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 for some reason, he is.
©2004 Charles Stross; (P)2010 Recorded Books, LLC
"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....With often hilarious results, the author mixes the occult and the mundane, the truly weird and the petty." (Publishers Weekly)
If I had realized this is a horror story, I never would have purchased it. And sadly, it references the most gruesome events in the history of our world. The beginning was slow but I carried on, based on the recommendations of other reviewers and the genuinely witty observations of the narrator. However, when the horror portion began, I couldn't handle it anymore and stopped the recording without any desire to finish it. If you enjoy horror stories, you may enjoy this book but it was not for me.
I don't know. This was most likely my first and last of this combinastion - too boring to even finish - I gave in as wasted time with 4 hours left to complete. I think that is is possible that the narration kept putting me to sleep
The Family Trade was actually a pretty good listen. So yeah, I'd consider another book but NOT from this narrator
Possibly - the "story line" was pretty slim
Can't think of any
Good Lord! This book is nothing but exposition. I felt like I was sitting in some classroom listening to a lecture on the History of Nazi Occult Practices 101 or something... I found myself drifting off during these long winded lectures. And another thing...nothing is really explained about how a hacker-genius who inadvertently gets recruited into this super-secret-bureaucratic-by-the-books British agency gains such vast insight into the occult. Perhaps it is explained in later books, but some grounding here might have helped a little.
Did you ever have a book that a friend had been recommending for years that you should read? And when you finally did, how often were you disappointed? Not so with this book. I've had a good friend telling me for at least five or six years that I should read it, but somehow I just never did. Finally, I broke down and got a copy, in both ebook and audiobook form. Wow!
Okay, first let's talk about the story. This book was written by a hard-core geek for other hard-core geeks. If you don't know who Turing was, or what fractals are, or any of a dozen other geeky things, you probably won't enjoy this book. If you're not a fan of British humour, with which this book is filled, you won't enjoy it. For the rest of you, come on in, the water's fine.
This book is a great mixture of geekery, Lovecraftian horror, and bureaucracy. Our hero hast to save the world from nameless horrors, but is required to fill out forms justifying his overtime claims. He is a desk jockey at the ultimate secret service, who longs to get out in the field. Unfortunately for him, he gets his wish. Hilarity ensues.
Now as to the reader: He is absolutely top-notch. I didn't come in to this series with any expectation of what the characters sounded like, but now I know exactly what they sound like. Gideon Emery does an outstanding job of vocal characterisation, I know who is speaking, just based on what they sound like. That really improves the quality of a listen. In addition, Mr. Emery clearly has a touch of the geek about himself, as he gets the pronunciation spot on for all the technical terms. That is critical to me, as nothing yanks me out the flow of a good listen faster than a reader who mispronounces words. One or two in the course of a read is acceptable, but dozens ruins it for me. This reader never missed even one, as far as I could tell. So instead, I stayed in the flow the whole time, and the book just blazed past. I have already begun buying the rest of the series, so I can listen all the way to the end. Definitely recommended.
To sum up, if you are a geek, or if you have ever worked for a really large and bureaucratic organisation, you will definitely get the jokes. And the horror, while horrific, is handling with skill, such that I wasn't unable to sleep at night after reading (well, hearing) this book. Urban fantasy fans, don't hesitate to add this to your rota of books to read. I hope you will love it as much as I did. Charles Stross definitely goes on my list of writers I'll be watching, and knowing an audiobook was read by Gideon Emery will be recommendation enough for me.
I've been reading Sci-fi and fantasy for close to 50 years and the over the top disgusting, juvenile, impossible to understand details in the first couple of chapters almost kept me from continuing. After that I found that the combination of paranormal/magic and spy genres works and works well! If you are a fan of Sci-fi, Fantasy, Magic, Mystery, or Spy books you might give this series a try. I'm currently visiting Audible to look for the next Laundry Files Novel.
I quite enjoyed the idea of summoning and arcane ideology told through a lens of modern engineering and not one of esotericism and mumbo-jumbo.
Readers who don't know anything about electrical engineering or computer science may want to steer clear as the story can get a little technical at times. However if you're ready to research just a little (I know I was) You'll find a fantastic sci-fi series with truly epic highs and brutally intense lows.
It is always a risky gamble to start a new author or series. You just never know what you are going to get, even with millions of reviews, the book can still turn out awful. Now, sometimes the risk pays off, and sometimes it pays off in spades, just like with this book.
I picked this book up expecting a simple spoof that I'd use to kill time with while I looked for a different, good book to start.
I bought the sequel before I even finished this one.
Basically this book is satire layered on satire, and so forth and so on, like an ogre, or an onion. You have a satire of office bureaucracy that is further amplified by governmental office bureaucracy. This means there are characters wanting nothing but to kill time until their pension kicks in. Other characters that enjoy stomping on the soul of the working grunt with timesheets, paperclip audits, and forms for acquisition forms. And then after several more layers of people, you have our wonderful protagonist, the conscripted bored IT working mathematician engineer spy-in-training necromancer.
You read that right. Our protagonist is all of the above. His day job at The Laundry is as tech support helping accountants and other punters who get locked out of their computers. As for The Laundry, it is the governmental organization that is keeping Lovecraftian brain suckers from invading the world and eating all of mankind. They still need tech support though. Along with audits, budgets, and all that good stuff, oh my. It would have been better for everyone had some famous mathematician not figured out that an even higher level of math rips holes in the universe and summons unspeakable mind-flaying tentacles from far away dimensions (the far away ones require lower energy requirements).
But Bob, the hero of the story, was bored, so he volunteered for active duty. This was a mistake, and the start of another level of satire. Being a spy against unmentionables doesn't exempt anyone from ISO 9000 certification approved forms for budgetary allocation, wet-work teams, or time sheet approvals. This is then made even more complicated (read: fun) when he meets a beautiful redhead that some creepy cultists are intent on kidnapping and sacrificing.
From here you get a spy thriller - with tentacles - and even more satire. Yeah it may be a standard story, but its dipped in delicious candy for the mind. And the humor of the things that come out of Bob's mouth are priceless. Pretty much because it is everything we all wish we could say to our bosses.
Does this sound funny to you? It is.
Do nameless horrors from the darkest parts of the universe scare you? Well there are actually kind of scary parts in this book.
Do you like satire? Good.
Pick this book up. I can recommend it to anyone who likes to be entertained and want a good book that'll make you laugh and cheer for the hero of the story. And of course want to relate to some other bloke stuck in office purgatory.
Do you like spies and clandestine meetings in the night, false flags, and dead drops? Do you like Lovecraftian horror? Gibbering, soul-eating entities whose existence dances at edge of our perception? How about 'The Office', compete with wacky hi jinx, inter office politics, and paper clip audits? Do you mind bending, genre-shattering fantasy, complete with spy craft, romance, Nazis, IT help-desk tales, and battling the undead? Charles Stross' The Atrocity Archives is all this and more, a whip-lash adventure which crosses time, space, and matrix-management Iso 9000 audits!
Report Inappropriate Content