HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross
Loading...

The Jennifer Morgue (original 2006; edition 2006)

by Charles Stross

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,331None5,801 (3.94)41
Member:jmgold
Title:The Jennifer Morgue
Authors:Charles Stross
Info:Golden Gryphon Press (2006), Hardcover, 340 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross (2006)

bob howard (12) British (9) cthulhu (36) Cthulhu Mythos (13) ebook (13) espionage (33) fantasy (53) fiction (121) horror (101) humor (30) James Bond (17) Kindle (9) laundry (19) Lovecraft (13) Lovecraftian (16) novel (15) occult (9) pastiche (8) read (29) science fiction (193) series (8) sf (74) sff (17) speculative fiction (8) spy (38) supernatural (8) The Laundry (24) thriller (18) to-read (15) urban fantasy (14)

None.

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 41 mentions

English (35)  French (1)  All languages (36)
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
The Jennifer Morgue has some really good lines -- like the one about information not just wanting to be free, but to stand around on street corners, wearing gang colors and terrorizing the neighbors -- but, ultimately, struck me as not as funny as it wanted to be. More of a "Heh." than a "Hahahahah!" ( )
  duende | Feb 6, 2014 |
What would you get if you substituted a computer nerd for James Bond, then sent him off to fight Lovecraftian Deep Ones? Well, in fact, you'd get this book.

There's this fun (well, depending on how humorous you find Lovecraft) little story ("Dreams in the Witch-House") in which a mathematician discovers that very abstruse topological mathematics can transport one to far-off dimensions and manifolds in which (you guessed it) the uber-horrors lurk. In the Laundry series, Charles Stross takes this idea one step farther. In his world, sufficiently advanced technology is not only indistinguishable from magic, but has the adverse effect of breaking down barriers to dimensions where all the demons and cthulhuian monsters and so on live. It's like the ultimate wish fulfilment for computer scientists, because the difference between a program and a spell is just a little Enochian, a bit of blood, and a lot of know-how.

Bob Howard is a programmer--uh, computational demonologist-- at the Laundry, the top-secret British department that focuses on the occult. As far as I can tell, he's kind of a sysadmin (see, it goes to show--all the sysadmin all have occult powers!) but also does a bit of field work: demon banishing, spell patchups, cult dispersals, that sort of thing. When, during an apparently routine assignment, Bob is forced into "destiny entanglement" with a demon, he knows things are about to get tricky. Soon enough, he's forced into an arrangement with a beautiful and deadly foreign spy, on an island full of hostile powers, dressed to the teeth in his tux, losing horrifically at baccarat, and driving his seriously decked out car (a Smart car rather than an Aston Martin--governments have a budget to stick to!), and a license to implant rather deadly computer viruses into the evil mastermind's mainframe. All this is adding up to make poor Bob quite shaken, and not particularly stirred.

Because this book is so much of a spoof, I think it really requires the necessary background to enjoy it. As is explained in the book, Bob is being slowly forced into the James Bond "eigenplot" (math-ish speak for an archetype). If we performed PCA (principal component analysis) on this book, we'd get James Bond as the first eigenplot, Lovecraft as the second, and tech-nerd farce as the third. Personally, I'm definitely fine on the CS/math, ok on the Lovecraft, and weak on Bond. I'm not a fan of Bond; I've only read one book and seen no movies, so that limited my ability to recognize and enjoy the jokes here. Because it pervades so much of our culture, I was able to follow the story, but a Bond aficionado who doesn't take himself too seriously will get a lot more out of this.

