6 months ago by PJ Online
First point is that this isn't a novel, but two separate stories with the same characters and context. Which is a bit confusing if you don't realise that. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Lendrick