The Atrocity Archives Kindle ¸ The Atrocity eBook

The Atrocity Archives [EPUB] ✷ The Atrocity Archives By Charles Stross – NEVER VOLUNTEER FOR ACTIVE DUTY Bob Howard is a lowlevel techie working for a supersecret government agency While his colleagues are out saving the world, Bob's under a desk restoring lost data His wo NEVER VOLUNTEER FOR ACTIVE DUTY Bob Howard is a lowlevel techie working for a supersecret government agency While his colleagues are out saving the world, Bob's under a desk restoring lost data His world was dull and safebut then he went and got The Atrocity eBook ð Noticed Now, Bob is up to his neck in spycraft, parallel universes, dimensionhopping terrorists, monstrous elder gods and the end of the world Only one thing is certain: it will take than a full system reboot to sort this mess out This is the first novel in the Laundry Files.

10 thoughts on “The Atrocity Archives

  1. mark monday mark monday says:

    so there's all sorts of nerds in the world, right? so many different kinds and really they don't have a lot in common outside of their basic nerdiness. I was out for drinks last Friday and someone made some kind of joke about renaming a lesbian club Aphrodite and I responded that that doesn't make sense, it should be called Artemis or at least Athena, some goddess who isn't so connected to the male gaze and men in general etc. then I proceeded to describe what each of those goddesses oversees, their hallmarks, and their various equivalents across other mythologies. sadly, I soon noticed glazed looks and averted eyerolls from the guys & gals around the table. being quite familiar with those sorts of looks, I quickly apologized about going off into nerd-land so I could avoid an onslaught of mockery. I guess my apology must have been pleasing because they responded with a chorus of comments along the lines of Oh but we love our nerdy little mark or some such attempt to lift my nerd spirits. sigh. I really should find nerdier friends.

    the next day, thinking on that, I realized what kind of nerd I specifically am. I like the ancient world, and powers, and god-like beings, and strange cultures and forgotten civilizations. et cetera. magic and comics and mythology and that sort of stuff. I'm not a numbers or tech nerd and I'm definitely not a science nerd. I love science fiction, but I love it for its take on social and societal issues and I love it when it is all about the opera in space opera, rather than explaining in precise detail what space is.

    so The Atrocity Archives is definitely for nerds, but not this kind of nerd, not me, no way. every frickin' scientific theory or paranormal doodad is explained in intense detail over the course of long paragraphs punctuated by exclamation points that seem excited about things I barely understand and certainly don't care about. this book was a chore to read and I skimmed through so much technobabble. ugh, I hate when I skim through a book because that's like forcing myself to read. the one thing in its favor was that I was amused by the breezy, casual tone of the narrative and the narrator's voice - it reminded me of the very few urban fantasy novels I've read. but besides that, the book was a bore to me.

    this was a 1-star book for me but I'm not giving it that because it wasn't a bad book. I didn't like it but it's hard for me to blame the book for the two of us not being a good fit. I'm sure it's perfect for the right kind of nerd.

  2. carol. carol. says:

    Stross’ take on the urban fantasy is engaging but clunky in parts. The Atrocity Archives is first in currently seven book series–for those of you looking to sink your reading chops into an established series–that feature Robert Howard, computer programmer and now employee of Her Majesty’s Secret Supernatural Service. Bob found his way into the top-secret government organization when he did something precocious with a computer, and now he’s facing the unusual dilemma of being a stipend collecting desk-warmer or stepping into the dangerous supernatural spy business.

    Well, we all know which he chooses, right?

    His first international mission is to go to America and make contact with a British expatriate who is having trouble leaving the country. His decision-making sets a chain of events in motion, including landing him back in spy basic training. Without being too spoiler-ific, chasing down the perpetrators will require a stay in Amsterdam as well as a trip into another dimension.

    It’s an entertaining premise that I haven’t really run into before in the urban fantasy/sci-fi genre. The blurb and reviews make much of it being “Lovecraftian.” I don’t know that I agree; there’s certainly the sense of evil/malevolence, and there’s an interdimensionality thing going on, but for the first part BIG GIANT SPOILERS AHEAD (view spoiler)[ the ‘bad guys’ appear to be an Islamist extreme group and Nazis. Sigh. Yes, Nazis. I mean, there’s another antagonist as well, but I find that more of the actual ‘horror’ of the book was devoted to the Nazis. Which were horrible, so there’s that. (hide spoiler)]

  3. Lyn Lyn says:

    Charles Stross’ 2004 publication The Atrocity Archives introduces readers to his Laundry Files and protagonist Bob Howard.

    Taking inspiration from HP Lovecraft and Robert A. Howard (too much of a coincidence that his hero is named Bob Howard) Stross describes an urban fantasy world building where “The Laundry” is an ultra-secret British agency that deals with the paranormal and occult, kind of a British Men in Black.

