Book-The Atrocity Archives
Author– Charles Stross
Basics-Cthulhu is real, Turing’s death wasn’t a suicide, and the world’s fate rests in the hands of the guy from the IT department. The Atrocity Archives follows Bob Howard as he deal with monsters from beyond time, creatures summoned from hell, illegal software updates, and a boss who really isn’t from hell because he’s seen what the real hell looks like. This is the first book in a series called The Laundry Files.
Characters-This book has a large cast, but most of the book focuses on Bob Howard. He’s as a fun character who is a tech geek who’s dragged into a world he never really wanted to be part of. However, he makes the most of it all while feeling like he’s a real person. I never felt like he was unrealistic even as he dealt with unreality. I felt some of the other characters such as his managers from hell were a bit too much. The world is going to die, and you’re fighting about flex time?! That’s good comedic effect, but it does hurt some of the seriousness of the novel. 4.5 /5
Setting-This book takes place in a shadow world of spies, Lovecraftian horror….and IT computer help desks. It’s an interesting balance as Bob has to split his time fighting internal politics as well as ice giants. I did feel like I was where Bob was. I could see the crazy, and I could see the normal. Everything felt real. 5/5
Story-I liked the story, but some things were a bit much. Get ready for techno babble. I have a Ph.D. in biochemistry and some of the finer points of math went over my head. There maybe a bit too much techno babble for the books own good. It does establish Bob as a genus, but it also kind of drives the reader away. The main plot is about Bob fighting either monsters from another dimension trying to get a foot hold here or the misuse of a government program. Those in broad strokes are fun, but the details get a bit muddled as the Bob has to fight a bit too much with his bosses over time management. It’s funny, but it’s kind of a bit jarring. It makes you laugh at its nonsensicalness, but that hurts some of the more dramatic moments. If you can get past that, it’s an fun, fast-paced ride. 4/5
Summary-This was the most fun I’ve had reading a book in a long time. The book moves fairly quick, the characters are fun, and the world feels real. It’s modern Cthulhu mythos, and that always makes me happy. Especially when you have some snarky characters in way over their heads. It’s not perfect as I felt a few things were taken too far, but overall, I couldn’t put this one down and can’t recommend this enough. If you want some modern office madness in your Cthulhu, you can ‘t go wrong with this one. 90 %.
Audiobook Extra- Gideon Emery does an excellent job with this book. He sounds techy, geeky, and British enough to make an English CS nerd in way over his head come to life. His voice really helped me picture the main character going through all these actions and emotions. He was Bob Howard for me. 5 /5