I've been writing Laundry Files stories since 1999, and I recently passed the million word mark. That's a lot of stuff! And it occurs to me that while some of you have been following them from the beginning, a lot of people come to them cold in the shape of one story or another.
So below the fold I'm going to explain the Laundry Files time line, and give a running order for the series—including short stories as well as novels.
Typographic conventions: story titles are rendered in italics (like this). Book titles are presented in boldface (thus).
Publication dates are presented like this: (pub: 2016). The year in which a story is set is presented like so: (set: 2005).
The list is sorted in story order rather than publication order.
The Atrocity Archive (set: 2002; pub: 2002-3)
- The short novel which started it all. Originally published in an obscure Scottish SF digest-format magazine called Spectrum SF, it ran from 2002 to 2003, and introduced our protagonist Bob Howard, his (eventual) love interest Mo O'Brien, and a bunch of eccentric minor characters and tentacled horrors.
The Concrete Jungle (set: 2003: pub: see below)
- Novella, set a year after The Atrocity Archive, in which Bob is awakened in the middle of the night to go and count the concrete cows in Milton Keynes. Winner of the 2005 Hugo award for best SF/F novella.
The Atrocity Archives (set 2002-03, pub: 2003 (hbk), 2006 (trade ppbk))
- A smaller US publisher, Golden Gryphon, liked The Atrocity Archive and wanted to publish it, but considered it to be too short on its own. So The Concrete Jungle was written, and along with an afterword they were published together as a two-story collection/episodic novel, The Atrocity Archives (note the added 's' at the end). A couple of years later, Ace (part of Penguin group) picked up the US trade and mass market paperback rights and Orbit published it in the UK. (Having won a Hugo award in the meantime really didn't hurt; it's normally quite rare for a small press item such as TAA to get picked up and republished like this.)
The Jennifer Morgue (set: 2005, pub: 2007 (hbk), 2008 (trade ppbk))
- Golden Gryphon asked for a sequel, hence the James Bond episode in what was now clearly going to be a trilogy of comedy Lovecraftian/spy books. Orbit again took UK rights, while Ace picked up the paperbacks. Because I wanted to stick with the previous book's two-story format, I wrote an extra short story:
Pimpf (set: 2006, pub: collected in The Jennifer Morgue)
- A short story set in what I think of as the Chibi-Laundry continuity; Bob ends up inside a computer running a Neverwinter Nights server (hey, this was before World of Warcraft got big). Chibi-Laundry stories are self-parodies and probably shouldn't be thought of as canonical. (Ahem: there's a big continuity blooper tucked away in this one what comes back to bite me in later books because I forgot about it.)
Down on the Farm (novelette: set 2007, pub. 2008, Tor.com)
- Novelette: Bob has to investigate strange goings-on at a care home for Laundry agents whose minds have gone. Introduces Krantzberg Syndrome, which plays a major role later in the series.
Equoid (novella: set 2007, pub: 2013, Tor.com)
- A novella set between The Jennifer Morgue and The Fuller Memorandum; Bob is married to Mo and working for Iris Carpenter. Bob learns why Unicorns are Bad News. Won the 2014 Hugo award for best SF/F novella. Also published as the hardback novella edition Equoid by Subterranean Press.
The Fuller Memorandum (set: 2008, pub: 2010 (US hbk/UK ppbk))
- Third novel, first to be published in hardback by Ace, published in paperback in the UK by Orbit. The title is an intentional nod to Adam Hall (aka Elleston Trevor), author of the Quiller series of spy thrillers—but it's actually an Anthony Price homage. This is where we begin to get a sense that there's an overall Laundry Files story arc, and where I realized I wasn't writing a trilogy. Didn't have a short story trailer or afterword because I flamed out while trying to come up with one before the deadline. Bob encounters skullduggery within the organization and has to get to the bottom of it before something really nasty happens: also, what and where is the misplaced "Teapot" that the KGB's London resident keeps asking him about?
Overtime (novelette: set 2009, pub 2009, Tor.com)
- A heart-warming Christmas tale of Terror. Shortlisted for the Hugo award for best novelette, 2010.
Three Tales from the Laundry Files (ebook-only collection)
- Collection consisting of Down on the Farm, Overtime, and Equoid published the Tor.com as an ebook.
The Apocalypse Codex (set: 2010, pub: 2012 (US hbk/UK ppbk))
- Fourth novel, and a tribute to the Modesty Blaise comic strip and books by Peter O'Donnell. A slick televangelist is getting much to cosy with the Prime Minister, and the Laundry—as a civil service agency—is forbidden from investigating. We learn about External Assets, and Bob gets the first inkling that he's being fast-tracked for promotion. Won the Locus Award for best fantasy novel in 2013.
A Conventional Boy (set: ~2011-12, not yet written)
- Projected interstitial novella, introducing Derek the DM (The Nightmare Stacks) and Camp Sunshine (The Delirium Brief). Not yet written.
The Rhesus Chart (set: spring 2013, pub: 2014 (US hbk/UK hbk))
Fifth novel, first of a new cycle remixing contemporary fantasy sub-genres (I got bored with British spy thriller authors). Subject: Banking, Vampires, and what happens when an agile programming team inside a merchant bank develops PHANG syndrome. First to be published in hardcover in the UK by Orbit.
Note that the books are now set much closer together. This is a key point: the world of the Laundry Files has now developed its own parallel and gradually diverging history as the supernatural incursions become harder to cover up. Note also that Bob is powering up (the Bob of The Atrocity Archive wouldn't exactly be able to walk into a
nextof vampires and escape with only minor damage to his dignity). This is why we don't see much of Bob in the next two novels.
The Annihilation Score (set: summer/autumn 2013, pub: 2015 (US hbk/UK ppbk))
- Sixth novel, first with a non-Bob viewpoint protagonist—it's told by Mo, his wife. Deals with superheroes, mid-life crises, nervous breakdowns, and the King in Yellow. We're clearly deep into ahistorical territory here as we have a dress circle box for the very last Last Night of the Proms, and Orbit's lawyers made me very carefully describe the female Home Secretary as clearly not being one of her non-fictional predecessors, not even a little bit.
The Nightmare Stacks (set: March-April 2014, pub: June 2016 (US hbk/UK ppbk))
- Seventh novel, viewpoint character: Alex the PHANG. Deals with, well ... the Laundry has been so obsessed by CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN that they're almost completely taken by surprise when CASE NIGHTMARE RED happens. Features a Maniac Pixie Dream Girl and the return of Bob's Kettenkrad from The Atrocity Archive. Oh, and it also utterly destroys the major British city I grew up in, because revenge is a dish best eaten cold.
The Delirium Brief (set: May-June 2014, pub: due June 2017 (US hbk/UK ppbk))
- Eighth novel, viewpoint character: Bob again, and no longer pastiching other works or genres. Deals with the aftermath of The Nightmare Stacks; opens with Bob being grilled live on Newsnight by Jeremy Paxman and goes rapidly downhill from there. (I'm guessing that if the events of the previous novel had just taken place, the BBC's leading current affairs news anchor might have deferred his retirement for a couple of months ...)
The Labyrinth Index (set: winter 2014, pub: not confirmed, not yet written)
- Projected ninth novel, not yet confirmed (possibly pub. June 2019). May be followed by 1-3 further novels.
That's all for now. I'll attempt to update this entry as I write/publish more material.