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Rhesus Chart: blood dripping fresh ...

So those of you in North America will be able to buy The Rhesus Chart—or get your pre-orders—starting in a couple of hours. My fellow Brits will have to suffer in protracted misery for almost another two days.

For my part, I'm going to spend much of the next 36 hours sitting in a succession of noisy, cramped aluminium tubes while being subjected to sleep deprivation. Then on Wednesday, I'm going to be doing a reading from "The Rhesus Chart" (and signing—yes, copies will be on sale) at Blackwells bookshop on South Bridge in Edinburgh at 6:30pm (probably to be followed by eating/drinking/trying not to keel over from jet lag in The Auld Hoose). Later in the month I'm one of the author guests at Edge Lit 3 in Derby, England (on Saturday the 19th of July): yes, I'm sure I'll be reading and signing there, too. Subsequently, I'll be at Loncon 3 (the World Science Fiction Convention, held this year in London from August 14 to 18) and hopefully at Shamrokon, the Eurocon (held this year in Dublin, August 22 to 24).

There won't be a US signing tour—or any US signings—for this title, at least at this time. I'm probably not going to be back on US soil until early 2015. However, signed and personalized copies of "The Rhesus Chart" can, as usual, be ordered through my local specialist SF bookshop, Transreal Fiction in Edinburgh.

100 Comments

1:

Happy (early) Release Day! It was good to get a dose of the Laundry with Equoid, but this is the "full size" portion my diet requires!

2:

There will be another instalment next July -- "The Armageddon Score" exists in first draft and is due to be finalized later this year and published same time, same place, next year.

(Did I mention that it's narrated by Mo, rather than Bob? It overlaps with the last couple of chapters of "The Rhesus Chart", as seen from her point of view. If you've been wondering just how unreliable a narrator Bob is, the next book will answer your questions ...)

3:

Happy release! Hope it sells well. Enjoy your time here in Florida?

4:

Tomorrow morning is already blocked off for an important "meeting" of Kindle and coffee...

5:

Hang about. Given that unreliable narrators is a recurring pattern in your stories, how do we know if Mo is any more reliable than Bob?

6:

Man I'm excited for WorldCon.

7:

You don't.

Still, stuff they agree happened, probably did.

8:

Yaaayyy! Just got mine! I wanted to wait until it "surprised" me by silently arriving to my Kindle, but fuck that, as soon as the e-mail came telling me it was ready I went and made the page deliver it. Now it's between fighting the clonazepam and two days of barely any sleep to start reading right away, or have a restless night of anticipation and start reading tomorrow.
Man, and I was almost done with Nick Mamatas' "Sensation", guess that last 20% is going to have to wait.

9:

All real people are unreliable narrators. Differently unreliable, and freguently demonstrated, but there is still a magical belief in the eyewitness.

Anything else is the Big Lie of fiction.

And as soon as a fictional detective starts the "Down these mean streets" spiel, you ought to know he's trying to lie to himself.

10:

Will get my copy next week, then.
See you @ Loncon3 - hopefully the organisers will have rsponded to proddings from various people (including me) & the beer-suppy will actually materialise. (!)
I sent them a complete list of all the London Microbreweries, but it appears to have sunk without trace or response ......

11:

Damn those internet oceans that slow down the packets between the US and Europe for days at a time :/

12:

Hypothetically, for those folk who might have mildly dodgy US Big River Co accounts despite not living there, what's worth more to you US or UK sales?

13:

My copy of the hardcover arrived yesterday, prompting an extended lunch break. (Oops!) It is just about put-downable (if you have urgent work to do).

Surprisingly nasty in places, Charlie has a few new wrinkles on the vampire front that I really hadn't expected.

Definitely a good read.

14:

I forgot - but was reminded, going throough my "files" ...
When do the copies of the VERY NICE edition of "Equoid" come out?
I have deliberately not read an on-line version, as I prefer dead tree, if I can get it .....

15:

As seems to become usual, amazon.de doesn't hold with release dates - they shipped out my copy on June 23rd (arrived on the 25th). They do block Kindle editions until July 3rd, though.

16:

Of course, given that OGH is a self-confessed teller of lies for money, YMMV.

17:

For those in North America, it looks like Google is selling the ebook for $2 less than other places.

18:

My copy's out for delivery. I can't wait. Any idea when will the audiobook be released?

19:

One of the things that experienced Police Officers are wary of is the set of witnesses that agree too much.

20:

Not sure I'll be able to make it to the store before Thursday. Besides I have to finish the book I'm reading now first.

Anyhow, just saw this on Tor.com: Three Tales From The Laundry Files by Charles Stross
For the completists out there.

