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In other news ...

There appears to be a dedicated Laundry Files fanfic community on Archive Of Our Own. No surprise there. But the most recent poster may be of interest to some. Just saying ...



Well I guess you SHOULD be considered a fan of your own work, but isn't it a bit like a Premier League striker crashing a club match? Still and all, good fun.


I am quite amused that there is such a divide between authors on fanfiction from "Copyright infringing filth" to, now, "Posts things on fanfiction sites."

I find I much prefer the position of Our Gracious Host.


Seriously: what is a STAR WARS novel, or a STAR TREK novel, if it isn't official approved fanfic (with a pay cheque attached)?

Even if you don't consider media tie-in works to be "fanfic", I could give you a list of Hugo and Nebula winning authors who write unapologetic fanfic based on other folks' work for shits and giggles.


I have some thoughts on fanfic, and related stuff like fan art and cosplay. Before posting I'll ask if you're opening the subject for discussion though?


>>>Seriously: what is a STAR WARS novel, or a STAR TREK novel, if it isn't official approved fanfic (with a pay cheque attached)?

If it's official and/or canonical, it's usually not called fanfic. Aliens move is not a fanfic of Alien movie, despite being written, produced and directed by different people.

Of course, Ascended Fanon is a thing. But then it's no longer Fanon. It has ascended.


Cool! Referring to the note: is this canon? (Or alternatively: is the question stupid?)


Assuming that you can clone yourself in an alternate pocket universe, or warp time in some other way, is there any chance of the excised parts of the Delirium Brief appearing as an apocrypha to the Laundry files?


Thank you. That was an unexpected and quite pleasant start to my morning. Do Bob and Mo [REDACTED]?

Time to hit the counsellor with the flashy thingy!


Unlike 99.9999% of all fanfic, I can hear the same voices and inflections in my mind when I read this as I do when I read the novels. So... kudos?

Is it fanfic if it feels like canon, doesn't crossover, doesn't Mary Sue, doesn't posit an AU, or doesn't pair characters who aren't romantically paired in canon?

On the other hand, if I see something OGH posts on AO3 marked Bob/Pete or Laundry/Merchant Princes, I'll likely give it a wide berth.


Based on responses I've seen from fanfic writers I know, they'd view "the characterisation is good" as a serious compliment.


It seems as though the Laundry has a need for their own counselor, someone with the highest security clearances.

Be funnier than hell if they thought the whole staff were seriously delusional and didn't take a word anyone said seriously. At some point they get.the urge to write a psychology textbook based on their experiences...



Most probably the counsellor would think phrases like "Hitler's face on the moon" were operational slang from their particular sub-department or, or possibly code-names... (or maybe not, after the Elves have landed.)


Not sure about the Santa hat. Recognize a couple of the other names; one a semi-regular here, the other I'm not sure—maybe a commenter at

I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Laundry's in-house counselor was informally known as Agent MINDFUCK. More officially as JUNGFREUD?


And I gather this takes place after "The Delirium Brief"?


Like most genre boundaries, though, this is merely a commercial/business distinction. It has no bearing on the question of whether the thing being discussed is art, or not.


Read, LOLed, Kudos left. Thanks very much for sharing that.


is there any chance of the excised parts of the Delirium Brief appearing as an apocrypha

What do you think the link to Archive Of Our Own is about?


Oh, wait there's more... On to Chapter 2.


This was previously part of THE DELIRIUM BRIEF.

Then the Brexit vote happened and the following 72 hours nuked my entire plot (which was about the politics of the British government once the Laundry surfaced in public). So I had to go back and do a re-write.

For reasons which will be clear when you read the final version (due out in June 2017), the relationship counseling subplot relied on something else which I had to take out. After which, it didn't work any more.

These scenes were going to run through the novel, like the framing conceit in "Mr and Mrs Smith": Bob and Mo re-bonding over a pile of broken marriage guidance counsellors. They don't get any counseling in the new version. Instead, something else happens.


I am really pissed off over the Brexit-induced rewrite. I had a workable draft in May, and then, WHAM, back to the drawing board, because the electorate took Gentle Political Satire out behind the woodshed and machine-gunned it to death.

