Laundry Files Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Laundry Files. Here they are! All 200 of them:

Gene police! You! Out of the pool, now!
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
Idiots emit bogons, causing machinery to malfunction in their presence. System administrators absorb bogons, letting machinery work again.
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
Like the famous mad philosopher said, when you stare into the void, the void stares also; but if you cast into the void, you get a type conversion error. (Which just goes to show Nietzsche wasn't a C++ programmer.)
Charles Stross (Overtime (Laundry Files, #3.5))
Unfortunately it's also true to say that good management is a bit like oxygen - it's invisible and you don't notice its presence until it's gone, and then you're sorry.
Charles Stross (The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files #3))
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a sane employee in possession of his wits must be in want of a good manager.
Charles Stross (The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files #3))
Nothing stands for content-free corporate bullshit quite like PowerPoint. And that's just scratching the surface...
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files #2))
That was what we call in the trade an Unscheduled Reality Excursion, usually abbreviated to ‘Oh fuck.’ 
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
I wish I was still an atheist. Believing I was born into a harsh, uncaring cosmos – in which my existence was a random roll of the dice and I was destined to die and rot and then be gone forever – was infinitely more comforting than the truth. Because the truth is that my God is coming back. When he arrives I’ll be waiting for him with a shotgun. And I’m keeping the last shell for myself.
Charles Stross (The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files #3))
Bob loses saving throw vs. shiny with a penalty of -5. Bob takes 2d8 damage to the credit card.
Charles Stross (The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files #3))
The male ego is a curious thing. It’s about the size of a small continent but it’s extremely brittle.
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
The five stages of bureaucratic grieving are: denial, anger, committee meetings, scapegoating, and cover-up.
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
Christmas: the one time of year when you can’t avoid the nuts in your family muesli.
Charles Stross (Overtime (Laundry Files, #3.5))
In memory of Terry Pratchett, who showed us all how it’s done
Charles Stross (The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7))
I was raised thinking that moral and ethical standards are universals that apply equally to everyone. And these values aren't easily compatible with the kind of religion that posits a Creator. To my way of thinking, an omnipotent being who sets up a universe in which thinking beings proliferate, grow old, and die (usually in agony, alone, and in fear) is a cosmic sadist.
Charles Stross (The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files #3))
Let’s see.’ She fiddles with her terminal and the room card reader. ‘You’re in 403 and 404. Have a nice day.' I hand Persephone the Forbidden Room card and keep Room Not Found for myself. She looks at me oddly.
Charles Stross (The Apocalypse Codex (Laundry Files, #4))
I spent six hours becoming one with a shrubbery last night. There were three cloudbursts and a rain of small and very confused frogs
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
What you or I would recognize as an alien invasion by tentacled horrors from beyond spacetime Angleton would see as a teachable moment.
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
The Laundry field operations manual is notably short on advice for how to comport one’s self when being held prisoner aboard a mad billionaire necromancer’s yacht, other than the usual stern admonition to keep receipts for all expenses incurred in the line of duty.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
My computer terminal whistles at me: YOU HAVE MAIL. No shit, Sherlock, I always have mail. It's an existential thing: if I don't have mail it would mean that something is very wrong with the world
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
We are Bay Aryans from Berkeley: prepare to be reengineered in an attractive range of color schemes for your safety and comfort!
Charles Stross (On Her Majesty's Occult Service (Laundry Files #1-2))
You win some, you lose some. And when you lose, you have to pull yourself together and go back for more. Otherwise, the other side wins by default.
Charles Stross (The Apocalypse Codex (Laundry Files, #4))
We use committees for all the ulterior purposes for which they might have been designed: diffusion of executive responsibility, plausible deniability, misdirection, providing the appearance of activity without the substance, and protecting the guilty.
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
Britain is relying on you, Bob, so try not to make your usual hash of things.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files #2))
I argued for a Kindle but they pointed out that if it could be associated with me, then the information bleed—Amazon logging every page turn and annotation—was a potential security hazard. Not to mention the darker esoteric potential of spending too much time staring at a device controlled by a secretive billionaire in Seattle. The void stares also, and so on.
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
They never tell you how heavy a corpse is in training school.
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
Fatal accidents never happen because of just one mistake. It takes a whole chain of stupids lining up just so to put a full stop at the end of an epitaph.
Charles Stross (The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files #3))
programming is a job where Lovecraft meets tradecraft, all the time.
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
(Americans think we Brits drink tea because we’re polite and genteel or something, whereas we really drink it because it’s a stimulant and it’s hot enough to sterilize cholera bacteria.)
Charles Stross (Equoid (Laundry Files, #2.9))
There are two types of people in this world,” Pete volunteers helpfully, “those who think there are only two types of people in the world, and everybody else.
Charles Stross (The Apocalypse Codex (Laundry Files, #4))
but he understands she’s twenty now (how did that happen?)
Charles Stross (The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7))
I wasn’t expecting a stealth, supersonic, vertical take-off submarine fueled by the eerily whistling ghosts of necromantically murdered dolphins.
Charles Stross (The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6))
He stabs at the mouse mat with one finger and I wince, but instead of fat purple sparks and a hideous soul-sucking manifestation, it simply wakes up his Windows box. (Not that there’s much difference.)
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
[...] Howard Phillips Lovecraft of Providence, Rhode Island, for cultivating a florid and overblown prose style that covered the entire spectrum from purple to ultraviolet and took sixteen volumes of interminable epistles to get to the point [...]
Charles Stross (Equoid (Laundry Files, #2.9))
Executions are a form of human sacrifice, after all,
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
For programming is a job where Lovecraft meets tradecraft, all the time.