21:

Now I'm torn. I was wanting to get started when the book ships but I hate reading second installments a year later. I would have hated reading the Merchant Prince omnibuses (omnibii?) separated by a year. It was nice to tuck into the next book right after the last, all the relevant info still fresh in my brain.

It's on pre-order regardless, no sale lost, but now I just don't know whether to start it sooner or later.

22:

It's not installments in that sense - you get as complete a story in The Rhesus Chart as you do any Laundry book - they're not chunks of a story in the way a trilogy or books in the Merchants Princes series can be.

23:

You know, when it first hit I thought about coming in here and pretending I had already read it, and comparing you to George RR Martin to antagonize the UK readers who want to know who lives.

But I decided that would be mean and I wanted to read it instead of trolling the internet.

Then I did read it and holy crap that's a body count of long term characters.

You really don't shy away from killing your darlings, do you?

24:

Sticking my grammatical oar in....

"omnibus" in the original Latin is a dative or ablative plural: it means "to, for, by, with or from all [people or things]".
So, "omnibus", large vehicle for public transport, is a vehicle "for all [people]"; "omnibus", collection of material originally published separately, is "with all [documents]".

It's not originally a noun, so once we adopt it into English as a noun it gets a regular English plural. Vehicular or literary, they are omnibuses.

[Yes, I have an almost entirely useless "A" in O grade Latin lurking in my distant past...]

25:

It was waiting on my tablet when I woke this morning. I've managed to read the first three chapters during coffee breaks. LMAO. Charlie, you're a great writer and this is the best Laundry ever!

26:

Not sure I'll be able to make it to the store before Thursday.

Well, nevermind. Between not being able to do what I'd planned today, and being weak, I got myself a copy. I was a bit early to B&N and it hadn't been shelved yet. Got someone to go back and get me one of their 4 copies. Ought to be reading by the weekend.

27:

Heh. FYI: Book 6 is told by Mo ... And book 7 will be narrated by Alex. (This is a spoiler for #6 -- I just told you who survives!)

28:

In the US, Amazon lists the The Rhesus Chart at $12.99. Google Play lists it at $10.99 and also shows the $12.99 price with a line drawn through it, calling attention to the $2 discount. I use a Nexus 7 for reading e-books so it was no trouble deciding to buy the Google version.

29:

I've just finished [i]The Rhesus Chart[/i], and all I can say is [i]oh jesus[/i]. Just when I thought this was going to be relatively light-hearted, we're right back to the Merchant Princes method of gut-punching readers, with an added soupcon of absolute horror a la [i]Fuller Memorandum[/i].

Can't wait for next July, and the next book.

30:

'Nother spoiler; the Laundry is a horror series, after all, and it charts a sawtooth descent into the abyss -- this one is darker than "The Armageddon Score" (coming in 2015), although that, too, has its grim moments. But all bets are off for "The Nightmare Stacks" (book 7, provisionally due in 2016, and I'm due to start writing it around January/February next -- all that exists so far is a high concept outline and a pitch letter).

31:

I really enjoyed it, esp. the plot twists. Looking forward to Mo's point of view!

32:

You don't have to read all of it. I'll likely stop reading it now or very shortly, there's only so much descent into horror and despair that I can take.

33:

All I have to say is that eventually, the things in the Abyss begin to fear back, if they know what's good for them.

34:

Got my copy today (US version, from Amazon). Interestingly, it is bound upside down. Valuable mistake? Significant clue? Boringly common bindery error?

It doesn't glow in the dark or anything.

35:

I was very disappointed this evening to find that my local Barnes & Noble bookstores in West Des Moines, and Clive, Iowa hadn't bothered to preorder a single copy of The Rhesus Chart at either store.

Now that I have to wait for my gratification I'm stuck contemplating the unthinkable and ordering it from Amazon.

36:

Is there a place where people who've torn through the book can gab without worrying about spoilers? Because Jesus does shit ever go down over the last 100 pages. I am very pleased that there's another book upcoming next year, I just can't believe that I have to wait that long for it. Excellent, page turning stuff, and fantastic plotting.

37:

I just finished reading it. Not quite in one sitting, but nearly continuously since my copy arrived this afternoon.

Holy fuck. It's amazing. I'm really glad that I didn't wait to buy a copy, and sad that I finished it so soon.

38:
Charlie wrote:
And book 7 will be narrated by Alex. (This is a spoiler for #6 -- I just told you who survives!)

{gasps} ... Does that mean that Bob doesn't?

39:

I now hate you for spoiling sleep last night.

