Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Overtime (Laundry Files, #3.5)” as Want to Read:
Overtime (Laundry Files, #3.5)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Overtime (Laundry Files #3.5)

3.90  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,640 Ratings  ·  105 Reviews
Introduced to readers in the novels The Atrocity Archive and The Jennifer Morgue, the Laundry is a secret British government agency charged with preventing dark interdimensional entities from destroying the human race. Now, in "Overtime," the Laundry is on a skeleton staff for Christmas—leaving one bureaucrat to be all that stands between the world and annihilation by the ...more
ebook, 32 pages
Published June 8th 2010 by Tor Books (first published December 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Overtime, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Overtime

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
⊱ Irena ⊰

A humorous Christmas horror story. Or it could be scary funny too.

Howard is stuck at work as Night Duty Officer.
'All bureaucracies obey certain iron laws, and one of the oldest is this: get your seasonal leave booked early, lest you be trampled in the rush.'
He broke the rule and failed to book his leave in time. Not surprising considering the way the last book ended.
The story goes back and forth between the night of his shift and the party that took place earlier. They even had a guest sp
Dec 18, 2010 Tina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, 2010, fantasy
Original post at One More Page

I think Overtime is the only Christmas-themed book I have in my Kindle, and I really scheduled to read it in December. I have never heard of Charles Stross before, but who am I to deny myself of a free ebook, right?

In Overtime , Bob Howard ends up being the night shift guard on duty on Christmas -- he didn't want to, but he wasn't able to file his holiday leave so he was left with no choice. Bob was prepared for an uneventful night alone in his temporary office,
Dec 31, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Good short paranormal holiday story about Bob working overnight in the office on Christmas Eve. Of course he doesn't have a quiet night.
This has some moments of mirth, but over all it was pretty meh-tastic.
Jules Jones
Jan 12, 2014 Jules Jones rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cthulhu Christmas-themed novelette set in the Laundryverse, a couple of books into the series timeline. There's just about enough backstory that I think someone completely new to the Laundryverse could enjoy this, but you'll get a lot more fun out of it if you already know at least a little about the world it's set in.

Bob Howard works for a branch of the British secret service which is devoted to putting off for as long as possible the forthcoming invasion of our universe by the eldritch horror
Jun 12, 2015 Randy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lighthearted Cthulhu fun.

Lighthearted Cthulhu fun. I'll be reading more...

Set in a world where math is magic, and the English government has a secret department to keep the Elder Gods at bay, one man pulls night watch duty on Christmas Eve...
John Cress
This was a short story which was only a buck plus won an award so I figured why not. The preview also discussed the paranormal so I was a bit anxious to give it is try. However, this ended up being like one of those award winning movies that I would ask myself, 'how did that win?'. The story centers around an office for those hunting paranormal events. Santa ends up being one of these events. This sounds like a great premise but I found my mind wandering off and the story for what ever reason ju ...more
Jul 14, 2016 Greg rated it liked it
I enjoyed this Lovecraftian tale set at Christmastime, full of English sarcasm and commentary about the public sector workplace and other aspects of life in the UK (the protagonist complains about the BBC's programming but, of course, he should've watched Channel 4 instead!). I think the humour somewhat undermines the horror, which also seems too easily resolved. Perhaps the books in the Laundry Files series handle the horror side better so I'll be interested to read the first volume to see what ...more
Jul 15, 2016 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Supershort review, since this is only a novelette written for a Christmas Tor compilation, but since its written in one of the best universes ever (The Laundry Files, in case there was room for doubt) I had to leave a comment about it.

The Laundry started with The Atrocity Archives and followed up brilliantly with The Jennifer Morgue which was a wonderful satire of good old James Bond movies.

In case you want the short-and-dirty, these novels are very geeky. Its based on the idea that Platos caver
Jan 06, 2015 Brainycat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who've read other Laundry Files books
Brainycat's 5 "B"s:
blood: 0
boobs: 0
bombs: 0
bondage: 0
blasphemy: 3
Bechdel Test: FAIL
Deggan's Rule: FAIL
Gay Bechdel Test: FAIL

Please note: I don't review to provide synopses, I review to share a purely visceral reaction to books and perhaps answer some of the questions I ask when I'm contemplating investing time and money into a book.

