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[#] No Fun Allowed: Stross Edition
02:14pm EDT - 5/30/2014
Welcome to another edition of "Your Fun Sucks And You Should Feel Bad."

Today we're going to explore why Charles Stross is a goddamn hack and anyone enjoying his "The Laundry" novels should summarily sterilize themselves. Let's start with an introduction to the series for those of you who are suffering from senile dementia or have yet to read them(lucky bastards).

The Laundry proclaims that it's a different, unique take on the by-now somewhat tired old Cthulhu mythos and attendant concepts of universal nihilism, god is dead(or never was), terrible things lurk in the dark, etc. etc. Most of the basics are still the same, in that dark gods lurk in space, underground, and in the oceans, and doing the wrong shit can awaken them, end the world, or summon bad stuff. Now, where it tries to be different is that instead of sorcery... it's really just high-tech technology and mathematics that make it all function. And instead of a square-jawed manly investigator, our protagonist is basically a dweeby sysadmin for the tough guys who really DO go and resolve things.

Alright, so clearly, this isn't a bad concept. I mean, seriously, it could be fun, right? Possibly even funny, not taking itself too seriously, that sort of thing.

And for most of the first book, this largely holds true. Our protagonist is a bit of a dork, he does just enough to justify being the protagonist rather than a side character, but by and large he seems relatively realistic. It's not all love and roses, clearly, there's the issue that he still scores with the staggeringly hot girl, the terrible writing for his winceworthily stereotypically prancing homosexual roommates, etc. but it could scrape by as just a bit rough, rather than outright bad.

Then we get to the second book. It features the line "Occupied by a dead man's dick."

Now, the first book hints a bit that Stross maybe needs to go have a wank before he writes, but the second one cements it. Like, really, our protagonist teams up with a sex demon who, because of PLOT, has him psychically tagging along when she fucks a guy (and kills them in the process). Again, sex isn't necessarily bad, but when written in first-person-perspective by someone who clearly needs to get laid to work out some weirdness, it's not something I want to be along for. See because in one of the cases, the guy dies DURING the fucking, not AFTER, so our protag narrates himself jerking off while the succubus rides the dead guy's still-rigid wang. This is a no thing.

Also the stereotypical homosexual roommates get even more offensively mincing and our protag fucks a Deep One.

Still, if that was the worst of it, then you'd have to hate on a lot of authors for having badly-written sex scenes in their books. This is a thing authors do... no, what we REALLY hate on Stross for here is, much like the Dresden Files, essentially betraying the Laundry's core concept by the second book. Our dweeby sysadmin kills frogmen and generally acts like a fucking James Bond character more than a dweeby fucking sysadmin. It very quickly starts feeling like Stross put a bit too much of himself into the guy and desperately wants him to be a badass so he can feel like one by proxy.

Also, re-iterating: OCCUPIED BY A DEAD MAN'S DICK.

It's frankly a shame, too, because Stross actually does come up with a good concept for this one, namely somewhat-strained diplomatic relations between humanity(secretly, obviously) and the Deep Ones, getting more complicated when someone wants to basically snatch a doomsday weapon(a cybernetic Chthonian) out from under their noses and use it for Generic Villainy.

Essentially it's a story that would've been good if anyone else had been writing it.

So I can only assume that if you bother to read his shit, you're like Stross and jumping on the weird power-fantasy bandwagon, that your taste is shit, or that you like dead men's dicks.

Thank you and goodnight.

~PurpleXVI

Comments

1 Coyote
05:36am UTC - 5/31/2014 [X]
Thanks for the warning Purp.


2 Gunnerchimp
06:59pm UTC - 5/31/2014 [X]
I agree about the awkward, shitty sex scenes in Jennifer Morgue.
I also agree that ones' tastes are ones' own, and you are as entitled to your opinion as I am to mine.
I would like to bring up that there is actual plot-related shenanigans that succinctly explain exactly why the second book turns Bob into a martini-drinking, femme-fatale shagging, bad-guy-on-a-super-yacht defeating James Bond caricature.
Each to their own, I enjoy the Laundry files books, but Jennifer Morgue is the weakest entry.


3 Manifold
04:27pm UTC - 6/02/2014 [X]
Dude, the whole "Fuck-why-is-it-some-kind-of-James-Bond-novel" is actually a plot point and focus. I mean, really.


4 Joe
06:24pm UTC - 6/15/2014 [X]
The concept is so meta it wraps around and plays all the awful boring tropes straight. The fact that the plot is totally calling out this archetype you guys doesn't excuse deep one hybrid succubus waifu who is secretly ashamed of her perfect figure and four tits, and only our protagonist is deep enough to appreciate her uncommon charm (and her common charm, cause she's really hot guys.) This book sucks and Fuller Memorandum is way better.


5 Gunnerchimp
04:32am UTC - 6/22/2014 [X]
I agree with Joe, Fuller Memorandum was miles better. Of course, that's the one where Bob gets super speshul snowflake elder-thing powers and a darker nature to struggle against, but the climactic scenes were super fun with Spetznaz vs. Cultists vs. Shambling Undead Horde vs. SAS in a van.


6 Romperroom
06:20pm UTC - 7/06/2014 [X]
Ye GODS, I don't think I've read a review this scathing since a certain RP game badly written by a rape-obsessed idiot...thank you for the warning!


7 The guy who points out that this is a very bad review.
06:49am UTC - 7/16/2014 [X]
This guy is a fucking idiot who is completely and totally missing the goddamn point.

That sex scene wasn't supposed to be hot, or even awkward, IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE FUCKING SCARY. it was supposed to leave you feeling just as horrified as Bob was after feeling what it was like for a partially possessed Deep One hybrid (Who looks pretty because she was bred for diplomacy with humans)to kill someone during sex and EAT THEIR SOUL so that the demon residing in her mind would spare her for another day. The response the author was aiming for was the reader going NOPE.avi, and succeeded beautifully.

Granted, when the reader is a fa/tg/uy whose first instinct is to start jerking off and later complain about the author OBVIOUSLY inserting his fetishes into his book, this falls apart.

Further, OP the Fairly Attired Gentleman utterly failed to grasp the ENTIRE PLOT of the second book.

You know how the main character is starting to act like a Bond hero? I mean, really, really like a Bond hero? Even though that's really out of character for him? THAT IS REALLY FUCKING IMPORTANT. Really, I won't go into detail to avoid spoilers for what really is a very good (if not great) book, but the main character starting to act bizarrely like he should be ordering his martinis shaken, not stirred, is central to the entire plot.

In short, this is a lazy review by a reviewer who lacks all imagination and completely fails to understand the material he/she/it is attempting to review, and should be disregarded even more firmly than the almost as terrible Dresden Files review.


8 a man, boy
06:54am UTC - 7/16/2014 [X]
I agree that the Jennifer Morgue was the weakest book in the series, but it wasn't nearly as bad as Purple Pixie Pony Poon is making is out to be.

Granted, that might just be that the idea of what is essentially a Cthonian BOLO working through a stereotypical Bond villain to resume its war is so fucking awesome I feel like it deserves its own series.


9 meh
04:35pm UTC - 9/18/2014 [X]
I pretty enjoyed "A Colder War", sad to listen that "Laundry" is a shit.


 

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