A colleague suggested that I start writing books that will make you stay up late to keep reading. I have decided to instead go with "building a time machine, going back to your sysadmin days, and causing some breakage of your systems back when you were on call", as this seems more likely to be within my abilities. Could you maybe give me as complete a description as possible of the event that made you decide to stop sysadminning and focus on writing, so I can be sure to not mess up history?

40:

Ah, well having scraped a fail in 'O'-level Latin (grade 7, which tells you how long ago it was), and a pass (FVSVO pass - grade 6) in French, it's slightly more twisted than that.

Bus is an English truncation of Omnibus, which itself is a truncation of the French "Voiture Omnibus", i.e: "a carriage for all".

James D. Nicoll had it exactly right about English.

41:

$2? Kobo told me it was at 5$... before realizing I'm in Europe where it promptly told me it as 10 €.

Ebook pricing is one of those computational problems that involves summoning stuff from parallel universes. Parallel universes that hate Europeans.

42:

Aggray said they were charging $2 less than others, not that they were charging $2.

Incidentally, here in the UK, Kobo are reporting (to me, at least) that the Rhesus Chart ebook is available for pre-order, which suggests something's gone wrong and Orbit may want to poke them.

43:

I know, and I'm saying they are charging more than $5 dollars less is you happen to be American but are buying the UK edition. $5 is 3,6 €, so it is actually 6,4 € of difference.

If it is some kind of glitch, or a discount, or what, I have no idea. I already bought. I would bought it even at a higher price. I'm a fan. But puzzling, it is a lot puzzling.

45:

Hah, Google Play at $10.99 - only in the US.

Here it's on preorder on Google Play for $19.99 - I don't think so.

46:

Great book, love the way that vampires were worked into the Laundry universe. They fit so well I found my self thinking "of course vampires work like that!".

It would be nice to discuss it more detail with spoilers, but I'll wait. Except to say I think I can understand why Howard is less usable as a narrator in future books. :)

47:

*Garrumph!* Stupid local book store, for certain values of local, didn't have it! Same thing happened to my wife a couple of years ago, a new Bujold book came out just before her birthday, and they didn't have it and wouldn't have it for another two months. So she ordered it from Amazon. In the case of RC, I'll get it next week when I'm in Phoenix.

It's kind of telling what kind of town I live next to when they have two aisles for scifi, four for religious books and fiction, and only two aisle sections for computer stuff, one of which is entirely For Dummies books.

*sigh* But the first chapter was great! (speaking as a person whose worked in government IT pretty much my entire career)

49:

At what point in a book's lifecycle does an upcoming book (e.g., The Armageddon Score") become available for preorder?

50:

The bits mentioning Iran made me want to read more about what other countries and groups are doing about Case Nightmare Green. We've had some glimpses of other organizations such as the Black Chamber, and of private operators. How is the rest of the EU preparing, or other major countries like Russia, India, China?

Then there's private efforts. Given the large concentration of IT in the western US, and the distrust Americans have of their government agencies I wouldn't be surprised if there are some multi-billionaires doing their own thing. And given their backgrounds and age the occult lens through which existing efforts work are going to seem silly to them. What would a 30 year old who's found out about Case Nightmare Green, has tens of billions of dollars and a company worth hundreds of billions at his disposal do? He's probably technically roped in as a contractor or something by the US government, but isn't going to trust them to handle things. And most likely he'll see the threat through a science-fiction lens -- these are aliens invading from another universe, this is the answer to the Drake Equation, those Elder Gods sound a lot like post-singularity AIs...

Next thing you know he'll be building up massive computational power, buying all sorts of companies from robotics firms to imaging companies. Developing drones...

51:

You are extremely specific in telling us that the character George Stephenson is exactly 227 years old (I don't think a reasonable person would consider this much information a spoiler). The plot requires George to be a brilliant mathematician, and there happens to be an historical English engineer by that name of considerable prominence who was born in 1781. It would be natural to think you meant this to be a cute hidden detail for attentive readers. But if you intend for this George to be the historical figure, then the book must be set in 2008ish, and I thought it was meant to be contemporary (so 2013 or 2014). As far as I can tell, this means

A) It's not the historical George Stephenson, and it's just coincidental that there was another prominent man with the same name born at nearly the same time.

B) The book is set in 2008, and you would prefer that we not get nit-picky about little details like iPads' not existing until 2010.

C) The age is a bit off, and you would prefer that we just accept this as a minor error on the part of the narrator.

D) In a later book it will be revealed that this is the historical George Stephenson but that for some reason his records were altered, or he somehow skipped six years of subjective experience while hanging out in some other dimension, or he killed the real George Stephenson and adopted his persona, or somesuch.

52:

I wondered the same thing about George Stephenson -- it may just be a coincidence, but the dates put him rather close to the historic figure.

