Review of 'The Atrocity Archives'

The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross
1st book in the 'The Laundry Files' series

Bob Howard works for the super-secret government agency known as “The Laundry” who investigate supernatural events. The levels of bureaucracy are just as challenging as the assignments…In the first of two stories in this volume, “The Atrocity Archives”, Bob is involved in the investigation of why mysterious German powers from the second world war are expressing an interest in a philosopher…

In the second story, “The Concrete Jungle” sees Bob investigating the mysterious appearance of a concrete cow in Milton Keynes which leads him to a sinister discovery regarding a new feature being installed into CCTV cameras across the country.

I found these stories largely amusing but often quite slow in getting off the ground, particularly “The Atrocity Archives” which seems about 50 pages too long though it is amusing to see Bob struggle with the financial controllers and the government agencies around him who seem to baulk him at every turn. Often the detail I found a bit overwhelming and skipped over though being in IT that stuff did not bother me so much but this is definitely a geek focused book. Stross is a wonderful writer who has a way of making his characters come to life in often very unusual circumstances. Here his “Inside the Fear Factory” essay at the end of the book offers insight some of the themes it explores - Beyond the obvious entertainment factor.

Enjoyable but a bit slow and quite techie in parts which will likely lose a lot of readers. Having said, that, perhaps the geek market is a big one?

Rating: “A bit better than average”

Review Date: 2014-10-28

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: 2006

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