Because of the heavy Bond emphasis, there ends up being a heavy focus on sex. Bob is paired with a ridiculously sensual succubus who feeds through the act of sex, and because they're sort of sharing brain space, Bob gets a close-up--and gets off on it. So, so TMI. What is it with male authors writing in female characters who (graphically) feed off sex? The other thing that bothered me, was, as usual, the very casual use of rape terminology that seems to pervade this series. "Mindrape" seems to be a general trend, but there are other uses also. For example, in the next book, Bob faces a cult he nicknames the "goatf*ckers", and ends up (in his own terms) being set out as the "sacrificial goat" for them...readers can draw their own conclusions as to what happens (metaphorically, thankfully) to him. In this story, one character captured by the villains keeps repeating, "Lie back and think of England," and yes, that phrase, which originated in 1912 with a woman who did not enjoy intercourse but needed to provide heirs, means exactly what you think it does. I found that extremely distasteful, unnecessary, and irrelevant to the actual circumstances. hover for spoiler

Other than these issues, I think I am now a hardcore Stross fangirl. I love the CS jokes, especially those about the evils of Powerpoint or the differences between Lovecraftian monsters and tech CEOs. I also continued to like Bob in this book--impressive, as I positively detest Bond. Although the book fails the Bechdel test, there are two strong female characters and an interesting and absolutely hilarious twist. hover for spoiler Last, this book has a very intriguing afterward in which Stross discusses and analyses Bond, noting how very Mary Sueish Bond is, discussing the tropes created, and more.

Should you read this book? If you like Bond but can enjoy some humour at his expense, then I'd give it a try. If you've also read (and can laugh at) Lovecraft and/or know a little nerd culture, then most definitely. I really enjoyed this and am looking forward to continuing to dig into the Atrocity Archives. ( )
  page.fault | Sep 21, 2013 |
post-cyberpunk, i guess you'd call it. all of Charles Stross is well worth reading. i'm very fond, and fonder with every new one. it's dense with ideas, and layers, but it's also super-entertaining. start with this series: it's kind of bottom-line accessible. Bob Howard in the Laundry series is gormless, innocent, sweet, laidback, more competent than you'd imagine, especially in the dark, and surprisingly cunning in the breach. also terrified, unbriefed, and undergoing a huge learning curve in the field, while remaining true to a personal code of right and wrong his absentee handlers never implanted.

aaah, this one is delicious. can i go now? i need to start the next one. the Laundry series is set in the near-future; The Jennifer Morgue is the second book, of three so far. Stross says eventually there will be more. collect them and read them in order, just because you can. fun times, with insidious pointiness.

this one plays extensively with the espionage novel genre, specifically MI6 and the world of Ian Fleming's James Bond, fifty years onward and a whole universe worth of better written. (Stross includes one afterword entitled "The Mary-Sue of James Bond": see, didn't i tell you you'd like him?) and the main conceit here has to do with the classic hero motif, which the author inverts, disassembles, dissembles about, and puts back together looking a bit different in the parts department, and otherwise i refuse to talk. there's also a whole layer of cutting-edge technological story. oh, and a mermaid.

