Monday, December 17, 2012

Reader's Diary #918- Charles Stross: Overtime

It was back in April that Perogyo introduced me to Charles Stross' "Overtime," referring to the story as "a little bit Torchwood and a little bit Shopoholic." Neither of these references meant much to me (I've never read any Shopoholic books, hadn't even heard of Torchwood), but after reading "Overtime" for myself, I'd say it's a little bit The Office and a little bit Cthulhu.

Sci-fi writers often do this well; lampooning the more mundane aspects of real life (suburbia, office cubicles) while casually slipping in absurd, fantastical details, as if dullness is just as much of an illusion. It speaks volumes about why people love sci-fi so much.

In "Overtime" a nightwatchman at a bureaucracy known as "The Laundry" finds himself working alone on Christmas Eve. Or is he? We soon find out that that there's more to the Laundry than cliched Christmas parties and outdated decor. Before long, the nightwatchman will be responsible for stopping an invasion from a routine-obsessed and tentacled (yes, you read that right) Santa Claus.

"Overtime" is a fun, satirical read with a wonderfully dry delivery.

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