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Stross--equoid

Equoid short

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...

Takes place after the short, "Down on the Farm."

It is available for free from http://www.tor.com/2013/09/24/equoid/

CharactersEdit

Bob Howard

Greg Scullery

21 Territorial SAS members including Sergeant Howe, Alan Barnes and "Scary" Spice

Story OriginsEdit

"Sometimes the matter of a story just gels in my head in a few seconds. "My Little Pony", H. P. Lovecraft's sexual neurosis and teenage nervous breakdown, and the extreme sexual dimorphism of Ceratoid angler fish collided in a matter of minutes to give rise to Equoid[.]"  Charlie's Diary November 22, 2013 11:51 AM

"Once the idea of unicorns as a sexually dimorphic species like unto ceratioid angler fish dug its way into my mind, I then began thinking about other aspects of the bizarre parasitic life-cycle of the unicorn. Mimicry is part of it. Co-opting a host to provide shelter and food is another. Having a distinct motile juvenile phase and a sessile spawning phase gave me a great explanation for some of the more disturbing aspects of unicorn reproduction. (Yes, I ran the Equoid life-cycle past Peter Watts for comment.)

Of course, the Equoid had other fortuitous side-effects for the Laundry universe: everything came together very neatly. The unfertilized juvenile female obviously provided an explanation for the pervasive mythology of the flesh-eating horse. And the adult, sessile, spawning horror lent itself to a particular interpretation of H. P. Lovecraft's nervous breakdown of 1908. Oh, and finally this allowed me to demonstrate the precise relationship between old HPL's mythos and the Laundry universe—namely that HPL is an enthusiastic but inaccurate guide, and about as much use to a practicing demonologist like Bob as a copy of the Anarchists Cookbook (the recipes in which are infamous for reducing the population of aspiring anarchist cooks).

All I needed then was a story. So I wrote about the first 4000 words in 2008, and let it settle for a year. Then wrote another 2000 words. Then had to put it away to make way for a novel. Or two. Or three. Finally, in early 2013, I had a gap—I'd just finished writing "The Rhesus Chart" and needed something to chew on. And it occurred to me that now was the best time to nail the sucker down, so I sat down in March and wrote the other 27,000 words of "Equoid" in about three weeks."  Charlie's Diary September 26, 2013 1:03 PM


In-Story ReferencesEdit

Government Agencies Edit

  • DEFRA - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Code Names Edit

HPL, Literary and Other References Edit

References directly HPL and Robert Bloch, Edgar Allen Poe, HPL historians August Derleth and S.T.Joshi

N’yar lath-Hotep, the worshippers of the Sleeper in the Pyramid

“[HPL’s] reputation has been vastly inflated—out of all proportion—by his followers, who think he is the one true wellspring of wisdom concerning the Elder Gods, the Stars Coming Right, and various hideous horrors with implausible names like Shub-Niggurath, the goat of a thousand young, who spawns mindlessly on the darkest depths of the forest . . .”

H. R. Giger

Baba Yaga

My Little Pony

Unicorn School™ (?)

 "and appears to be pulling the puppet strings of local Renfields" - Bram Stoker's "Dracula"

QuotesEdit

     “The Anarchist Cookbook, with its dangerously flawed bomb formulae, hasn’t maimed half so many hands as HPL’s mythos. His writings look more like fiction than allegorically-described recipes to most people, which is a good thing; but every so often a reader of his more recondite works becomes unhealthily obsessed with the idea of the starry wisdom behind it, starts thinking of it as something real, and then tries to reverse-engineer the design of the pipe bomb he’s describing, not realizing that Quality Control was not his strong point.” - Equoid

LinkEdit

Equoid - TOR.com link

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