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September 25, 2013 12:45 PM   Subscribe

I know full well to my great & abiding dismay the compulsive fascination that the eldritch & uncanny may exert upon the imagination of an introspective & sensitive scholar. From Charlie Stross (cstross): Equoid, a Laundry novella available free to access from Tor.
posted by topynate (51 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
yes yes yes I have been waiting for this
posted by emmtee at 12:52 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ain't no horror like a Laundry-issue horror.

'cause a Laundry-issue horror don't quit.
posted by Fraxas at 1:00 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yaaaaay! I just read Neptune's Brood and it did not really hit the spot like the Laundry books.
posted by Mister_A at 1:00 PM on September 25, 2013


You can also get Equoid for Kindle for 2 bucks US. Which is very nearly worth it!
posted by Mister_A at 1:03 PM on September 25, 2013


"This title is not available for your country."
Again I ask myself - why did I move to Canada? I'll have to wait for the dead tree version...
posted by aeshnid at 1:09 PM on September 25, 2013


aeshnid, the Tor link should still work! At least it did for me over lunch.
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:11 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


You moved to Canada for the death panels and hockey, no?
posted by Mister_A at 1:13 PM on September 25, 2013


The Tor link works for me. Maybe if you deleted your cookies, aeshnid?
posted by Kevin Street at 1:14 PM on September 25, 2013


'cause a Laundry-issue horror don't quit.

It thinks about delivering its two weeks' notice to HR a lot but then it wouldn't be allowed to get jobs in any of the fields it's qualified for and it's pretty much going to be heavily monitored for the rest of its life anyway so it decides to stick out the paperclip audits and team-building seminars for another few years and suddenly it's having a sad retirement party in the staff canteen and wondering where Jim from accounts is but he got caught up in the Unpleasantness with the Level 3 uncontrolled excursion down in Somerset last June.
posted by emmtee at 1:29 PM on September 25, 2013 [14 favorites]


Oh man, I just bought the latest Laundry book last night in paperback. Haven't gotten very far, but after what he did to Bob Howard in the previous book, I am so very ready for more eldritch horrors and shenanigans.
posted by daq at 1:38 PM on September 25, 2013


For a second I thought you meant Tor as in the anonymized network, and that the book was being given away free on Tor as a way to encourage more pedestrian uses of the network, making it harder to target dissidents/undesirable based solely on their use of Tor (since a bunch of "normal people" would be using Tor to read the book).

But this is cool too!
posted by chrominance at 1:44 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


HORSE E BOOK
posted by Artw at 1:52 PM on September 25, 2013 [18 favorites]


That's just an elaborate ruse to get into my pants, I found out.
posted by Mister_A at 1:53 PM on September 25, 2013


Mister_A: "You can also get Equoid for Kindle for 2 bucks US. Which is very nearly worth it"

I would, but it's not available (to me, at least) until mid-October.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:57 PM on September 25, 2013


Ack you're right, Joakim Ziegler. I missed that part in all the excitement over monsters!
posted by Mister_A at 2:29 PM on September 25, 2013


Just to warn people who get triggered by rape or gory scenes that when the editors say "Like some other stories published on Tor.com, “Equoid” contains scenes and situations some readers will find upsetting and/or repellent" in the introduction, they're not joking.

Otherwise, I read it yesterday, and here I am, waiting for The Rhesus Chart.

* edited to remove spoiler
posted by sukeban at 2:33 PM on September 25, 2013


Oh, I'll say it:

Metafilter: I know full well to my great & abiding dismay the compulsive fascination that the eldritch & uncanny may exert upon the imagination of an introspective & sensitive scholar.
posted by Rykey at 3:31 PM on September 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am both widly entertained and comepletely grossed out.
posted by The Whelk at 3:35 PM on September 25, 2013


I had no idea this was coming out, so thanks for the heads-up. (I put it on iOrder for October on grounds that dude deserves his $2 and in any case I may not read it until then. My backlog is srs bzns right now.)
posted by immlass at 4:05 PM on September 25, 2013


I read it yesterday - it's a good Laundry story with a lot of references that I didn't get until I read the discussion on Stross' blog.

