Charlie Stross just published a new novel set in his successful Laundy Files series. It’s the perfect moment to do a reading order for the series.
What are The Laundry Files?
So, The Laundry Files is a series of science fiction spy thrillers written by British writer Charles Stross. The story is about Bob Howard, an I.T. consultant who is now afield agent for the British government agency known as The Laundry.
This organization deals with occult threats (with a Lovecraftian influence) and is set in a world where a computer and mathematical equations are just used for calling up other dimensions.
The Laundry Files Reading Order:
This reading order follows Charlies Strauss recommendations, it’s not in publication order, but in chronological order.
- The Atrocity Archives - Bob Howard is a low-level computer tech working for the super-secret government agency known as The Laundry. His work was dull but it was keeping him from trouble. Now, everything is about to change.
- The Concrete Jungle - Collected in The Atrocity Archive. Bob Howard has just discovered that someone has hacked into his organization’s extremely deadly alien prevention network. As he re-traces the intruder’s steps he comes across more and more wild information regarding Gorgonism, secret Nazi experiments, the true reason for DRM, a camera network that can kill instantly and an internal coup involving bizarre agents of the underworld.
- The Jennifer Morgue - Bob Howard must stop a ruthless billionaire from unleashing an eldritch horror, codenamed ‘Jennifer Morgue’ from the ocean’s depths for the purpose of ruling the world…
- Pimpf – Collected in The Jennifer Morgue. Bob Howard must help an intern who ends up getting himself stuck inside a MMORPG which Bob created in order to capture dungeon designers who have accidentally designed programs that would lead to problems.
- Down on the Farm - Bob Howard must investigate strange doings at another obscure, moth-eaten government agency – evidently a rest home for Laundry agents whose minds have snapped…
- Equoid - Bob Howard must travel to the quiet English countryside to deal with an outbreak of one of the worst horrors imaginable. For, as it turns out, unicorns are real. They’re also ravenous killers from beyond spacetime…
- The Fuller Memorandum - Bob Howard is catching up on his filing in the Laundry archives when a top secret dossier known as the Fuller Memorandum vanishes along with his boss, who is suspected of stealing the file. Bob must find the missing memorandum before the world ends up disappearing next.
- Overtime - The Laundry is on a skeleton staff for Christmas – leaving one bureaucrat to be all that stands between the world and annihilation by the Thing That Comes Down Chimneys.
- The Apocalypse Codex - Assigned to External Assets, Bob Howard discovers the company (unofficially) employs freelance agents to deal with sensitive situations. When Ray Schiller – an American televangelist with the uncanny ability to miraculously heal the ill – becomes uncomfortably close to the Prime Minister, External Assets dispatches the unpredictable Persephone Hazard to discover why the preacher is so interested in British politics. It’s Bob’s job to make sure Persephone doesn’t cause an international incident.
- A Conventional Boy - Coming one day, not yet written though.
- The Rhesus Chart - When traders employed by a merchant bank in London are showing signs of infection, Bob Howard must investigate and uncover a blood-curdling conspiracy between men and monsters… While his department is tangled up in bureaucratic red tape (and Buffy reruns) debating how to stop the rash of vampirism.
- The Annihilation Score - An antique violin made of white human bone was designed to produce music capable of slaughtering demons. Dominique ‘Mo’ O’Brien, the wife of Bob Howard, is the custodian of this unholy instrument. It invades her dreams and yearns for the blood of her colleagues – and her husband. And despite Mo’s proficiency as a world-class violinist, it cannot be controlled…
- The Nightmare Stacks - After stumbling upon the algorithm that turned him and his fellow merchant bankers into vampires, Alex Schwartz was drafted by the Laundry. Dependent on his new employers for his continued existence, he has little choice but to accept his new role as an operative-in-training. For his first assignment, Alex is dispatched to Leeds to help assess the costs of renovating a 1950s Cold War bunker for use as the Laundry’s new headquarters.
- The Delirium Brief - Following the invasion of Yorkshire by the Host of Air and Darkness, the Laundry’s existence has become public, and Bob Howard is being trotted out on TV to answer pointed questions about elven asylum seekers. What neither Bob nor his managers have foreseen is that their organization has earned the attention of a horror far more terrifying than any demon: a British government looking for public services to privatize. Inch by inch, Bob Howard and his managers are forced to consider the truly unthinkable: a coup against the British government itself.
- The Labyrinth Index - Since she was promoted to the head of the Lords Select Committee on Sanguinary Affairs, every workday for Mhari Murphy has been a nightmare. Mhari’s most recent assignment takes her and a ragtag team of former Laundry agents across the pond into the depths of North America. The United States president has gone missing. Perhaps it has to do with the Nazgûl currently occupying the government and attempting to summon Cthulhu.