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Nightmare Stacks competition results ...

So, I have some preliminary winners to announce!

If you're the author of one of the entries listed below the fold, please drop me an email with your real-world name and a postal address where you can receive a package?

No Laundry operatives will turn up on your doorstep with an arrest warrant, honest.

(Update: I am still waiting to hear from: Martin, Phil, and ecotax. And would appreciate it if Thomas Jorgensen would also get in touch.)

Our first winner is Death Star by "Susan"; a very credible stab at an ultimate weapon, and a pleasing example of why messing up the laws of physics is a bad idea.


TURTLE SHELL by Martin, because it exhibits brilliantly the failure mode of most Bond gadgets, Laundry-style.

An honourable mention goes to Thomas Jorgensen for Meta-Versal Internet Router Project (which would have been a runner-up if not withdrawn — please drop me an email anyway).

ETLA2 by Ian Mackenzie carries the authentic stench of bureaucratic procedures: are you sure you don't work for the government?

Rapid Response Motorcycle by Phil gets to be a runner-up by virtue of Case LITTLE BLUE BASTARD alone, and nearly scooped the top prize.

MALCOINS by ecotax (please confirm that you're eligible for the competition?) —Okay, here's an idea I actually wish I'd come up with for the series!

And finally LETHE by Megpie71, Because it should have been obvious!

As previously: would all winners please drop me an email at charlie.stross via, confirming that you live in the UK, Australia, NZ, or EU, that you're over 16, and that you're not an employee of Little, Brown Book Group ... and remember to let me know your postal address.



Minor thing, the MALCOINS link goes to ecotax's Recent Actions page, rather than to the entry.

[[ Now fixed - mod ]]


LITTLE BLUE BASTARD is now part of my Laundryverse headcannon ;-)


Congrats to Susan: a deserved win.


Iron Sunrise for the win!


Mine too. Including a previous incident that was contained by bricking it up in a disused railway tunnel with warded bricks and a four-and-one gang geased under s. 3 Official Secrets Act. Further details require clearance RAIN SHY.

  • Death Star: fantastic last sentence.

  • CASE LITTLE BLUE BASTARD: As the parent of a 5 y/o and an infant, this made my day. It has all the right elements for an Equoid-length entry into the Laundry universe- secluded location, vaguely creepy power structure (possibly using code names like "Sir Toppem Hat"), and the kind of relentless optimism that is only possible through demonic possession.

  • 7:

    Congrats all around! I had waited with ordering TNS till just now on the off chance ...


    (bounces around the house happily I don't tend to win things. I am a very happy bunny at the moment!)

    LETHE came out of a few different things. Firstly, the realisation that the Laundry is probably one of the few institutions anywhere with anything like a typing pool, due to their recruitment practices (you have to find something for people who aren't interested in field work to do, which means you have a large body of administrators. Endless committee meetings just don't cut it once you get low enough down the hierarchy). Secondly, the question of "so what are the OH&S repercussions of K-syndrome for the administrative staff?". Thirdly, I'm pretty sure I've run across documents treated with LETHE already (everyone's surely had this experience with bureaucratic forms and/or training materials where they just don't seem to make any sense no matter what you do, right?).

    I'm very happy OGH liked it enough to award me a runner-up prize for it. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll return to bouncing around the house for a bit...


    Congratulations to all the winners.

    I'm flattered that you liked ETLA2 - it seemed like a useful utility for the Laundry - especially to avoid information leakage about existing code names.

    The idea was initially sparked by the previous competition when a luckless employee was told that BILLION CORPSES was not an acceptable code name (too accurate).

    Not a government employee, but I have contracted at a couple, and also at a legal firm, and financial firms. So I have been exposed to an unhealthy amount of bureaucratic procedures. And documentation. And alleged "manuals". Not to mention overgeneralised forms meant to cope with every possible contingency and intimidate the victim.


    Blimey, I'm dead, er, chuffed...:) I've sent an email, only just got home from a ride up North.

    Got a runner up prize at the Kwak triples club meet on saturday too :)


    I am very happy to get a mention, and dropped a mail just now ;) I'd have been happier if I could have turned the router into a piece of field kit, but rerouting email via other universes seemed a bit.. inadvisable even for the laundry.


    That's one of several reasons my joke twitter-via-demons app was rejected for OFCUT. grin


    Martin (the one responsible for TURTLE SHELL) -- if you are reading this, please drop me an email with your postal address?


    ...although in the spirit of honesty I should point out that I'd already written about anti-vampire grenades before ninja turtle shells...


    There is one issue with the book that troubles me. This has been pointed out in some of the other comments (in a form or another). I just cannot fathom how the elves' economy could work. I can very well believe in an economy with a very high fertility rate and the issues that are caused by that, but even in that case the economy is not workable.

    Please, OGH, you should pay a little bit of attention to the economy. If you do not, then everything just have to happen like in the Lord of the Rings books. Just magic.

    It is unfortunate that most of the SF and Fantasy books are crap in the economic sense.

    This does not mean that I did not like the book. I liked.



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    This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on June 26, 2016 12:38 PM.

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