• When Harley says “ho ho ho” like this it is wise to confirm that she has not acquired a machine gun.

  • The Labyrinth Index

    The Laundry books started as pastiches of spy thrillers and then went into urban fantasy. In a way The Labyrinth Index has come full circle. It is an out and out spy thriller, albeit one cloaked in the trappings of Stross’s Laundry. Lovecraft-styled fantasy, now rapidly dealing up towards eleven - the series is probably at about six right now - and taking just enough inspiration from recent political movements in the anglo-world before being twisted into non-euclidean angles.

    It’s a Mhari book. Mo is mentioned, Bob has a couple of lines in a scene you can just about not realise it is even him. Stross has posited that the Laundry has grown sufficiently that he can take the Pratchett approach. That is, multiple semi-separate series with their own casts that occasionally cross over and plots that reference each other. I can’t recall if Stross has ever expressed the idea, but lately I have wondered if he ever regrets her early characterisations. Yes, it’s all from Bob’s perspective, an at-the-time callow jerk and unreliable, but all the same. She’s considerably more three dimensional now. I really enjoy the non-Bob perspectives and I am glad we now see Bob and Mo from the outside.

    I’m less enamoured of the out right adaption of the Nyarlathotep and Cthulhu, but it’s personal taste. I like it Lovecraftian, not “Lovecraft was a weirdo who knew some things that happened to be real”. Although I am amused how Stross - almost certainly - lampshades that his “Real Cthulhu” is inspired by what creeps him out.

    If you’ve heard of this book it’s probably because you’ve read all of the preceding books. You should totally read this book. If you haven’t read the earlier books in the series, you should try out The Atrocity Archives first, knowing it was intended as a one-shot, and then read The Jennifer Morgue knowing it is a slight reboot. If you enjoy those two, you will want to read them all.


  • I was back in my hometown six weeks ago. Mt father turned 70 so Emily and I flew up to surprise him. The party was an afternoon at Bargara with dad’s friends from golf and his other friends from Rotary, my sister and I, and some of the extended family. I haven’t been back in Bundaberg since 2010 and haven’t seen the relatives since that last visit. This is because I am not very good at being a social animal and don’t do the emotional labour to keep up with people.

    One of those relatives was the eldest of my father’s siblings. We went out for a light dinner after the party. The fam were all, as they say, tired and emotional. Particularly because of the drama between some of them - one of the reasons I can’t be bothered with keeping in touch, I guess. Anyway, he said to me that I should be working on building something so I can be like Zuckerberg.

    I laughed at him. I told him I couldn’t imagine anything I would less want to strive for than being Zuckerberg. Even if you want to take him out of the equation, being the kind of person who even builds a thing like that. I grew up comfortable and he didn’t, so I understand his surprise when I told him Zuckerberg has about a thousand times as much money as I can even imagine knowing how to get rid of.

    (I do know exactly how to use ~$25m in an effective manner that solves housing issues for my parents, sister, sister-in-laws, mother-in-law, Emily, and us; leaving us with enough capital to not have to work).

    He said I haven’t changed at all since I was fifteen. A statement that is very inaccurate. I suspect he was referring to decisions I made that he disagreed with and couldn’t dissuade me from - repeating Year 11 was one of them, I believe. He might also recall my scathing dismissal of the idea of studying law or medicine if I scored top marks at school.

    Where am I going with this? Not sure. Not nowhere. The trip left with me with a wistfulness and is playing into an existing sense of not knowing what I want any longer - I am of an age for that 🙄

  • TFW your partner acquires the power to make purchases for the collection at the library 📚

  • I’m beginning to think the world simply doesn’t deserve my stupid D&D themed nerdy jokes.

  • Nerd problems - setting up email on your vanity domain what do you call the mailbox? ProperName@ProperName.domain?

  • Twitter giving an object lesson on not relying on someone else’s platform at the same time as Anchor is trying to be the someone else’s platform podcasters rely on is convenient.

    1. I probably can’t be objective about The Cure’s Pornography. I’ve spent too many hours fighting my brain with it as a soundtrack. Still my favourite early Cure.

    (c.f. Cure Re-listen) 🎶

  • •   I always slip in my appreciation of Seventeen Seconds, but it is such a great album with gems. But after so many concerts I can’t believe Forest isn’t the last track.
    •   Faith is an inflection point. It’s their one gothic, gloomy album. They did it so well they got a rep for it.

    (c.f. Cure Re-listen) 🎶

  • In my quest to re-listen to each Cure album from 1979 to 1990 (cf mobile.twitter.com/robmanuel…) I have some reports.

    • Three Inaginary Boys is very hit and miss. When it was rereleased as Boys Don’t Cry the most egregious misses were replaced.
  • D bought me a Cthulhu badge, which I pinned to my coat and only now realised that unless you look closely it seems like I’m wearing Pepe.

  • Yes, I have two books going. I actuyally have three but one stalled out halfway through and I need to backtrack a bit because I lost the thread of thought. OTOH, I am reading Four Roads Cross and listening to The Subtle Art.

  • Currently reading: Four Roads Cross by Max Gladstone, ISBN: 9780765379429 📚

  • Started “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck” and I am already identifying. 📚

  • I….should not have watched the finale to The Americans on the way to work. I can write off today, most likely.

  • If I’m interpreting the current Samantha Bee contretemps correctly, lèse-majesté is back and it is equally as bad as racism.

  • There are three monitors in the wall in the office. The two in the main work room will become dashboards. But what to do with the one in the second meeting room/lunch room?

    I’m thinking using that room to schedule showing dev and design conference videos.

  • It’s nearly winter and my confused roses are still blooming like it’s October.

  • The office next door is re-locating and the hall is filled with their shit. Including a copy of Test Match. 10 year old me who never had one is screaming through the years “take it!”

  • Always slightly concerned when I find something interesting (https://github.com/danistefanovic/build-your-own-x) while reading Webshit Weekly

  • Also, one woman told me she had 20 years in me, which was nice to hear particularly because I’d bet I had half a dozen years on her.

  • Helping beginners learn programming you hear some interesting analogies. Today was the first I’ve heard document.querySelector compared to VLOOKUP, but yeah, that’s kind of apt.

  • I dreamed last night of a family trip to Tasmania when I was in grade 10. We were driving and I was explaining to my parents the difference between existentialism, nihilism, and absurdism.

    I had to look it up when I woke up.

  • Oh yeah! 25 years of never (having been caught) speeding gets me out of the fine and demerit points for being caught speeding.

  • Is it possible to be a control freak with a subconscious that actively avoids responsibility as a defence mechanism to avoid the negative effects of being a control freak?

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