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Overtime

(Laundry Files #3.5)

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3.91  ·  Rating details ·  3,596 ratings  ·  142 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 Thing That Com

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Kindle Edition, 30 pages
Published June 8th 2010 by Tor Books (first published December 22nd 2009)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  3,596 ratings  ·  142 reviews


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karen
WELCOME TO DECEMBER PROJECT!

last year, i carved out my own short story advent calendar as my project for december, and it was so much fun i decided to do it again this year! so, each day during the month of december, i will be reading a short story and doing the barest minimum of a review because ain't no one got time for that and i'm already so far behind in all the things. however, i will be posting story links in case anyone wants to read the stories themselves and show off how maybe someone could have time f
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Bradley
Re-read 3/28/18:

The weather outside (the universe) is frightful, but the fire (of the furnace) is so delightful, and since we've got no place to go (in time), let it snow (stack overflow), let it snow (stack overflow), let it snow (stack overflow).

Original Review:

My favorite kind of christmas story: gibbering nameless horrors leaving gifts in stockings.
ᴥ Irena ᴥ
3.5

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
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Trish
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
*lol* All of Bob's sacrifices mean nothing - at least not when it comes to booking the annual Christmas leave.
He should have foreseen the troubles from book 3 according to human resources and still planned ahead.

So now he sadly can't meet his mother-in-law, Mo instead goes alone, but has to work. Until Andy shows up and makes him come with him.

Ah yes, horrible office Christmas parties. With a twist, naturally.

This is a very special view on Christmas by a man
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Vivian
I was going to save this for Christmas, but since I have no self control...Done!

Oh my, Bob. This is a funny take on holiday traditions from childhood to office.
Whoever sat on the copier lid that time did not have buttocks, hairy or otherwise--or any other mammalian features for that matter. What I'm holding looks to be the business end of a giant cockroach.

Again, a certain Lovecraftian charm/terror, whatever you want to call it. Only thing missing were the Christmas crackers.
Chris
Good short paranormal holiday story about Bob working overnight in the office on Christmas Eve. Of course he doesn't have a quiet night.
Jason
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books, read-2017
4.5 Stars

Awesome science fiction thriller / horror / mystery. I loved the start of this series it is tailor made to my likes. This is my first Stross novel even though he has been on my to read list for a very long time.

Great characters.
Great world.
Great science fiction.
Lovecraft!
Gadgets.
And more.

I really liked it.

This is a cool novella.
Tina
Jun 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 2010, ebooks
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,
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Elspeth
This has some moments of mirth, but over all it was pretty meh-tastic.
Wing Kee
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I can see why this was nominated for a Hugo.

It's smart, it's paced well and just well written. The play on Santa Clause is great and for a Holiday book it's a fun little tale. I like the Laundry Books cause of how wry and dry Bob is purposely designed and written to be and seeing the crazy cosmic horror world through his jaded eyes makes for a fun read. This was what Kraken should have been...

Onward to the next book!
David
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.
David
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paranormal
3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

Stross runs Christmas through the Laundry. Who's coming down the chimney? Is it Santa Claus? Heh. If you know Stross's Laundry-verse, you know the answer.

Bob forgot to put in for time off for the holidays (too busy recovering from the events in The Fuller Memorandum), so he's forced to work Christmas Eve as the Night Duty Officer. In essence, he's there to field any calls that come in regarding extra-dimensional nasties. We endure the limited budget office Christmas pa
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Netanella
I should have saved this for Christmas time reading, but I just couldn't help myself after the fun that was Equoid. The Laundry's Bob Howard is pulling overtime as the Night Duty Officer over the Christmas weekend, as he forgot to put in his request for leave early enough. Thankfully for the planet and all its inhabitants, Bob is on duty, in time to catch a nameless, gibbering horror as it tries to creep down the chimney on Christmas eve. Wonderfully done!
Dan Johnson
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: weird-fiction
A wonderful holiday tale, with just the right amount of tentacular cosmic horror.
Brainycat
Jan 06, 2015 rated it liked it
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 q/>
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Jules Jones
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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Maggie Gordon
Overtime makes me want to return to the Laundry Files series, the humorous books by Stross that blend bureaucracy and Lovecraftian terrors. This particular short is the first Christmas short I have read this year that actually has something to do with Christmas! It's a bit terrifying, but who doesn't want to think of a pan dimensional Santa squid.

