Regular readers of Charles Stross's Laundry Files might have noticed Bob Howard's absence from the events of The Nightmare Stacks, and his subsequent return from Tokyo at the start of The Delirium Brief.
Escape from Yokai Land explains what he was doing there.
Bob's been assigned to work with the Miyamoto Group, checking the wards that lock down Japan's warded sites—a task previously handled by his predecessor Dr. Angleton, the Eater of Souls. This mostly involves policing yokai: traditional magical beings, increasingly grown more annoying and energetic.
But then Bob's simple trip turns into a deadly confrontation with the ultimate yokai. It's massively powerful. It's pink. And it says "Hello."
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Ghostbusters meets H.P. Lovecraft with some Japanese horror tropes and Hello Kitty kitsch thrown in in Stross's fun, bite-size 11th installment to his Laundry Files series (after Dead Lies Dreaming). In an alternate England where magic coexists with modern technology, Bob Howard is employed by the Laundry, a super-secret agency dedicated to stopping supernatural incursions from ruining the days of ordinary citizens. Over his protests, Bob is sent to Japan to keep minor demons called yokai in their place. Partnered with Dr. Yoko Suzuki of the Miyamoto Group, Bob gets a shock when he's informed of the real reason he's been brought to Japan: to confront an existential threat in the form of a hellmouth located beneath Puroland theme park, a "Disneyworld knock-off." While staying mindful of all the innocent children visiting the park, Bob is forced to confront the ultimate horror a terrifying version of the Princess Kitty cartoon character. With Yoko thrown into peril, can Bob save both her and the park before being destroyed himself? Once again, Stross exhibits a range of imagination that borders on the supernatural, using language to dizzying effect to create scientific rationales for otherworldly phenomena. This might be a minor addition to the Laundry Files canon, but the entertaining case and Bob's sidesplitting asides make it a must for series fans.
Addicted to Laundry
Big thanks to Mr. Stross for writing this story! I seriously can’t get enough of the Laundry Files.
Escape From Yokai Land is a great read. It’s good to see where Bob Howard was when The Nightmare Stacks took place. I only wish it was a longer tale, though it’s a solid read nonetheless.
Many thanks to Mrs. Stross for her wonderful question; and, thanks for all the pink!
Refreshing Laundry Novella in which Bob Visits Japan
“Escape from Yokai Land” is a newly released novella by Charles Stross, which is set in his Laundry Files Series. The events of this novella occur while he is absent from the novel “The Nightmare Stacks” and before his return in “The Delirium Brief.” Goodreads identifies it as number 7.5 in the Laundry Files Series. Like most Laundry Files novellas, it isn’t necessary to the main narrative, but tells an interesting side story.
In this novella Bob Howard has been sent to Japan to provide assistance to their supernatural intervention agency. He has to smooth over past problems caused by his former boss Dr. Angelton, while dealing with an unprecedented incursion of Yokai. This is just the beginning of his troubles though, as they have called him to help secure a site beneath the Japanese Puroland Theme Park. He’s working with the charming Dr. Suzuki, who appears to not quite be human herself, at least her cat ears seem to indicate that. Bob is about to discover that the color out of space is actually pink.
This Laundry novella has its share of the dry dark humor that is characteristic of the series. It is refreshing in that it puts Bob in a different environment and culture, without any other members of the Laundry to help him. It’s a nice little self contained story that lets Bob do what he does best.