Though that got me thinking about other historic figures and what they might have done in the Laundry universe. The most obvious one is Isaac Newton... he must have been knee deep in the stuff thanks to his combined mathematics and occult interests. On top of that there's his interest in alchemy and his time in the Mint...

53:

If Newton's math was enough to break spacetime, engineering departments would be home to a much more aggressive flavor of bizarre semihuman behavior. Even Einstein doesn't do the trick; it seems to involve attempts to visualize in at least 7 dimensions. Maybe.

54:

Imagine, if you would, this-

In The Laundry role-playing game, there is a text file FAQ called "The Tome Of Power", which is an late-'70s/early-'80s computational demonology manual. Think of it like "The Anarchist's Cookbook" if it was written by somebody that (a)was competent, (b)knew what they were doing, and (c)was paranoid as fuck about not screwing up and accidentally summoning something to eat your face.

Now, imagine that somebody has a copy of this manual. They're an IT professional, probably in network security, and paranoid as fuck. Network security people these days have to be paranoid as fuck, because there are so many threats out there. Let's throw in that he learned his paranoid from the same bunch of teachers that I had-two of my earliest IT teachers were former military (including one guy that very nearly shot two Red Team people that were trying to break into his system physically). In short, highly professional, highly and skillfully paranoid, and has access to some of the early stuff in computational demonology.

Our new budding sorcerer works for one of the larger PMCs out there, maybe Blackwater, maybe a company that makes Blackwater look ethical. And, he's high enough on the food chain that senior people in the company are now "in the know". They see the more mundane things as society starts to break down...and, now they have not only occult assets, but an occult threat to deal with.

Hilarity ensues.

55:

Oh dear.
Now ( I was going to get a copy this week, anyway) I'm going to have to read it very carefully.
There is a definitive biography of Geo Stephenson, by the late Tom Rolt, published 1960, which also covers his son, Robert.
Copies in good condition are hard to find - yes, I have one, sitting behind me, as I type (& Rolt's bios of Telford & I K Brunel, as well )
It's worth remebering that GS was a "natural" where it came to mechanics - that's how he got his start, from (by the standards of the time) enlightened employers, who gave him his head, because they all made a profit.
But, officially, he didn't learn to read until about the age of 19 - 20. He was well-known for a common characteristic of mathematicians, though - he was very uncomfortable in front of lawywer-like examinations (Such as the hearings for various proposed lines of railway)

Rolt QUOTES]
1: As child, he recieved no education whatsoever, & at the age of 18 he could neither read nor write ..... while (in later life) his handwriting was bad & his spelling likewise.
2: Stephenson may well have attended night-schools before he came to Killingworth, as Smiles relates, but all reliable evidence indicates that his brain totally lacked the capacity to store theoretical knowledge, even of the simplest kind. In compensation for this deficiency, he possessed remarkable powers of observation, great shrewdness, & above all, such outstanding ability where anything mechanical was concerned that it amounted to intuition.
END QUOTES]

Make of that what you will!

56:

"The Rhesus Chart" is a self-contained, complete, novel. So is "The Armageddon Score". But reading them back to back will deliver a deeper experience. The sum is greater than the two pieces on their own. M'kay? (Not like a Merchant Princes chop-up.)

57:

At what point in a book's lifecycle does an upcoming book (e.g., The Armageddon Score") become available for preorder?

When a publication slot is scheduled by the publisher and their database is pushed out to the retailers and wholesalers (Amazon, B&N, Ingrams). Usually about 6 months out but can vary in the range 3-9 months.

58:

I completely missed the historical figure. Brain fart. Should have chosen a name with fewer associations.

59:

You've replicated a bit of the plot of book 8 ... except you haven't taken the idea to its logical conclusion. And I'm not going to spoiler it this far in advance (because book 8 won't be written, much less published, before 2017)!

60:

I thought Emma MacDougal got her account "settled" by "Slug" Johnson in PIMPF, but in Rhesus Chart she's still a fairly high up person in HR, the person Oscar goes to try and play?

I'd have thought that kidnapping a co-worker and attempting to feed them to eldrich horrors so as to discredit another co-worker and advance to their position would get you shitcanned, even setting aside the angry assassin ghost apparently destroying her.

Is there a short story in that, or am I just confused as to what happened?

61:

seems like the logical endpoint is for those executives to push for privatization and selloff of the Laundry, with them becoming the new replacement agency, similar to what PMCs have been doing with state security forces. So you'd have the Laundry dealing with a bunch of slick talking but insufficiently capable cowboys stomping all over the filed getting in their way while fending off a political challenge and the occult threat of the book.