I normally strive not to end up with waste scenes on the cutting room floor; a 5-10% wastage level is bad news if you do this for a living — over the past decade that would add up to 1-2 extra novels, i.e. a year's income.

This time round, the wastage level was painful. 25,000 words cut from a 105,000 word first draft, and a final draft which weighs in at 131,000 words ... in other words, 25K words deleted and a new plot that requires 51,000 new words to be written! In many respects it's a different novel. Probably a better one, and it doesn't need any tweaks post-Trump — it's fit for our new crapsack overlords on both sides of the Atlantic — but I could have done without having to squeeze out an extra 3-4 months' work in a blinding hurry, for no pay.


Brilliant. Thank you Charlie.

Interesting that there is a Rivers of London/Laundry cross over further down.


Ben and I actually discussed doing our own RoL/Laundry crossover story, but concluded the magic systems are not merely incompatible but diametrically opposed. Kind of a shame, really ...


Huh... I'm all in favour, obviously, but I thought there were legal reasons authors couldn't acknowledge fanfic? Opened them up to "You stole my idea" lawsuits, or something?


"Rebonding over a stream of broken marriage counselors..." ROTFL! (Says the guy who spent four or five months with one, and the divorce papers will be filed next month;. No, it wasn't the counsellor, it was incompatibility to live together.)

And I noticed you said "for today", and I was wondering if it was a practice that you got whoever was open that day, or whether it was an AI counsellor...

And I still say I see something really deep between them. That, along with Bare is the brotherless back (I think that's from the Elder Edda)



I was afraid of that :-( There are quite a lot of us who much prefer to read things offline.


Sorry. I misunderstood the 'no archive' comment and should have checked further. Yes, it is easily downloadable.


Case Nightmare Blond also fits in the category of non-canon Laundry Files story—any chance you'd put that up on AO3 too?


Good call. Maybe when I finish this sequence of off-cuts.


Chapter 2 is great! Gives me some non-Bob insight into what it must have been like to be Angleton.


I get that it would be a great compliment to a fanfic writer, but this is by OGH himself, so do fan-kudos apply? Saying "chapter 1 reads like authentic Stross" is damning with faint praise, considering it IS authentic Stross.

Anyway, it's good stuff, at least as good as the now non-canon story where Peter Fred-Young gets trapped in a computer game and Emma MacDougal in HR is the villain.


I have not yet read the comments in this section, but, in the other thread: Sorry, this work doesn't allow non-Archive users to comment. You can however still leave Kudos! SNIFF - why not? Oh & Ms Partidge, who is well-known to be the Muse of History, escaped from the St Mary's series. Oh dear.



Well, I know what I'll be reading when I'm out of work instead of checking the internet on break. I can't wait!


Ah; I was commenting generally on how fanfic writers would receive "it reads like it's actually by $author" type comments.


Thank you, that was quite entertaining. (Back to reading obtuse work-related paper PDFs.)


Try watching "Lucifer". Fun, and what you describe is a plot point...


Thanks. I LOLed. And can't wait till June. Will we ever get to know Bobs "real" (in a non-magical way) name?


A most welcome break from swearing at inadequate lasers and failing to get data for a thesis - thank you for the laughter!


Hilarious and great reading. Better than the "Angelton's Day Out" idea that keeps bouncing around my brain and won't leave...

(TL;DR version-There's a new timekeeping system installed by the Laundry and it has one bug. Said bug requires that DSS and similar employees clock out and leave Laundry facilities for 48 hours so that a patch can be put into place. So, Angelton has to clock out and not have any work (well, non-emergency work) to do for 48 hours. Comedy gold ensues as the Eater Of Souls has to find something to do that isn't work for two days.)


Mine involve the marriage of Pinky and Brain, the ghost of Alan Turing, and a haunted Enigma machine.


Today's actually turning out pretty good.

For a start, it's not boiling hot (it hit 43C yesterday); the final side-effects of the summer cold I came down with nearly a month ago are finally starting to recede on a regular basis; and I've discovered this great new writer on AO3 to subscribe to!

Who better to write fanfic of a series than the person who originally created it?

