• A Colder War

  • By: Charles Stross
  • Narrated by: Pat Bottino
  • Length: 1 hr and 19 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 18-09-07
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Infinivox
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars 3.4 (20 ratings)

Summary

The biggest single threat to NATO may be the Shoggoth Gap. The wild card is Lt. Col. Oliver North, President Reagan's man. Roger Jourgensen, CIA operative, is at the center of this crisis. If all the political wrangling doesn't work out perfectly, there will be hell to pay, or worse - far, far worse. Here is a modern novelette in H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos that is rich in detail and frightening in execution. Stross' stunning tale will pull you back into the cold-war era, engendering fear and then magnifying it into non-euclidean infinities. Imagine David Cronenberg directing Dr. Strangelove, based on a script by H. P. Lovecraft. Imagine an alternate history in which nuclear bombs are not the ultimate weapon, but instead are merely a stepping stone to eldritch technologies accessible through certain trans-dimensional forces first encountered in 1920s Antarctica, technologies that neither the United States nor the USSR can quite contain.
Stross has admitted that "A Colder War" was directly inspired by Lovecraft's novel At the Mountains of Madness. The amount of research and historical mastery Stross sprinkles throughout the narrative creates the verisimilitude necessary for truly effective alternate history.
©2000 Spectrum SF3 (P)2005 AudioText
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Critic reviews

"Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant!" ( sffaudio.com)
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Regular price: £7.49

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Toby on 30-04-09

Great Story - Poor Reading

A superb story that mixes 80s military paranoia with Lovecraftian cosmic horror in a world where a nuclear holocaust may be preferable to the other weapons the superpowers can unleash.
Sadly, the reading is rather poor - badly paced, almost monotone at times. Due to the speed at which it is read punctuation is ignored in places. Maybe the idea was to capture a feeling of numbed senses and rising hysteria, if so it failed. Overall, one loses the subtleties of Charles Stross' writing beneath the poor delivery. Such a shame with such a good story.

I hope that Audible will produce the same author's excellent books "The Atrocity Archives" and "The Jennifer Morgue" that re-work and develop some of the themes found in "A Colder War", however, if they are produced I hope more attention will be paid to getting the reading right.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 25-05-18

A classic story, and a great listen

'A colder war' is Stross's reframing of the Cold War as a Lovecraftian balance of terror in which the arms race revolves, not around nukes (here humanity's last-ditch defence) but around possession and control of the horrors from beyond the stars. The point of view is that of an intelligence analyst processing reports in a Reagan-esque USA, and very forcefully makes Stross's case that what spooks truly fear is paper. However, there are worse things out there than paper and the story does not end well, at least for the humans. Much of the fascination of the story is that it is an intelligence procedural, neither a spy story nor a tale of magicians, with the central character drawn ever deeper into the black ops orchestrated by the Colonel (at the least a very close relation of Oliver North). Stross's voice here is perfect - unsensational, unemotional, letting the horrors speak for themselves, and the narrator supports it perfectly. The audiobook is a great delivery of a great story.

If you're a Laundry files fan, you'll probably like this a lot. As well as being eminently worth a listen for itself, it gives an airing to a lot of themes later explored at greater length by Bob Howard and his colleagues. If you aren't, please give it a go anyway. It's Lovecraftiana's answer to le Carre.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Erich L. Swafford on 05-02-08

Really fun listen

If you love HP Lovecraft, then you'll go crazy for this "modern", tongue-in-cheek alternative history.

I have one phrase for you:

We have a Weakly-God-Like-Entity Gap.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

2 out of 5 stars
By Max Draco on 03-04-08

Good story, Bad narration

The narrator's decision to read this fast and without relaxation makes this a hard to enjoy book (mimics a 1940-50's army/news flick). The story is a nice HP Lovecraft twist, but listen to the sample first before you decide to buy. In fact I've listen to a couple of samples narrated by Pat Bottino and I think his reading style and voice are suitable for only certain characters.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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