Charles Stross

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Charles Stross
Charles Stross at EasterCon 2012.jpg
Stross at Eastercon 2012
Born (1964-10-18) 18 October 1964 (age 51)
Leeds, England
Occupation Writer, former programmer and pharmacist
Nationality British
Alma mater University of Bradford[1]
Period 1990s–present
Genre Science fiction, fantasy, horror

Charles David George "Charlie" Stross (born 18 October 1964) is a British writer of science fiction, Lovecraftian horror and fantasy.

Stross specialises in hard science fiction and space opera. Between 1994 and 2004, he was also an active writer for the magazine Computer Shopper and was responsible for the monthly Linux column. Due to time constraints, he eventually stopped writing for Computer Shopper to devote more time to novels. However, he continues to publish freelance articles on the Internet.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Stross was born in Leeds, England. He showed an early interest in writing, and wrote his first science fiction story at age 12. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Pharmacy in 1986 and qualified as a pharmacist in 1987. In 1989 he enrolled at Bradford University for a post-graduate degree in computer science. In 1990 he went to work as a technical author and programmer. In 2000 he began working as a writer full-time, as a technical writer at first, but then became successful as a fiction writer.[3][4]


In the 1970s and 1980s, Stross published some role-playing game articles about Advanced Dungeons & Dragons in the White Dwarf magazine. Some of his creatures, such as the death knight, githyanki (borrowed from George R. R. Martin's book, Dying of the Light), githzerai, and slaad (a chaotic race of frog-like humanoids) were later published in the Fiend Folio monster compendium.[5]

His first published short story, "The Boys", appeared in Interzone in 1987. His first novel, Singularity Sky was published by Ace Books in 2003 and was nominated for the Hugo Award. A collection of his short stories, Toast: And Other Rusted Futures appeared in 2002. Subsequent short stories have been nominated for the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, and other awards. His novella "The Concrete Jungle" won the Hugo award for its category in 2005.[6] His novel Accelerando won the 2006 Locus Award for best science fiction novel, was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for the year's best science fiction novel,[7] and was on the final ballot for the Hugo Award in the best novel category.[8] Glasshouse won the 2007 Prometheus Award and was on the final ballot for the Hugo Award in the best novel category; the German translation Glashaus won the 2009 Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis.[9] His novella "Missile Gap" won the 2007 Locus Award for best novella and most recently he was awarded the Edward E. Smith Memorial Award or Skylark at Boskone 2008.

His novel The Atrocity Archives (2004) focused on a British intelligence agency investigating Mythos-like horrors; of the similar ideas in the RPG book Delta Green (1996), Stross commented in an afterword to the book: "All I can say in my defence is... I hadn't heard of Delta Green when I wrote The Atrocity Archive... I'll leave it at that except to say that Delta Green has come dangerously close to making me pick up the dice again."[10]:247

"Rogue Farm," his 2003 short story, was adapted into an animated film by the same name that debuted in August 2004.

He was one of the Guests of Honour at Orbital 2008, the British National Science Fiction convention (Eastercon), in March 2008. He was the Author Guest of Honour at the Maryland Regional Science Fiction Convention (Balticon) in May 2009. He was Author Guest of Honour at Fantasticon (Denmark) in August 2009. He was the Guest of Honor at Boskone 48 in Feb 2011.

Cubicle 7 used their Basic Role-Playing license to create The Laundry (2010), based on the writings of Stross, where agents have to deal with the outer gods and British bureaucracy at the same time.[10]:432

In September 2012, Stross released The Rapture of the Nerds, a novel written in collaboration with Cory Doctorow.[11] The two have also together been involved in the Creative Commons licensing and copyright movement.[12]