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
Bureaucracies excel at performing tasks that must be done consistently whether the people assigned to them are brilliant performers or bumbling fools. You can’t always count on having Albert Einstein in the patent office, so you design its procedures to work even if you hire Mr. Bean by mistake.
Charles Stross (The Apocalypse Codex (Laundry Files, #4))
American cops are so heavily militarized these days that the only way I can tell the difference between them and the army is the color of their body armor—that, and the army is less trigger-happy.
Charles Stross (The Labyrinth Index (Laundry Files, #9))
Basically it’s a velociraptor with a fur coat and an outsize sense of entitlement. Right now it has convinced Pete that it is harmless, but I know better: just give them thumbs and in no time at all they’ll have us working in the tuna mines, delivering cans from now until eternity. (Hey, wait a minute, doesn’t this one have thumbs?)
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
His Infernal Majesty leans towards me confidingly. “You have imposter syndrome,” He says, “but paradoxically, that’s often a sign of competence. Only people who understand their work well enough to be intimidated by it can be terrified by their own ignorance. It’s the opposite of Dunning-Kruger syndrome, where the miserably incompetent think they’re on top of the job because they don’t understand it.
Charles Stross (The Labyrinth Index (Laundry Files, #9))
You wouldn’t believe the scope for mischief that the Beast of Redmond unintentionally builds into its Office software by letting it execute macros that have unlimited access to the hardware. I remember a particular post-prandial PowerPoint presentation where I was one of only two survivors (and the other wasn’t entirely human). However, this is the first time I’ve seen a Word document eat a man’s soul.
Charles Stross (Equoid (Laundry Files, #2.9))
let slip the yapping chihuahuas of infowar
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files #2))
Georgina darts forward, grabs my hand, and pumps it up and down while peering at my face as if she’s wondering why water isn’t gushing from my mouth.
Charles Stross (Equoid (Laundry Files, #2.9))
silly me, I wasn’t expecting a stealth, supersonic, vertical take-off submarine fueled by the eerily whistling ghosts of necromantically murdered dolphins.
Charles Stross (The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6))
I shove my reading matter back into my messenger bag (it’s a novel about a private magician for hire in Chicago—your taxpayer pounds at work) and go to stand in the doorway.
Charles Stross (The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files, #3))
He monologued at me. With PowerPoint.★★ ★★He what? And you’re still sane? Obviously I underestimated you.★★
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
As Terry Pratchett observed, inside every eighty-year-old man is an eight-year-old wondering what the hell just happened to him
Charles Stross (The Delirium Brief (Laundry Files, #8))
Superman, Iron Man, Batman”—Flyaway Hair winces visibly—“you name it. Rich, powerful, white alpha males who dress up in gimp suits and beat up ethnically diverse lower-class criminals.
Charles Stross (The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6))
Although now that I'm in middle management I'm supposed to call it "refactoring the strategic value proposition in real time with agile implementation,” or, if I’m being honest, “making it up as I go along.
Charles Stross (The Apocalypse Codex (Laundry Files, #4))
What entity aboard this ship exhibits all the personality traits of a cold-blooded killing machine, combined with the monstrous, overweening vanity and laziness of a convalescent war god lounging in their personal Valhalla while their minions prepare their armor? There's only one answer. The Persian tomcat sits underneath the alien horror, washing itself without concern.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files #2))
WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES. In our youth, if we survive them, they’re called learning experiences or teachable moments or some-such. And that which does not maim or kill us usually makes us stronger, albeit sometimes also sadder and more cynical.
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
We remain convinced that this is the best defensive posture to adopt in order to minimize casualties when the Great Old Ones return from beyond the stars to eat our brains.
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
There is good management and bad management: good management is like air—you don’t know it’s there until it’s gone away.
Charles Stross (The Apocalypse Codex (Laundry Files, #4))
If you’re a humble believer set on doing your deity’s will, then what are you doing spending the take on Lamborghinis and single malt?
Charles Stross (The Apocalypse Codex (Laundry Files, #4))
loose lips don’t merely sink ships, they summon krakens with too many tentacles.
Charles Stross (The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7))
We’re going to need swords: lots of swords.
Charles Stross (The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7))
This has serveral consequences, starting with screwing over most cryptography algorithms--translation: all your bank account are belong to us--
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
I set the self-portrait timer on the camera to ten seconds, handed it to the zombie, and sent him into the grid and through the door to blow himself up. Then things got weird.
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
Old Enochian running on neural wetware is not the fastest procedural language ever invented, and it’s semantics make AppleScript look like a thing of elegance and beauty
Charles Stross (The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7))
★★How boring, just another billionaire necromancer cruising the Caribbean in his thinly disguised guided missile destroyer, plotting total world domination.★★
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
There’s a very loud noise in my ear, not unlike a cat sneezing, if the cat is the size of the Great Sphinx of Giza and it’s just inhaled three tons of snuff.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
There are things out there in the night where light cannot exist that make Cthulhu look like a Care Bear.
Charles Stross (The Labyrinth Index (Laundry Files, #9))
We shouldn’t even be here, I think distantly as I raise my weapon and take aim, we’re management, not heroes.
Charles Stross (The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6))
They were brilliant, widely read, incisive, and effortlessly effective analysts and programmers. Which is another reason why, ultimately, so many people died.
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
I try not to notice the exploded eyeballs or the ruptured tongue bursting through the blackened lips. This job is quite gross enough as it is without adding my own dry heaves to the mess.
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
There's always some idiot who thinks that after the revolution they'll be the one sitting on top of the hill of corpses, dining on caviar served out of a bowl made of a chromed baby's skull.
