The Annihilation Score by Charles Stross
Excellent! Another story from Stross about the Laundry. (If you haven’t read them, stop right now and go get them all.)
Those who have been following the chronicles, know that CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN is ramping up, which is very bad news indeed. (The NIGHTMARE GREEN is one of the CASE NIGHTMARE RAINBOW scenarios that constitute existential threats to the human species. Probability that Homo Sapiens will survive the 21st century: unknown, but low.)
Up to now the Laundry and its allied and equivalent services have kept the threat out of public awareness. But the situation is deteriorating rapidly and the first effects can no longer be hidden.
Our protagonists are pushed upstairs through a combination of catastrophic losses and misadventure. Bob and Mo’s marriage is strained by the demands of work and the (literal) demons they must live with. But one damaged couple is nothing compared to the terrifying truth that humanity is about to face.
But humanity, especially plucky Britain, will not go down without a fierce and desperate fight. We will fight them with our hands, with our heads, and with our hearts. But most of all , we will fight them with powerpoint, with org charts, and they will have to fight their way through committee after committee.
We need our best people in this fight, which in this case means Dr. Dominique “Mo” O’Brien, AKA agent CANDID, a combat epistemologist (“I study hostile philosophies and disrupt them”), is also a very special violinist who operate a very, very dangerous and unique piece of secret ordinance.
The Annihilation Score follows Mo’s career as she called upon to leave her secret life and set up a semi-public special police/security/propaganda organization, as part of a rather improvised effort channel and control the upswelling supernatural troubles that can no longer be hidden.
She may be out of her depth here. Uncanny extra-dimensional invaders are one thing, organizational and personal dynamics are another.
As in all the stories, the James Bond meets H. P. Lovecraft stuff would be serious if we could stop laughing. At every turn there is a new, even weirder outbreak. But people are people (for certain values of “people”), and life goes on. And bureaucracy is stronger than anything the other dimension can throw at us.
Get it. Read it. Be very afraid.
- Charles Stross, The Annihilation Score, New York, Ace Books, 2015.
Sunday Book Reviews