The Laundry Files by Charles Stross

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The Laundry Files by Charles Stross

1paradoxosalpha
elokuu 4, 2017, 11:36 am

Is anyone else in the group reading these pretty much on release at this point?

I just posted my review of The Delirium Brief in which I emphasized the integrated text of the series as a whole, and I thought it might be nice to have a standing thread for discussion of it.

For those who've read most or all of the series so far, do you have a favorite volume or character?

2elenchus
elokuu 4, 2017, 12:56 pm

I haven't read any Laundry yet (nor Stross, and there are other of his titles on my recon list), but I've followed with increasing interest your and other LTer reviews of the various novels. This only increases my interest, love the pieces coming together.

3TimSharrock
elokuu 4, 2017, 5:10 pm

I am generally an interested spectator here, rather than a contributor (sorry), but I am a instant-reader of the Laundry books. Stross is at the dark end of what I read, but I cannot bear not to. I am not sure about a favourite book - possibly the Nightmare Stacks. On characters - possibly Cassie, possibly Bob

4paradoxosalpha
elokuu 4, 2017, 7:31 pm

>3 TimSharrock:

I've been awfully entertained by Cassie. One of the reasons I think The Delirium Brief doesn't work well without having read The Nightmare Stacks, is that you need to have read the earlier book to appreciate how scary and alien she is!

5semdetenebre
Muokkaaja: elokuu 4, 2017, 7:53 pm

Well, I have paradoxosalpha to thank for turning me on to the series in the first place. I remember not being in the mood for it the first go round, putting it aside only to re-start it a while later and get completely sucked in. Working in library IT myself, there's that instant in-the-trenches identification, and the humor in general is right on par with my own. I like that Stross doesn't seem interested in straight-out pastiche or parody. I just finished The Rhesus Chart, which is sooo good. I'll take a little breather before diving into The Annihilation Score, which I believe features Mo, one of my fave characters. I also like Bob and his curious boss, the Eater of Souls.

6paradoxosalpha
elokuu 4, 2017, 7:56 pm

The Annihilation Score is the only volume (so far) in which Mo serves as the narrator.

7semdetenebre
Muokkaaja: elokuu 4, 2017, 8:08 pm

I think The Rhesus Chart might be the best written of the first 5 books. It was a welcome surprise to find that there is both more and less to the PHANGS than meets the eye. They didn't just become another group of vampire bad guys to be destroyed. They were simply dupes. Mere pups in a malevolent universe. I liked Mahri's character as she developed. I also enjoyed the introduction of Spooky the Cat and hope to see more of him in the future. Stross can obviously "write cat". I'm also going to assume Angleton will be back, somehow.

8paradoxosalpha
elokuu 4, 2017, 8:30 pm

>7 semdetenebre: Stross can obviously "write cat".

His cat is in his author photo on the new book. Not this pic, but probably taken in the same set:

9semdetenebre
elokuu 4, 2017, 9:37 pm

>8 paradoxosalpha:

That's great! Errr... it looks like the cat is writing while Stross is taking the selfie.

10semdetenebre
syyskuu 13, 2017, 2:36 pm

I'm going back in. Just ordered The Annihilation Score.

11darryldenicola
syyskuu 18, 2017, 5:08 pm

Tämä käyttäjä on poistettu roskaamisen vuoksi.

12semdetenebre
marraskuu 3, 2017, 9:28 am

>10 semdetenebre:

Loved it. So good to spend an entire book with Mo. This one is even more entrenched in amusing office politics, but it all works in service to a really crazy scenario with (gasp!) superheroes. The way they would no doubt really be in reality.

13paradoxosalpha
marraskuu 3, 2017, 10:13 am

The Labyrinth Index is up on amazon for pre-order. I've been reading these at the public library, so it's time for me to prompt them to acquire the new one!

14paradoxosalpha
heinäkuu 11, 2018, 10:56 am

Release date for The Labyrinth Index is Halloween (or thereabouts). The amazon.com description has been fleshed out. As readers of the previous few volumes might well have been expecting, it looks like Case Nightmare Green really hits the fan in this book. Rather than being a finale as I suspected it might be, though, it's characterized as "beginning an exciting new story arc."

15semdetenebre
Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 11, 2018, 4:30 pm

Yikes! Just about to order The Nightmare Stacks.

16semdetenebre
Muokkaaja: elokuu 11, 2018, 5:59 pm

>15 semdetenebre:

I was prepared for maybe a bit of a slog with The Nightmare Stacks. I mean, really... elves? C'mon, Stross! But he pulls it off in spades. Some of the the grimmest action in all of the Laundry series happens here, and yet the very last page is so funny and poignant while being so perfectly in sync with our current immigration wars that I wonder if Stross actually has a crystal ball tucked away somewhere... And hail, Cassie! Now, on to the next volume!