Accelerando won the 2006 Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel.[13] "Missile Gap" won the 2007 Locus Award for best novella.[14] "The Concrete Jungle" (contained in The Atrocity Archives) won the Hugo Award for best novella in 2005;[6] "Palimpsest", included in Wireless, won the same award in 2010,[15] and "Equoid" in 2014.[16] The Apocalypse Codex won the 2013 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel.[17] Stross's work has also been nominated for a number of other awards, including the John W. Campbell Memorial Award,[7] Arthur C. Clarke Award,[18] and the Hugo Award for Best Novel,[6][8][19][20] as well as the Japanese Seiun Award.[14]


Stand-alone novels[edit]

Stross at DortCon in Dortmund, Germany, March 2013

Eschaton series[edit]

Stross has announced that he is very unlikely to write a third book in this series.[22]

The Laundry Files[edit]

A series of science fiction spy thrillers about Bob Howard (a pseudonym taken for security purposes), a one-time I.T. consultant, now field agent working for British government agency "the Laundry", which deals with occult threats. Influenced by Lovecraft's visions of the future, and set in a world where a computer and the right mathematical equations is just as useful a tool-set for calling up horrors from other dimensions as a spell-book and a pentagram on the floor.

Stross also authorised, but did not author, an official role-playing game, The Laundry (2010, ISBN 1-907204-93-8, Gareth Hanrahan, published by Cubicle 7)[31][32] and a number of supplements based on the "Bob Howard – Laundry" series.[33] The system uses an adaptation of the Call of Cthulhu RPG rules (under licence from Chaosium).

Merchant Princes series[edit]

The Merchant Princes is a series in which some humans have an ability to travel between parallel Earths, which have differing levels of technology. This series is science fiction, even though it was originally marketed by the publisher as fantasy. It was originally intended to be a trilogy, but at the end the writing of the first novel, the publisher requested that it be split for shorter length, and this length carried over to the other novels. The first three books were collectively nominated for and won the Sidewise Award for Alternate History in 2007.

The six books were later re-edited back into the originally intended form as three longer novels.[34] The new books were released in the UK beginning in April 2013,[35] and in DRM-free format in the United States in January 2014.[citation needed]

In January 2013 Tor announced a new Merchant Princes trilogy.[36]

Halting State series[edit]

Science-fiction/crime novels set 'fifteen minutes in the future' which concentrate on life in the early 21st century, which are centered in Edinburgh in an independent Scotland, and how innovations in policing, surveillance, economics, computer games, the internet, memes and other inventions may change our lives in the future. Both novels are told in second-person viewpoint. The series was originally planned to be a trilogy but Stross claimed his current plot idea were mooted by the Snowden revelations and he was no longer planning a third book.[37]

Saturn's Children series[edit]

Stross's space opera series, featuring the android society that develops after the extinction of humanity.

Omnibus titles[edit]

The Science Fiction Book Club has published omnibus editions in the US that combine two books, without new material.

  • Timelike Diplomacy (2004; combines Singularity Sky and Iron Sunrise)
  • On Her Majesty's Occult Service (2007, combines The Atrocity Archives and The Jennifer Morgue)


Short fiction[edit]