It'd be like the situation with Blackwater in Iraq - a bunch of testosterone amped jackasses thinking they are better than they are actively making the situation worse by shitting the bed and walking away and leaving the government forces to be killed and clean up the mess.

62:

Yeah, that's a clear continuity glitch. I'm going to stand by my guns and either say that (a) a certain department's absence after the events of "Overtime" isn't the only causality violation in Laundry administrative spacetime, or (b) "Pimpf" isn't canon -- I feel a need to declare there to be both the canonical Laundry Files series, and the SuperDeformed Chibi Manga version of the Laundry Files, to which "Pimpf" clearly belongs.

63:

What I have in mind is several turns of the screw worse than that. But I'm not going to spoiler it 3-4 years in advance ...

The only hint I'll give you is this: consider Erik Prince and his religious/cultural background, then ask yourself who the equivalent would be in the Laundryverse.

64:

Read. Fun. Thank you!

65:

Greg,

Thanks for the George Stephenson background info! That was interesting, even though the name did turn out to be a coincidence. (There must have been some subconscious knowledge creep in Mr. Stross's head; the coincidence is incredible otherwise!)

66:

We know that the occult goes back a long ways in the Laundryverse, though it's massively accelerating now. Clearly there are paths into this stuff that do not require modern math. I imagine that advances in math by people like Newton (or even Euclid) increase the probability of some savants stumbling into demonology, but the base rates must still have been very low.

Also, keep in mind the selection biases; most people who discover demonology theorems don't end up in university faculties, but in something's "stomach."

67:

The logical conclusion depends upon what story is being told. Which is horror, for values of horror. Elder Gods don't scare me in same way that what humans will do when they plumb the depths of darkness. And, without a direct benefit of power-throw in direct power benefits and it gets scary.

But, then again, my head cannon for the Laundry has always been that it's a metaphysical police department/internal security force gearing up for a very serious shooting war. And, we're seeing the growing pains, and the first days of the phony war before the shooting war. YMMV, but depending upon the leadership, it might actually be better if some of the people running the eventual war effort are the PMCs (or at least the PMC's leadership). Focused on the mission (human societal survival as something other than buffet items for Elder Gods) first, and everything else (political correctness, societal "norming", etc, etc) is such a distant second you need the Hubble to find it.

68:

Well, just look at Bob Howard and Angleton. Does anyone, in any faction, use their real name in this business?

Incidentally, it's possible that the Laundry's Angleton used a different name while the CIA's was active. But would Bob ever realise if he saw an old file?

69:

we're seeing the growing pains, and the first days of the phony war before the shooting war

FWIW, the shooting war breaks out in book 7, "The Nightmare Stacks". Not the full-on Operation Barbarossa invasion-of-the-USSR shooting war, but something like Case White which serves notice on everyone with eyes to see about where the wind is blowing.

Of course, most everyone will still be in denial at that point. And it's worth asking, in light of the existence of folks like the Cult of the Black Pharaoh, just whether or not it's worth fighting at all if not for values like political correctness, social norming, etc. Because, after all, humans are social animals: and if we have to become like the Elder Gods in order to resist them, what's left?

70:

I'm not sure that British PMCs have ever been as extreme as the US equivalents, at least in the early stages. The early British examples I know about seem more like the people who would be on the External Assets list. And that didn't last. On the other hand, the relationships may be more personal.

And maybe something will happen that BASHFUL INCENDIARY will take personally.

71:

Presumably book 7 involves these tank driving Elves mentioned back in February?

72:

I bought mine this morning, from Blackwells in Oxford. The lady at the till had one copy on her desk, and as I paid for mine, she held it up to her colleague and said, "I think we need to order more of these."

73:

Actually, OGH already has written up the events that led him to quit sysadminning and take up an honest living as a bard.

Check out "How I Got Here In The End", in the menu at the right side of the page.

74:

The Brotherhood, AFAIK, are of the "feed somebody else to the Elder Gods so we can survive/gain power/gain a powerful protector" theory. This is the "we're going to be raped anyways, so we might as well lie back, enjoy it, and have it end as quickly as possible" theory of survivial.

The war I want to fight is "some people are going to be shoved off the lifeboat. We don't want to shove anybody off. We will shove as few people off the lifeboat as possible, and only as nessisary. But, if there has to be shoving, we will do the shoving immediately-with as much mercy and kindness as possible. You can critizie our decisions when the war is over and the cost can be counted." This is the "we're going to fight our rapists any way we can, we might suffer, we might die, we might still be raped, but we just might win. And, even if we lose, our attackers will have scars" theory of survival.