that's enough, isn't it? go read it. it's very entertaining, often hilarious, sprightly and focused in a way that suits the narrative, full of interesting and even endearing characters, with a ton of very Stross-like informed elements from the world we almost inhabit stirred in, that add up to something baroque we can all still recognize. perfect summer reading. but (shush!) also dense with information, following political, technological, popular trends down the rabbithole into a very near future. be afraid, be very afraid. on the other hand, there's Bob; that's a good sign. ( )
  macha | Jul 5, 2013 |
Bond. James ... or maybe it's Bob. In the grand tradition of science fiction satire (new genre?), here he is ... password '007'. Well, ok, maybe there's no such genre, and if there were, there are limited entries. But however others may want to classify this book (Locus nominated it for best fantasy), it's still a hoot! Just hilarious. Stross sends up every fixture of Bond-dom: drop-dead gorgeous femme fatale, exotic locale, and rich but crazy megalomaniac. You can almost hear the Bond theme playing in the background. It's Dr. No (Ursula Andres, Crab Key/Cape Canaveral, Dr. Julian No/SPECTRE), Octopussy (Maud Adams, India/East Germany, Octupus) and Casino Royale (Eva Green, Montenegro, Le Chiffre) all rolled into one. [b:The Jennifer Morgue|14150|The Jennifer Morgue (The Laundry, #2)|Charles Stross|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1328838439s/14150.jpg|930564] (Ramona Random, Caribbean, Ellis Billington), in the attempt to be more than just another spy spoof, weaves in more of the 'scientified' occultism of the Laundry series, where Stross offers the SF artifice of using mathematics as the basis for undead phenomena. This, for me, is where the novel starts to unwind. On a personal note, though the author, perhaps patterning after his own beliefs, defines the main character, Bob Howard, as an atheist, the story does touch on several religious themes such as hell, demons and demonic possession, and the marriage bond (not necessarily in combination). Having dropped all these potential spoilers, I will stop, and move on to the companion short story, pimpf... ... which on further thought I would not like to review. Likewise the essay on Ian Fleming and James Bond. Both of these add-ons left me cold, an enthusiasm damper for sure. ( )
  ricaustria | Apr 5, 2013 |
Stross packs on the plot details, maybe a little too much in this one, but it's still a fun and interesting update on the Lovecraft Mythos. Still, the humor isn't as funny as it wants to be and the story kind of devolves into ever-thickening plot and too much cleverness at the expense of suspense and horror-thrills. The previous entry had some of these same problems but made up for it with creepy, ultra-dimensional Nazis, mounting scares and a more pronounced sense of existential threat. I'll still read the next entry, but it needs to top this one. ( )
  chuckzak | Jun 9, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Strossprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Condellone, LynneCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
DeFex, Annette FioreCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fredrickson, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Montiglio, SteveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
For Andrew, Lorna, and James
First words
August 25, 1975
165 W, 30 N
The guys from the "A" and "B" crews have been sitting on their collective ass for five weeks, out in the middle of nowhere.
Quotations
The Laundry operations manual is notably short on advice for how to comport oneself when being held prisoner aboard a mad billionaire necromancer's yacht, other than the usual stern admonition to keep receipts for all expenses incurred in the line of duty.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Ruthless software billionaire Ellis Billington has got his hands on a device which will enable him to raise an eldritch horror code-named "Jennifer Morgue" from the ocean's depths for the purpose of ruling the world. It's up to Bob Howard, agent of Laundry and demonology hacker extraordinaire, to thwart his plans. His mission is to infiltrate the yacht of Ellis whilst also evading American agent Ramona Random who has an agenda of her own.
Haiku summary
Hackers, monster, spies
A horrific sunken secret
James Bond in there too

(Jannes)

No descriptions found.

(see all 2 descriptions)

"In 1975, the CIA made an ill-fated attempt to raise a sunken Soviet ballistic missile submarine from the depths of the Pacific Ocean. At least, "ill-fated" was the information leaked to the press. In reality, the team salvaged a device, codenamed "Gravedust, " that permitted communication with the dead. Enter Ellis Billington, glamorous software billionaire, who has acquired Gravedust by devious means. Billington plans to raise an eldritch horror, codenamed "Jennifer Morgue, " from the vasty deeps, for the purpose of ruling the world. Worse still, he's prepared occult defenses that can only be penetrated by one agent walking a perilous path." "But James Bond doesn't work for the Laundry. Instead, they send Bob Howard, geekish demonology hacker extraordinaire. Bob must inveigle his way aboard Billington's yacht, figure out what the villain is up to, and stop him. But there's a fly in Bob's ointment by the name of Ramona Random - a lethal but beautiful agent for the Black Chamber, the U.S. counterpart to The Laundry. The Black Chamber has sent Ramona to ride shotgun on Bob, but Ramona has her own agenda that conflicts with her employer's ..." "After becoming "entangled, " Bob and Ramona are captured by Billington and used to further his insidious plot. But let's not forget Bob's significant other, Dr. Dominique "Mo" O'Brien, also an agent of The Laundry, who has been trained especially for this mission. Can these intrepid agents stop Billington from raising the dead horror and thus save the world from total domination? The Jennifer Morgue takes the reader on a wild adventure through the worlds of Lovecraft and Ian Fleming, non-Euclidian mathematics and computer hackerdom - sort of like Austin Powers, only more squamous and rugose."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
168 wanted
4 pay3 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.94)
0.5
1 3
1.5
2 6
2.5 6
3 69
3.5 38
4 158
4.5 33
5 79

Audible.com

Two editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 89,506,178 books! | Top bar: Always visible