(Quite frankly, there's a lot of people on AO3 whose writing is publishable quality - in at least one case, I know what probably prevents them from being traditionally published is the market for graphic xeno/slash is ... somewhat niche, at best, and traditional publishers aren't interested in trying to fill those particular niches. Which is a pity, because they're one of the better fan-writers I know of, and I've followed their stuff across multiple fandoms.)


UPDATE: Chapter 3 has mysteriously appeared.

And it becomes clear to me that there's a bit of background behind these transcripts that can probably do with airing in public — more deleted scenes — so after the transcripts are complete, keep an eye out for BOB AND MO'S DATE NIGHT!


Damn, where - because even updating the link, or searching 'Archive of our own' I only see Part 1...


Ignore me, I now realise it's all under "part 1"... but "next chapter"...


Charlie, did you and Dave ever get anywhere on that Laundry/Broom Cupboard (Hunter's Moon) short story?

I'm suspecting not due to general pressure of work for both of you. Which is a pity really.


Questions: Were these originally vignettes between chapters? A Margaret Cho fan?


Yes, they were going to be spacers between sections. See "Mr & Mrs Smith" for the inspiration.


I have seen the movie, but mostly just remember lots of bullet dodging. Don't remember any counseling sessions in it, but it's been a few years.


OK, I watched the film partly because of the leads, but yes it did use marriage counciling sessions to break up the action.

I now dislike Leavers even more than I already did!


Just read Chapter 3. It looks like every problem carries the seeds of its own solutions.

S&M? No. We prefer DSS. (If that's too big a spoiler just nuke this comment.)


Seriously: what is a STAR WARS novel, or a STAR TREK novel, if it isn't official approved fanfic (with a pay cheque attached)?
Intending no disrespect (and somewhat off-topic), I think the only distinction that matters is whether or not it's an approved work. Steve Brust did a very nice Firefly novel, certainly as good as any of the approved stuff that's come out in that milieu. But it's not canon, and he didn't get paid, so (IMHO) fanfic. Similarly the Star Trek film Axanar, if it ever comes out, will involve a lot of people getting paid - but it won't be canon, and IMHO will be regarded as fanfic. And art, too.

Coming back to the actual topic, thank you for putting this up and pointing us at it. You're getting at least one sale from it; my officemate asked what I was laughing at. I loaned him The Atrocity Archive and he appears to be hooked.


That is just lovely. Especially for those of us who get more pleasure out of the character driven snippets then the tech descriptions (no matter how rigorous or thoughtful they are).

And it's reassuring that Bob & Mo are working things out --- even if it is taking sustenance in the personal as the world disintegrates around you.


Hmm, don't remember that, but I saw it on TV and was "Edited for time and content" and commercial breaks. Probably for the best that these bits were cut from the novel, besides this way we get a fun little bonus. I'm also reminded of the therapy sessions in Pohl's "Gateway", which I thought were overdone and an unecessary intrusion into the story with way too much 70s pop-psychology.


I saw a writing prompt earlier today that said 2016 could only get better if Cthulhu came...


Well, the full running time for Mr & Mrs Smith is 120 minutes (cinematic version), so if you wanted to run 20 minutes of commercials per hour that would mean a 3 hour running time.

I've never read Gateway, so can't comment.


One Laundryverse thing I've wondered about is other countries.

We've seen the Iranians call in Mo's support. We know that other countries in the EU have their Laundry-equivalents, plus the Black Chamber in the USA.

What if the next major irruption into our reality happens in a failed state, where there is no functioning Laundry-equivalent? Does the world just have to write off South Sudan, Iraq, Venezuela, or wherever else it might happen?


On the to-do list is the "Bob visits Tokyo" novelette. And then, some time in 2019 (publication, that is) there's going to be "The Labyrinth Index" — the Mhari novel, set in the United States under Trump Cthulhu.


Which implies that the next book is the Laundry's equivalent of (pardon me for the comparison) The Empire Strikes Back.


Er, no. Only if the Rebel Alliance in the Star Wars universe was led by Darth Vader (as far as I understand it — all the Star Wars stuff after the original three movies is Dead To Me.)


I used to get lots of mileage out of believing that was the case when I got bored enough to go trolling SW fans back in the day.


