In the mail: Quantum of Nightmares (Laundry series).

Quantum of Nightmares is the latest installment of Charlie Stross’s ongoing spies-and-Cthulhu-and-computers Laundry series. As I’ve said before, I still enjoy the Laundry series, but I’m simply not scared of the current events stuff that scares Charlie. It gives me a certain amount of relaxed detachment from it all, and he’s a good enough author to avoid the insidious trap of writing-as-whining. So this should be fun!


Book of the Week: QUANTUM OF NIGHTMARES (Laundry series).

Charles Stross’ QUANTUM OF NIGHTMARES comes out in less than a month, so I might as well grab it now. Come, I will conceal nothing from you: I don’t read these to be scared. I read them because Charlie is a very good writer, and because I find it soothing to read horror written by somebody who’s scared by stuff* that I simply don’t find to be very terrifying. It gives me a certain detachment, and allows me to take the time to savor the book.

So, yeah, I’m looking forward to this one.

*In his case, mostly involving the Things We Don’t Talk About Here.

Book of the Week: Dead Lies Dreaming (Laundry Files Book 10).

Hey, they finally got a publication date for Charlie Stross’s latest Laundry spy/cosmic horror novel! Dead Lies Dreaming, comes out in October. As you know, I enjoy this series, although these days it’s at least partially entertaining to me because I’m not scared of quite the same things that Stross is. I do genuinely respect how he’s moving along to the end of his world, though. The temptation is strong to just keep a popular series going forever, with nothing ever really permanent happening to the main characters. Charlie Stross isn’t doing this here, to put it mildly.

Book of the Week: The Labyrinth Index.

The Labyrinth Index is book 9 in Charles Stross’s Laundry Mythos-spy series.  It’s quite fun to read, although I’m not enjoying it in the same, ah, visceral way that I believe Charlie intends.  I imagine that people who began freaking out about current events after, oh, I dunno, June 23rd 2016 (and who graduated to raw terror and panic after November 8th of that same year) will find this book deeply scary; for my part, it’s just another The Horror At Red Hook.  I’m just not scared by what scares the author, that’s all.  But I can still enjoy the aesthetic, and this is a pretty good installment in the Laundry series.

In the Mail: The Labyrinth Index.

The Labyrinth Index is the latest in Charles Stross’s spy-Lovecraftian Laundry Files series, and I’m looking forward to perusing it. There’s just something relaxing in reading a well-written horror novel by an excellent author who is profoundly terrified of things that merely, at worst, make me roll my eyes a bit.  No, really: you still get the frisson, but not the actual horror itself.  Which is good, because God knows there’s enough real things in the world to be scared about…

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. Continue reading In the Mail: Dark State.

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. Continue reading Book of the Week: The Delirium Brief.

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

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

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.