The "Laundry" series by Charles Stross

Caledfwlch

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Hello!

Is anyone else into the Laundry series of books by the British Author Charles Stross?

They are set in the modern day/near future, but the concept is of a cold war style spy thriller, but in a world where magic and "demons" are real. And they are also very much in the Horror genre with a good dose of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Bob Howard of the Laundry is one of those charged with protecting Great Britain from the Scum of the Multiverse! :LOL:

Basically, demons and so on are simply creatures from other dimensions in the multiverse, and they love to get into our reality where they generally possess people and cause chaos if summoned.

Bob Howard is an expert in "Computation Demonology" Magic is real, but the way to access, and communicate with entities and locations in the multiverse is using computers, lasers, computer generated fractals and circuit boards. Plus the odd bit of blood.:censored:

The Laundry is beyond top secret, and is known simply as the Laundry, as when founded in the 1920's it was a tiny office above a Laundry shop in London. Bob whilst still an IT Student at Birmingham University discovered some weird and interesting stuff to do with fractals on his PC, not realising what he was messing with, however, Angleton his soon to be new Boss managed to stop him just before he accidentaly summoned a horrific entity that would have flattened the West Midlands of the UK. In the Laundry's because the terrifying truth is top secret and hidden from the World, if you get involved and come into knowledge of the reality, even when like Bob accidently, then you are press ganged into working for the Laundry, even if only as a basic HR or Admin Drone.

Luckily for Both he is an IT expert, a brilliant coder, and has a knack for Computational Demonology, and is slowly being trained up by Angleton.

In this world, The Elder Gods of Lovecraftian Myth are very real, but thankfully asleep. There is another race of immigrated Aliens, the Deep Ones, some sort of human hybrid that live under water, some groups who are more human live in shallow coastal waters and maintain friendly contact with organisations such as the Laundry's and the US version the "Black Chamber" however the Black Chamber make the CIA look like pussycats and there are strong hints that they may be either bad guys, or at least totally unethical and unprincipled in their approach to using and abusing magic and so on to further the US's political interests.

The more distant "Deep Ones" codenamed "Blue Hades" live as the name suggests below the seafloor in the deepest part of the oceans whilst in other parts of the oceans, below the seafloor live another mysterious race, the Chthonians codenamed "Deep Seven".

The Blue Hades are absolutely terrified of the the Deep Sevens for some reason, but between Blue Hades, the Deep Sevens and the Human Race, there exists the "Benthic Treatys" a peace pact between the three, basically we, Humans agree to keep the bloody hell away from the sea floor in the deepest oceans and thus either race doesn't click its highly advanced alien/hybrid fingers and exterminate us in 2 seconds. A lot of the summoning, to open access to a dimension habitable to humans for example takes a huge amount of power, versus a small piece of magic such as a Geas to cloud a persons memory running on a small charm and a drop of blood.

As often in a good horror, its humans and what humans do that provides the worst horror of all, yeah unknowable Brain Eating Alien entitiies are scary, but in this world, the purpose of the Nazi's Extermination Camps was to power massive Batteries fueled by Souls, to power experiments with sending Armoured Panzer Divisions and troops into Britain, the US etc in a total surprise attack by shortcutting through another dimension in the Multiverse. I wont say anything about "CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN" an event very soon to become a major problem for Earth in the series.

I absolutely love this series as you can tell, and love getting people into it! :LOL: Stross's Halting State 2 book series is worth reading too, a near future thriller set in a Scottish Republic, where technology such as "google goggles" has hugely changed the world and how it works.

Stross is a fab writer.
 

BigBadBob141

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I've read one of the Laundry books and really enjoyed it.
Sort of a cross between HP Lovecraft & Len Deighton.
Looking forward to reading the rest!
 

