Book Review: The Fuller Memorandum

, in Books, Science Fiction

The Fuller Memorandum by Charles Stross ISBN: 978-0-441-01867-3

Bob Howard is having a bad week. Being an agent for the supernatural "Laundry" branch of the British secret services is tough enough at the best of times, but he has already messed up one mission and things back at the office are getting hairy. Both an important document and Bob's mysterious boss go missing at the same time, and the list of people who want Bob dead is growing longer by the hour.

The cover art for The Fuller MemorandumThe Fuller Memorandum is the third in the Laundry series, but this is my introduction to the books. It is based on the amusing-but-not-quite-original conceit that all the things that Lovecraft and his ilk wrote about actually exist and the British government has a agency dedicated to defending humanity against them and their cultish minions.

According to Wikipedia, each book in the series is written as a pastiche of a different classic spy novelist. This is potentially clever idea, but I found the style really grating in some parts of The Fuller Memorandum. Much of the plot revolves around the interactions between Bob and his equally talented agent wife, but the scenes of domestic comedy did not gel well with unspeakable horror that drips off adjacent pages. The tone was just too uneven for me to really get into the story.

Having said that, The Fuller Memorandum was an imaginative and fast moving read with some neat ideas. There is enjoyment to be had if you can get passed the tone, and perhaps it makes better reading if you have been following the series. Maybe I was just disappointed that The Fuller Memorandum was not more similar to A Colder War, a neat novelette from the same author based on a similar premise but apparently not part of the same series.

Not really recommended unless you like this sort of thing. A Colder War however is recommended so you should click that link right now.