the Little Red Reviewer

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Charles_Stross_-_The_Rhesus_ChartThe Rhesus Chart, by Charles Stross (Laundry series #5)

published in 2014

where I got it: purchased new




If this is the first you’ve ever heard of the Laundry, I advise starting at, or at least near, the beginning. Start at the beginning with The Atrocity Archives (book 1) and then pick up Jennifer Morgue (book 2), or read book 2 and then book 1, and then you can generally hop around a bit once you’ve gotten a feel for what the hell is going on. Fanatics will disagree, but I say yes, you can hop around in this series, and read the books as you come across them.  Anyways, the premise is that Bob Howard, unassuming IT professional, saw something he shouldn’t’ve, and suddenly found himself working for a secret British Intelligence service known as The Laundry. When things go bump in the night, these are folks who bump back. And by “bump in the night”, I mean otherworldly horrors of the deep who see us as a snack, and by “bump back” I mean employ computational demonologists, zombies, and enslaved demons. It’s a good time, and you can’t tell your friends or neighbors what you do for a living, ever.  Bob’s wife Mo is also employed by The Laundry, and she is responsible for one of their most powerful weapons – a violin that screams and kills. Hard to tell if she owns the violin or if the violin owns her. It gives her nightmares and makes her fingers bleed.  I guess it comes down to what moves faster? The Laundry? Human stupidity? the hunger of Cthulhu? Or the planets and stars aligning in such  a way that none of it will matter any more.


I have always loved the narrative voice of this series. Bob is sarcastic and smart, and the only color his humor comes in is black. When you know the end of the world is right around the corner, gallows humor is where it’s at. But where his wife Mo is concerned? Bob is a puddle of caring, heartfelt goo for her. It’s quite adorable, actually.  Bob could read me the advertisements in the phone book, and I’d probably be happy. Actually, Bob really needs to read me the instructions of how to do my taxes. Because that would be fucking awesome.


To shift gears ever so slightly, all it takes is looking at formulas and certain mathematical equations in just the right way for something awful to happen.  Maybe you let a demon through. Maybe you let it take a chomp out of your brain. Maybe the side effect is a scorching allergic reaction to sunlight, and gaining an addiction to human blood. It’s really too bad, as that’s exactly what happened to a bunch of code monkeys who work for a bank. With no one to guide them, what are these baby vampires to do?

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I read this stuff:

i read this stuff


I’m in the middle of reading this:

this alien shore

of those, here are the books I’ve already written reviews for:


oh, none of them?  blergh.

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A few weeks ago I went to my first PenguiCon! it’s a tech/geek/DIY/Scifi convention in Detroit every spring. More techy stuff than i’m usually into, there was a soldering lab, a bunch of RFID stuff, 3-D printed hands, a guy talking about radiation safety, a solar telescope, and some fantastic astronomy panels. I was mostly interested in the Lit track – went to a panels on editing, genre mash-ups, and got to hang out with Ferrett Steinmetz and Matt Betts, and go to both of their readings.  There was of course the requisite dealer room, a ton of artists, a costume contest, and parties that made me feel like I’d fallen into a time warp.

and the best part? I got to spend the weekend with Lesley Conner! She also got to learn that I compulsively write things down. like, all the things, and all the time.

Lesley's the tall one.

Lesley’s the tall one.

here’s some more pictures!

robots who were programmed to dance

robots who were programmed to dance

The solar telescope. I saw sun spots!!

The solar telescope. I saw sun spots!!

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photo gallery of books, a.k.a. double stacking for the win.

except i don’t like books. or reading. #LOL

we had delusions of organizing our books as we unpacked and shelved them. We also had delusions that we had enough bookcases. I think a roadtrip to Ikea is in our future. Because the only thing better than more books is mismatched bookcases.

see how much i don’t like books? or reading?

this bookshelf has so many pretties!

this bookshelf has so many pretties!

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My goodness it’s been a long time since I did a post!  and today isn’t a real post, it’s just me, stopping by, saying “Hi! I’m still alive!”.  It’s been a stressful couple of weeks, but I am hopeful that things are on the upswing. and then, maybe i’ll have bloggy stuff for you (and photos for Richard).

erm, i got some silly owl pictures off the interwebs for you? Cuz I like silly owl pictures.

This owl looks like a muppet.

This owl looks like a muppet.

this owl looks like a muppet too.

this owl looks like a muppet too.

this owl looks like a fluffy muppet with a mustache.

this owl looks like a fluffy muppet with a mustache.


Um, a muppet-y owls, like, a thing?

We survived the move! mostly because the professional movers moved all the heavy stuff.  those poor guys, lugging everything up four flights of stairs.  if professional movers start charging a thousand dollars extra per outdoor flight of stairs, that’s our fault.

the new place is huge, with a nicer view than the old place.  I am not used to having to walk so far to the coffee pot. that could be a problem. ;)  if we ever get the place somewhat unpacked, I’ll post some photos. We were short a bookcase before the move, and our oldest bookcase didn’t survive the move. So there are a ton of book boxes sitting around until the new bookcase we ordered arrives. Maybe we should have ordered 2 bookcases?

status of book reviews and such, because #books:

books i’ve finished and need to, like, review sometime:

2015-04-05 20.33.31The Gabble by Neal Asher – if you like super alien aliens, you’ll like this.   as a collection, it’s got pros and cons, but it serves a good introduction to Asher’s Polity universe and his writing style.

2015-04-05 20.34.31Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson – this doesn’t come out till July. When am I allowed to start talking about it!?

american craftsmenAmerican Craftsmen by Tom Doyle – I really enjoyed how this started, and Doyle’s written himself the foundations for a series that he could have a lot of fun with. I had some issues with the action scenes, but I’m an action scene snob.

books on the horizon that I’m planning to read next:

superpositionSuperposition by David Walton.  David Brin and Will McIntosh blurbed it. ‘nuf said.

three bodyThree Body Problem by Cixin Liu – Husband is about two thirds of the way through and loves it. also? Hugo ballot.


We get the keys to the new place on Thursday, the professional movers show up on Friday.  Got just about everything packed up except the kitchen. Today we celebrated finishing packing the books.

That boxes in front? not books. All the other boxes in this photo? books.

That box on the floor in front? not books. All the other boxes in this photo? Books. Twelve boxes of ’em

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.