In the Mail: Dark State.

Come, I will conceal nothing from you: part of the amusement value in reading Charlie Stross is in seeing him struggle manfully to get out of the hole that his typically overconfident (and typically off-kilter) predictions of the future has gotten him into.  Stross is an excellent writer, so he can typically can give it the old college try, and I can’t wait for the next Laundry novel, given that it was written in response to a particularly horrifying (for him) double-whammy by objective reality. As I think that I’ve noted in the past, reading Stross these days is like reading Lovecraft’s The Horror at Red Hook; I understand that he’s legitimately terrified, but it’s at things that simply don’t scare me in the same way, or sometimes at all. (more…)


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. (more…)


In the Mail: The Delirium Brief.

Come, I will conceal nothing from you: I enjoy Charlie Stross’s books quite a lot, but I think that he should possibly restrain himself to writing in either the past, or the far future. The man’s ability to accurately predict near-future events… well.  Politeness is a virtue.

Still, The Delirium Brief should prove as entertaining as the rest of Stross’s stuff. Spy-meets-Lovecraft, and all that. I look forward to perusing it.


In the Mail: Charlie Stross’s gingerly-tap-dancing ‘Empire Games.’

Come, I will conceal nothing from you: one major reason why I bought Empire Games was for the amusement of watching Charlie Stross extricate this particular story line from the morass of pseudoscience and conspiracy theory that he originally drove it into.  ‘Peak oil.’ ‘Aspartame causes brain damage in children.’ ‘Secret US nukes set up for domestic false-flag operations.’ ‘President Rumsfeld, master manipulator and Destroyer of Worlds*.’  It’s not nearly as bad as David Gerrold’s continuing inability to figure out how to get humanity to win the War Against the Chtorr**, but neither is it trivial.  Fortunately, ‘alternate history’ can handle this sort of problem…

Moe Lane



In the Mail and Early, to Boot: The Nightmare Stacks.

A day early: all hail the power of hyper-efficient Amazon delivery systems! A… suggestion? If you have not effectively memorized* Terry Pratchett’s Lords and Ladies at this point, perhaps you should go read that book first. You’re gonna need that mindset up and running, methinks.

Moe Lane

*You have, of course, at least read it, yes? – Because if you have not, well, this is what you need to do this week. The only reason why I’m not calling it Pratchett’s best book is because sussing out which is Terry Pratchett’s best book isn’t something that you do lightly.


In the Mail: ‘The Annihilation Score.’

Part of Charlie Stross’s Laundry series, which is one of the few series that I will religiously buy in hardcover and sight unseen.  This one is supposed to be about the Mythos, government bureaucracy, and superheroes: should be a hoot. Especially since this series is apparently leaving the realm of Secret History for good. Or bad. Or squamous…


Book of the Week: “The Annihilation Score.”

This one I am anticipating: The Annihilation Score (A Laundry Files Novel) will not be out for another week and a half, and I don’t think that I’m going luck out with this one and find a copy at a Borders bookstore that had unaccountably been put out early (which is what happened to me with another book in this series).  Mostly because Borders doesn’t exist anymore, of course.  Anyway, this is going to be the latest book in Charlie Stross’s Lovecraft-meets-spy-novels-meets-computer-math series, and it’s been a pretty nifty series so far. Hopefully, Charlie can keep a handle on his increasing tendency to conspiracy crank before the Great Old Ones come to finish the series by eating everybody’s souls – which is a selling point for this series, actually. It’s Lovecraftian cosmic horror. You know everybody’s gonna die. The author promised. (more…)


In the Mail: Charles Stross’s The Rhesus Chart.

Part of his Laundry Files series.  Lovecraft meets spy novels, etc. etc. etc. Looking forward to reading it.


“Equoid.” (I said that unicorns were bad! I totally SAID.)

New Laundry novella from Charles Stross:

And of interest is this passage from the blurb:



Just got my copy of the Laundry RPG…

…it’s very nifty. For those wondering: The Laundry is a roleplaying game based on the Laundry Files series by Charles Stross, which is itself a horror/espionage series about computational power meets the Great Old Ones. Nice layout, decent writing, and the game is more or less mechanics-compatible with both Call of Cthulhu and Delta Green.

Good times, good times.

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