17paradoxosalpha
Muokkaaja: lokakuu 12, 2018, 12:30 am

So, The Labyrinth Index still isn't out yet. But in related reading, I'm currently midway through Horse Under Water by Len Deighton, the sequel to his first novel The Ipcress File. Stross pointed to Deighton as the proximate inspiration for The Atrocity Archive, and indeed all the Laundry books have kept to the titling formula established by The Ipcress File, i.e. "The (Characterizing Noun, maybe a proper name) (Noun, type of document or information storage)."

Because of the big James Bond element in the second Laundry book The Jennifer Morgue, I had thought that Stross had pivoted completely from Deighton to Ian Fleming. But I now see that the Deighton influence persisted strongly, with the intra-agency intrigue, and in this case, a setting that hinges on submersible aquatic action. Also, Deighton is hella droll. (I much prefer his work to that of Fleming.)

18elenchus
lokakuu 11, 2018, 4:58 pm

I liked the one (two?) Fleming-penned Bond novels I've read, though I concede I would not call his prose droll. Caustic, more like. I've not read any Deighton, though, and have long pigeon-holed him as an "airport" novelist: a reliable read, but not much more. Perhaps I've been unfair.

19paradoxosalpha
lokakuu 11, 2018, 8:05 pm

I know Deighton had a long career as a novelist, but so far I've only read his early work from the 1960s.

20semdetenebre
Muokkaaja: lokakuu 12, 2018, 9:20 am

I love the Bond books (but not the movies). I'm up to You Only Live Twice in a long-standing sequential reading project. Bond is an obvious role-model for parts of the Laundry Files series, but I've often felt like I was missing something - could well be Deighton . The only book of his we have out in the stacks here is something called The ABCs of Food. I'll have to check the public library at some point for something more cold war-ish

21paradoxosalpha
lokakuu 12, 2018, 11:15 am

I really recommend The Ipcress File for anyone who enjoys Cold War espionage stories, especially if they appreciate the Laundry! My review: https://www.librarything.com/work/83410/details/93584463

I still haven't seen the movie, but I do want to. It met with Deighton's approval, and it won a pile of awards.

22semdetenebre
lokakuu 12, 2018, 12:08 pm

>21 paradoxosalpha:

I miss the Cold War - things were so much more civilized, then. :-D

Will definitely check out The Ipcress File.

23semdetenebre
lokakuu 12, 2018, 12:20 pm

I might have mentioned this elsewhere, but an incredibly good Cold War-set comedy series called A VERY SECRET SERVICE can be found on Netflix. It's focused on French operatives, but about all that's missing is a Lovecraftian element to make it a kind of prequel to the Bob-era novels.

https://www.netflix.com/title/80097771

24paradoxosalpha
lokakuu 12, 2018, 12:31 pm

A book that makes a good Cold War Laundry analogue is Tim Powers' Declare (although its historical scope actually starts earlier). It was published around the same time as The Atrocity Archive, and Stross has acknowledged the likeness and the sense of "steam engine time" for espionage yog-sothothery.

I really enjoyed Declare, far more than the same author's more popular Anubis Gates.

25paradoxosalpha
Muokkaaja: lokakuu 12, 2018, 12:37 pm

I just realized, a funnily apt name for the supernatural espionage microgenre would be intelligence stories, capitalizing on the dual denotation of "intelligence"--used to mean the fruits of spying on the one hand and a spiritual entity on the other.

26semdetenebre
lokakuu 12, 2018, 12:44 pm

Just added Declare to my TBR list!

27elenchus
lokakuu 12, 2018, 12:53 pm

I recently read The Anubis Gates (review pending) and noted paradoxosalpha's preference for Declare. It took me almost 40 years to get to the first, but I liked it well enough to not wait another 40 for the second. Great mix of genre fun and just interesting montage of all sorts of disparate things.

28dukedom_enough
lokakuu 12, 2018, 5:39 pm

Since we're talking about Tim Powers, I'll note that I liked Last Call.

29elenchus
lokakuu 12, 2018, 8:54 pm

I think that goes on the wishlist, too, but more generally I think I'll just pick up any Powers book when coming across it.

30semdetenebre
Muokkaaja: lokakuu 12, 2018, 11:03 pm

>28 dukedom_enough:

I really enjoyed Last Call too. Couldn't put it down.

