Jul
21
2017

Book of the Week: The Delirium Brief.

The Delirium Brief by Charles Stross is the latest in his Lovecraft-meets-espionage Laundry series, and it’s… well.  How do I put this nicely?  Charlie Stross — who is from Great Britain — has clearly been scared spitless by three specific current events since 2014 (two domestic and one foreign from his point of view, and you can almost certainly guess what those events were), and his horrified reaction to at least two of them clearly comes across in the book.  The effect is much like reading “The Horror At Red Hook” when you’re not a racist; you don’t get the same effect as you would from reading about stuff that actually scares you, but the horror that you pick up from the author still gives a certain frisson.

There. That should be polite enough.  After all, I do buy Charles Stross in hardcover.

And so, adieu to 1636: The Kremlin Games — and ain’t THAT a juxtaposition, hey?

8 Comments

  • acat says:

    I only just purchased “The Nightmare Stacks”, the prior book in the series, and that’s on Ryk Spoor’s personal recommendation.
    .
    I’ve not been able to bring myself to actually *read* it yet.
    .
    It’s like this .. I very much enjoyed “Atrocity Archives”, I liked the novellas, especially “Jennifer Morgue”, I found subsequent books and novellas variable but overall good (with “Equoid” being very nicely nasty, “Pimpf” being a bit predictable, and “Down on the Farm” being very well done) ..
    .
    The series was, in fact, “buy on sight” until “Apocalypse Codex”. That one almost got tossed across the room a couple times, saved only because I shifted to ebooks, and don’t want to pay for a new iPhone.
    .
    “Rhesus Chart” was an improvement, but .. strained. “Annihilation Score” was .. not an improvement.
    .
    I really should dive into “Nightmare Stacks” and see how it goes .. thus far, though I just look at it and .. I don’t *want* to pay for a new iPhone ..
    .
    Mew

    • BigFire says:

      Nightmare Stack is actually an improvement over Annihilation Score, but you can see the author’s puppet strings, which isn’t a good thing. Doesn’t help that he has gone full SJW in the past couple of years.

    • junior says:

      When Stross can ignore his hobby horses and focus on the bureaucratic stuff that made the setting so enjoyable, he’s pretty good. But when he can’t ignore his hobby horses…

      Fuller Memorandum is still my favorite of the books, and was also my starting point with the series. I backtracked and read the first two. And then I got to Apocalypse Codex, and like you I didn’t like it at all. I suspect I enjoyed Rhesus Chart more than you did. Annihilation Score was pretty bad.

      I suspect whether someone enjoys Nightmare Stacks can largely be predicted by how the reader views the family dinner scene that occurs at roughly the mid-point of the novel. I suspect that Stross intended it as an indictment of the (small ‘c’) conservative idea of a family. But some parts of it struck me as mocking the SJWs, which I am fairly certain that Stross did not intend. Ironically, those latter elements are probably what allowed me to move on with the rest of the story after the scene was over, and enjoy the book.

      Haven’t read Delirium Brief, and probably won’t until I start working again. And Moe’s comments have me somewhat concerned about it.

  • Luke says:

    I was mentally cataloging terrorist attacks since 2014 and having trouble making them line up to your description, when I remembered that Stross is a Leftist.
    .
    Right. So, Brexit and Trump, but what’s the third?
    .
    (I’ll be polite about his prioritizing who foreigners chose to lead them, and his countrymen balking at losing their sovereignty, over his countrymen painfully dying in pools of blood at the hands of foreign invaders. But I really shouldn’t be.)

    • Moe_Lane says:

      Lemme put it this way: Stross was writing a series of near-future police procedurals set in a newly-independent Scotland, and then he wasn’t.

      • junior says:

        So he’s upset about Brexit passing, and *also* upset that Scotland didn’t go independent?

        I find that to be hilarious. And sad. But mostly hilarious.

  • AndaO says:

    it was really goodbye to A Wrinkle in Time…. also an interesting juxtaposition.

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