Vertigo

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I've read several of the Laundry shorts and the Atrocity Archives and thoroughly enjoyed them. I like the slightly tongue in cheek approach and the obvious tribute to Lovecraft. A lot of fun. If anyone wants to try them out and get a flavour of them (possibly a bad choice of words there!) then you can access some at least of the short stories free from Tor:
Overtime: http://www.tor.com/2009/12/22/overtime/
Down on the Farm: http://www.tor.com/2008/07/20/down-on-the-farm/
Equoid: http://www.tor.com/2013/09/24/equoid/
The Concrete Jungle: http://www.goldengryphon.com/Stross-Concrete.html Not from Tor this one but with permission (it is actually included at the end of the Atrocity archives)

I will be working through these books, but only slowly. I do enjoy them but they're not my normal style of reading so I only dip in when I'm in the mood.

You can also get them and a number of his other works from his blog: http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/fiction/online-fiction-by-charles-stro.html
 
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Randy M.

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Haven't gotten to the Laundry series yet, but if you want a serious, chilling Lovecraft pastiche, his novella, "The Colder War" is worth checking out. It's included in his collections Toast and Wireless and (according to IMSFDB) anthologized in The New Cthulhu and The Book of Cthulhu.


Randy M.
 

Ursa major

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Is anyone else into the Laundry series of books by the British Author Charles Stross?
Me!

Which is why the fact that I've not yet read the latest, The Annhilation Score, a mystery worthy of Bob's, or Mo's, attention.
 

Vertigo

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  1. I love Bob Howard and the Laundry series. Seriously, funny. Even funnier if you have a Software Engineering/Computer Science background. Lot's of in jokes for that crowd - Knuth's fourth book (rather ruined by the fact that dear old Donald, actually published a forth book in 2011), the PFY, for example.
That's exactly my background and yes, the in-jokes kept me chuckling :D A bit sad really! As for Knuth, his books were the bible(s) in my younger days.
 

Danny McG

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There's a new Charles Stross book coming in a few days,
Dead Lies Dreaming.

Some sources state it's a Laundry Files (are we on book 10 now?) but other say it's the first of a new series by him.

Anyone got news on this?
 

Ursa major

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Some sources state it's a Laundry Files
It's set in the Laundry Files universe, but is not strictly part of the Laundry Files series of books. Charles Stross explains it in a post on his blog: All Glory to the New Management! which says, amongst other things,
On October 27th, Dead Lies Dreaming will be published in the USA and Canada: the British edition drops on October 29th. (Yes, there will be audio editions too, via the usual outlets.)

Dead Lies Dreaming
is being marketed as the tenth Laundry Files novel. That's not exactly true, though it's not entirely wrong, either: the tenth Laundry book, about the continuing tribulations of Bob Howard and his co-workers, hasn't been written yet. (Bob is a civil servant who by implication deals with political movers and shakers, and politics has turned so batshit crazy in the past three years that I just can't go there right now.)

[...]

Dead Lies Dreaming is the first of the Tales of the New Management, which are being positioned as a continuation of the Laundry Files (because Marketing). There will be more. A second novel, In His House, already exists in first draft. [It's] a continuation of the story, remixed with Sweeney Todd and Mary Poppins—who in the original form is, like Peter Pan, much more sinister than the Disney whitewash suggests. A third novel, Bones and Nightmares, is planned. (However, I can't give you a publication date, other than to say that In His house can't be published before late 2022: COVID19 has royally screwed up publishers' timetables.)

Anyway, you probably realized that instead of riffing off classic British spy thrillers or urban fantasy tropes, I'm now perverting beloved childhood icons for my own nefarious purposes—and I'm having a gas. Let's just hope that the December of 2016 in which Dead Lies Dreaming is set doesn't look impossibly utopian and optimistic by the time we get to the looming and very real December of 2020! I really hate it when reality front-runs my horror novels ...

While I was in the process of finding the post on Charlie's blog where he explains how the new book relates to the existing ones, I saw that he's just posted: The Laundry Files: an updated chronology.
 

tinkerdan

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I love Stross's work. I've only read one of the Laundry files and glanced at the samples of a few others; mostly because the one I read is first person present tense and the samples seem to indicate that the rest may also be first person present.

It is a great place to start if you want to see how to write first person present tense well.
 
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