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The Atrocity Archives
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Rating
Charles Stross takes a departure from his epic science fiction to craft this cross between Len Deighton style espionage and H.P. Lovecraftian horror.Bob Howard is a computer-hacker desk jockey, who has more than enough trouble keeping up with the endless paperwork he has to do on a daily basis. He should never be called on to do anything remotely heroic.But somehow, he is..."
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About the Author

Charles Stross was born in Leeds, England in 1964. He holds degrees in pharmacy and computer science, and has worked in a variety of jobs including pharmacist, technical author, software engineer, and freelance journalist. He is now a full-time writer.

Reviews

Lovecraft's Cthulhu meets Len Deighton's spies in Stross's latest, as the Scottish author explains in his afterword to this offbeat book offering two related long novellas, "The Atrocity Archive" and "The Concrete Jungle" (the latter previously unpublished). With often hilarious results, the author mixes the occult and the mundane, the truly weird and the petty. In "Atrocity," Bob, a low-level computer fix-it guy for the Laundry, a supersecret British agency that defends the world from occult happenings, finds himself promoted to fieldwork after he bravely saves the day during a routine demonstration gone awry. With his Palm, aka his Hand of Glory (a severed hand that, when ignited, renders the holder invisible), and his smarts, he saves the world from a powerful external force seeking to enter our universe to suck it dry. In "Jungle," Bob teams up with a cop, Josephine, to save the Laundry from a powermonger who seeks to stage an internal coup by using zombies as her minions. Amid all the bizarre happenings are the everyday trappings of a British bureaucracy. Bob gets called on the carpet by his bosses because he requested backup during an emergency without first getting his supervisor's okay and filling out the requisite forms. Though the characters all tend to sound the same, and Stross resorts to lengthy summary explanations to dispel confusion, the world he creates is wonderful fun. Agent, Caitlin Blasdell at Liza Dawson Associates. (May) FYI: Known as a short story writer, Stross has published only one novel, The Singularity Sky (Forecasts, July 7, 2003). Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

In the title novella, originally serialized in Spectrum SF, sorcerous Nazis summon an ancient Evil into the world in a desperate attempt to escape the approaching Allies, and a few courageous individuals must thwart the terror from beyond the world. Along with "The Concrete Jungle," the tale of a computer hacker's embroilment in a power struggle among spies, and an essay on sf and suspense ("Inside the Fear Factory"), this volume highlights Stross's storytelling expertise and vivid imagination. For large sf collections. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

"Like his peer Cory Doctorow, Stross has an ironic Generation X sensibility, conditioned, in his case, by time spent in the simultaneously thrilling and boring world of information technology. In The Atrocity Archives, Stross's genius lies in devoting fully as much time to the bureaucratic shenanigans of the Laundry as he does to its thaumaturgic mission." - The Washington Post Book World "Much of the action is completely nuts, but Stross manages to ground it in believability through his protagonist's deadpan reactions to both insane office politics and supernatural mayhem." - San Francisco Chronicle "If this keeps up, 'Strossian' is going to become a sci-fi adjective...Charles Stross writes with intelligence and enjoys lifting the rock to show you what's crawling underneath...The clever results will bring a smile to your face." - The Kansas City Star "It's science fiction's most pleasant surprise of the year." - San Francisco Chronicle

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