I have lately been reading Charlie Stross’s excellent Laundry Files series. In that series, the main protagonist is Bob Howard, one time sysadmin for the Department of Transport, since recruited by the “Laundry” which is that part of HMG’s Security Service which deals with countering Occult Threats. Bob’s IT skills are wide, deep and varied and they are put to good use by the Laundry which has an interesting, if rather scary, collection of hardware and software. And an even scarier range of foes.
Stross writes beautifully and the Laundry files books are spattered with enough technical in-jokes and apparent knowledge of HMG’s less public face, including well researched references to institutions such as Qinetic/DERA, GCHQ, SIS and HMGCC (not, as Bob initially guessed, Her Majesty’s GNU C Compiler) to lend credence to the stories.
As a computational demonologist, Bob is shown to be both highly technically competent and short tempered with the opposition (or less technically competent persons). It is therefore of no surprise whatsoever that in “The Jennifer Morgue” he should reveal his full name to be Bob Oliver Francis Howard.
Absolutely delightful. A must read for all geeks.
P.S. Stross also writes a phenomenally good blog at the antipope. (“I never met Prince Philip, or his wife and kids.” copyright © Stross.)
Go read it. Now.