Full Name: Bob Howard
Nationality: British
Organization: The Laundry
Occupation Agent

Creator: Charles Stross
Time Span: 2006 - 2014

       Bob Howard is an agent with "The Laundry".
       Told in the sardonic style that Mr. Stross is known for, the adventures of Bob Howard relate the turmoil of this super-secret British Intelligence organization that exists to fight those who would use occult means of contacting other dimensions, all to the detriment of society. The organization hides behind a cover as the Capitol Laundry Services with the slogan “washes cleaner than clean!”
       As an analyst turned field agent, Howard is an ultra-geek who has the standard disdain for authority, an attitude earned through interminable meetings which usually end with nothing decided. He at least has the satisfaction of knowing that the bad guys seem as burdened with red tape as he is.
       To get to the offices of the Laundry, Howard takes the Northern line subway one stop past Euston station, heads up the stairs to the level one floor beneath the street, goes into the men’s room to the last stall on the right side. Pushing the flush handle up opens a door behind the toilet and he can squeeze past to go down a short hallway to the inner workings of Britain’s “Extra-Secret Service.”
       As the series starts, Howard has been an analyst for several years, sitting in a tiny office stuck snugly between a row of file cabinets and a line of old lockers. His job had been to analyze news accounts, press clippings, internet scuttlebutt, word-of-mouth, and anything else he can find for clues of the Others.
       The truth that the agents of the Laundry know and that the world is blissfully ignorant about is that we are not alone in this world. There are creatures trying to break through the fabric of the dimensional walls to cause considerable nastiness to our side. It is the job of the analysts to find where they might be getting help from this side and the job of the agents to stop it.
       After considerable time asking to get out of his office and become an agent, Howard is finally given his chance.


Number of Books:6
First Appearance:2006
Last Appearance:2014

1 The Atrocity Archives The Atrocity Archives
Written by Charles Stross
Copyright: 2006

Two novellas are contained in this volume. In the first, Bob Howard is recently promoted to field work when he must stop a plan to suck all the energy from our universe. The second has an internal coup taking place inside the Laundry.

2 The Jennifer Morgue The Jennifer Morgue
Written by Charles Stross
Copyright: 2006

A sunken Soviet sub is thought to the Jennifer Morgue, a strange device said to allow talking with the dead. Others have tried to get aboard the sub, unsuccessfully. Now a billionaire with not-so-noble plans is trying again unless Bob Howard can stop her.

3 The Fuller Memorandum The Fuller Memorandum
Written by Charles Stross
Copyright: 2010

Wanting a break from the work in the field, Bob Howard is working on his filing when a top secret document called the Fuller Memorandum disappears, along with Howard's boss who is thought to have stolen it. Howard is not so sure.

4 The Apocalypse Codex The Apocalypse Codex
Written by Charles Stross
Copyright: 2012

Bob Howard is moving up the advancement ladder and is sent to monitor another agent as she checks out why an American televangelist with the ability to heal the sick is so interested in British government doings. The agent, though, is known for strange behavior herself.

4.5 Three Tales from the Laundry Files Three Tales from the Laundry Files
Written by Charles Stross
Copyright: 2014

A collection of the short stories Overtime, Down on the Farm and Equoid. See the Novella section for more details.

5 The Rhesus Chart The Rhesus Chart
Written by Charles Stross
Copyright: 2014

Getting used to his promotion, Bob Howard is asked to check out why financial traders in England are suddenly coming up with incredible super powers.


Number of Stories:3
First Appearance:2010
Last Appearance:2013

1 Overtime Overtime
Written by Charles Stross
Copyright: 2010

The problem was known as the Thing That Comes Down Chimneys and it could destroy all of humanity unless the Laundry can stop it. Unfortunately, it is the Christmas break and Bob Howard is all there is.

2 Down On The Farm Down On The Farm
Written by Charles Stross
Copyright: 2010

The latest assignment seems horribly boring to Bob Howard - checking out reports of odd activity at a government rest home for aging agents. Howard can never catch a break.

3 Equoid Equoid
Written by Charles Stross
Copyright: 2013

Sent to the countryside to investigate reports of unicorns being spotted, Bob Howard finds the stories are true - and the unicorns are deadly killers.


       Imagine Dilbert, the long-suffering cubicle dwelling office slave comic strip. Take the lead character and put him in the Intelligence field. And then add strange extradimensional creatures trying to kill him.
       That is how I'd describe the tales of Bob Howard. Humor that hits so close to home even as it talks of things out of this world. And fun. Certainly unusual, too. James Bond never had to face the kind of problems that Howard has to deal with all the time and Bond got the girl a lot more often than Howard does. It isn't fair, you know.


My Grade: B

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