I am in the middle of Neptune's Brood, and while I like it (and pretty much everything he's written), the Laundryverse is my favourite of them all, and was a great intermission to space-robots.
posted by sauril at 5:20 PM on September 25, 2013


My Stross preference list basically goes: A Colder War > Laundry > Everything Else, so more Laundry is always good.
posted by Artw at 5:22 PM on September 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh, this is great. And I still haven't read The Apocalypse Codex, so that's going to the top of the reading pile.
posted by figurant at 5:24 PM on September 25, 2013


Love the Cold Comfort Farm references. It is little touches like that that make the Laundry stories so delightful.
posted by Malla at 6:17 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Free on Tor.com, $2 on Amazon.com?
posted by srt19170 at 6:49 PM on September 25, 2013


Splendid. Kudos, cstross.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:52 PM on September 25, 2013


srt19170: "Free on Tor.com, $2 on Amazon.com"

But on Amazon you get to wait three weeks, it's a great deal!
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 9:13 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


This was very good, by the way, and darker and more disturbing than the Laundry novellas usually are (but still packed with amusing references).

I thought the Lovecraft stylings were a bit overdone, and also touched on some things old HPL would never have talked about (his digestion? No way, he basically died because he wouldn't allow anyone to perform a rectal exam), but that's a niggle. Bonus points for "explaining" some of Lovecraft's hangups.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 9:50 PM on September 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


as an aside cstross seems to hang out in reddit's r/printSF a bit. He gave me book recommendations. It was awesome.
posted by gryftir at 12:14 AM on September 26, 2013


cstross hangs out here quite frequently, but rarely comments in threads about his own work. I bet jscalzi is reading this too.
Every time I read about one of the golden age greats passing away I am very pleased we get to read so much of today's great sf writers work off the clock, as well as their published oeuvre.
posted by bystander at 1:03 AM on September 26, 2013


Great stuff.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:12 AM on September 26, 2013


My Stross preference list basically goes: A Colder War > Laundry > Everything Else, so more Laundry is always good.

What makes A Colder War so great is that it has the obvious conclusion of nation states having access to Lovecraftian magic/technology, but if you are trying to write a lightly comedic series of novels instead of a single super-bleak short story, you can't take that serious tack, so things in the Laundry novels get worse over time, but like they do in a years-long Call of Cthulhu campaign. A Colder War is more of a one-shot convention game.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:16 AM on September 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


cstross hangs out here quite frequently, but rarely comments in threads about his own work. I bet jscalzi is reading this too.

That's because it's generally considered to be Bad Form for a writer to reply to reviewers. Largely because once the story is out of your head and on the page you have no control over how people will read it, and some folks will always read any text differently to the author's intent. So that kind of engagement almost always ends in tears.

(Meta: if someone asks me a direct question about my work I'll [usually] try to answer it. And if someone makes an assertion of fact that is definitely and unambiguously wrong — attributing a book to the wrong author, or something of that order — I may offer a correction. But your opinions, as readers, are your own.)

PS: The next Laundry novel, "The Rhesus Chart", is with the copy editor now (and is due out in July 2014). The one after that is not finalized but I'm hoping to have one out in 2015. And another in 2016. (Then I'm taking a sabbatical, if you don't kind.)

PPS: The first four books pastiched various British spy thriller authors. From "Equoid" onwards I'm pivoting the series — I ran out of spy thriller gods I wanted to pastiche — and I'm now tackling urban fantasy themes. "Equoid" is the unicorn novella. "The Rhesus Chart" is about blood-sucking fiends. "The Armageddon Score" (planned) is going to focus on superheroes. And I'm still looking for a title for the one about the Sidhe ...
posted by cstross at 4:42 AM on September 26, 2013 [6 favorites]


Come for the Laundry tale, stay for the Half Man Half Biscuit reference. Squee!
posted by whuppy at 5:46 AM on September 26, 2013


I recommended this novella as a good introduction point for The Laundry universe books to a friend without having read the whole thing. Got darker than I expected, heh.
posted by pemdasi at 8:43 AM on September 26, 2013


My other Stross preference is probably Has Nuclear Weapons > Does Not Have Nuclear Weapons.

Cold War kid, me.
posted by Artw at 8:45 AM on September 26, 2013


What makes A Colder War so great is that it has the obvious conclusion of nation states having access to Lovecraftian magic/technology, but if you are trying to write a lightly comedic series of novels instead of a single super-bleak short story, you can't take that serious tack, so things in the Laundry novels get worse over time, but like they do in a years-long Call of Cthulhu campaign.