Charles Stross (The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7))
I don’t mind going without clothes, but being without a microprocessor is truly stripping down. It’s like asking a sorcerer to surrender his magic wand, or a politician to forswear his lies.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
Some people you just do not want to leave outside the tent pissing in, and in my early twenties, self-confident and naïve, I was about as safe to leave lying around unsupervised as half a ton of sweating gelignite.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
(A WOMBAT is a Waste Of Money, Brains, And Time: the non-IT equivalent of a PEBCAK. (A PEBCAK is a Problem that Exists Between Chair And Keyboard. (You get the picture: it’s parenthesized despair all the way down.)))
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
The Denizen of Number 10 is the avatar—the humanoid sock-puppet—of an ancient and undying intelligence who regards mere humanity much as we might regard a hive of bees. Our lives are of no individual concern to Him, but He likes honey.
Charles Stross (The Labyrinth Index (Laundry Files, #9))
There will be plenty of backup and support, but she’s still going to have to do heartbreaking things to people who probably don’t understand why the pale woman with the bone-white violin and blood dripping from her fingertips is coming for them.
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
AFTER WE DO THE WASHING-UP, I GET TO SPEND THE REST OF the evening reading FAQs on cat maintenance on the web. It takes about half an hour to come to the unwelcome realization that they’re almost as complex as home-brew gaming PCs, and have even more failure modes. (When your gaming PC malfunctions it doesn’t stealthily dump core in your shoes.)
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence or overwork?
Charles Stross (The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7))
In our tongue we would say alfär.
Charles Stross (The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7))
She made herself uncomfortable behind the desk, erecting her laptop before her like a GM’s screen in a game of Cubicles and Corporations.
Charles Stross (Quantum of Nightmares (Laundry Files #11))
Better get accustomed to it, she told herself, mentally adding a note to her checklist: relearn how to human.
Charles Stross (Quantum of Nightmares (Laundry Files #11))
After a couple of years of death by bureaucratic snu-snu (too many committee meetings, too many tedious IT admin jobs)
Charles Stross (Equoid (Laundry Files, #2.9))
But, as Andy pointed out, if being a smart-arse was an offence, the Laundry would not exist in the first place.
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
Reasons for cancellation order: 1. Baby-eating aquatic faerie equines do not exist.
Charles Stross (Equoid (Laundry Files, #2.9))
There is cold comfort to be drawn from the sure and certain knowledge that the correct way to deal with the problem you’re facing in your job involves napalm, if
Charles Stross (Equoid (Laundry Files, #2.9))
Oh, and if the Nazgûl aren’t already on the alert for reports of vampires entering the country, I’m a chocolate teapot.
Charles Stross (The Labyrinth Index (Laundry Files, #9))
There are good ways and bad ways to get my attention. Whacking on my ego with a crowbar will get my attention, sure, but it's not going to leave me well disposed to the messenger.
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
Someday I’ll write a textbook about personality profiling through possessions; but for now let’s just say this example is screaming “megalomaniac!” at me.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
Some people can mess up anything, and computational demonology adds a new and unwelcome meaning to terms like “memory leak” and “debugger.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
Nothing stands for content-free corporate bullshit quite like PowerPoint.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
Yes, Derek,” I tell him, “we hauled you four thousand miles out of your comfort zone just so you could make a saving throw vs. Cthulhu. Happy now?
Charles Stross (The Labyrinth Index (Laundry Files, #9))
you young ones . . .” ‘Ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country has ever done for you?
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
This is a woman who models herself on Margaret Thatcher, only without the warmth and compassion.
Charles Stross (The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6))
This is rural England, after all; please set your watch back thirty years 
Charles Stross (Equoid (Laundry Files, #2.9))
And because my employers agree with me, and they’re the government, you’re outvoted.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
Nobody taught me how to say no when a beautiful naked woman begs me to take my clothes off.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
Like I said: the only god I believe in is coming back. And when he arrives, I’ll be waiting with a shotgun.
Charles Stross (The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files, #3))
Gene police! You! Out of the pool, now!” “It’s
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
It’s a bit like cricket,” Pete agrees. “Weeks of endless boredom interspersed with the occasional moment of existential terror.
Charles Stross (The Labyrinth Index (Laundry Files, #9))
And convincing someone that an outrageous ritual has caused them to forget the constitutional bedrock of their society is hard.
Charles Stross (The Labyrinth Index (Laundry Files, #9))
I notice that Andy is watching our exchange with the still, silent fascination of a fly on the wall that is canny enough to be aware of the existence of swatters.
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
Yippee. I haven’t had this much fun since I was in the Transhuman Police, mixing it up with superpowered neo-Nazis, and by fun I mean fuck me I demand a pay rise and a nice quiet office job—
Charles Stross (The Labyrinth Index (Laundry Files, #9))
Twas the night before Christmas, the office was closed, The transom was shut, the staff home in repose; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, But St. Nicholas won’t be coming because this is a Designated National Security Site within the meaning of Para 4.12 of Section 3 of the Official Secrets Act (Amended) and unauthorised intrusion on such a site is an arrestable offense ...
Charles Stross (Overtime (Laundry Files, #3.5))
The dirty little secret of the intelligence-gathering job is that information doesn’t just want to be free—it wants to hang out on street corners wearing gang colors and terrorizing the neighbors.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
Apparently you’re only allowed to demolish Wolverhampton if you’re a property developer like Donald Trump. Crawling eldritch horrors don’t get planning permission unless they’re Trump’s hairpiece.
Charles Stross (The Delirium Brief (Laundry Files, #8))
A powerful glamour has engulfed the United States of America. It’s not the first time, of course—that nation is a shining temple to amnesia with its foundations built atop the bones of vanished empires
Charles Stross (The Labyrinth Index (Laundry Files, #9))
I remember a particular post-prandial PowerPoint presentation where I was one of only two survivors (and the other wasn't entirely human). However this is the first time I've seen a Word document eat a man's soul.