31semdetenebre
lokakuu 18, 2018, 9:39 am

Had to ILL The Ipcress File - a bit surprised that my public library didn't have it. Even at one chapter in, I can see a resemblance to the Laundry!

32elenchus
lokakuu 18, 2018, 2:38 pm

>31 semdetenebre:

I'm mulling now the dis / advantages to reading Deighton first, then Stross ... or the other way round.

33semdetenebre
Muokkaaja: lokakuu 18, 2018, 3:07 pm

>32 elenchus:

I think it's necessary to have read Lovecraft first in order to really enjoy those little eldritch homages here and there in the Laundry novels. On the other hand, the world of espionage/spy tropes has been so widely ingrained for decades- even down to the mundane aspects -that you'll get it if you're at all familiar with James Bond, George Smiley, or Maxwell Smart. I'm finding that reading Deighton after-the-fact (well, up through The Nightmare Stacks, anyway) enjoyably presents one of the specific models Stross uses.

34paradoxosalpha
lokakuu 18, 2018, 3:24 pm

Yeah, Stross emulates Deighton, but he riffs on Grandpa.

35paradoxosalpha
Muokkaaja: marraskuu 2, 2018, 10:02 am

The Labyrinth Index released on schedule and is in stock at amazon. Now I need to get my public library to acquire it. Whoa! They have seven copies. I've put a hold on one.

36elenchus
marraskuu 2, 2018, 11:05 am

Sign of a quality librarian. Or, a paranoiac.

37paradoxosalpha
marraskuu 2, 2018, 11:47 am

Well, it's seven copies for a dozen library locations. Still, way more than I figured.

38paradoxosalpha
Muokkaaja: marraskuu 25, 2018, 5:54 pm

Read The Labyrinth Index over the holiday weekend, and just posted my review.

39semdetenebre
joulukuu 12, 2018, 10:13 am

Since I'm a single Dad and Santa still plays a role in Xmas, I get to choose my own stocking-stuffers. This year I asked for The Delirium Brief. :-D

40semdetenebre
tammikuu 22, 2019, 11:29 am

Started The Delirium Brief. What was Rev Schiller's status at the end of The Apocalypse Codex? I thought he was dead. Have to go back and review...

In another connection back to that earlier novel, I recently finished the first Modesty Blaise book only to discover that Stross used it as a model when writing TAC, in particular the characters Persephone Hazard and Johnny McTavish. I can see that, definitely!

I really enjoyed Peter O'Donnell's Modesty, btw. I'm going to continue on with the series.

41semdetenebre
joulukuu 29, 2019, 9:24 pm

Just about to begin The Labyrinth Index.

42paradoxosalpha
Muokkaaja: lokakuu 6, 2020, 4:20 pm

I see that Dead Lies Dreaming is out. It's the first Laundry Files book title not to be a name for a document. And a Thingamabrarian has set it as the first book in a new series: "Tales of the New Management."

I probably won't get to it until November; I've got a full plate at the moment.

43semdetenebre
lokakuu 6, 2020, 7:38 pm

>42 paradoxosalpha:

Great! I have it preordered. Should be here soon.

44semdetenebre
Muokkaaja: marraskuu 2, 2020, 3:03 pm

>42 paradoxosalpha:

After it disappeared from Amazon tracking for a few days, I finally received Dead Lies Dreaming a couple of days ago. I'm really enjoying it. The Necronomicon plays a role, but, as Stross says, this is not really Laundry Files #10. Here's a lot of very interesting background:

https://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2019/12/introducing-dead-lies-dream...

45paradoxosalpha
marraskuu 2, 2020, 3:59 pm

I've got a hold out for one of the three copies that have been ordered by my public library.

46paradoxosalpha
marraskuu 19, 2020, 1:10 pm

Picked up my public library copy yesterday and started reading last night.

47paradoxosalpha
marraskuu 27, 2020, 7:17 pm

Finished Dead Lies Dreaming and posted my review.

48semdetenebre
Muokkaaja: marraskuu 29, 2020, 9:35 am

>47 paradoxosalpha:

Excellent review! I really liked this one. In a way, it was kind of nice to be in the same world as the other Laundry Files books, but with a different spin. It could still get really nasty and as usual Stross creates villains who are really intriguing (and disgusting). I appreciated the makeup of the gang, being composed of several different gender self-identifications and orientations. That might be kind of unusual for this genre, but not, I think, for Stross, who definitely likes to think way outside of the box.

