charlie’s demons

Imagine a world where speaking or writing words can literally and directly make things happen, where getting one of those words wrong can wreak havoc, but where with the right spell you can summon immensely powerful agencies to work your will. Imagine further that this world is administered: there is an extensive division of labour, among the magicians themselves and between the magicians and those who coordinate their activity. It’s bureaucratic and also (therefore) chaotic, and it’s full of people at desks muttering curses and writing invocations, all beavering away at a small part of the big picture. The coordinators, because they don’t understand what’s going on, are easy prey for smooth-talking preachers of bizarre cults that demand arbitrary sacrifices and vanish with large amounts of money. Welcome to the IT department. (MacLeod 2003: xii)

MACLEOD, KENNETH. 2003. “Introduction: Charlie’s demons,” in The atrocity archives by Charles Stross, pp. xi-xv. London: Orbit.