Charles Stross (Equoid (Laundry Files, #2.9))
And rumor has it that the Central Ammunition Depot hanging off Box Tunnel still contains two thousand barrels of iron-tipped English longbow arrows, in case it becomes urgently necessary to re-fight the Battle of Crécy.
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
It popped up on my Outlook calendar, flagged in red like an inflamed pimple full of infected bureaucratic pus... I've been trying desperately to get it shifted, but no, it is stuck like a king-sized dildo in a guinea pig.
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
Cat. No doubled vision: it’s a cat, singular. A solitary diurnal ambush hunter with good hearing and binocular vision and a predilection for biting the neck of its prey in half while disemboweling it with the scythe-like claws on its hind legs. Basically it’s a velociraptor with a fur coat and an outsize sense of entitlement. Right
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
One does not simply walk into Mordor these days; one drives a rented Cadillac Escalade the size of a county, shiny black and chrome, with a fake walnut dash, and enough black leather to clothe a battalion of Hell’s Angels.
Charles Stross (The Labyrinth Index (Laundry Files, #9))
There is cold comfort to be drawn from the sure and certain knowledge that the correct way to deal with the problem you’re facing in your job involves napalm, if you find yourself confronting a dragon and you aren’t even carrying a cigarette lighter.
Charles Stross (Equoid (Laundry Files, #2.9))
Because, you see, everything you know about the way this universe works is correct—except for the little problem that this isn’t the only universe we have to worry about. Information can leak between one universe and another. And in a vanishingly small number of the other universes there are things that listen, and talk back—see Al-Hazred, Nietzsche, Lovecraft, Poe, et cetera. The many-angled ones, as they say, live at the bottom of the Mandelbrot set, except when a suitable incantation in the platonic realm of mathematics—computerised or otherwise—draws them forth. (And you thought running that fractal screen-saver was good for your computer?)
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
It’s not as if he’s had much of a chance until now, but somehow he has internalized the ur-cultural narrative: you grow up, go to university, get a job, meet Ms. Right, get married, settle down, have kids, grow old together . . . it’s like some sort of checklist. Or maybe a list of epic quests you’ve got to complete while level-grinding in a game you’re not allowed to quit, with no respawns and no cheat codes.
Charles Stross (The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7))
Then the screen comes on, showing a familiar menu on a blue background and I stare at it, transfixed, like a yokel who’s never seen a television before. Because it’s not a TV. It’s a flat-screen PC running Windows XP Media Center Edition. They can’t be that dumb. It’s got to be a trap, I gibber to myself. Not even the clueless cannon-fodder-in-jumpsuits who staff any one of the movies on the shelf would be that dumb!
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
And now my blood ran cold. Because if there’s one thing worse than an IT manager who’s feeling the chill wind of obsolescence blowing down his neck and consequently trying to contribute code to the repository like an actual working developer, it’s an IT manager who’s getting creative.
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
To put it bluntly, there are too many humans on this planet. Six-billion-plus primates. And we think too loudly. Our brains are neurocomputers, incredibly complex. The more observers there are, the more quantum weirdness is observed, and the more inconsistencies creep into our reality.
Charles Stross (The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files, #3))
(This is how the iron law of bureaucracy installs itself at the heart of an institution. Most of the activities of any bureaucracy are devoted not to the organization’s ostensible goals, but to ensuring that the organization survives: because if they aren’t, the bureaucracy has a life expectancy measured in days before some idiot decision maker decides that if it’s no use to them they can make political hay by destroying it. It’s no consolation that some time later someone will realize that an organization was needed to carry out the original organization’s task, so a replacement is created: you still lost your job and the task went undone. The only sure way forward is to build an agency that looks to its own survival before it looks to its mission statement. Just another example of evolution in action.)
Charles Stross (The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6))
It’s almost as if Congress has no idea that a giant occult power struggle for control of the US government is in progress … or perhaps it’s over already, and a ruthless media clamp-down by tongue-eating mind control parasites is the only thing keeping the world from learning about the takeover of DC by gibbering alien nightmares.
Charles Stross (The Delirium Brief (Laundry Files, #8))
He shakes his head. “I’m sorry, but the official Home Office superhero team is going to have to conform to public expectations of what a superhero team should look like, or it’s not really going to work terribly well. There’s room for one person of color, one female or LGBT, and one disability in a core team of four – if you push it beyond that ratio it’ll lose credibility with the crucial sixteen to twenty-four male target demographic, by deviating too far from their expectations. Remember, reasonable people who acquire superpowers are not our target. This is a propaganda operation aimed at the unreasonable ones: disturbed hero-worshiping nerd-bigots who, if they accidentally acquire superpowers, will go on a Macht Recht spree unless they’re held in check by firm guidance and a role model to channel them in less destructive directions.
Charles Stross (The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6))
It’s as exhausting as dealing with an early-stage dementia sufferer—one with a trillion-pound budget and nuclear-weapons-release authority.
Charles Stross (The Labyrinth Index (Laundry Files, #9))
It’s amazing how much work you can get done in three days if you hold a blowtorch to each end of the candle.
Charles Stross (The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6))
And if the common people ever realise that vampires exist, it will be a very short time indeed before naked noonday identity parades are required by law.
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
Stop,” he commanded, and Eve saw in his eyes something shadowy and forbidding, a fell expression she never wanted to see again on her kid brother’s face.
Charles Stross (Quantum of Nightmares (Laundry Files #11))
In his house,” intoned the congregation, “He shall return, that dead lies dreaming.
Charles Stross (Quantum of Nightmares (Laundry Files #11))
He probably wouldn’t give her an opening (Robin was a perfectly spherical branch manager of uniform density: he had no handles or rough edges for blackmail),
Charles Stross (Quantum of Nightmares (Laundry Files #11))
Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line, dudes.
