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Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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    802
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    290
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    85
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    53

Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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    151
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    25
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    29

Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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    86
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

What if Aurors were real?

But came with all the office politics and bureaucracy of the modern nation state.

Mix in a lot of British subculture and a good mystery with a very interesting, unique cast of characters, and you have the Atrocity Archives.

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My kind of yarn.

Cheeky commentary, geeky but imperfect main character, techy references, mild horror but not too disturbing (think Doctor Who levels), this book was right up my alley. It doesn't have the shocking grindhouse gore of something like Monster Hunter International, the main character wasn't some ubermensch Navy Seal type, so this book stands alone.

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Fun, but clearly thoughtful fun.

The author mixes the real with the fantastic so delightfully in a fast moving take where the familiar becomes the surreal, that you'll never look at mathematics, your computers or the internet the same way again. The self deprecating main character and the through the looking glass perspective effectively mix Dilbert with The Matrix and HP Lovecraft.

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Good, not great; but a promising start

Any additional comments?

Solid first entry into a series that has an interesting blend of humor, fantasy, and SF (with a dash of satire). I've noticed so far that it takes a little effort to get into Stross's books and I can see that his style and black humor will definitely not be to everyone's tastes. There is a certain amount of detachment in this book - you have a protaganist, but I'm never truly worried about him, and the characters are only sketched out at the edges, not at all complex in a way that makes you feel invested in them. But the nature of the story, as kind of a undercover government operative tale with Lovecraftian overtones and the bureaucratic annoyances and absurdities of The Office, means that the plot isn't driven by character so much as horror-tinged ridiculousness. A fun way to spend spare time, but not something likely to have a reader raving enthusiastically.

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More than I was expecting!

If you could sum up The Atrocity Archives in three words, what would they be?

Nerdy Lovecraftian Action

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Atrocity Archives?

To avoid spoiling: There is a point where things get very grim for the first time, it's a great moment and unexpected in the sudden intensity.

Have you listened to any of Gideon Emery’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This was the first I have heard but he did a very good job.

Any additional comments?

I have been told for years that I have to read these books. I have never quite found the time for one reason or other so the audio book was perfect. A well read and well told story, I will be listening to the rest and likely will add the books to my bookshelf as well.

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Excellent urban fantasy

Detailed story that seems internally consistent. A wealth of depth and richness makes the world seem alive. The responses and actions of people seem realistic and appropriate - there is none of the old trope requiring incompetent characters to make their own problems on order for there to be any story at all - in this book, people run into problems despite making competent and appropriate responses, just the way I like it.

Performance of the reader is top notch.

Recommended!

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fun and funny horror

This book is great- perfect for alienated twenty somethings full of anomie and knowledge of the internet. I liked it plenty, the people in my life who loved it were the young reddit set. A natural next step from John Dies at the End, our generation's slightly meaner answer to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Bloody and gross and fun and half about eldricht terrors, half about office expense filing. Really therapeutic if you've ever been trapped behind a desk.

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Nerd candy

this book is awesome. it is Cthulhu mixed with BoH (bastard operator from hell), with a dash of James Bond.

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The publisher's summary is useless

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.

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Boring, at best. Narration was flat

Would you try another book from Charles Stross and/or Gideon Emery?

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

Would you ever listen to anything by Charles Stross again?

The Family Trade was actually a pretty good listen. So yeah, I'd consider another book but NOT from this narrator

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Possibly - the "story line" was pretty slim

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Can't think of any