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The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross

The Jennifer Morgue (original 2006; edition 2006)

by Charles Stross

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1,382385,514 (3.95)45
Title:The Jennifer Morgue
Authors:Charles Stross
Info:Golden Gryphon Press (2006), Hardcover, 340 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Jennifer Morgue by Charles Stross (2006)



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Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
This is a fun book - Author Charles Stross manages to take the James Bond, Secret Spy Trope and twists it 90 degrees, so its recognizable just not predictable.

Here we have Bob Howard, who is tapped for a mission that is NOT explained to him, find himself being flown to a caribbean island to battle an evil genius who using a device that messes with probability to make sure that his plans work.

Add in a super hot secret agent from the US, ancient alien civilization who lives at the bottom of the ocean, and random references to James Bond - it makes for a wonderful tale. Its not very deep book - no thought provoking ideas here, the good guys come out ahead, and at times, quite predictable - which makes a good read, not a great read. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Oct 29, 2014 |
Second book about Bob Howard working in intelligence organization the Laundry. This time he outlandishly finds himself in a literal James Bond plot, the idea behing which is a little difficult to follow at times. ( )
  ohernaes | May 26, 2014 |
Jennifer Morgue
By Charles Stross
Publisher: Golden Gryphon Press
Published In: Urbana, IL, USA
Date: 2006
Pgs: 313


A world where peace...or detente has been made with the Cthulian horrors that man shares the world with. Agents of The Laundry guard the world from eldritch horrors. A rich man wants to rule the world. A subsea evil is rising. Jennifer Morgue is coming. A remorseless billionaire will unleash the horror on the Earth and ride the wave of panic to mastery of the planet.

fiction, horror, espionage

Why this book:
The Laundry sounds like a fascinating entity.

This Story is About:
courage, doing the right thing, jealousy, love, duty, the evil that men do

Favorite Character:
Bob Howard, civil servant, secret agent, savior of the universe, battler of demons and creatures from the Outer Dark.

Against my better judgment, just like Bob, I’m starting to like Ramona Random, demon succubus in human form...or demon succubus with a glamor cast over herself...itself to cause it to look the blonde bombshell part.

Least Favorite Character:
The invisible Black Cabinet and their backdoor attempt to upset the apple cart and by way of their attempt almost giving the world over to Ellis Billington.

Character I Most Identified With:
Bob Howard. He’s a good guy, in pretty much every sense of the word. Hope I get to red more of his adventures.

The Feel:
The creepy could be stronger, but the story is awesome.

Favorite Scene:
The opening scene had me feeling like they were going to raise Cthulhu or Godzilla out of the depths before they found what they were looking for. Great tension. Raising a wrecked Russian submarine goes horribly wrong when a many tentacled monster decides that the submarine belongs to them and pulls it back into the depths. Man has an understanding with the beasts of the deep and no permanent or semi-permanent human structures are allowed below a certain depth. Apparently, the submarine has sat long enough in the deeps that they have taken ownership of it.

Driving the small Smart car on the Autobahn sounds about like I would expect the trip to be. Woof.

The scuba showdown in the underwater occult Maginot line along the reef is well done.

The magic Bond elements onboard the Mabuse play well to my sensibilities.

The pacing is incredible.

Plot Holes/Out of Character:
For the supervillain who set up the Bond geas as a way of controlling who could upset his plans, he sure did allow himself and all those around him to get sucked into it. Though forcing his opposition to jump through hoops to try and meet all the archetype limitations to try and get him was a stroke of genius. But leaving himself open to it was silly.

Last Page Sound:

Author Assessment:
The descriptions in the scene sets are awesome from the depths of the Pacific to the Audi from Hell ripping passed him on the Autobahn. Love the reference to something that may have been a Luftwaffe Starfighter blowing passed him in the fast lane.

Would definitely read something else by this author. Really want to find more stuff about The Laundry.

The James Bond vs. Cthulhu vs. Chthon with secret agents, double agents, and evil billionaires thrown in is genius.

After finishing this book, I’ve got one thing to say.

Dear Marvel Comics, call Charles Stross. Do it today. Get him to write the script for a Dr. Strange movie. It’d be awesome. Thanks.

Editorial Assessment:
The book is tightly done.

Hmm Moments:
I love the contrast of the James Bondian elements with the Lovecraftian. Really love the occult James Bond stuff.

The term “fuck vampire” used here is completely awesome. She’s a succubus with a hearty appetite for both the big death and the little death. Ramona Random is coming across as a more complete character than most demons in literature.

The cybergeek occult magic demonology paradigm in this story is awesome.

The cat.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
instant classic,

Disposition of Book:
Plano Public Library, Plano, TX

Why isn’t there a screenplay?
The whole secret agent motif in a horror setting would be so X-Files that it could translate awesomely to the big or the little screen.

Casting call:
Scarlett Johansson would be incredible as Ramona Random.

After seeing James McAvoy in Wanted, I could absolutely see him as Bob Howard.

Woody Harrelson could be awesome as McMurray.

Would recommend to:
friends, family, kids, colleagues, everyone, genre fans ( )
  texascheeseman | May 7, 2014 |
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 |
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» 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
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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.
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.
Give me root access on a hostile necromancer's server farm, and I am at home.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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


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)

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