Charles Stross (Quantum of Nightmares (Laundry Files #11))
They’ll like it even less if I hear any words from them,” I said. You have to be firm with colonial troops: they have only as much backbone as their commanding officer.
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
It was one of ours originally, but no human being can sprint around a building with their helmet off and backpack missing in a fimbulwinter cold enough to freeze liquid oxygen.
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
his beard is about thirty centimeters long, grizzled and salted and bifurcated. It has so much character that it’s probably being hunted by a posse of typographers.
Charles Stross (Equoid (Laundry Files, #2.9))
I shake my head. The EQUESTRIAN
Charles Stross (Equoid (Laundry Files, #2.9))
when you stare into the void, the void stares also; but if you cast into the void, you get a type conversion error.
Charles Stross (Overtime (Laundry Files, #3.5))
Anyway, you don’t have to be terribly intelligent to complete a PhD,” Karim grumps. “You just need to be stupidly persistent. If anything, being too smart gets in the way—
Charles Stross (The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6))
where it’s not unusual for certain senior personnel to keep such a low profile that only the payroll computers in HR can remember their names.
Charles Stross (The Delirium Brief (Laundry Files, #8))
The vampire has just realized she’s in a meeting populated exclusively by spooks and people who go bump in the night.
Charles Stross (The Delirium Brief (Laundry Files, #8))
Everything – the entire 400-megabuck investment, ten years of Company black operations – depends on what happens in the next few hours.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
I don’t have a license to kill, but I don’t have orders not to kill in the course of my duties, either. Which realization I find extremely disturbing;
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
(What band does the necromancer dance to? Boney M.)
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
They’re nuts. Completely insane! I don’t get this gambling thing. Didn’t these people study statistics at university?
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
friend of mine who was turned down
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
Would you mind finding Eileen and asking her why she’s late? It doesn’t normally take her this long to terminate an employee.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
The bastard knows I need to know what he knows and he knows I can’t say no.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
I’m not mad, you know, although it helps in this line of work.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
Any sufficiently advanced lingerie is indistinguishable from a lethal weapon.
Charles Stross (The Apocalypse Codex (Laundry Files, #4))
one of the quirkier cognitive disorders to which software project management is prone.
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
if you want to work on data covering more than about one month you’re supposed to phone Mr. Jobsworth at BT and whine for help.
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
Who knows? It’s a long shot, but it just might work.
Charles Stross (The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6))
(I’m a child of the wired generation, unlike some of the suits hereabouts who have their secretaries print everything out and dictate their replies for an audio-typist to send.)
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
There’s no briefing sheet on what to do when a supernatural soul-sucking horror disguised as a beautiful woman starts crying on your shoulder.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
(That was when the sprint on vampirism had been proposed and unanimously actioned as an emergency spike.)
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
Firewyrms (I refuse to dignify those things by calling them dragons; real dragons should be elegant reptilian predators, not sea slugs with wings that vomit acid).
Charles Stross (The Labyrinth Index (Laundry Files, #9))
We fight on so that something that remembers being human might survive.
Charles Stross (The Labyrinth Index (Laundry Files, #9))
Books bound in human skin and written in a formal propositional calculus where each axiom was a closure wrapped around eternal damnation.
Charles Stross (Dead Lies Dreaming (The Laundry Files, #10))
wait—something’s gumming up Bosch. (Computers aren’t as powerful as most people think; running even a small and rather stupid intern can really bog down a server.)
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
They’re nuts. Completely insane! I don’t get this gambling thing. Didn’t these people study statistics at university? Evidently not
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
★★The geas Billington’s running. It’s the occult equivalent of a stateful firewall. It keeps out intruders, unless they run through the approach states in a permitted sequence.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
That looks nasty, I hope you’ve got a change of clothes back at the office. I guess now we know why real superheroes wear artificial fibers.
Charles Stross (The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6))
There isn’t very much of the little boy left in Oscar; he didn’t get to his position without being able to keep it under very tight control.
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
Twelve percent of all the photographs ever taken in human history have been taken in the last twelve months. And 40 percent of them are on Facebook.
Charles Stross (The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6))
Rich, powerful, white alpha males who dress up in gimp suits and beat up ethnically diverse lower-class criminals.
Charles Stross (The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6))
Um. Oh dear.” “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” “I don’t know. Are you thinking, goats are kind of like sheep with bad attitude? I’m not a fucking chupacabra, man.
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
Are they by any chance a quiverfull ministry?” Pete’s lips thin. “Yes.” The word “quiverfull” sets my alarm bells ringing, and clearly upsets Mo. It goes back to Psalm 127, which refers to having many children as having a full quiver. They’re arrows for the Lord, and a number of evangelical churches have adopted the theory that you can never have too much ammunition.
Charles Stross (The Apocalypse Codex (Laundry Files, #4))
I feel ill with emotional indigestion: I don’t think I’ve ever felt for Mo the kind of raw, priapic lust I feel for Ramona, but Ramona is a poisonous bloom—off-limits if I value my life.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
Hate the sin, love the sinner: it’s hard to stay pissed off at someone for doing something wrong if you know you’d have done exactly the same thing if you’d been standing in their shoes.)
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
Horror fiction allows us to confront and sublimate our fears of an uncontrollable universe, but the threat verges on the overwhelming and may indeed carry the protagonists away. Spy fiction in contrast allows us to believe for a while that the little people can, by obtaining secret knowledge, acquire some leverage over the overwhelming threats that permeate their universe.
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
Are you a psychiatrist?” “I don’t think so.” He shuffles forward, heading towards a side bay that, as I approach it, turns out to be a day room of some sort. “Then I’m not Napoleon Bonaparte!
