Three Tales from The Laundry Files by Charles Stross
Tor.com put together a collection of the three Laundry Files stories not included in the backs of the other stories. PIMPF was included at the end of The Jennifer Morgue and was a fun distraction involving MMORPGs and Human Resources. The short novellas and such are great mini-encapsulations that Stross totally likes to go bananas on.
The collection is a bit fucked in that they are supposedly all occurring between Jennifer Morgue and The Fuller Memorandum. But according to Stross, they happen scattered across the timeline. Supposedly, they go Down On The Farm, Overtime, and then Equoid. But Equoid comes first in the collection. The series itself feels like there are tons of little side tales available for Stross to play with. Again, it’s the stories that are the meat and fun.
Down on the Farm is about a mental institution that dabbles a bit in Doctor Who and a bit in The Prisoner. It’s a neat little distraction, not as dynamic necessarily as the other two, and it’s very much a bottle episode. If they ever made a television series of the Laundry Files, this is the episode I’d most want to see, but otherwise, it’s throwaway.
Overtime I wish had gone further. It’s a fucking disturbing concept, revolving around the rituals of Saint Nicholas. It kind of skids left at the end, and I almost wish it had gone full Rare Exports. I have the same problems with this as I do with that movie, in that it promises one thing and then never lives up to that promise.
Equoid was my favorite in that it involved unicorns and trashing Lovecraft. Lovecraft will and always should be a disturbing insert into the history of horror. He’s an asshole who carved in purple prose. His creations were terrific, but he’s a fucking douchewaffle. And this pokes fun at him. While also creating the most fucked up unicorn mythology. And in the same regard, managing to take a swipe at vampires and Twilight. Just cleverly done all around.
Stross probably has plans for many more Laundry Shorts. The stories are so well primed for anthology collections and such, easily accessible and delightful.