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Publisher's Summary

The biggest single threat to NATO may be the Shoggoth Gap. The wild card is Lt. Col. Oliver North, President Reagan's man. Roger Jourgensen, CIA operative, is at the center of this crisis. If all the political wrangling doesn't work out perfectly, there will be hell to pay, or worse - far, far worse.

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.

©2000 Spectrum SF3; (P)2005 AudioText

Critic Reviews

"Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant!" (sffaudio.com)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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  • Overall

Really fun listen

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Good story, Bad narration

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Confirms HP Lovecraft's genius...

Charles Stross seamlessly embraces alternative universe of Chtulu Mythos in modern day historical settings. The distance between science fiction and scientific fact is growing shorter exponentially even Lovecraft's universe never foresaw Social media or did it. Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Pinterest... World eating mind not living but never dead...

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  • Story

Cthulhu in the Black Sea?

I thought he was in sunken R'yleh, in the Pacific (see Google Earth coordinates)! I came across a reference to this story in (of all places) a blog about how modern society may be creating a hydrogen sulfide Canfield ocean, prevalent in the Mesoproterozoic, invoking Cthulhu (with name misspelled). The Black Sea is now the poster child for a(n) euxinic body of water, which is where the Soviets dredged him up in this story.

I did not care for the voice changing effects to mark chapter headings (just a personal opinion).

Recommend.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Good continuation

Was very happy to see a good continuation of Lovecraft's st "At the Mountains of Madness".

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Great stuff

What did you love best about A Colder War?

I really liked the growing doom as the story went on, the shear scale and vision of the story was incredible.

What did you like best about this story?

Probably the descriptions of strange locations.

Which character – as performed by Pat Bottino – was your favorite?

The Colonel

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

A colder war is coming.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Craig
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 02-23-12

Great Story... Marginal Narration

What did you love best about A Colder War?

It's a Laundry Files universe story.

What did you like best about this story?

The particular plot of this story

What didn’t you like about Pat Bottino’s performance?

Sounds too much like a fast talking film noir detective.I kept waiting for him to say

  • Overall

Well written take on HP Lovecraft

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.

  • Overall
  • Roger
  • Capitola, CA, USA
  • 10-04-08

One of best sci fi/horror stories of recent years.

I read this originally in his collection, Toast, I think. So good I paid again to hear it read.

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a must read for any human

I believe that this book should be mandatory reading for anyone before they graduate high school or college the inside that it gives on the nature of warfare and espionage and effect on the human population is indispensable .read this.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Toby
  • 04-30-09

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Wibble
  • 05-22-16

An unnendurable narration...

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

The book might be fine, I just couldn't stick it out long enough to find out.

Would you recommend A Colder War to your friends? Why or why not?

I'd recommend buying the book perhaps, but not the audio book.

Would you be willing to try another one of Pat Bottino’s performances?

Categorically, no. I've heard text-to-speech programmes with more life in them - I'm not sure, but perhaps they decided a rambling, robotic monotone would be more science-fiction-like than a natural human voice? It was like listening to a list being rattled off, not at all easy on the ear.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment once I realised it was going to go straight onto the DELETE pile.

  • Overall
  • Jerry
  • 01-31-08

Excellent Story.

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.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful