March 15th, 2018

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Toast, by Charles Stross

Second paragraph of third story ("Extracts from the Club Diary"):
It being the case that our Club is a secret body, admittance to the membership of which is by invitation only -- and then to the most close-lipped and trustworthy of fellows -- I feel it incumbent upon me to start a journal of our activities. Accordingly, I declare this Club Diary to be open. The duty of maintaining it falls upon the shoulders of the chairman of the executive; therefore, in my capacity as co-founder of the society, I shall maintain it until the time comes to hand over our records to my successor.
A collection of early Stross short stories, one of which ("Dechlorinating the Moderator", published in 1996) is actually set this coming Easter weekend, 30 March - 2 April 2018, in Maastricht which is not too far from here. The introduction, written with a decade or so of hindsight, is a very interesting insight into how Stross now feels about his own early fiction, and how the world has changed in ways which were and weren't imaginable last century. I particularly enjoyed the Lovecraftian "A Boy and his God" and "A Colder War", and the 1984 update "Big Brother Iron". Some of the others have worn less well. Worth a look.

This was my top unread book acquired in 2014. Next on that list is Le Mariage de Figaro by Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais. I will probably have to resort to an English translation again.