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Shout Out / The Laundry Files

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Charles Stross's The Laundry Files is full of geeky references.


  • Lots to H. P. Lovecraft
  • Those Two Techy Guys are nicknamed Pinky and Brains.
  • The Jennifer Morgue is a Whole Plot Reference to James Bond.
  • When a Mook picks up Bob's enchanted iPhone, he is on the receiving end of a nasty curse that turns him briefly into a dancing black silhouette (such as in iPod advertising) before killing him.
  • Bob Howard, named after Robert E. Howard, collaborator and friend of H. P. Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith.
  • Bob also has a pair of middle names, Oliver & Francis, making his initials BOFH.
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    • And the intern he acquires in Pimpf is named Peter-Fred Young, and is indeed a pimply-faced youth.
    • This is referenced in the God Game Black RPG sourcebook, where it's mentioned that Bastard Operator is not actually Bob's codename, no matter how much he wishes that it were. Also Subverted in that Bob Oliver Francis Howard is very much not his True Name and may actually be his codename.
  • Known Discworld fan Stross equips Bob with a thaumometer in The Atrocity Archive. There's another joke there about being locked in the library by an orangutang if Mo stayed too late. Dungeon Dimensions also are mentioned. A Sergeant Colon makes a brief appearance in Equoid. (His fellow officers include Constable Savage and PC McGarry from Camberwick Green).
  • "Pimpf" verges on Reference Overdosed:
    • The setup for the story is that Bob has created a persistent world using the Neverwinter Nights Toolset as a trap/recruiting tool for game modders with the skills to accidentally or on purpose summon Eldritch Abominations with their mods (much as he himself was recruited for almost summoning Nyarlathotep with a fractal algorithm he was developing). Qualifies as a Mythology Gag as well: besides his literary pursuits, Charles Stross is the inventor of several iconic Dungeons & Dragons monsters, including the slaadi, githyanki, and githzerai.
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    • There are references Delta Green as well. Not to mention shoutouts to Deus Ex, Doom, and of course the Bastard Operator from Hell.
  • The Fuller Memorandum also features a note from the Laundry's founder to a friend in Naval Intelligence with the codename "17F".
  • The Fuller Memorandum additionally has Bob idly reading a novel about a private magician for hire in Chicago. A later vampire-related case is named DRESDEN RICE. In The Annihilation Score Mo believes that she's narrowly avoided a 'soulgaze' with Ramona.
  • This remark in The Atrocity Archive when Bob is giving an overview of computational demonology:
    This has several consequences, starting with screwing over most cryptography algorithms—translation: all your bank account are belong to us ...
  • The trip through the titular Atrocity Archive includes a glimpse of a rack-like machine full of glass needles - likely the execution device from Kafka's "In the Penal Colony," itself a story about a murderous tradition carried out by authoritarian bastards with occult delusions.
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  • The name of the badass Scottish soldier-of-fortune who accompanies Persephone, and who has killed opponents with throwing knives? Johnny McTavish.
  • The Jennifer Morgue has Bob going on at length about the weird practices of the Black Chamber and American occult intelligence, saying that "staring at goats is the least of it."
  • "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action." "Three times is enemy action" has been used frequently.
  • Angleton is a Shout-Out to James Jesus Angleton, head of counter-intelligence for the CIA from 1954 to 1975 and generally remembered as a very strange man. (One particularly wild conspiracy theory had it that he personally ordered the murder of John F. Kennedy because he thought Kennedy was a Soviet mole.) By the way, this has the result of making it a seriously surreal experience to read the real-life Angleton's Wikipedia page shortly after reading the Laundry books. Try it.
  • "Equoid", in which Bob investigates a farm in Sussex, has numerous shout-outs to Cold Comfort Farm, culminating with Bob seeing something nasty in the woodshed.
  • To Dungeons & Dragons in The Fuller Memorandum. Mo's remarks on Bob's purchase of an iPhone:
    "Bob loses saving throw versus shiny at -5 penalty, takes 3d8 damage to the credit card."
  • The senior auditor has polished his glasses with his tie.
  • The Rhesus Chart makes a passing reference to This Very Wiki:
    Alex spent much of the day with his smartphone, doing what research he could: mainly reading the Wikipedia and TV Tropes articles on vampires...
  • One of the section titles in The Annihilation Score is "Good heavens Miss Sakomoto, you're beautiful!", part of the lyrics to the Thomas Dolby song "She Blinded Me With Science".
  • After a description of how government agencies exist first to make sure the agency stays existent, Mo partially quotes Larry Niven, with "Just another example of evolution in action".
  • In The Nightmare Stacks, Alex's father quotes Monty Python after being told that Brains is working on a hovercraft. "My hovercraft is full of eels." (The original quote, not the trope.)
  • Monty Python is also referenced in The Labyrinth Index to show that the Black Chamber lacks the legitimacy unlike Nyarlathotep partly because they "were not handed any magic swords by watery tarts".
  • Nyarlathotep jokes about sending people to The Hunger Games after balking at the senseless slaughter of the Final Solution when he talks about wanting to solve the Jewish problem (by which he actually means the Abrahamic religion problem, and that's because they're not worshiping him).
  • A throwaway line in The Labyrinth Index mentions that the remains of previous mouthpieces of the Lord of Sleep have been sent to an SCP repository for preservation.

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