    Stross’ science and mathematics appear to be solid and he artfully mixes in concepts of extra-dimensional wizardry with physical science and technology. Howard, a non-Company man amidst an overly rigid bureaucratic system (kind of a running joke throughout the narrative) gets involved with a supernatural plot involving dimensionally trapped Nazis.

    Inventive and often funny, Stross has a great idea and, though his delivery is sometimes stilted and overly complicated, he has crafted an entertaining concept.


  4. Apatt Apatt says:

    Charles Stross is an author I want to like. I like his blogs, I like his personality and honesty (in so far as one can gauge such things based on the author's writings, interviews and such). The only snag is I am somewhat ambivalent about his fiction. I don't doubt that he is a talented writer of science fiction. He comes up with some great ideas and is quite popular within his chosen genre. Unfortunately from the three books I have read so far there is something about his fiction writing style that does not appeal to me. His prose style comes across as cocky, hip and chaotic. He often switches to infodump mode in the middle of his narrative, filling them with scientific terms, jargons, geekspeak, neologisms and general techno-babble. I often find it hard to distinguish the real and the imagined terms among them. Generally I find that his writing is lacking in clarity, often veering between flippant and technical and back, and this plays hell with his narrative. Yes, I imagine a lot of people find his writing clear as a bell, I can only speak for myself.

    From the synopsis The Atrocity Archives should have been more fun than it turned out to be. Basically this is a spy thriller-sci-fi-supernatural horror hybrid, sort of a cross between le Carré spy fiction, The X-Files and Cthulhu Mythos. It is centered on a super secret British spy organization called The Laundry that clean up and protect the country from ghastly supernatural incursions from other dimensions. The edition of the book that I read contain two distinct stories the original short novel The Atrocity Archives and the novella The Concrete Jungle, the later is more entertaining and tightly written than the former. There are multiple instances of excessive exposition in this book (TMI!), some of these infodumps are more interesting and comprehensible than others. Although the book is a mashup of several genres it reads more like sci-fi than anything else, all the supernatural elements have a scientific or pseudo-scientific basis. I like his little infodump about plutonium and nuclear bombs, learning something from fiction is always a bonus. His witticisms and sense of humour provide the element of levity I expected but this is less prominent than I thought it would be. I love the fun twist on the You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs idiom, and the satire of bureaucratic red tape in an office.

    In the Laundry we supposedly pride ourselves on our procedures. We’ve got procedures for breaking and entering offices, procedures for reporting a shortage of paper clips, procedures for summoning demons from the vasty deeps, and procedures for writing procedures. We may actually be on track to be the world’s first ISO-9000 total-quality-certified intelligence agency.

    That stuff is gold! Extra points also for a Monty Python reference elsewhere in the book. For some reason the book is written in first person present tense, I imagine this is supposed to make the story seems more immediate and unpredictable, it does no harm I guess but does not really enhance the story for me. Characterization is on the flat side as the protagonist/narrator spends more time explaining technical details than expressing his feelings, some of the other characters are interesting but basically they are just there to move the plot along.

    Previously I have read Stross' famous Accelerando which required two attempts, I could not follow much of the tech and became annoyed with it (and myself), then I read Singularity Sky which I quite enjoyed and found the prose to be more readable, sometime after that I read his Glasshouse which is brilliant and very readable, vastly superior to his other books that I have read so far.

    I rate The Atrocity Archives 3.5 stars (4 stars for The Concrete Jungle novella).

  5. Bradley Bradley says:

    Update 1/17/18
    This is the third read and since I keep getting more excited every time I read it, I'm breaking down and just plopping a big extra star on for sheer enjoyment.

    I've decided this book is not only Spy Fiction with a Cthulhu twist with lots of super geeky math moments, but it's also Physics Porn. I've decided that I am exactly the right audience for this book. Or maybe I've become exactly the right audience. I want more. More. More. More. More. More. More.

    I chuckle throughout the whole damn novel, and when I start realizing that I actually understand the physics porn, I get this huge giddy feeling. But that's not all this is. Not by a long shot. It's a fight with the damn administration. It's feeling stuck and deciding to follow your instinct to make the best out of things by doing the right thing. Even if it's becoming an active operative in a nightmare scenario. :)

    This book, this series, is one of the biggest reasons why Charley Stross is one of my absolute favorite authors of all time. He's wicked smart, funny, and geeky to hell. :)

    I can't recommend this enough. :)

    Original Review:

    This is the second time I'll be reading the Laundry Files to get to the new stuff I haven't. It has so many great aspects that bring those big smiles on my face, namely: Cthulhu hacking spy comedy. The first time I read it, I didn't realize these novels were all based individually on the style of different spy fiction authors, which will end soon and be based solely upon Charles Stross's style. It is an easy and fun read and tickles all my genre bones, so it, therefore, qualifies in some of very top lists for must-reads. That isn't to say the novel doesn't have it's dry spots, either in the admittedly authentic sounding military jargon or the specialized mathematical humor that may or may not be lost upon many readers; even so, the voice never falters and the humorous parts are definitely humorous. I will admit that I am a fanboy of his works and will always be skewed in his favor. Guilty pleasures, and all that.