  1. ^ "How I got here in the end – my non-writing careers". Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  2. ^ Stross, Charles. "Linux in Computer Shopper". 
  3. ^ Charles Stross: Fast Forward, 2005, retrieved 14 October 2015 
  4. ^ Charles Stross, (accessed 29 May 2013)
  5. ^ "The Kyngdoms Interview". Kyngdoms. 26 May 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c "2005 Hugo Awards: Best Novella: The Concrete Jungle; Best Novel Nominee: Iron Sunrise". Official Site of The Hugo Awards. 
  7. ^ a b "John W. Campbell Memorial Award Finalists". Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction, University of Kansas. 
  8. ^ a b "2006 Hugo Awards: Accelerando (Nominee)". Official Site of The Hugo Awards. 
  9. ^ Website for 2009 KLP results (in German)
  10. ^ a b Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7. 
  11. ^ "Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross' Rapture of The Nerds cover art and summary reveal". Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  12. ^ Evens, Arthur (2010). The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction. Wesleyan University Press. p. 727. 
  13. ^ "2006 Locus Awards". Retrieved 27 May 2010. 
  14. ^ a b "Stross, Charles". Index of Literary Nominees. Locus Publications. 
  15. ^ Locus Publications (5 September 2010). "Locus Online News " 2010 Hugo Awards Winners". Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  16. ^ "2014 Hugo Award Winners". 17 August 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  17. ^ "Locus Award Winners". Retrieved 13 Dec 2014. 
  18. ^ "Award Shortlists". Arthur C. Clarke Award. 
  19. ^ a b "2008 Hugo Award Nominees Best Novel: Halting State". Official Site of The Hugo Awards. March 2003. 
  20. ^ "2009 Hugo Award Nominations: Saturn’s Children". Official Site of The Hugo Awards. March 2003. 
  21. ^ a b Stross, Charles. "A press release, or something similar". Retrieved 17 December 2010. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "2005 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ Stross, Charles (1 July 2014). "Rhesus Chart: blood dripping fresh ...". Charlie's Diary. Retrieved 1 July 2014. 
  27. ^ Stross, Charles (19 May 2014). "The myth of heroism". Charlie's Diary. Retrieved 26 May 2014. 
  28. ^ Stross, Charles (3 July 2014). "Spoiler Thread". Charlie's Diary. Retrieved 3 July 2014. 
  29. ^ Stross, Charles (7 July 2015). "Fiction by Charles Stross: FAQ". Charlie's Diary. Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  30. ^ Stross, Charles. Retrieved 5 November 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  31. ^ Stross, Charles (12 December 2010). "A message from our sponsors". Charlie's Diary. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  32. ^ UK Roleplayers (10 March 2010). "Charles Stross' "The Laundry Files" RPG Announced". Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  33. ^ Cubicle 7. "The Laundry – Cubicle 7 Entertainment Web Store". Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  34. ^ "Commercial announcement". Charlie's Diary. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  35. ^ Stross, Charles (10 September 2012). "Announcement: Merchant Princes relaunch in the UK". Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  36. ^ (28 January 2013). "New Trilogy from Charles Stross Coming Soon!". Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  37. ^ a b Stross, Charles. "PSA: Why there won't be a third book in the Halting State trilogy". Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  38. ^ The 5-year gap is established several times early in the novel during chapters from Liz Kavanaugh's point of view - a convenient way to establish this, since she appears in both (novels); while she refers to the events of the preceding novel euphemistically, it's pretty clear she's describing the same events, if in five-years-on perspective...
  39. ^ He more recently wrote: "this outcome [Scottish independence election] sort of rules out writing an explicit sequel to "Halting State" and "Rule 34"" - Stross, Charles (19 September 2014). "The Morning After". Retrieved 21 May 2015.  - but at least implies in the same paragraph that a "third second-person near-future Scottish crime novel" (a less explicit sequel?) may still be in the works.
  40. ^ "Fiction Book Review: Saturn's Children by Charles Stross". Publishers Weekly. 2008. Retrieved January 4, 2015. 
  41. ^ "Saturn's Children by Charles Stross". Bookmarks (37). November 2008. Retrieved January 4, 2015. 
  42. ^ Willis, Jesse (April 26, 2010). "Review of Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross". Retrieved January 6, 2015. 
  43. ^ Stross, Charles (16 June 2013). "Short Story: "Bit Rot"". Retrieved 6 January 2015. 
  44. ^ Seel, Nigel (April 11, 2011). "Book Review: Engineering Infinity (ed) Jonathan Strahan". Retrieved January 6, 2015. 
  45. ^ Waters, Robert E. (March 8, 2011). "Engineering Infinity, edited by Jonathan Strahan". Tangent. Retrieved January 6, 2015. 
  46. ^ "Fiction Book Review: Neptune's Brood by Charles Stross". Publishers Weekly. 2013. Retrieved January 5, 2015. 
  47. ^ "2002 Hugo Awards". The Hugo Awards. 2 September 2002. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 
  48. ^ "2010 Hugo Award Winners". The Hugo Awards. Retrieved 5 February 2012. 

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