49paradoxosalpha
Muokkaaja: joulukuu 6, 2020, 2:04 pm

>48 semdetenebre: That might be kind of unusual for this genre

Well, "this genre" is sort of an open question for the Laundry Files, given its fusion of weird horror, espionage/thriller, and science fiction. But Stross isn't alone in heading in this direction. The Innsmouth Legacy stories by Ruthanna Emrys have also been testing these boundaries, albeit in a quieter 1950s setting. She's got several characters who are as "unremarkably gay" (the phrase from Stross) as her milieu will allow.

50paradoxosalpha
Muokkaaja: joulukuu 6, 2020, 2:07 pm

>44 semdetenebre:

I'm just now reading the Stross bloggery at your link. Exciting items for anticipation:

- Dead Lies Dreaming is #1 of a trilogy.
- #2 uses Mary Poppins where the first used Peter Pan.
- The next vertebral Laundry book is focused on Michael Armstrong.

51semdetenebre
Muokkaaja: joulukuu 6, 2020, 2:44 pm

>49 paradoxosalpha:
>50 paradoxosalpha:

The Laundry Files series is unique, that's for certain. By genre, I was considering sf/horror series titles in general. You could probably include the espionage/thriller in there, too, although after Bond and Modesty, I'm not so familiar with it. I'll have to check into the Emrys series - thanks for the tip - but as far as Stross, I'm thinking mainly of his making refreshingly casual use of the current plethora of gender identity modes. Caitlin Kiernan would be included here, especially thinking of her excellent novel The Drowning Girl.

I don't use Twitter, but I eavesdrop on Stross's. He says that LF #11, IN HIS HOUSE, will be "a Mary Poppins vs. Sweeny Todd yarn". :-D

Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins.... hmmmmm.

We last saw the Senior Auditor in... The Delirium Brief?

52paradoxosalpha
Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 23, 2021, 12:26 pm

I am intrigued by Stross' characterization of Peter Pan. Maybe he'll get me to read J.M. Barrie the way he got me to read Len Deighton.

53paradoxosalpha
huhtikuu 23, 2021, 12:32 pm

Recent news has caused people to wonder publicly that "The US Postal Service has spies?" But this comes as no surprise to readers of The Labyrinth Index!

54semdetenebre
Muokkaaja: tammikuu 5, 2022, 3:56 pm

Well it looks like the title of the 11th Laundry Files novel (New Management or otherwise) is actually Quantum of Nightmares and the US release is 1/11/22. I just preordered it.

Amazon description:

"A unique blend of espionage thrills and Lovecraftian horror, Hugo Award-winning author Charles Stross's Laundry Files continues with Quantum of Nightmares.

It’s a brave new Britain under the New Management. The avuncular Prime Minister is an ancient eldritch god of unimaginable power. Crime is plummeting as almost every offense is punishable by death. And everywhere you look, there are people with strange powers, some of which they can control, and some, not so much.

Hyperorganized and formidable, Eve Starkey defeated her boss, the louche magical adept and billionaire Rupert de Montfort Bigge, in a supernatural duel to the death. Now she’s in charge of the Bigge Corporation―just in time to discover the lethal trap Rupert set for her long ago.

Wendy Deere’s transhuman abilities have gotten her through many a scrape. Now she’s gainfully employed investigating unauthorized supernatural shenanigans. She swore to herself she wouldn’t again get entangled with Eve Starkey’s bohemian brother Imp and his crew of transhuman misfits. Yeah, right.

Mary Macandless has powers of her own. Right now she’s pretending to be a nanny in order to kidnap the children of a pair of famous, Government-authorized superheroes. These children have powers of their own, and Mary Macandless is in way over her head.

Amanda Sullivan is the HR manager of a minor grocery chain, much oppressed by her glossy blonde boss―who is cooking up an appalling, extralegal scheme literally involving human flesh.

All of these stories will come together, with world-bending results...

"For all of Stross's genuine ability to spook and dismay, The Laundry Files are some of the most tremendously humane books I've ever read."
―Tamsyn Muir, author of Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth"

55paradoxosalpha
tammikuu 5, 2022, 4:44 pm

Good news! I'll borrow it though my public library system as usual. I'll probably turn to it once I've worked through the Murderbot books, one of which has just been announced by the hold fairy.

56semdetenebre
Muokkaaja: tammikuu 11, 2022, 5:05 pm

>55 paradoxosalpha:

Hope you get it quickly. A tiny package arrived today - it was QoN, of course. At about 8x5 inches, the hc is approaching the size of a Modern Library volume. I approve!

