Here is a modern novelette in H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos that is rich in detail and frightening in execution. Stross' stunning tale will pull you back into the cold-war era, engendering fear and then magnifying it into non-euclidean infinities. Imagine David Cronenberg directing Dr. Strangelove, based on a script by H. P. Lovecraft. Imagine an alternate history in which nuclear bombs are not the ultimate weapon, but instead are merely a stepping stone to eldritch technologies accessible through certain trans-dimensional forces first encountered in 1920s Antarctica, technologies that neither the United States nor the USSR can quite contain.
Stross has admitted that "A Colder War" was directly inspired by Lovecraft's novel At the Mountains of Madness. The amount of research and historical mastery Stross sprinkles throughout the narrative creates the verisimilitude necessary for truly effective alternate history.
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"Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant!" (sffaudio.com)
If you love HP Lovecraft, then you'll go crazy for this "modern", tongue-in-cheek alternative history.
I have one phrase for you:
We have a Weakly-God-Like-Entity Gap.
The narrator's decision to read this fast and without relaxation makes this a hard to enjoy book (mimics a 1940-50's army/news flick). The story is a nice HP Lovecraft twist, but listen to the sample first before you decide to buy. In fact I've listen to a couple of samples narrated by Pat Bottino and I think his reading style and voice are suitable for only certain characters.
It's a Laundry Files universe story.
The particular plot of this story
Sounds too much like a fast talking film noir detective.I kept waiting for him to say
The story itself was very well written and entertaining in a very creepy way. Especially for anyone who lived through some fo the cold war, or enjoys HP Lovecraft.
The Narration absolutely killed the entire story for me. I had to go and read the story to get the emotion of what was going on.
Good story, Really poor narration.
I read this originally in his collection, Toast, I think. So good I paid again to hear it read.
Absolutely excellent story that combines significant elements of the Cthulhu Mythos and 1980's Ronnie Raygun Military-Industrial complex black-ops. Stross later developed the 'horror-spy' theme in 'The Atrocity Archives,' and 'The Jennifer Morgue' - alas neither available on Audible, yet.
Historical events of the Reagan era are seamlessly woven into the story culminating in events Lovecraft (and Reagan) never envisaged.
The only downside is the slightly odd way the in which the story is narrated. Overall though well worth buying.
"Great Story - Poor Reading"
A superb story that mixes 80s military paranoia with Lovecraftian cosmic horror in a world where a nuclear holocaust may be preferable to the other weapons the superpowers can unleash.
Sadly, the reading is rather poor - badly paced, almost monotone at times. Due to the speed at which it is read punctuation is ignored in places. Maybe the idea was to capture a feeling of numbed senses and rising hysteria, if so it failed. Overall, one loses the subtleties of Charles Stross' writing beneath the poor delivery. Such a shame with such a good story.
I hope that Audible will produce the same author's excellent books "The Atrocity Archives" and "The Jennifer Morgue" that re-work and develop some of the themes found in "A Colder War", however, if they are produced I hope more attention will be paid to getting the reading right.
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