Charles Stross (Down on the Farm (Laundry Files, #2.5))
Fifteen minutes later I’m hunched over the steering wheel of a two-seater that looks like something you’d find in your corn flakes packet. The Smart is insanely cute and compact, does about seventy miles to a gallon, and is the ideal second car for nipping about town but I’m not nipping about town. I’m going flat out at maybe a hundred and fifty kilometers per hour on the autobahn while some joker is shooting at me from behind with a cannon that fires Porsches and Mercedes. Meanwhile, I’m stuck driving something that handles like a turbocharged baby buggy. I’ve got my fog lights on in a vain attempt to deter the other road users from turning me into a hood ornament, but the jet wash every time another executive panzer overtakes me keeps threatening to roll me right over onto my roof. And that’s before you factor in the deranged Serbian truck drivers driven mad with joy by exposure to a motorway that hasn’t been cluster-bombed and then resurfaced by the lowest bidder.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
You said a bad word!” Lyssa hammed it up, eyes wide and limpid, and cranked her tear ducts all the way from Flood Danger: Raise the Thames Barrier to Critical Emergency: Three Gorges Spillway Eroding.
Charles Stross (Quantum of Nightmares (Laundry Files #11))
The familiar rage was back, warming her from the inside out. It was the rage of a woman repeatedly ignored and overlooked, denied her due, mistaken for just another enjoyable mistake the morning after
Charles Stross (Quantum of Nightmares (Laundry Files #11))
I’ve met gibbering horrors from other universes, been psychically entangled with a serial killer fish goddess, stalked by zombies, imprisoned by a megalomaniac billionaire, and I’ve even survived the attention of the Auditors (when I was young, foolish, and didn’t know any better). But I’ve never lost a classified file before, and I don’t ever want there to be a first time. I force myself to sit down
Charles Stross (The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files, #3))
Being management means having to hold your hands behind your back while your inexperienced junior staff crap all over a job you could have done in five seconds—and then taking their mess right on the chin.
Charles Stross (The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6))
For instance, I never wrote to my MP to express my displeasure at the widespread deployment of sleeping policemen around the capital. It never occurred to me to do so: Mo and I don’t own a car, and speed bumps
Charles Stross (The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files, #3))
As far as my fellow students go, I’m one of the two dangerous rebels who turned up in office casual; the rest are so desperately sober that if you could bottle them you could put the Betty Ford Clinic out of business.
Charles Stross (The Apocalypse Codex (Laundry Files, #4))
Lockhart twitches. “I do not think Stockholm syndrome means quite what you think it means.” “What, the tendency of people—usually women—in unfamiliar societies to enculturate rapidly?” Lockhart inclines his head. “Point.
Charles Stross (The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7))
the stacks keeps you on your toes. Besides which, there are rumours of ape-men living down here; I don’t know how the rumours got started, but this place is more than somewhat creepy when you’re on your own late at night.
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
Yes, Bob, I rather thought entity-relationship diagrams were your sort of thing. You’re the expert in Visio, aren’t you? Drawing up UML diagrams of fictional vampire brood hierarchies should keep you out of trouble for a while.
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
Sorry, I should have warned you.” Apologies are the keystone of an enduring relationship. Failing to apologize for mistakes, or getting onto a treadmill of belittling insults, is a bad warning sign. So far we’ve avoided it, but . 
Charles Stross (The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6))
But the relief he gains from feeding does nothing for the numb sense of grief that outlasts his hunger, and leaves him so fragile that he has to sit for half an hour before he is ready to unlock the door and switch off the DO NOT DISTURB sign.
Charles Stross (The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7))
over-endowed with WOMBATs.” (A WOMBAT is a Waste Of Money, Brains, And Time: the non-IT equivalent of a PEBCAK. (A PEBCAK is a Problem that Exists Between Chair And Keyboard. (You get the picture: it’s parenthesized despair all the way down.)))
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
There is a philosophy by which many people live their lives, and it is this: life is a shit sandwich, but the more bread you've got, the less shit you have to eat. These people are often selfish brats as kids, and they don't get better with age: think of the shifty-eyed smarmy asshole from the sixth form who grow up to be a merchant banker, or an estate agent, or one of the Conservative Party funny-handshake mine's a Rolex brigade. (This isn't to say that all estate agents, or merchant bankers, or conservatives are selfish, but that these are ways of life that provide opportunities of a certain disposition to enrich themselves at the expense of others. Bear with me.) There is another philosophy by which people live their lives, and it goes thus: You will do as I say or I will hurt you. . . . Let me draw you a Venn diagram with two circles on it, denoting sets of individuals. They overlap: the greedy ones and the authoritarian ones. Let's shade in the intersecting area in a different color and label it: dangerous. Greed isn't automatically dangerous on its won, and petty authoritarians aren't usually dangerous outside their immediate vicinity -- but when you combine the two, you get gangsters and dictators and hate-spewing preachers.
Charles Stross (The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files #3))
Alas, yes. Unfortunately our little canary has gone Section 2 on us. He’s absolutely Upney;* halfway to Dagenham, in fact. We’re keeping him here because he’s not deemed a hazard to himself, but so far he’s confessed to assassinating Margaret Thatcher—
Charles Stross (The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6))
scientific research is a bottomless money pit. You can approximate Doing Science to standing on the Crack of Doom throwing banknotes down it by the double-handful, in the hope that if you choke the volcano with enough paper it will cough up the One Ring.
Charles Stross (The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6))
Because if there’s one thing worse than an IT manager who’s feeling the chill wind of obsolescence blowing down his neck and consequently trying to contribute code to the repository like an actual working developer, it’s an IT manager who’s getting creative.
