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Synopsis

Bob Howard is a computer-hacker desk jockey, who has more than enough trouble keeping up with the endless paperwork he has to do on a daily basis. He should never be called on to do anything remotely heroic. But for some reason, he is.

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Overall rating

4.2 out of 5
(55)
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    The cosmic horrors of being a civil servant.

    This was a fun read for me on a few levels. First, I work in technology and have had jobs not unlike Bob's more non-glamorous role at the Laundry. I've also worked for the public service, so the satire on bureaucracy and the culture that develops amongst "the lifers" really made laugh. What makes this book interesting is how quickly it switches between being this dry British satire, to gothic horror/ science fiction. As a hardcore nerd, I've always liked the 'cosmic horror / elder god' Lovecraft stuff, and the way he drops these elements into this mundane world of office politics and clock-punching civil servants is brilliant. Be prepared to wade through a lot of dialogue early on, much of which is very funny although at times it does get into pretty 'dry humour' territory. The second half of the book really picks up though and kept me up way too late reading several nights in a row. I'm looking forward to reading the next one in the series, having just discovered them.

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    Awesome book

    This is an excellent spy-horror-hacker novel. For anyone who likes near-future sci-fi, fantasy, and fiction of bureaucracy, this is the novel for you. If anything, the attached short story "The Concrete Jungle" is even better than the main novel. Be sure to read the afterward for an explanation of the author's influences

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    My favorite of the Bob Howard novels and of Stross's work in general. It blends math, history and lovecraftian horror with the humorous slant of the office. It reminded me of a twisted version of neal stephenson's.cryptonomicon , only way cooler.

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