I meant that the next book has something bad happen which the Laundry can't stop, (or an offscreen bad the Black Chamber can't stop) and we end the story wondering what Bob* will do about Cthulhu, who has returned on the last page of the books.**

But agreed, not particularly interested in Star Wars. I was actually written up in my Eighth Grade school annual magazine for being the weird kid who thought that Dark Star was better than Star Wars (which I still believe to be true!)

I'm trying to remember who recently reviewed Rogue One and pronounced it "suitable for adults," but I probably won't see it anyway because it's Star Wars.

  • Or Mhari or Mo.

** Could we get a slightly longer falling action next time? Just a page or two?


Putting aside the nostalgia goggles, the original trilogy is heads and shoulders and knees and toes above the prequels. The prequels didn't even feel like Star Wars. The Force Awakens was a carbon copy of Star Wars so it had the same pacing and action and the Star Wars feel but made little sense. You had to read blog posts to understand the backstory and once you did it made even less sense. Rogue One feels even more like Star Wars and has a great third act but the first two acts were confusing, muddled and the characters lacked characterization. Rogue One felt like a chef had all the right ingredients in place and some of the sides were excellent but something went wrong with the main dish. Take another stab at it with a little more care and it would be great. Whereas the prequels felt like they were working with roadkill left two weeks in the sun, nothing much you could do to make up for bad ingredients.


being the weird kid who thought that Dark Star was better than Star Wars Well Dark Star is better, at least if you think that "original and funny" is better than "sword and sorcery and spacecraft warmed over again".


Exactly. I likened Star Wars to a cowboy movie in space.


In an effort to avoid a derail of casus belli interstelli, let me just say that chapter 3 was very nice indeed and gives me a new hope for Bob and Mo in a way that the canon sequels to The Rhesus Chart took it away. Of course, since this is now non-canon fanfic, I would not put it past Our Generous Host to have taken the relationship in another direction.


I have indeed taken the relationship in a different direction — at 90 degrees to both where it was heading previously, and where the fanfic scenes would have led it. More interesting, less cosy.


I have indeed taken the relationship in a different direction — at 90 degrees to both where it was heading previously, and where the fanfic scenes would have led it. More interesting, less cosy.

So, it could be said that the situation is normal, then?


Reading this thread and the therapy session transcripts has been fun. I like your attitude to fanfic!


Oh dear, just had a realization. We're living in a large scale performance of "The Producers".

"You mean I can run for President, lose, and still make money?" And now it's Springtime for....


Ah, er, what else is there to take pleasure in, with Trumpolini and Brexit?

Hope one of the two agents looking at our novel says yes.... Now, if I can just find some romantic companionship.

Happy Solstice, all.



Sorry, but Episode III was actually the one I was waiting for. Of course, I get the feeling I'm the only person who understands it.... That is, it's intended to be a stylized as a Noh play, or Greek tragedy, which is exactly what it is - it's the Fall of Obi Wan, who leaves Anakin to die in agony, rather than giving him the grace blow.



Just read Chapter 4. I assume "Lord Everyman" is a certain character in "The Annihilation Score" (whose name I can't recall) with the superpower of being really convincing, and possibly being a lizardman (IIRC)? I was afraid he'd show up again.


The Mandate. Yes, it looks as if the government coopted him, rather than imprisoning him. And least in the excised trouserleg.


I'm kinda surprised that the issue of insufficient clearance on behalf of the counsellor continued even after chapter 2. You'd think the laundry would have some kind of ISO 9000 procedure for counselling for senior personnel give the kind of trauma working in the laundry tends to involve.

Otherwise I loved it. Makes their relationship problems from the earlier books much clearer with them acting like an intelligent old couple who actually like/love each other with good communication skills but have separate massive PROBLEMS rather than like an angry teenage couple emoting poorly.


Strictly speaking this is off-topic, but In Other News...

Some are saying that Donnie the Rump has turned down some cabinet nominees (particularly bad ones) based on the presence of facial hair. I note that Fred Trump had a big ol' mustache (and a slight resemblance to Nicholas Cage). And I thought Bush Jr. had Daddy Issues.


That's the guy. Seems to me a rather British Superhero/villain name, an American writer might've gone with something more mundane, like The Persuader. But who co-opted who?


