Jumpin' Jehosophat, did I just have an encounter with Tim Powers and The Anubis Gates? Is The Atrocity Archives not a reincarnation of that 80's70's cult book? But I could just swear that is what I just read on finishing this, Charles Stross's maiden offering in this series. The similarity in style and sheer wackiness are striking. Stross is decidedly more technological. But the stream-of-consciousness flow of thoughts and references is deja vu inducing.
The volume also includes the much more coherent "The Concrete Jungle" which won the Hugo Award for best novella in 2005. This novella is a saving grace and is sufficient incentive to read the first part of the book. (The volume includes two stories linked by a common character and environment.)
The angry undercurrent that shows up in Stross' later books is not here yet, though his apparent disdain for anything bureaucratic, governmental and procedural is evident. So this is the sapling that Halting State and Rule 34 grew from. I am now wondering if I had encountered this book first, would I have read any of the latter books by Stross? Perhaps, but with some pause.
I have a feeling that this is one of those books that I will dislike now, but will retain fond memories of years later. So I will give it a rating that is the average of my present impression and future recollection. That way, I won't have to revise my rating! (Can't beat that logic!)