The war that is coming up is going to be one that will burn humanity down to the bare metal of survival-or burn it out. But, our goal is to win, so we can put the rifle and the Rune of Destruction down, so that our grandchildren are scared by our stories around the campfire. That in fifty years after the war, we can have people do the post-mortums and point out that we could have done the same with less. Assumptions made during wartime that were false or incorrect or just plain wrong, but had to be made because the alternatives were worse.

Let's win the war-however we win it-so that humanity can decide what it wants to be after the war ends. And, hopefully, oweing nothing to the various things that live at the bottom of the Mandelbrot Set.

75:

Trainspotter!

*ducks*

76:

Please don't!
This is one of my nightmares in this world ...
My parent's generation spent a huge amount of blood & all of their treasure to defeat an evil.
That evil has suffered a defeat & a respite, taken another form & is growing again.
Charlie is describing a very-close parallel universe in the Laundry Files (Or so I hope) but events here are not too far distant from there.

And, like last time around, there are people claiming there is no threat & that our defences, of whatever sort, don't need strengthening.
Look up George Lansbury, who whatever his other virtues (many) refused to recognise any of the dangers of fascism, at all.

77:

well the laundryverse does have some odd continuity/geography glitches :-)

The HOC is obviously on the other bank of the Thames in the laundry verse.

And its implied that nuclear physics is considerably advanced with the comments about GAME ANDES RED SHUFT and Antoine Lavoisier detecting nuclear reactions in the 1780-90's

And going on my visit there last year for an interview Hanslope park is far nicer looking in our reality.

BTW do novels get retypeset for reprints my 2004 reprint of the atrocity archives has some howlers bob pulling on a "pair of leans"

78:

"Magic is a branch of applied mathematics: we live in a multiverse, there is a platonic realm of pure numbers, and when we solve certain theorems, listeners in alien universes hear the echoes."

Understood, but why do these listeners always have it in for humanity? View a David Attenborough rerun or a time-lapsed film of the plants in the Botanic Garden greenhouses, watch a slow worm weaving its way between the roots in the University Parks, stare through a microscope at amoebae, or gaze at the birds in the treetops: the lifeforms are merely going about their daily business of feeding, breeding, and sheltering, with no more malevolence towards others than needed to survive. I ignore them: they ignore me. So why do the ripples in the Platonic over-realm never catch the attention of other-universe analogues of grass snakes, dandelions, or Red Admirals?

Also, wouldn't the sentient nameless horrors have other concerns? Sponging rabid-Hell-Hound saliva out of the carpet; not getting their tentacles caught in the lawn mower; seeking the best school at which to educate their eldritch spawn. A quick scan of my surroundings [currently the Bodleian] suggests that society tends towards the middle-class. This probably also holds for other universes. Middle-class entities do not, in my experience, gibber and poke their fingers through cracks in the space-time continuum. They're more likely to wallpaper the continuum with something pastel from Farrow and Ball.

79:

I liked the mentions of category theory and higher-dimensional group theory. I thought I'd add that mathematicians Ronnie Brown and Tim Porter (amongst many others) have done a lot of research into these, and have written several introductory papers. Two are "The intuitions of higher dimensional algebra for the study of structured space" and "Category theory and higher dimensional algebra: potential descriptive tools in neuroscience". Googling those titles will yield the papers in various formats. They contain some mathematics that not everyone will know, but also a lot of plain-English explanation and motivation.

80:

BTW do novels get retypeset for reprints my 2004 reprint of the atrocity archives has some howlers bob pulling on a "pair of leans"

Nope, they only get retypeset for a re-flow in a new page format -- e.g. hardcover to paperback. Once it's set, it's set in stone (until it goes out of print and is republished by someone else, which in the case of my books appears to be "approximately never").

81:

Ah so the elves nick the running Tiger from bovington and attempt a bank heist targeting the bank of England gold reserves.

an hoc team of laundry WOT players attempt to stop them using the TOG :-)

82:

That's far too small scale for Laundryverse elves. (They're more likely to re-enact Operation Barbarossa -- only with modern hardware and the thaumaturgic equivalent of nuclear artillery support -- than rob a bank ...)

83:

I hate you. I was supposed to be student to two very hard grad school tests (and being a parent/husband/productive worker) and it showed up on my kindle and I ended reading it from front to back... great book/series by the way.

84:

Greg, the problem is comparisons to and accusations fascism are so widespread they have lost most of their cognitive or shock value[1]. And they are also sometimes issued by guys and gals who are nearly isomorph to fascism themselves.

Hope you never had the pleasure, see debateable, of meeting a holocaust denier who nonetheless argued the Nazis were not rightists but leftists,so he was not one of the baddies[2]...