  6. Kylie D Kylie D says:

    I wasn't sure if I'd like this book or not, but I did end up enjoying it. The only reason I didn't give it 4 stars was there was too much technical jargon that I didn't understand. But all in all an ok read.

  7. Belarius Belarius says:

    Every so often I come across a book so laden with obscure references that only my own particular predisposition to trivia sees me through to the other side. Charles Stross has accomplished just such a feat with The Atrocity Archives, a bewildering, fascinating, and very funny look inside the bureaucratic world of top-secret British occult espionage.

    If I had to capture the tone of the Atrocity Archives in one sentence, I'd describe it as three parts Men In Black, two parts The Office, and two parts of the Lovecraft Mythos. The stories (as the book is actually comprised of two separate narratives) center on The Laundry, the ultra-secret branch of Her Majesty's Government responsible for keeping the Things Beyond Our Reality from invading and destroying the world. The comedy of the book draws heavily from the juxtaposition of supernatural horrors (from Nazi occult torture engines to bodysnatching dimensional travelers) with the mind-numbing dreariness of government office politics (from paper clip audits to matrix management).

    The brilliance of Stross' world is also the thing most likely to confound the average reader: the book's reliance on a tightly-woven tapestry of fairly obscure esoterica. The reader has half a chance of being on top of the constant references if they (a) have read the complete works of H.P. Lovecraft, (b) have also read the complete works of Lei Deighton, (c) have taken at least one upper-level computer science course, (d) have a broad familiarity with mythological creatures from a half-dozen cultures or more, (e) have read A Brief History Of Time once or twice, (f) know their way around the lexicon of a Crowley-style occultist, (g) know twentieth-century European history fairly well, and (h) watched the Saturday morning cartoons of the mid-90s. But even that might not be enough.

    Like Men in Black, The Atrocity Archives is an action comedy at heart, so knowing the background of every little tidbit being thrown the reader's way isn't necessary. The books does a good job of holding the reader's hand while explaining the basics of modern magic (which turns out to be a mix of applied mathematics and physics) and the alternate history surrounding the occult cold war currently raging. But the references come so fast and furious that I honestly don't know how this books would look to the uninitiated. Which is a shame, because (knowing what I know) the story is consistently engaging and often hilarious.

    I enjoyed Stross' world quite a bit, and I can firmly recommend it to anyone who would also enjoy it. The only trouble is that, as richly borrowed as that world is, I'm not exactly sure who, precisely, to recommend it to.

  8. J.L. Sutton J.L. Sutton says:

    Charles Stross's The Atrocity Archives (The Laundry #1) was a fun read (the scattered Cthulhu references added to the entertainment). I liked the humor inherent in a bureaucracy battling demons and forestalling the coming apocalypse (while making sure timesheets are filled out properly). It felt a little less light-hearted when Nazis and the occult were woven into the plot. Even if this strengthened the plot, I enjoyed it a little less because what I like about The Atrocity Archives wasn't tied to the plot. 3.5 stars.

  9. Megan Baxter Megan Baxter says:

    Dudes, I finally did it! I finally read a Charles Stross novel that didn't leave me feeling vaguely disappointed that I didn't enjoy it more! Apparently this is the series for me, of his work. So far.

    Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

    In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  10. Toby Toby says:

    A genre bending debut from Stross that takes its cues from Rankin and Holt as well as Morgan and Stephenson, Deighton and Le Carre - Highly recommended.

    Read on the plane from London to Vienna and whilst being bored to tears by Vienna

    So Vienna is dull, a complete waste of time for anyone looking for a vibrant, friendly and warm city. On the plus side it gave me the chance to sit in the sun drinking coffee and finish reading this great book.

    I'd always thought Stross would be a difficult read, hence the lateness in coming to the guy, but this was a highly enjoyable introduction to him. In his afterword he references Tim Powers as having previously written a book that plays with similar ideas but there's something about the concept that makes me think of Jim Butcher. A guy who works in a government office that deals with supernatural happenings wants to get out in to the field and do some wetwork manages to save the day by the end. It's the first in a series of books and one that I will happily continue to read now I've dipped my wick so to speak.

    Stross is known for his attention to detail in the science fiction field and even here in this light hearted fantastical novel that is plain to see. He ladels on the humour in a completely deadpan manner that fellow Brit Ben Aaronovitch could only dream of doing in his similar sounding series, and his world building is done so well that you hardly notice it happening yet by the end of the novel you are ready for more from The Laundry.

    Structure wise, this book contains two stories, one slightly longer than the other, and this only serves to enhance the similarity to The Night Watch which also came a few years before this was published.

    I can pick no faults other than the first story was a little short and the second story not necessary. If you haven't given this series or author a go yet you can't really go wrong with the first book in The Laundry Files.

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