57paradoxosalpha
Muokkaaja: helmikuu 16, 2022, 8:58 pm

I've got a public library copy of Quantum of Nightmares in hand. So far, I've only read the "Also by Charles Stross" page and the epigraph from Naked Lunch. Regarding the former, the list of Laundry Files titles ends with Dead Lies Dreaming AND Escape from Yokai Land! So, I'm hypothesizing that Quantum and Escape were being composed in parallel (he had said the New Management books were a trilogy), and he just happened to finish the third one second? Well, here goes.

58semdetenebre
Muokkaaja: helmikuu 17, 2022, 9:54 am

>57 paradoxosalpha:

Glad you've secured a copy. I especially enjoyed the Mary Macandless subplot. Apparently Stross modeled her somewhat on the very Poppins-esque Missy from Dr. Who.

I need to get Escape from Yokai Land, which I believe is a novelette.

59paradoxosalpha
helmikuu 17, 2022, 9:58 am

Ah! I see that Escape from Yokai Land did get published while I was distracted somehow. I don't see where it can fit in the continuity; Quantum of Nightmares (a title that I imagine was a transformation of "Spoonful of Sugar") seems to pick up directly after Dead Lies Dreaming. It's definitely the promised Mary Poppins book.

60semdetenebre
helmikuu 17, 2022, 11:08 am

>59 paradoxosalpha:

I thought that Quantum of Nightmares might be referencing the Bond film, QUANTUM OF SOLACE (2008), but I'd rather go with your suggestion of an oblique Strossian reference to Poppins.

61paradoxosalpha
helmikuu 18, 2022, 10:18 am

>60 semdetenebre:

It's probably both.

62paradoxosalpha
Muokkaaja: helmikuu 22, 2022, 11:17 am

I finished reading Quantum of Nightmares and posted my review.

I've also reviewed online listings for Escape from Yokai Land, and determined the following things about it:
1) It's not out yet; US release date is next month.
2) It's a Bob Howard story.
3) It is set within the earlier events of the Laundry Files, thus not advancing the plot forward through the New Management era.

63semdetenebre
Muokkaaja: helmikuu 24, 2022, 9:02 pm

>62 paradoxosalpha:

March 1 release date. 96 pages. It'll be nice to have a new Bob Howard tale, even if it takes place previously in the story line. I'm familiar with Japanese yokai spirit-monsters from an anime series called YOKAI WATCH and also from a few very weird samurai-era set films, including a 2005 entry directed by Takashi Miike. And probably Studio Ghibli's SPIRITED AWAY.

64semdetenebre
maaliskuu 2, 2023, 1:41 pm

Just realized that I never got around to reading Escape from Yokai Land. It arrives shortly. While I was taking care of that I noticed this!

https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250839398/season-of-skulls

65paradoxosalpha
Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 2, 2023, 2:49 pm

I just read and reviewed Escape from Yokai Land a week or two ago.

But Season of Skulls! Wasn't there a different title projected for this book at one point? Bowker description clearly identifies it as the third "New Management" Eve Starkey book. Wishlisted.

Edited to add: I've set up the LT series relationships for The Laundry and Tales of the New Management.

66semdetenebre
maaliskuu 5, 2023, 11:33 pm

>65 paradoxosalpha:

"I've set up the LT series relationships for The Laundry and Tales of the New Management."

Well done and much appreciated!

67semdetenebre
Muokkaaja: toukokuu 17, 2023, 10:19 am

Season of Skulls has arrived! While it is the 13th official Laundry Files book (if you include the novella length Escape from Yokai Land), it is also identified on the dust jacket as "The final novel in the trilogy that began with Dead Lies Dreaming and continued with Quantum of Nightmares". Loving it immensely already at only 28 pages in.

68paradoxosalpha
toukokuu 17, 2023, 11:08 am

Ah, I'll likely not get to it until after my move at the end of next month. The Laundry has been a public library reading project for me since the very beginning.

69djryan
toukokuu 17, 2023, 1:31 pm

>67 semdetenebre: I was lucky enough to get an ARC last month. Is good book, you buy!

Love the mashup of The Prisoner and Bridgerton.

70paradoxosalpha
elokuu 2, 2023, 8:19 pm

Read and reviewed Season of Skulls.

71semdetenebre
Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 25, 11:39 am

Coming January 7, 2025. Laundry Files #13.



https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250357847/aconventionalboy

72paradoxosalpha
Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 25, 1:03 pm

>71 semdetenebre:
Wishlisted and added to The Laundry.

73paradoxosalpha
kesäkuu 25, 3:01 pm

Somebody added 99 Fleeting Fantasies: A Fantasy Anthology to The Laundry. Its leadoff story is by Stross: "Gardening Tips for Magicians." Can anyone suggest where it goes in the Laundry Files sequence (assuming it actually does)?