If you haven't read the series before, this is quite readable without having picked up any of the other books. It's just a nice, quick diversion from
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John Cress
Apr 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Greg
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 it's ...more
Nathan Burgoine
Jan 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Rick
Apr 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a quick, fun read. It was a bit obvious where it was going but I always enjoy reading Bob's adventures. This reminded me how much I enjoy The Laundry and makes me want to pick up the next full length book.
Randy
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
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...
Susan
Jan 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books, 2013, 2019
of the 3 Laundry Files stories I read, this one's my fav... more tongue-in-cheek humor, less "purple prose" and making fun of the purple prose of Lovecraft while honoring him as the master
Ben Truong
Overtime is a short story from the Laundry Files series written by Charles Stross, which is a story that takes place in-between The Fuller Memorandum and The Apocalypse Codex and is best read after the third book.

Overtime has Bob Howard failed on doing a very important bureaucratic task – scheduling his vacation time promptly. Now he finds himself, working with a skeleton crew during Christmas, which leaves one bureaucrat – himself, to be all that stands between the world and annihilation. He has to stop the Thing That C/>
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Honya
When I picked up Overtime, I was definitely expecting the fabulous combination of eldritch horror and office mundanity that it offered. What I wasn’t expecting was the Christmas theme. And yet, it works marvelously, providing a delightful comedy-horror plot that ties this little novelette together brilliantly as Bob deals with temporal anomalies, an eldritch interpretation of Santa Claus, and the challenges of fighting back the apocalypse using only office supplies, used Christmas decorations, a ...more
Rob Trans
Dec 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Three Tales From the Laundry Files continues the story of a British counter terrorism unit that fights supernatural and alien threats told through the eyes of an employee, Bob Howard. The three novella/short stories are “Down on the Farm (Laundry Files #2.5),” “Equoid (Laundry Files #2.9),” and “Overtime (Laundry Files #3.5).” Two of the stories are in the field and the third is set at HQ with a Christmas theme. Each starts slow, but they all get better the further in you get. All of them are qu ...more
John Kirk
As a short story, this will never have the depth of a full novel, but I enjoyed it. Typically for this series, there was plenty of stuff for me to relate to: I've worked in the public sector at Christmas time, and I've read Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions (which I recommend).

This story did a good job of emphasising the urgency of the overall premise for the series. When characters talk about the coming of the Old Ones, this isn't like the eventual heat death of the universe; they're alm
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Jasmine
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
’Twas the night before Christmas, the office was closed,
The transom was shut, the staff home in repose;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
But St. Nicholas won’t be coming because this is a Designated National Security Site within the meaning of Para 4.12 of Section 3 of the Official Secrets Act (Amended) and unauthorised intrusion on such a site is an arrestable offense
Karl
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is another Laundry Archives novella that doesn't need to be read in the publishing order for it to be enjoyed. A little short (32 pages) but is quite a nice play on Christmas and Time travel. Had a couple of good chuckles which anyone who has worked late on a Christmas holiday would understand! Looking forward to reading more of these.
Matt Ranlett
Sep 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fun reinterpretation of Saint Nick

If your job was to fight demons from beyond, demons powered by belief, would a visit from Saint Nick really be a good thing? Read to find out more...
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4,632 followers
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 Richar
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Other books in the series

Laundry Files (9 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 (Laundry Files, #8)
  • The Labyrinth Index (Laundry Files, #9)
“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.)” 70 likes
“Christmas: the one time of year when you can’t avoid the nuts in your family muesli.” 11 likes
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