This is a very, very short addition to the Laundry Files series. It pokes a bit of fun at the English traditions, a lot of fun at corporate bureaucratic culture, a
This is an entertaining short story (and free download) in Charles Stross's Laundry series. A civil servant in a secret British organization dedicated to keeping eldritch horrors at bay is the only one who can prevent the Bringer of Gifts from ending the world on Christmas Eve. It reminded me a lot of the Buffy episode "The Zeppo." Stross is in love with cleverness, so there are lots of geeky in-jokes, but I got them and found them amusing. I may go read his "Laundry" novels now.
Nathan Burgoine
Jan 05, 2011 Nathan Burgoine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great short story with a psuedonatural/supernatural twist, taking place at Christmastime and involving Stross' "Laundry" organization. It reminded me in many ways of a cross between a Terry Pratchett 'Hogfather' and the Pratchett/Gaiman "Good Omens." A fun short read.
This was my first exposure to the Laundry Files series, and I really, really enjoyed it. It's about... a British bureaucracy devoted to supernatural and occult phenomena, and that also has baked into the setting a view of computer science being a form of applied dark magic a la Shin Megami Tensei. Aside from the neat genre trappings, it's also just really well written and the timing in terms of comedy and plot seem pretty spot-on to me. It's really rare that I chase after an entire series, but I ...more
Ian Cockerill
Jul 10, 2015 Ian Cockerill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific little short story from the Laundry Files. Following an agent in the British Government Department tasked with keeping the World safe from Lovecraftian horrors. It's Christmas and Bob is the Night Duty Officer because he forgot to book leave when he was unconscious in Hospital, plus getting triple overtime and time off in lieu, of course!
Funny and familiar to anyone who's ever worked in a Government Office, even if you weren't involved, as far as you knew, in fighting eldrich creatures
Sep 07, 2010 R.C. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
An extremely short little Christmas story, I read it in about three minutes. It's probably of interest only to fans of the series, I'm not sure it would make much sense to anyone else or be the story that would intrigue you to try more of the series, but it's short so give it a try maybe. And fans aren't missing anything if they miss it, it's just a cute interlude, nothing substantive. It's bizarre to me that this was nominated for a Hugo award. But it's available on if you're interested ...more
Dec 05, 2015 Allison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I might actually need to give this one a 5, if only for this: "You”—he takes a deep gulp of smoke—“ get to play at Night Duty Officer, patrolling the twilit corridors to protect our workplace from the hideous threat of the Filler of Stockings, who oozes through chimneys and ventilation ducts every Dead God’s Birthday-eve to perform unspeakable acts against items of hosiery."

I think this will be my Christmas greeting for the rest of the year.
Dec 10, 2015 Kinsey_m rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lighthearted and fun, which is provably one the most difficult things to write and get right. Christmass at a secret Brittish government facility, and everybody is on holidays except for the protagonist, who has agreed to work overtime. A bit of fun over self- and non-self-fulfilling profecies. At one point Nightmare before Christmass is mentioned, which is just right as this piece has a similar humurous/creepy feel about it.
Feb 12, 2012 Tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
It starts out slow, likely due to the need to introduce the reader into this world (which is the subject of a few novels by the author), but it finishes strong. For people who aren't familiar with the other works, it can be a bit confusing, but one will eventually pick things up.

It's about a guy who works for a UK governmental agency that handles paranormal threats (of the Lovecraftian variety) and has to work over Christmas (but for triple pay!).

It does an excellent job of portraying the offic
Kate O'Hanlon
Sep 15, 2012 Kate O'Hanlon rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
Now this is the sort of office related horror I missed when I was reading The Apocalypse Codex.