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
Cocktail hour at the embassy consisted of lots of charming men and women in suits and LBDs drinking Buck’s Fizz and being friendly to one another, and so what if half of them had gill slits and dorsal fins under the tailoring, and the embassy smelled of seaweed because it was on an officially derelict oil rig in the middle of the North Sea, and the Other Side has the technical capability to exterminate every human being within two hundred kilometers of a coastline if they think we’ve violated the Benthic Treaty?
Charles Stross (The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6))
A young filly is leading her mater in. They’re both wearing green wellies, and there’s something so indefinably horsey about them that I have to pinch myself and remember that were-ponies do not exist outside the pages of a certain bestselling kid-lit series.
Charles Stross (Equoid (Laundry Files, #2.9))
This document describes progress to date in establishing a defensive network capable of repelling wide-scale incursions by reconfiguring the national closed-circuit television surveillance network as a software-controlled look-to-kill multiheaded basilisk. To
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
But what are we going to do with a load of guns?” asks Pete. “I don’t know, Brains, what are we going to do with a half-track full of guns?” Pinky asks. Brains chuckles. “Same thing we do every night, Pinky—” “Fort up and wait for reinforcements,” Pinky says flatly.
Charles Stross (The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7))
Martian invasion: sure, the Army understands what it needs to do, if not necessarily how to go about it. Religious apocalypses involving the Four Horsemen: pass the holy water and bend over, here it comes again. But invasion by the armies of Middle Earth—who ordered that?
Charles Stross (The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7))
By the way, what is that you’re working on?” “Software-configurable RAID grid.” She pauses, a cable in each hand. “Go on, your ride will be waiting.” “RAID grid being . . . ?” “Redundant Array of Interconnected Demons.” She bares her teeth at him. “Demons!” he squeaks, and clutches his magic dice.
Charles Stross (The Labyrinth Index (Laundry Files, #9))
For my sins and because I discovered a wunch of bankers suffering from the syndrome to which we’ve assigned the keyword OPERA CAPE, I have been seconded to the shiny new exploration phase of DRESDEN RICE, and if you think that code name sounds like it has something to do with the V-word, have a cigar.
Charles Stross (The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5))
Summer in England   THOSE WORDS ARE SUPPOSED TO CONJURE UP HALCYON SUNNY afternoons; the smell of new-mown hay, little old ladies on bicycles pedaling past the village green on their way to the church jumble sale, the vicar’s tea party, the crunching sound of a fast-bowled cricket ball fracturing the batsman’s skull, and so on.
Charles Stross (The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files, #3))
corruption is defined in narrow terms to nail the poor deluded fool who slips a £20 note inside the cover of their passport before handing it to the Border Force officer who is checking travel documents with a CCTV camera looking over her shoulder. There’s nothing corrupt about the government minister who announces new and impossible performance targets for a hitherto just-about-coping agency that manages transport infrastructure, drives it into a smoking hole in the ground, and three years later retires and joins the board of the corporation that subsequently took over responsibility for maintaining all the bridges on behalf of the state—for a tidy annual fee, of course. After all, the minister is a demonstrable expert on the ownership and management of bridges, and there’s no provable link between their having set up the agency for failure and their subsequently being granted a nonexecutive directorship that gets them their share of the rental income from the privatized bridge, is there?
Charles Stross (The Delirium Brief (Laundry Files, #8))
Did you not swap out your magazine for banishment rounds?” she scolded, hands on hips. The guard looked sheepish. “But you said they was expen—” “There is expensive and then there is needlessly paying for your funeral,” Eve snapped. An immediate ratchet and clatter of magazines being ejected and replaced signalled that the message had gotten across.
Charles Stross (Quantum of Nightmares (Laundry Files #11))
The morning after her date with her nerdishly cute prince of darkness, Cassie is scheduled for a lecture at nine o’clock. She blows it off because life’s too short and anyway the world is going to end in about two weeks’ time, when the Second Heavy Cavalry Brigade rumbles into town accompanied by skies that rain wyrmfire and the death spells of combat magi.
Charles Stross (The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7))
Angleton is not to be trifled with. I don’t know anyone else currently alive and in the organization who could get away with misappropriating the name of the CIA’s legendary chief of counter-espionage as a nom de guerre. I don’t know anyone else in the organization whose face is visible in circa-1942 photographs of the Laundry’s line-up, either, barely changed across all those years.
Charles Stross (Down on the Farm (Laundry Files, #2.5))
We've been brought up to think of the Victorians as prudes, horrified by a glimpse of table leg, but that myth was constructed in the 1920s out of whole cloth, to give their rebellious children an excuse to point and say, "We invented sex!" The reality is stranger: the Victorians were licentious in the extreme behind closed doors, only denying everything in public in the pursuit of probity.
Charles Stross (The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files #3))
All right.” Panin sips at his wine. “Excuse me, but—there is a personal connection?” “What?” “You appear unduly upset ...” “Yes.” She looks at her hands. “The missing officer is my husband.” Panin puts his glass down and leans back, very slowly, with the extreme self-control of a man who has just realized he is sharing a table with a large, ticking bomb. “Is there anything I can do to help?” “Yes.
Charles Stross (The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files, #3))
We still have cultural attachés?” “We still have pulse-dialing electromechanical Strowger telephone exchanges in the basement”—Lockhart startles me by suddenly rattling off the correct but decades-obsolete terminology—“just in case we experience a need for such equipment. And you are now discovering just why we also have cultural attachés in the embassy in DC.” “Ri-ight.” I glance at the first boarding pass. “Hey,
Charles Stross (The Apocalypse Codex (Laundry Files, #4))
There’s an unexpected lull in the traffic about two-thirds of the way to Darmstadt, and I make the mistake of breathing a sigh of relief. The respite is short-lived. One moment I’m driving along a seemingly empty road, bouncing from side to side on the Smart’s town-car suspension as the hairdryersized engine howls its guts out beneath my buttocks, and the next instant the dashboard in front of me lights up like a flashbulb.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
Just solving certain theorems makes waves in the Platonic over-space. Pump lots of power through a grid tuned carefully in accordance with the right parameters—which fall naturally out of the geometry curve I mentioned, which in turn falls easily out of the Turing theorem—and you can actually amplify these waves, until they rip honking great holes in spacetime and let congruent segments of otherwise-separate universes merge. You really don’t want to be standing at ground zero when that happens.
