Monday, January 9, 2017

The Delirium Brief by Charles Stross: Laundry Files Book 8

The Delirium Brief cover
Okay, I haven't been the world's best blogger these past few months (though I did try to keep you entertained on occasion with quotes, vids, etc.).... Blame it on the run-up to the presidential election (and of course the aftermath, sigh....), but then again that excuse is only good through the beginning of December.

For the past nearly four weeks I have been working on the latest installment of Charles Stross's Laundry Files series: volume 8, entitled The Delirium Brief. This new novel will be published in July 2017 in the U.S. by and by Orbit Books in the UK. [*]

So while I slaved away working on The Delirium Brief, the publishers were, naturally, shut down for the holidays. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Orbit UK cover
But I'm not really complaining, honest: one of the best Christmas-Chanukah-Kwanzaa presents I could ever ask for is the opportunity to work on a new Laundry Files novel. (Also, I'm always pleased to have work in front of me -- any work, at any time!)

According to the content blurb provided by the publisher (available for your reading pleasure on -- and I quote, though not in its entirety:
"... following the invasion of Yorkshire by the Host of Air and Darkness, the Laundry’s existence has become public, and Bob 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."

So, what we know here is that the British government is outsourcing a number of its services, which obviously includes the Laundry... But the real question is: Why?

I will warn you right now that to answer that question without giving away the entire punchline I will still have to yield to a few "mini" spoilers. So if the idea of knowing any spoilers whatsoever for The Delirium Brief, regardless of how small, offends your better judgment, then you had best close this blog post window now!

On the other hand, if you are still reading, let me provide a caveat: If you are fairly new to the Laundry Files series and haven't read all the prior volumes, then you just may want to stick around to learn which volumes you will need to catch up on before The Delirium Brief is published six months from now. (Or maybe you have read all the volumes but it's been years for some of them and, well, the memory ain't what it used to be....)

The Delirium Brief begins shortly after the events in The Nightmare Stacks. In that previous volume, the Host of Air and Darkness, the alfär, have attacked the city of Leeds. When an invading force destroys all the vehicles on a city street, and downs aircraft flying overhead, well, these aren't events that the Laundry can keep under wraps. And when the British government -- and its citizens -- start questioning how this catastrophe could have happened on British soil, and why weren't we better prepared to defend against such an invasion, well, again, the fingers all point directly to the Laundry, whose existence has now been revealed to the government and the general population.

Since Bob Howard was out of the country at the time of the attack, he's the only Laundry personnel who is innocent, so to speak, of any wrongdoing -- so Bob is trotted out before the media and the government inquiry boards to answer questions in an attempt to explain these disastrous events.

Now, in addition to The Nightmare Stacks, readers of this forthcoming volume will need to be solidly familiar with characters and events in The Fuller Memorandum (book 3), The Apocalypse Codex (book 4), and The Annihilation Score (book 6).

In fact key characters (one each) from The Fuller Memorandum and The Annihilation Score were both imprisoned at the end of those volumes and haven't been heard from since; and one of the key characters in
The Apocalypse Codex was thought to be deceased by the end of that volume, but... In the Laundry Files, little is really as it seems....

But getting back to the original question: Why does the British government want to outsource security services? The answer is the main spoiler in this post: because the government has been compromised.

Once the existence of the Laundry has been publicly revealed, government officials realize that the organization has never had any government oversight. At this same time, an individual is meeting with government officials (and I use the term "meeting" loosely) in an attempt to convince them to outsource the government's security -- including the security for which the Laundry is responsible -- to his organization: full security, with full oversight.

I'll leave it at that -- and you'll just have to wait until July for the publication of The Delirium Brief.

[*] Just an FYI for those unfamiliar with my work and/or haven't read this blog regularly over the years: To date I have worked on all eight volumes of the Laundry Files. I acquired and edited The Atrocity Archives and The Jennifer Morgue for indie publisher Golden Gryphon Press. (Read my blog post entitled "Charles Stross: On Her Majesty's Occult Service" for more details on these first two books.) Books 3 through 7 I worked on as a freelancer for Ace Books; and this latest volume as a freelancer for Orbit UK. For all the blog posts, click the "Laundry Files" tag in the right frame of this page.

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