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The Jennifer Morgue (A Laundry Files Novel) Mass Market Paperback – December 29, 2009

108 customer reviews

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The Jennifer Morgue (A Laundry Files Novel) + The Fuller Memorandum (A Laundry Files Novel) + The Atrocity Archives (A Laundry Files Novel)
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this alternately chilling and hilarious sequel to The Atrocity Archives (2004) from Hugo-winner Stross, Bob Howard is a computer übergeek employed by the Laundry, a secret British agency assigned to clean up incursions from other realities caused by the inadvertent manipulation of complex mathematical equations: in other words, magic. In 1975, the CIA used Howard Hughes's Glomar Explorer in a bungled attempt to raise a sunken Soviet submarine in order to access the Jennifer Morgue, an occult device that allows communication with the dead. Now a ruthless billionaire intends to try again, even if by doing so he awakens the Great Old Ones, who thwarted the earlier expedition. It's up to Bob and a collection of British eccentrics even Monty Python would consider odd to stop the bad guy and save the world, while getting receipts for all expenditures or else face the most dreaded menace of all: the Laundry's own auditors. Stross has a marvelous time making eldritch horror appear commonplace in the face of bureaucracy. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"Stross packs this new novel full of hilarious in-jokes and frenetic set pieces."
-San Francisco Chronicle

"One of the most enjoyable novels of the year... Stross steps carefully through all of the archetypes of a classic Bond adventure without ever becoming predictable. The resolution is as perfect as it is unexpected."
-Jonathan Strahan, editor of the annual Best Short Novels anthology series

"Some writers play with archetypes. In The Jennifer Morgue, Charlie Stross makes them sing, dance, and do the dishes for him."
-S. M. Stirling, national bestselling author of The Scourge of God

"The Jennifer Morgue is Stross's most entertaining novel to date...Astonishing."
- Locus

"Alternately chilling and hilarious."
-Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • Series: A Laundry Files Novel (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; Reprint edition (December 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441018149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441018147
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #356,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles Stross, 50, is a full-time science fiction writer and resident of Edinburgh, Scotland. The author of six Hugo-nominated novels and winner of the 2005, 2010, and 2015 Hugo awards for best novella, Stross's works have been translated into over twelve languages.

Like many writers, Stross has had a variety of careers, occupations, and job-shaped-catastrophes in the past, from pharmacist (he quit after the second police stake-out) to first code monkey on the team of a successful dot-com startup (with brilliant timing he tried to change employer just as the bubble burst).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Terrell T. Gibbs on December 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like it's predecessor, "The Atrocity Archives," "The Jennifer Morgue" is based upon the premise that all of those nasty Lovecraftian horrors are real, all of the world governments know about it, and are engaged in an ongoing and highly secret occult intelligence gathering/arms race. A few other writers have mined this same vein, most notably Tim Powers in "Declare." But in contrast to Powers, Stross leaves no doubt that his tongue is firmly planted in cheek. The current volume is not only a send up of the cold war spy novel, but specifically of James Bond. Fortunately, Stross has the extraordinarily rare ability to satirize a genre without losing sight of what makes that genre work. Stross's Lovecraftian horrors are actually scary--in fact more so than those of most other writers who've tried to write serious Lovecraftian horror (which turns out to be surprisingly difficult to pull off). The cold war style intrigue, with intricately layered plots and counterplots also works beautifully. Stross could doubtless be a master of either genre if he could bring himself to take them seriously. But that's alright, because this is better. Much of the humor comes from Stross's hero and narrator, a cynical hacker forcibly inducted into the British occult intelligence service. As such, he is completely out of place in either of the genre's Stross is satirizing (watching him try to fit into a Bond-type plot is particularly amusing), yet in the world Stross has created for us, he is clearly the perfect man for the job. Along the way, Stross manages a particularly sharp (but somehow affectionate) deconstruction of the entire Bond canon.

I'd encourage Stross to drop everything else and devote all of his time to writing sequels in this series, except there's nothing else that he writes that I'd be willing to give up. Still, none of his other work manages to be quite this much fun.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A. W. Crawford on March 21, 2007
Format: Hardcover
If you liked The Atrocity Archives, you'll love The Jennifer Morgue. If some of the more geeky computer references confused you, you'll still enjoy the basic story here (everybody's seen James Bond movies, after all) but again you'll be missing half the fun.

As another reviewer has indicated, to get full appreciation of every little nuance, you need to be an old school UNIX geek, preferably with a familiarity with the Internet that stretches back a decade or two, who still yearns for the days when USENET ruled, and before The Eternal September began.

Not meeting all these criteria doesn't mean you won't find this hugely enjoyable, but the more of them you meet, the more you'll enjoy the book. Having known Charlie since before he'd had anything published and used to hang out in some of the seedier USENET groups, I think I fall fairly firmly into the target audience, and even I missed one or two of the cleverer references first time round. However, I read the book cover to cover in a single sitting and enjoyed every page. Multiple re-reads are a must, the cover's as superb a homage to the book's influences as the story itself, and the story itself leaves an impressive number of openings for more Bob Howards books, from direct tie-ins to the implications of GREEN NIGHTMARE, which Charlie seems to have put in place specifically to give him a way to shut down the Bob Howard universe completely should he ever tire of writing about the character.

Personally, I hope he doesn't tire of writing about Bob for a long, long time. Haven't enjoyed a book so much in years. In fact, although it's a very different sort of book, the last thing I read that established a permanent niche for itself in my mind so quickly was Pratchett/Gaiman's Good Omens in the early 90s. I'm picky about what I read, and I place these two books in a separate little league, all of their own.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Cypherpunk on November 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This novel actually creeped me out a few times and had me rolling on the floor with laughter most of the time. SciFi would be the topseller in genre fiction, if more novels were like this one. Stross skewers James Bond, flips the Lovecraft style horror novels on their ear, infuses some of the best IT and hacker details that I've read in a novel, incorporates a pretty good love story paired with a perfectly frightening stalking, all while careening hilariously through a landscape littered with zombies, creatures from the deep, creatures from the universe's deep past, and more.
This novel provides one blisteringly hot answer to those readers who complain that there's not much new or fresh in SciFi. I say you're looking for authors on the wrong side of the pond. Some of the best SF to be found, these days, is coming from Britain (Scotland, in Stross' case).
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Michael Hoffman on June 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wish I could join in with all the rave reviews of this book.

Couldn't wait to get my hands on it, after absolutely enjoying The Atrocity Archives (though rolling my eyes a bit - I guess its a requirement for a new British author to get published to bring in evil Nazis somewhere). The "IT geek meets Lovecraft" setting was right up my alley.

Sadly, The Jennifer Morgue left me disappointed. Maybe it's because I'm not a fan of spy fiction a la James Bond (*insert gasps of horror from other male readers here*).

My impression of the story was that Stross *really, really* wanted to write a Ian Fleming style spy thriller while blending it with his "universe" and his characters. No matter the cost. As a result it seemed forced to me.

Also, too many repeats of the same old slashdot humour (equating Microsoft and Powerpoint with Absolute Chthonic Lovecraftian Evil gets tiring after the third time - never mind that it was already done in TAA).

I still give it 3 stars for the writing - as others have said, Stross can write. If he continues to find his own style I'm looking forward to his future works.
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