This short story is just the thing if you have some time on your hands, several of the chemicals that are in this story are real and act exactly as described in the story. What a great way to weave real and unreal things together.
One thing that keeps me coming back to Charles Stross and avidly collecting his books is his frequently dark sense of humour.
That's certainly the case in his Laundry Files novels. Occasional bits of lunacy and exasperation mean his Sci-Fi benefits from the same approach and therefore doesn't become a turgid slog through technobabble. In this short story, Charlie himself seems to be the central character.
Is this a true story? Well Charlie does state he attended the kind of events in the story. That makes this a tale that can be believed no matter its outlandish premise, that space agencies investigated and even tested hugely damaging propellants in the search for range and power.
Excellent writing that leaves the reader wondering just whether there is a strand of truth in this eye-opening tale of madness and espionage in the rocket industry
Surprised this hasn't become an urban legend like the US gov being behind 9/11.A brilliant read. And who knows, it may be true!!!!! (Bearing in mind Pratchett's observation about exclamation marks...).
Fact and fiction cleverly woven into a seamless tale, as Charlie is wont to do so well. Wish he'd do more of "A Colder War" type tales though.