CBR #57 – Killabytes

The Rhesus Chart by Charles Stross

I’ve been enjoying this series quite a bit, and while it gets tech heavy, it’s still well-wrought and imaginative.  And this particular novel was very well done.  It’s my favorite yet.  I had to wait until it came in at the library to read and review it.

Vampires are bullshit.  I mean, we’ve been inundated with them.  First there was the sparkletits of Twilight and then we had the psuedo backlash to that where then vampires were reimagined back into the unfathomable horrors.  Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan did the whole leech-cthulhu beasts with The Strain, and Justin Cronin’s due to wrap up The Passage.  And True Blood and The Sookie Stackhouse series.  Vampires have been done to death.  Like zombies, it’s finally to the point where it’s hard to keep it fresh.

Unless you’re Charlie Stross.  In the world of The Laundry Files, math is magic.  And so in his world, the other members of his cabal believe that vampires don’t exist.  Until they get vampires.  Bob’s ex Mhari is working for a bank in investments when their tech kid suddenly discovers a bit of code that renders them into vampires.  They crave blood, they are hurt by ultraviolet light, and they have the ability to use glamours.  However in Bob’s world, it’s not quite vampirism, but it’s a symbiote that feeds through the blood of the PHANGs.  And causes something similar to K Syndrome, which is a fatal disease that mathemagicians suffer which basically eats away at their brains like Creuzfeldt-Jacob Disease.

Only.  Now that alone would be badass. But the story itself is sort of battle of wills between two hidden vampires — actual vampires apparently.  One of whom is a mole in the Laundry.  And the ultimate repercussions of the story — Bob’s relationship with Mo, her mystic violin weapon, several unexpected and gruesome deaths — really drive this to another level.  The imagination and execution on this story are quite good.  As I said, the Laundry Files are great, and seem to be getting better.  I’m not sure how many Stross is planning, but I’ll keep eagerly reading.

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