And now imagining Cage being snuck into the White House, dressed as Fred, waking the Precedent with "Donnie You Little Shit! What have you done this time?!?!" Armchair psychology warning. As for daddy issues; Bush's came from love of his and seeking constant approval, while The Rumps seem based on fear and resentment. Perhaps why he always insists on his being a self-made man, with a fragile ego.


Once Upon a Time and Long Ago I met Jim Blish at a Science Fiction Convention ..actually it wasn't called that but rather was some thing else .. "Beyond This Horizon A FESTIVAL OF SCIENCE FICTION AND SPACE EXPLORATION: Organised by Coolfrith Arts, Sunderland for the Wearmouth 1300 Festival Oct 23 - Nov 25

The theme of the Wearmouth 1300 Festival is to remind people of the greatness of the past, but the celebration takes a giant step into the future with 'Beyond This Horizon' - Coolfrith Arts' Sunderland festival of science fiction and space exploration." Jim ..for such he said I should call him ..said that, whilst ALL of the Fan Letters that he had received in the course of his career could be filled with a tightly packed folio box, the work that he had done for had filled an entire four door filling cabinet plus he intended to buy a new over-spill cabinet. An Authors Life is NOT, necessarily, a Happy One.


Some are saying that Donnie the Rump has turned down some cabinet nominees (particularly bad ones) based on the presence of facial hair. Advisor, not cabinet, but have you had a good look at Bannon? Don't know how he gets away with that look. (The guesses that pop into mind are pretty weird. :-)


" Don't be fooled - if there's a revolution, if things get drastic and bloody, and everything you hate is overthrown, then the new leaders... they'll be no different than the old leaders." Or put it another way? " Trump's billionaire cabinet could be the wealthiest administration ever "


I was particularly referring to John Bolton as possible Secretary of State. "Several Trump associates claim Bolton was not chosen, in part, due to Trump's disdain for Bolton's signature mustache."

As for that Bannon pic, maybe he convinces people that he's Russell Crowe?


I rather fancy that most political leaders see themselves as Crowe a...Follow ME Lads!!Kind of way. Thus! .. " For England For Home and for the Prize ..though not necessarily in that order!"


Possibly, Crowe or Mel GIbson. I'm probably one of the few who've never seen that movie, or Gladiator.

Pirate Safety Tip: when boarding a ship with an apparently dead crew, stab the bodies to make sure.


I don't think you're being cynical enough. The Mandate is the political version of a nuclear weapon. Just imagine what he could do to convince voters, or get legislation through Parliament. Now put a number on what kind of money he could make for people willing to deploy that power on behalf of their private sector buddies.

I'd imagine that what happened is shortly after Mo nabbed him, multiple political parties realized what they had on their hands and a bidding war ensued for his services.

It sounds like his side of the deal was a lordship, and probably to be in charge of the Laundry in general and Mo specifically. As for what services he could render, imagine charming into existence any legislation the Tories could ever want... and then making sure they win every election for the next fifty years regardless of how said legislation goes down with the populace.

Meanwhile, Labor is left bleating about civil rights and indiscriminate use of superpowers on civilians.

Sucks to be Mo...


Don't know how he gets away with that look.

It's that thing about revering grizzled frontiersmen that Americans do. He thinks he's Kit Carson.


Hah! Thinks he's Kit Carson, but really, he's Alferd Packer.


...but really, he's Alferd Packer. Hah! Since you've gone there, a friend quipped this last week that (roughly, from memory) he looks like a guy who lives in a van to make abductions easier. I nearly sprayed a mouthful of water. :-) He was mainly wondering why Bannon hadn't started to dress better and shave. Anyway, he's clearly an outlier appearance-wise in the Trump lineup. Which is not a comment on his skills, which are respectable, though in the service of seriously messed-up ideologies from my point of view. Maybe he's going for the Nick Nolte look in Down and Out in Beverly Hills


The Mandate is the political version of a nuclear weapon. Just imagine what he could do to convince voters, or get legislation through Parliament.

Indeed; when I read that part I keep thinking the Laundry dodged a bullet on that one. If he'd been less impatient and more of a big picture planner he could have talked himself into a lower profile political position and worked his way into power in a way that looked plausible; he might have built up a large and loyal following over years before the Laundry figured out what was going on.