In the case you're likely thinking about, of course there was the cooperation of the mufti of Jerusalem with the axis, but there was also some cooperation with fascists (not Nazis) on the other side:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betar_Naval_Academy

On a related note, during the Yuguslav issues, there was much talk about Serbian resistance to croatian fascism, problem is, well, guess whom the Serbian Chetniks themselves were quite good at collaborating with?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chetniks#Axis_collaboration

Bonus points for some German "leftists" still buying the resistance story, of course the guys were totally different from Bandera et al., right?

Speaking about the Ukraine, well, of course there is Svoboda, but also these guy:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aijo_Beness

TL;DR, historical comparisons are tricky.

[1] In short, there are quite a few reasons to Godwin's law

[2] [deleted mumbling about taking Giubilini and Minerva

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_euthanasia

to their logical conclusion with some people (Giubilini and Minerva included), after all, the difference between a child and an adult is arbitrarily drawn, so why not some of the guys making life miserable for a lot of families...][1a]

[1a] "Kill all people in favor of summarily execution."
Err, that was sarcasm,I guess there are quite some people meaning it...

85:

On the subject of fascism, I'm seriously considering adding a clause to the moderation policy: "before using the term "fascist", please refer to Umberto Eco's essay Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt. If the cap doesn't fit, your accusation is at risk of being deleted by the moderators." (Possible get-out clause for Nazism, which was to run-of-the-mill Fascism as the Khmer Rouge were to big-standard Leninism.)

86:

Eco is agood starting point, though I'd argue with some of his specifics, namely syncretism and a tendency to put disagreement aside; you get similar with quite a few cultures and religions, usually in a context where better long range communication leads to a confrontation of different traditions; the context I'm somewhat aware of is Indian religion, AKA Hacker's inclusivism or Michaels' "identificatory habitus",

http://www.wlu.ca/documents/6507/Identifying_inclusivism_in.pdf

but I guess "interpretatio romana" and like

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpretatio_graeca

are not that different.But then, since fascism is a reaction towards modernity, and modernity is characterized by a high level of long range communication, this is not necessarily contradictory.

Personally, I think

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definitions_of_fascism

is worth looking at, it might not necessarily say much about fascism, but much about the authors in question.

Sorry for derailing this somewhat, it's just that

a) the current fracas in some countries makes for frequent use of the F word

b) I'm just reading Clark's "The Sleepwalker", and some of the circumstances of 19th century nationalism in general and the Balkan Wars in particular

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacres_of_Albanians_in_the_Balkan_Wars

makes me badly in want of giving Ernst "Fascism is just a reaction towards Bolshevism" Nolte a really big wedgie...

87:

trottelreiner
Been there, done all of that, got the T-shirt, seen the movie.
Once upon a day I worked in a research lab, where at least two people had interesting small wrist-tattoes. And quite a few esapees, also one of the tatto-guys had also been in the Gulag - he was (& I think still is) a Sundeten-Czech.
I've personally encountered Hizb-ul-tahrir, too - nasty people.
As for the "left-wing" trope, the standard reply is: "Oh & E Germany was democratic, because it said so in the name" & other variations on the "No true Scotsman" non-argument, of course.

Oh, and Charlie @ 85 (the next comment) I tend to agree, but please remember my personal experiences with survivors?
There's another author who is good on this, too:
"Freedom and Its Betrayal: Six Enemies of Human Liberty" Isiah Berlin.
Recommended.

On a more cheeful subject (NOT) ...
London bookshops are useless - 3 branches of Waterstones ... no "Rhesus Chart" - (someone else was acting under instructions) but one shop (The big W's in Piccadilly) has "One copy, but we can't find it, & we'll get another one, once we've sold that." (!)
Your comments re. the sidebar about publishing & distribution seem even mopre relevant against that sort of indifference.
Which only helps $Big_River doesn't it, when I'm trying to buy an actual dead-tree copy.

88:

I think the Umberto Eco article could be used as the basis for a Bingo card, but the twist is that some political parties behave as though they're trying to win that game by adding elements.

If politics is a bath, Fascism is the drain, and some fools have pulled the plug out.

89:

I sort of wonder about it from the opposite direction. Are there beings in other dimensions that are literally tasty with ketchup? And are they inadvertently sending signals that can be picked up in the world of humans? And are there humans crossing over and eating these beings with ketchup? Or could there be? Equivalent thereof?

90:

I'm wondering how the elves dealt with their own version of CASE GREEN NIGHTMARE. I assume that being advanced magic-using humanoids they must have at some point drawn the attention of Elder Things.

91:

hey, it's already up on Audible, too! thought you said we'd have to wait weeks! initiate second purchase mode! time to abandon the project of trying to relearn reading with my eyes. I'm digging it so far about halfway in, glad the wampires didn't diverge from the "everything supernatural is applied mathematics" angle.

