Overtime, by Charles Stross
#45: Overtime, by Charles Stross
Synopsis: Have a very Cthulhu Christmas.
“I am going to go home to the wife and kids for Christmas and try to forget about threats to our very existence for a bit. You” — he takes a deep gulp of smoke — “get to play at Night Duty Officer, patrolling the twilit corridors to protect our workplace from the hideous threat of the Filler of Stockings, who oozes through chimneys and ventilation ducts every Dead God’s Birthday- eve to perform unspeakable acts against items of hosiery.”
Set in Stross’ Laundry series, where an MI-5-like organization protects Britain and the world from paranormal terrorism, the narrator draws the short straw for over-nighting over Christmas in the office, conveniently saves world. Yawn.
I know other people like this story, because it’s been nominated for all kinds of awards, but I just wasn’t into it. I read The Atrocity Archives by the same author and while the idea of the Laundry’s an interesting one, the execution doesn’t do it justice. Same problem here. It’s an impressive reconcepting of Christmas, but one that didn’t ultimately hold my interest.
Also hey, is the world going to be both threatened and saved by white dudes? While women are either off visiting their relatives or setting out tea biscuits? Fantastic.
Overtime’s available free online.