Never volunteer for active duty...
Bob Howard is a low-level techie working for a super-secret government agency. While his colleagues are out saving the world, Bob's under a desk restoring lost data. His world was dull and safe; but then he went and got Noticed. Now, Bob is up to his neck in spycraft, alternative universes, dimension-hopping terrorists, monstrous elder gods and the end of the world. Only one thing is certain: it will take more than ‘control+alt+delete’ to sort this mess out...
This is the first novel in The Laundry Files. This audiobook includes the short story The Concrete Jungle.
©2004 Charles Stross. Introduction copyright 2004 by Ken Mcleod (P)2013 Hachette Children's Books
"Tremendously good, geeky fun" (Telegraph)
'A WEIRDLY ALLURING BLEND OF SUPERSPY THRILLER, DEADPAN COMIC FANTASY AND LOVECRAFTIAN HORROR.' (Kirkus Reviews)
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Good story and lively narration. Will certainly download more.
Need to concentrate as fair few twists and turns.
As good as the print edition, (read print first)
Lovecraftian, leaky establishment type novel
Made me laugh, cringe and bounce with excitement in equal measure, some of the beaurocracy is closer to reality than is entirely comfortable.
Please make the other stories available audible.com has all of them including the sci-fi novels, don't force us to suffer with this void in our life
Cold-war, love, bureaucracy
It has to be the protagonist. His journey is that of the classic fairy-story hero, and he is likeable!
The revelation of the relationship between the protagonist's two male room mates.
It is a well crafted, intelligent appraisal of how the British Secret Service would deal with the supernatural. It has a Fifties, Cold War feel, layered with the twenty-first century's real-world worries.
It is very gripping - a dynamic writing style, with real characterisation that grounds the very strange events into our recognisable real world. Only quibble is Stross's failure to fully characterise the female characters - a not uncommon problem with male authors, and Stross's women tend to fall into stereotypes; sex object(albeit with brains), bimbo or ball-breaker.
Charles Stross channels Ben Aaronovitch and Terry Pratchett in his younger period, and achieves somnething that is uniquely his own voice. He doesn't stray too far into the horror/torture/gross genre, but keeps it grounded with comedy, current references and the human drivers of love, loss and learning.This book is in two distinct parts - I believe they were originally published separately, but the repetition of setting back story isn't too cumbersome, and it all hangs together well.I'm definitely looking for more of his work.
"Very Enjoyable Magi-Tech Romp"
Sometimes it's difficult to know what you really want from a book. For me, this one definitely hit the spot in a few places. Charles Stross (it would appear) knows one end of a shell command from the other. Computers and technology (albeit ten or more years old - roughly the age of the book) are interwoven with "magic". Or, rather, science and maths, with a dash of technology (really only science & maths "realised") underpin the magic.
Bob is a great protagonist - burdened with the sort of office bureaucracy many of us will recognise - despite his involvement with "saving the nation" type activities. A somewhat reluctant agent of "The Laundry" he turns out to be pretty competent - if a little whiney in places. There are a number of to her entertaining characters throughout.
An amusing and fun listen. I've started on the second in the series (The Jennifer Morgue) and so far it's as good if not better.
I was initially a little miffed when the story terminated "early" with Mr. Stross himself providing the audio for the last 20-30 minutes or so. In fact what he has to say is very interesting - and he has a good voice.
Jack Hawkins does another excellent job of narration.
"Great book - can't we have the Fuller Memorandam?"
Weirdly original pastiche.
It ferments several genres: thriller, Lovecraft & video-gaming.
A bit like Hellboy, but not. I'm not sure a film would be appropriate.
THERE ARE SEVERAL STROSS NOVELS AVAILABLE TO US AUDIBLE MEMBERS THAT UK MEMBERS ARE DENIED. PLEASE MAKE THESE AVAILABLE IN THE UK.
"Another intriguing alternative reality"
Computational Magic Spying
Bob Howard, the protagonist is the only really well described character in the novel and that's as it should be. It's in the James Bond format and it's through the perspective of this quirky and lovably flawed human that the spy story unnfolds.
To read a talking book in a way that enhances the story and doesn't conflict with the way you'd hear your inner voice is a tall order. Most narrators don't make the grade, or do so partially. Jack Hawkins' narration helps the book flow.
I like listening to a book while processing photos (it's my job). The combination of quirky details, wryly observed parallels to real-life operational and technical requirements and curveball prognoses from well researched facts meant I was able to listen to each section serveral times. That's rare.
Extra bonus - Stross' observations at the end
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