Charles Stross (The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1))
The Knights of the Blackened Denarius each bear one of Judas’s silver coins with a fallen angel trapped inside,” I said. “You guys are their … their opposites. You each bear a sword worked with a nail from the Crucifixion …” I rolled one hand encouragingly. “With an angel inside,” breathed Butters. There was a stunned silence around the little circle. “Balance,” I said. “I think it knows because it knows, Butters.” “Oh God,” Butters breathed in a whisper. “I accidentally ran it through the laundry once.
Jim Butcher (Peace Talks (The Dresden Files, #16))
The first law of Bureaucracy is, show no curiosity outside your cubicle. It’s like the first rule of every army that’s ever bashed a square: never volunteer. If you ask questions (or volunteer) it will be taken as a sign of inactivity, and the devil, in the person of your line manager (or your sergeant) will find a task for your idle hands. What’s more, you’d better believe it’ll be less appealing than whatever you were doing before (creatively idling, for instance), because inactivity is a crime against organization and must be punished.
Charles Stross (Down on the Farm (Laundry Files, #2.5))
Fifteen minutes later I’m hunched over the steering wheel of a two-seater that looks like something you’d find in your corn flakes packet. The Smart is insanely cute and compact, does about seventy miles to a gallon, and is the ideal second car for nipping about town; but I’m not nipping about town. I’m going flat out at maybe a hundred and fifty kilometers per hour on the autobahn while some joker is shooting at me from behind with a cannon that fires Porsches and Mercedes. Meanwhile, I’m stuck driving something that handles like a turbocharged baby buggy.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
The idea is to intentionally design a relaxing environment that is off-limits to many of the stresses and distractions that define your waking hours. Begin with aesthetics, making an effort to keep your bedroom neat and attractive. In other words, aim for Southern Living in your private quarters even if the rest of your house looks like Mechanics Weekly. Then begin to work on behaviors, keeping your bedroom off-limits to activities other than sleeping, relaxing, or making love. Nix the stacks of unpaid bills, piles of dirty laundry, collections of unread newspapers, and file folders from the office. By fostering this kind of space, seemingly untouched by the nitty gritty of daily life, you will have created a quiet haven where-by simply stepping inside and closing the door behind you-you can take a mini-vacation from stress. This time can then be used to pray, to relax, or to lavish your undivided romantic attentions on your husband.
William R. Cutrer (Sexual Intimacy in Marriage)
There’s an unexpected lull in the traffic about two-thirds of the way to Darmstadt, and I make the mistake of breathing a sigh of relief. The respite is short-lived. One moment I’m driving along a seemingly empty road, bouncing from side to side on the Smart’s town-car suspension as the hairdryersized engine howls its guts out beneath my buttocks, and the next instant the dashboard in front of me lights up like a flashbulb. I twitch spasmodically, jerking my head up so hard I nearly dent the thin plastic roof. Behind me the eyes of Hell are open, two blinding beacons like the landing lights on an off-course 747. Whoever they are, they’re standing on their brakes so hard they must be smoking. There’s a roar, and then a squat, red Audi sports coupe pulls out and squeezes past my flank close enough to touch, its blonde female driver gesticulating angrily at me. At least I think she’s blonde and female. It’s hard to tell because everything is gray, my heart is trying to exit through my rib cage, and I’m frantically wrestling with the steering wheel to keep the roller skate from toppling over. A fraction of a second later she’s gone, pulling back into the slow lane ahead of me to light off her afterburners. I swear I see red sparks shooting out of her two huge exhaust tubes as she vanishes into the distance, taking about ten years of my life with her.
Charles Stross (The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2))
Oh, it’s perfectly safe to handle if somebody else has triggered the curse and you took it from their still-smoking body.” Eve paused. “Or if they sold it to you.” “You bought it, didn’t you?” Imp walked towards her. “Didn’t you?” “I think so. I may have screwed up that side of things,” Eve admitted. “It’s unclear.” “What’s unclear?” “It was up for auction: obvs, right? But it’s not clear that the person auctioning the location of the manuscript actually owned what they were selling, that’s the thing. Also, ancient death spells and intellectual property law don’t always play nice together. I, uh, my boss has a standard procedure he has me follow in cases of handling blackmail and extortion. We pay the ransom, then once we’ve destroyed the threat I repossess the payment from the blackmailer’s bank account. Via a Transnistrian mafiya underwriter—” This time it was Wendy who interrupted: “The Russian mafiya has underwriters?” “Transnistrian, please, and yes, criminal business models are inherently expensive because they have to pay for their own guard labor—there are no tax overheads, but no police protection for carrying out business, either—so of course they evolved parallel structures for risk management, mostly by embedding the risk in a concrete slab and dumping it in the harbor—anyway. At what stage does the book consider itself to have been legitimately acquired? And by whom? Is it safe for you to handle it, as my employee? What about as an independent freelance contractor not subject to the HMRC IR35 regulations? Am I an acceptable proxy for Bigge Enterprises, a Scottish Limited Liability Partnership domiciled in the Channel Islands, in the view of a particularly dim-witted nineteenth-century death spell attached to a codex bound in human skin by a mad inquisitor? It’s like digital rights management magic, only worse.
Charles Stross (Dead Lies Dreaming (The Laundry Files, #10))