Remember the fanfic bits are from the draft I shitcanned after the Brexit referendum ...


Excellent read. It also explains why there's been a steady trickle of kudos on "At the Mittag-Leffler Instiute", something that's definitely increased in the last few days.

In keeping with the tradition of having Significant Cover Identities And Code Names, Arne Beurling was a Swedish cryptographer in the 1940's.


The mind boggles! I said nothing whatsoever about the reasons for cooption or consequences. Yes, I had realised what you said (and I could go further - think of controlling the Supremes), but you have also missed the common failing of those in power: arrogance. 'They' would have have thought that they could control the Mandate.


To clarify (hopefully, rather than quibble), I meant the published version of The Mandate.

Now that his power effect is known, no doubt someone will have to start data mining public records looking for other people suddenly appearing in influential circles with no justifiable background. ("Here's a list of everyone in Berlin. Figure out who doesn't belong." "Bugger, you've got me searching for needles in haystacks now?" "Not really. There's probably no needle. Have fun!") Happily your protagonists are too useful elsewhere to be given such assignments.


Are there more than 4 RELATE transcripts, or is that it?


The Mandate is the equivalent of a nuclear weapon. For now, the Laundry (or TPCF) have him under control somewhere. If he ever gets out, there will be real trouble.


"If there's a revolution"?

First, no, they are not always the same, and I refer you to the French and American Revolutions.

On the other hand..."'Alt-right' groups will 'revolt' if Trump shuns white supremacy, leaders say"

And these are the ammosexuals....



One possible solution to the Mandate. Come on like you already are into him... and convince him that he's thought of something... that results in him convincing himself into an endless loop... hmm, or, perhaps get him to try to negotiate with BLUE HADES, or someone less nice.




One thing: it's been a few months since I read Annihilation Score, but this struck me as I was reading: I remember that Mo was supposed to go to a PM meeting first thing Monday morning, but after the weekend, and no, I don't remember what weekend, they had a staff meeting first thing, about new staff, or costumes....

Did I miss something, or could this have been a problem with the US mass market paperback?



The Mandate can be our ambassador to DEEP SEVEN. (Maybe The Mandate IS our ambassador to DEEP SEVEN. Wouldn't that suck!)


Stephen Colbert called Bannon "Walking Dead Redford". Mix THE PELICAN BRIEF with WALKING DEAD, whee, plot bunny! (fortunately not mine, I have enough of them to invade Australia, but it's free for adoption by anybody who wants it).


There's the OTHER solution to a successful revolution, with a sub-group who were temporarily useful: 30th June 1934.

Which actually made things worse, in the long run. Um.


I mentioned it in another thread, but having watched "Rogue One" yesterday with the kids, I did wonder whether you'd been moonlighting ;)

Very good, BTW, nice and dark. Beautiful segue into Episode IV.

The other good news was another Jodi Taylor novella, and the discovery of Cassandra Khan (courtesy of a recommend by Kameron Hurley). It's been a busy holiday morning avoiding the horror that awaits me in the kitchen - beloved is at work, so youngest son decided to make macaroons... :)


Curse you, autocorrect - that should read "Cassandra Khaw"...


But not "Jedi Taylor"?


Fortunately not. The Chronicles of St. Mary's are rather good fun...

They don't even count as a guilty pleasure :)


...and in case you ask, the macaroon wreckage was less spectacular than expected; more a case of a) teaching him that you have to wash the outside of the bowl, not just the inside; and b) rewashing everything because he got the cloth soaked in sugary mess, and managed to spread it over the entire area of the sink...

(the first batch of two tasted rather good, BTW - he's getting better)


Continuity blooper, missed by author, multiple test readers, and both US and UK editorial staff!


Totally fair. I suppose I misread the word co-opted as being somewhat more positive than you meant it.


Even if you don't consider media tie-in works to be "fanfic", I could give you a list of Hugo and Nebula winning authors who write unapologetic fanfic based on other folks' work for shits and giggles.

Publicly or using a pseudonym?

If the latter, please do! I know a handful of them, but more is always fun....



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This page contains a single entry by Charlie Stross published on December 21, 2016 12:58 PM.

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