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Charlie Stross writes great-to-excellent science fiction/fantasy in many sub-genres, but this novel (and its two sequels) is probably his most original. Its hero is an IT support expert turned secret agent fighting against supernatural horror and organizational bureaucracy. The book is by turns satirical, scary, and action-packed, and generally succeeds admirably, especially for its target audience, for whom it is likely to be a home-run.
And boy does the target audience matter: the book is full of allusions and in-jokes, as well as many quickly listed references. You can (and will) miss a few, but if you aren't a nerd, that is, you aren't into IT and Lovecraft, then you may not be the target audience for this book, and may miss most of its cleverness. For example, expect quick, but important references to: Alan Turing, gorgons, Forward-Looking Infrared Scanners, Windows software licensing terms, Cthulu, John Dee, Mandelbrot Sets, The Great Old Ones, and much more. If the list intrigues you, definitely, definitely get this book. If it baffles you, this might still be a good listen, but will be confusing as well.
As for me, nerd that I am, I loved it, and look forward to seeing the sequel, and the new book coming out in July 2010. The reader, by the way, does a great job.
96 of 99 people found this review helpful
Gideon Emery narration is absolutely perfect in this entire series. Right from the first chapter of this book, Bob Howard is brought to life by Emery's subtle inflections and understanding of this character.
The story itself is about as clever as anything I've listened to so far. Having spent over 20 years in the IT industry, I found myself chuckling at the anecdotes that were spot-on in the IT world. Aside from this pleasant diversion, the actual story and characters are outstanding. However, if you're not overly familiar with the IT universe, several of the "inside jokes" might be lost on you. My wife found a lot of the technical references in the book to be annoying, but still enjoyed the book.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful