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The Fuller Memorandum by Charles Stross
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The Fuller Memorandum

by Charles Stross

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Laundry (3)

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1,015428,391 (4)20
Recently added bydonbex, Aneris, punksdad, saulegriza, cadolph, enkidu, Gwendydd, private library
  1. 40
    Declare by Tim Powers (AlanPoulter)
    AlanPoulter: There is a shared delight in mixing Cold War paranoia and the mystical/fantastic in these two novels.
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» See also 20 mentions

English (37)  French (2)  All (39)
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
3.5

The book took its sweet time to grab my attention properly. No idea why.

Only after reading it (or, to be honest, somewhere in the last third) did I realize how insane and crazy good The Fuller Memorandum is. It is essentially a report on the Fuller Memorandum situation (an understatement).
As usual, Bob has to read a lot of old reports on whatever is relevant at the moment. The thing is, there is no actual case this time, so it takes time to move forward. More than half of the book Bob stumbles around wondering where Angleton has gone, why he is missing, where the certain document is and a lot of other things.
Most of it is told in the first person (Bob's), while the rest is told in third following mostly following Mo.

There are twists and turns here and I can't exactly write about the things I loved the most because all of them are spoilers. Let's just say, Angleton is awesome. ( )
  Aneris | Apr 22, 2017 |
Another fun installment in the series. ( )
  Gwendydd | Apr 17, 2017 |
This 2010 novel is the third in Stross's series of light horror thrillers about Britain's occult secret service, the Laundry. Stories about secret organizations tasked with managing the world's magic are pretty routine today, but were maybe a bit less so in the late 1990s when he started the series.

Science fiction writer Stross imagines magic as Lovecraftian. Our world is menaced by monsters, with various of H. P. Lovecraft's boldfaced names turning up. Magic is also mathematical and algorithmic, so that the spells required to invoke and control otherworldly entities can be regularized and improved by the disciplines involved in computer science. Thus, magic has become much more powerful in the 20th and 21st centuries than in antiquity, and our hero, Bob Howard, a "computational demonologist," is a computer geek who has to keep the Beowulf clusters running when he's not fighting either horrors from beyond spacetime, or the hidebound British Civil Service.

The story begins with a fatal incident during a routine exorcism. Later, Bob is attacked by a zombie, his boss disappears after assigning him some upsetting reading dating from the Russian Civil War, his wife is emotionally distressed due to an encounter with a horrific cult, there's an occult RAF squadron, a mole in the Laundry, the expected date of doomsday has been moved up - and who is going to "respond to the RFP on structured cabling requirements for the new subbasement extension in D Block?" Stross mixes his disjunct genres, horror, humor, and action, well. He adds a portion of tech geekery. We learn a bit about the Cold War English Electric Lightning interceptor, [[Vannevar Bush]]'s Memex, the narrow gauge London MailRail, and the arcane possibilities of the Apple iPhone. A fast-paced ending leaves Bob putting himself together for the next book. This story isn't for everyone; note trigger warning here for images of extreme violence, including brief references to violence against children. Death is a powerful engine of magic.

The series' first two books were each written as an homage to a particular Cold War spy-novel writer. [The Atrocity Archive] references [[Len Deighton]], and [The Jennifer Morgue], [[Ian Fleming]]. The current book follows [[Anthony Price]], with whom I'm not familiar. I might quibble that it's not quite as innovative as those first two, but then that's a high bar. I've not been keeping up; Stross has published seven of a projected nine novels in the series, plus a few shorter stories, and I expect I'll be reading all of them.

The overall arcs of the series become clearer in this installment. First of these is Britain's preparation for CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN, the rapidly-approaching moment when the elder gods awaken and devour every living mind on Earth. All those nuclear weapons the great powers built during the Cold War? They aren't meant for us, but for those Lovecraftian critters. All those cameras ringing London? They have a basilisk mode that can combust anything organic. The second arc is that of Bob's formidible wife Dominique, who was someone to be rescued in book one, and is now at least Bob's equal, a "combat epistemologist" armed with an extremely fearsome violin.

Stross's great contribution to horror is his recognition of a deep relationship between the Lovecraftian mode and Cold War nuclear terror: the possibility of vast calamity beyond the human scale, which we may only hope not to see, in the tiny speck of space and time we personally inhabit. Stross started writing this series in the post-Cold War, "end of history" era. History has restarted since then, and I can't decide whether that makes these books relevant, or unbearable to read. ( )
  dukedom_enough | Feb 16, 2017 |
funny and fast, a little confusing as ever but love the bureaucratic parts of The Laundry (probably more than the monster part) ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
Not his usual unfathomable technobabble but still a fair amount of babel. The "magic is tech" concept is not very convincing and the story is just not all that interesting. Barely made the 80 page test. ( )
  ndpmcIntosh | Mar 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
The Fuller Memorandum is not a perfect book, but there are more things I like than dislike about it. It’s definitely not a sequel that skulks in the shadows of its predecessors, trying to repeat what was done before; it’s braver, and branches out into more unfamiliar territory. And fails a little bit, but manages to get pounding on shore in the end.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stross, Charlesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
DeFex, Annette FioreCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Frederickson, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In memory of
Charles N. Brown and John M. Ford.
We miss you both.
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There can be only One True Religion.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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While recovering a missing top secret dossier that his boss is accused of stealing, British super spy Bob Howard must safely navigate Russian agents, ancient demons, and an undead entity called the Eater of Souls.

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