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#131 Charles Stross: The Atrocity Archives - Off in the distance
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The Bellinghman
Date: 2007-04-29 22:44
Subject: #131 Charles Stross: The Atrocity Archives
Security: Public
Tags:books, books by friends, reviews
Charles Stross: The Atrocity Archives

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Ace Books (3 Jan 2006)
Language English
ISBN-10: 0441013651
ISBN-13: 978-0441013654
Category(ies): Horror/thriller

Apparently Stross's first published novel, this introduces us to Bob Howard. Bob works for The Laundry, one of those Len Deighton style organisations that no government would admit to running, but most do actually have. He's a computer administrator, but it's getting a bit tedious dealing with Fred from Accounting (especially after he's been killed), and the office politics is a real pain, what with a stuck up jobsworth of a line manager. So Bob gets into the field. It's not much to start with, just breaking into an office in Watford (anyone with sense would be breaking out where Watford is concerned), but things develop from there.

The problem is, in this world, there are secrets that no human should ever have to know. And one is that Hell, and demonic possession, and necromancy, do actually work. And of course, that makes them fair game for weapons of terrorism, or of mass destruction. (There are some rather chilling consequences that come from this, and part of the horror here comes from taking things that happened in our real world, and finding other motives behind them.) In the end, it's up to Bob to save the universe.

This is an odd idea, distinctly odd, being a crossover of horror and cold-war thriller. But, all in all, it's pretty amazing. Recommended.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2007-04-30 03:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I liked TJM too. Interestingly, I read it first, a couple of months ago, much to autopope's surprise when he found out. But though there is obviously back story in TJM, it stands well on its own. More of a romp, less horrifying than this one.
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Angelic Eye for the Gendered-Species Individual: iChor
User: rysmiel
Date: 2007-04-29 18:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:iChor
The villain is changed in this edition from the original 1999 magazine publication, in which it was Osama bin Laden. I remain deeply ambiguous about this.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2007-04-30 03:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Indeed - I've heard Charlie's talk on this more than once. But keeping Bin Laden would have seemed excessively like jumping on the bandwagon of current events, and I think he was wise to switch.
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