Review: Equoid by Charles Stross

Equoid (Laundry Files, #2.9)Equoid by Charles Stross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This Hugo Award-winning novella adeptly applies the detective noir voice to the Lovecraft horror genre. The result is not unlike Men in Black meets Harry Dresden in rural Britain.

Protagonist Bob Howard narrates this particularly unsettling infestation of unicorns–yes, unicorns–that has upended his normally tedious deskjob:

After a couple years of death by bureaucratic snu-snu (too many committee meetings, too many tedious IT admin jobs) I volunteered for active duty, without any clear understanding that it would mean more years of death by boredom (too many committee meetings, too many tedious IT jobs) along with a side-order of mortal terror courtesy of tentacle monsters from beyond spacetime.

He also shares his dossier with the reader including British government briefings on their history of trying to utilize spacetime monsters and a death-bed confessional from H. P. Lovecraft himself on his dealings with the scheming, carnivorous unicorns. These latter sections are wonderfully written in the antiquated voice that is Lovecraft’s. However, they also contain one of the most horrific sexualized murder scenes set to print–and of a minor at that. Consider yourself forewarned.

Bob also kindly sets the record straight on Lovecraft:

There are bits of the True Knowledge scattered throughout HPL’s oeuvre like corn kernels in a turd. But he left stuff out, and he added stuff in, and he embellished and added baroque twiddles and stylistic curlicues as only H. P. Lovecraft could, until it’s pretty much the safest course to discount everything he talks about–

This story is highly recommended–for the right audience with the warning heeded. Equoid appears in New Cthulhu 2: More Recent Weird edited by Paula Guran after originally appearing at, September 24, 2014.
[Check out my other reviews here.]

2 responses to “Review: Equoid by Charles Stross

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