Friday, December 14, 2012

The Concrete Jungle, by Charles Stross

The Concrete Jungle was a Hugo winning novella for Charles Stross in 2005.  It's a very helter-skelter sort of story set as a sort of police procedural in a world where magic crosses over into technology and is understood that way.  Our protagonist is the chief IT guy and high-ranking detective in the Laundry, the British agency tasked with protecting the public from unauthorized, fatal use of magic.

The plot in this one runs from bureaucracy to pranks to deadly magic all at once, with a near-omnipotent agency thrown in.  For me, it's somewhat frantic, then resolves a bit too neatly.  It reminds me very much of Jasper Fforde's books, but Fforde is funnier.  But given that it won a Hugo I would say most folks liked it a lot. 

Give this one a try if you like British comic fiction, especially involving bureaucrats, as they are nicely skewered here.  Three stars for me.

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