Reviews of Atrocity Archives, the (2004)
Review by ropie (2008-10-14)
It's hard to pinpoint what exactly makes this such a great book and having finished it and thought about it for some while I can say only the following: The bottom line is that Charles Stross knows exactly how to write a great story. On the surface his writing is maybe too fast-paced and attention seeking but taken as a whole it hangs together so well. The characters are a tad stereotyped but confidently portrayed and immediately likeable. The plot is deeply fascinating and continuously surprises with its strangeness. Stross has a penchant for acronyms and the story really is littered with them but thankfully there is a glossary that lists most of them.
I find it hard to say a bad thing about The Atrocity Archives. Everything balances but tips you up when necessary. There are elements of Stanislaw Lem, Iain M Banks and Len Deighton (as Stross explains in his afterword to the story) here. Also, there is the thick, dark presence of certain horror authors I cannot pretend to know much about.
I almost passed this book up as a minor work of a writer best-known for Space Opera (which is not my cup of tea generally). I'm extremely glad I decided to read it.
(This review refers to the 2004 version titled “The Atrocity Archives”)