I picked up Stross’ novelette The Atrocity Archives on the advice of Scott Laird, since I needed a something to dilute the brain-melting effect of plowing through chapters 18 "Minkowskian Geometry" and 19 "The classical fields of Maxwell and Einstein" of Penrose’s magnum opus. I’m at the point with Penrose where I’m reading the text and only skimming the math…he lost me in detail a few chapters ago, sadly.
Stross self-describes the book as a gloss on "Len Deighton, by way of Neal Stephenson." Throw both of these into a universe where H.P. Lovecraftian "old ones" actually turns out to be the inhabitants of parallel universes with periodic access to ours via some serious spacetime weirdness, and you’ve got the effect. Seriously, this was a fun read. How often do you get spy novels which mix Victorian horror with modern technology with shadowy intelligence agencies? This was my first introduction to Stross, but I think I’ll be picking up Singularity Sky for my next relaxation reading.