Also contains a perfectly accurate description of the English (and Irish) Christmases

I can’t say I’ve ever been big on the English Suburban Christmas. First you play join-the-dots with bank holidays and what’s left of your annual leave, to get as many consecutive days off work as possible. Then instead of doing something useful and constructive with it you gorge yourself into a turkey-addled stomach-b
Paresh Mathur
A bit better than the Equoid story. This one does not ramble. I wonder if the author does better world building in the novel form. I really want to see this world built up properly. Deamonology as a subset of maths has immense potential.
Danielle T
I feel like I'm cheating my book count by including short stories, though now the Laundry Files is definitely on my to-read list (mentally, anyway... GR one is too long for me to keep track of). Delightfully horrific holiday comedy.
***Dave Hill
Apr 29, 2015 ***Dave Hill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: text
Stross processes holiday traditions through the horror filter of The Laundry. Who is that coming down the chimney ...

Good fun, if more just worldplay than advancing the character of the protagonist.
Hisham El-far
Jul 15, 2016 Hisham El-far rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another snappy and fast reading short story set in the Laundry Files universe.

This story is set around the Christmas holidays just after the events of book#3 The Fuller Memorandum.

Office Christmas parties combine with a horribly unique take upon the legend of certain chimney traversing character. Working overtime at Christmas can really suck! :)

This story is best read straight after book #3. You can either buy and read this story on kindle - or you can read it for free online at

If you'r
Feb 17, 2014 Jjlupa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable short story, freely available on the web. Generally plugs in well to the series; wouldn't make sense to read if you weren't otherwise enjoying the Laundry Files series.
Craig Andrews
Jul 08, 2014 Craig Andrews rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
A brilliant entry in the Laundry Files. A cracking Christmassy storyline with a nice ending. Nothing too twist and turn-y but a damned good read.
Liz Cass
Jun 07, 2014 Liz Cass rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thelizcass
Odd little supernatural story. Kind of H.P. Lovecraft-ish, which I like. I feel there may be other stories that go with it, but I may be wrong.
Jul 23, 2015 Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
A cute short story. Most of it is set up and the denouement happens really fast and is a little bit unsatisfying but overall, very enjoyable.
Mar 26, 2014 Pants rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In which our hero Bob deflects a Christmas time invasion of a minor tentacled horror in spite of the insistence of a giant precognitive cockroach that it was impossible to prevent.
Oct 14, 2014 Cairnraiser rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, fiction, humor, ebook
Howard works over the holidays and enjoys a chat with mr. Kringle.

Wonderful combo of humor and horror.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Memory of Wind
  • First Flight
  • Into the Abyss (Rogue Hunter: Gaia #1)
  • The Hunters
  • An Election
  • Gateways
  • The Dangerous Dimension
  • Mortal Ghost
  • The Burned Tower
  • Year's Best SF 15
  • Monster in the Mirror
  • Haven (The Fall of Haven #1)
  • Six Months, Three Days
  • The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere
  • The Pearl at the Gate
  • The Wicked House of Rohan (The House of Rohan, #0.5)
  • The Vanishing (Return of the Aliens #1)
  • Mania
Charles David George "Charlie" Stross is a writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. His works range from science fiction and Lovecraftian horror to fantasy.

Stross is sometimes regarded as being part of a new generation of British science fiction writers who specialise in hard science fiction and space opera. His contemporaries include Alastair Reynolds, Ken MacLeod, Liz Williams and Richard Morgan.

More about Charles Stross...

Other Books in the Series

Laundry Files (8 books)
  • The Atrocity Archives (Laundry Files, #1)
  • The Jennifer Morgue (Laundry Files, #2)
  • The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files, #3)
  • The Apocalypse Codex (Laundry Files, #4)
  • The Rhesus Chart (Laundry Files, #5)
  • The Annihilation Score (Laundry Files, #6)
  • The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7)
  • The Delirium Brief

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“Like the famous mad philosopher said, when you stare into the void, the void stares also; but if you cast into the void, you get a type conversion error. (Which just goes to show Nietzsche wasn't a C++ programmer.)” 57 likes
“Christmas: the one time of year when you can’t avoid the nuts in your family muesli.” 8 likes
More quotes…