I do wonder, though--the voice you employ in your non-Laundry novels (particularly thinking of Halting State and Rule 34, my favorites of your'n) is distinctly more, like, refined than the one Bob uses? I'm sure it's deliberate, 'cause he's, y'know, a big nerd, but do you find it harder to write in Halting State's more elegant style, or is it harder to get into the verbal space of a less-verbally inclined office nerd? or do you not even perceive there to be a difference? maybe there isn't and I'm just making shit up, that happens.

92:

2 days of sleep deprivation? Try 8 months a survive. Involuntary of course.
Vital organs are continuously hit by remote frequencies to keep them going.
Oh, it was complete sleep deprivation.

93:

As for the "left-wing" trope, the standard reply is: "Oh & E Germany was democratic, because it said so in the name" & other variations on the "No true Scotsman" non-argument, of course

Usually from a USian, who also says "the USSR (well ok Russia but let's make what they meant clear) was a Communist state because that's what we were taught at school".

94:

Ah yes, the "socialist" Nazis. . . so socialist were they, that like their predecessors the Italian fascists they engaged in a large number of privatisation of state-owned enterprises, including "railways; steel and mining; banking; ship building; and shipping lines," - I cite the work of the economic historian Germa Bel, here, as any fule kno.

95:

A lot of people get confused because Corporatism more or less died with fascism. So they try to pin it to a current system, and fail. The closest might be State Capitalism, which seems to be doing well in China. Though as the Fascists explicitly rejected State Capitalism as well as Socialism, that is dubious.

96:

" YMMV, but depending upon the leadership, it might actually be better if some of the people running the eventual war effort are the PMCs (or at least the PMC's leadership). Focused on the mission (human societal survival as something other than buffet items for Elder Gods) first, and everything else (political correctness, societal "norming", etc, etc) is such a distant second you need the Hubble to find it."

Well, reality's mileage has been shown to vary. cconsider Blackwater in Iraq. Their primary goal was to make money, and the side effects were of no concern whatsoever (except that they might increase the need for mercs).

97:

Did corporatism really die with fascism?
I'm not so sure, especially when you see the size of the corrupt deals being done for $_Big_Business in Washington & Brussels ( & other places)
Carefully NOT looking at U Eco ...
Fascism is difficult to pin down
But
It is usually restricted to internal politics, Musso being the exception. WHat it is about is strict control.
It's often tied to right-wing religious tendencies (Spain is the poster-boy here & the RC church in Nazi Germany) it is often very very ultra-macho, with the vile Coe's crawling to J A Samaranch still vomitingly close in history.
Women are second-class & showing sensitivity in males is frowned on
It is not necessarily ant-semitic - that was one of the Nazis extra twists.
Some aspects of Big_Business lurve it, because "the unions" are crushed, though long-term, it doesn't work, of course, because all that happens is that the internal corruption rots it from within.
The Nazis were the special, extreme case, of course.

You will note that, going back through the posts, I did not initially mention fascism - I think "trottelreiner" did.

However, there is a simple check-list to watch for, for the more extreme manifestations.
In no particular order:
Is the culture ultra-macho?
Are women, if not legally, socially suppressed?
By extension sexual "deviation" is not tolerated, but persecuted.
Is religion venerated (provided it toes the party line)?
Is there a cult of the leader (or virtuous leaders, plural - does happen)
Is "the West" decadent & weak & our "pure true new way" superior?
By extension, intellectual endeavour is ridiculed & culture denigrated - which can cause problems whan scientific expertise is required, oops.

And, for the nastiest versions:
Kill all the Jews
And maybe kill or ethnically cleanse other dissident ("Non-conformist") religious groups.
"Lebensraum" - i.e. building/reconstruction of a new (or even old) empire of the virtuous, wiping out decadent & impure thoughts ( & structuures & people) from the new Reich / Khalifate.
Oops, that was a give-away, wasn't it?

I've probably missed a couple of indicators - all contributions gratefully recieved.

98:

on the subject of continuity strangenesses, I have a spoilery one. What's the most appropriate way to let you know?

99:

actually wait, I figured out a non-spoilery way to tell you.

you can just grep for for the string "both **on his person** and at his home".

The part of the string in asterisks conflicts with statements made approximately eight and nine paragraphs back vis a vis the accessibility of items on the person of the person referenced above.

Or perhaps it is an in-world error in the report that is being cited by the narrator.

I'm also wondering how we know about the coat, given what is said above, but that is more fungible.

100:

Thanks for the link to Transreal - one signed copy ordered!

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