A Delta Green campaign, you mean. A CoC campaign would be more like John Dies at the End. Speaking of which, Bob should run into John and Dave in a future crossover. Get to it, fanfic authors.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:19 AM on September 26, 2013


How about A Colder War : Laundry Novels :: Call of Cthulhu : Delta Green?
posted by Elementary Penguin at 9:36 AM on September 26, 2013


Not really. DG is just as bleak as CoC is, if not at times more. The difference is a matter of institutions; in classic CoC, you're a bunch of amateur investigators of different backgrounds lost in a cold and howling uncaring universe. In Delta Green, you're a federal agent of some sort lost in a cold and howling uncaring universe and you're part of a flimsy cell-structure based conspiracy that makes the Weathermen look like COBRA, and you might get extraordinarily renditioned.

It's more like, A Colder War : Laundry Novels :: Delta Green : The Laundry RPG
posted by Apocryphon at 11:00 AM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Artw: no nuclear weapons are detonated in the next two Laundry novels.

(I'm not so sure about books 7 and 8, though. And the new Merchant Princes trilogy pops its nuclear cherry in chapter 4 of book 1 ...)
posted by cstross at 12:11 PM on September 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


My other Stross preference is probably Has Nuclear Weapons > Does Not Have Nuclear Weapons.

Oh, oh, oh. If you haven't read the (first) Merchant Princes books you have to just so you can get to The Trade of Queens. Even if for some misbegotten reason you're not liking them, stick with it. Because there are *high quality* nuclear weapons. Like "Fuck you, fuckball" level nuclear weapons.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:27 PM on September 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


Even if for some misbegotten reason you're not liking them, stick with it. Because there are *high quality* nuclear weapons. Like "Fuck you, fuckball" level nuclear weapons.

That should go on the back cover.

and it should be attributed to the Rapid Offensive Unit Xenophobe
posted by Elementary Penguin at 12:37 PM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


CoC

Pity the poor bugger at Cubicle 7 who is going to have to write stats for all this.
posted by Artw at 1:10 PM on September 26, 2013


So... Is the Bloch story "Notebook found in a Deserted House"?
posted by Artw at 1:17 PM on September 26, 2013


If you haven't read the (first) Merchant Princes books you have to just so you can get to The Trade of Queens.

Ahem. Much as it pains me to have to tell folks not to buy my books, I'm going to do that.

Because I rewrote the shit out of that series last year, and the new, remastered, improved version is in print in the UK in three volumes (not six), with vastly improved pacing; and I am hoping the revised edition gets an outing in the USA before the new trilogy comes out.

(And that new trilogy is all about nuclear weapons. And spies. And parallel universe superpowers. And more spies. And the girl scouts of the USA -- with nukes.)
posted by cstross at 1:49 PM on September 26, 2013 [7 favorites]


> And the girl scouts of the USA -- with nukes.

Can't wait! I'd rather see the Girl Scouts go nuclear than any of a long list of other groups I could name. (But they still need more group leaders willing to take them camping.)
posted by jfuller at 3:28 PM on September 26, 2013


“Would you mind opening the file for me?” I ask. “In Word.” I tense up, then haul out my phone as he reaches for the keyboard. It’s a flashy new Palm Treo, and I’ve got some rather special software on it that can scan for certain types of occult hazard (in conjunction with the special-issue box of bluetooth-connected sensors in my jacket pocket)

Is cstross writing from an alternate universe again? It's those damn Merchant Princes, isn't it?
posted by percor at 5:41 PM on September 26, 2013


Is cstross writing from an alternate universe again?

I'm guessing it's set in the alternate universe of 2007.
posted by Artw at 5:45 PM on September 26, 2013


Actually based on the details provided this story would seem to take place a little bit in Bob Howard's past.
posted by The Whelk at 6:10 PM on September 26, 2013


From here, it's set somewhere between The Jennifer Morgue and The Fuller Memorandum. Probably 2008 or 2009, although I'm not completely sure if the novels are set in the immediate present.
posted by figurant at 6:31 PM on September 26, 2013 [2 favorites]


IIRC Bob gets his iPhone in The fuller Memorandum. He strikes me as more of an Android kind of guy but dark magic was at work.
posted by Artw at 6:36 PM on September 26, 2013


Jennifer Morgue was 2006. Equoid is 2007. Fuller Memorandum: 2008-09. Apolcapyse Codex: 2010-11. Rhesus Chart: 2012. Subsequently it gets very vague but we can stipulate an alternate 2012-13 for the next two novels, even though they won't show up in print until 2014-15.

I tried to keep the novels (and Bob's career progression) in sync with wall-clock time, but it breaks down once I want to roll a novel a year and have them set close together because of $CRISIS.
posted by cstross at 12:54 AM on September 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


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