Charles Stross's "Equoid" is a dark fantasy tale from the Hugo-winning author of Rule 34, Halting State, The Atrocity Archives, and many others.
The "Laundry" is Britain's super-secret agency devoted to protecting the realm from the supernatural horrors that menace it. Now Bob Howard, Laundry agent, must travel to the quiet English countryside to deal with an outbreak of one of the worst horrors imaginable. For, as it turns out, unicorns are real. They're also ravenous killers from beyond spacetime...
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It's Laundry time!
More eldritch horror fun with Bob Howard! Sure hope Stross doesn't run out of assorted evils from other dimensions for The Laundry to hold at bay.
Hugo Award Winning Laundry Files Novella
"Equoid" is a 2014 Hugo Award winning novella set in the Laundry Files series created by author Charlie Stross. It was my first foray into this series, and I think it was a good way to try out the Laundry Files. First, a word on the series. The "Laundry" is a branch of the British secret service which is designed to protect the U.K., and in fact the world, from occult horrors that seem to be Lovecraftian in nature. In a way this reminds me of "Torchwood." Bob Howard is our protagonist, and he is a cross between a bureaucrat, a computer programmer, and one of Lovecraft's researchers. In this novella, he is sent to check on a potential equine problem in the countryside.
This is where things begin to get really dark, we are introduced to the horror behind the legends of unicorns. Howard Phillips Lovecraft's himself makes an appearance in the form of narratives from his unpublished letters which tell of his encounter with such an eldritch beast. This treatment of unicorns is deeply disturbing, and ties the modern trend of little girls to be attracted to pony-related things firmly to the legend. It is definitely a well-done narrative, and very suited to novella length.
Original and hilarious
Don't read this review! Go read Equoid!