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No Fun Allowed: Stross Edition
10:14pm 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.