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4.6 out of 5 stars60
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 4 November 2013
I was bewildered to find Stross had managed to shoehorn in multiple references to my favourite band, Half Man Half Biscuit, to a tale of angler-fish-like unicorns set in the horrid countryside of the Home Counties. East Grinsted is bad enough without eldritch, squamous and rugose horrors. Maybe next he'll have a go at Croydon.

Equoid is set before the fourth Laundry novel (The Fuller Memorandum) and at first it's a funnier piece than the way the Laundry novels have been heading. They started off as lighthearted fun for office inmates surrounded by Lovecraftian beasts, and, as the cycle has gone on, have become progressively doomier. Equoid starts feeling like one of the earlier stories, but it has a dark heart to it, despite all the clever allusions to H.P.Lovecraft, Cold Comfort Farm, Half Man Half Biscuit and everything that I assume went over my head.

For the most part it's fun and entertaining, and then in its final pages it approaches 'proper' horror again, so it's not the lighthearted read one might have expected, but it's still worthwhile.

I did feel it was oversalted with in-jokes though. One Half Man reference is amusing, two feels a little gratuitous. Then again, perhaps for non-aficionados of obscure British indie pop, those references may have passed by unnoticed - I'm not sure what else I've missed. Perhaps a lexicon is going to be required for future reading.
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on 2 November 2013
My daughter has just brought home a sparkly unicorn, and I am very afraid...

This is a Laundry files short story featuring Bob Howard. In this outing Bob has to deal with a report from a well qualified DEFRA vet who harbours suspicions of a potential outbreak of Equoids. The file Bob is given as briefing contains the letters of one HP Lovecraft that tell of HPL's own experience of contact with an Equoid outbreak.

This is a highly entertaining story that provides a twist on unicorns and gives them an interesting life cycle which is truly horrific. It also has some laugh out loud points too.
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on 17 October 2013
I really enjoyed this - I'll never look at a unicorn the same way again. Creepy.

I also really enjoyed more rounding out of the laundry universe, could this contain a foreshadow of a future novel. I don't know but it is very exciting.

I'd already read this on tor, then I bought it. This was apparently inspired by a trip to the pub. Buy the man more trips to the pub. Please. For all our sakes.
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on 19 October 2013
Bits of this actually made me laugh out loud. I feel kind of guilty about that.
One very minor point- Interspersing the developing plot with the letters and procurement requirements caught me out at first, I thought there was a segment missing when one piece started with (cont) and I had to flick back to check I'd not missed a foot note or something.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 March 2014
This is our first Kindle purchase - not least because it is DRM-free, thanks to the excellent Charles Stross who is a favourite author and standards activist.
It's a worthy first Kindle purchase - but we are big fans and have enjoyed the all of 'The Laundry' series to date.
Not sure if it would be quite as meaningful to someone entirely new to this series. YMMV!
Others have summarised this series elsewhere, if you are interested - but it might be best to begin it at the beginning in our view.
"The Atrocity Archives" is the first book and gets the series off to a flying start - if you then read through the series then many of the references in Equoid will become clearer.
It is another rattling good tale of dark horrors set in the UK of today, with Bob Howard doing his thing in great style. Fresh characters add to the mix, and there are some beautifully drawn individuals amongst them.
We loved it.
Strongly recommended to "Laundry" fans!
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on 24 October 2013
What can I possibly say ...... having read all the Laundry series so far how does he keep doing it... even though it is only a novella it had me gripped from start to finish .... I'm looking forward to the next story in the series..... and yes I don't think I'll look at another unicorn in the same way to
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on 28 October 2013
Bob Howard has been asked to look into something "mildly embarrassing", something that would only be of interest to 8 year old girls. He's going to wish all that was true, because it's so much worse than that. Sometimes fairy tale creatures are real and vicious and ... Evil.
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on 28 October 2013
I have read and enjoyed all of the Laundry stories, so was delighted to spot this one (recommended by a friend). Definitely a way to put HPL off sex... I can see how the whole thing works, and was reminded not just of Lovecraft but of the 'True Facts' online video about angler fish.
There are all sorts of sly jokes and references scattered through this (such as 'Constable Savage')and it kept me reading happily to the end. For those unfamiliar with the area, which is where I set most of my books, there is a strange concentration of the more canine-voiced belief groups around East Grinstead, from L Ron's lot to the Mormons. It was begging for a smattering of eldritch emanations from the Pit.

Oh, and Charlie? East Grin isn't on the Brighton line. Sorry.
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on 28 November 2013
For this who don' recognise the text in the header, this refers to old movie serials in which at the end of each episode the hero was left in an impossible situation from which he had to escape (which is where the term "cliff-hanger" probably originated). Writers were sometimes left struggling to figure out how they would actually engineer the escape, and came to rely on something coming in from left field to save the day. Once you know that something is inevitably going to happen to get the hero out of the brown and stick some of the magic is gone from the story. But I still love the Stross style and humour.
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on 4 November 2013
I love the Laundry stories, and the mythology lends itself well to novella length entries, as well as full novels.

Equoid is funny, action packed and well written, with a superb basic concept (i.e. Unicorns aren't sparkly-cute rainbow machines)

If you haven't read a Laundry novel before, I recommend starting with The Jennifer Morgue. Although it's now listed as the second Laundry book, it was published first and is the best introduction to the main character. Bob Howard has replaced Hiro Protagonist (Snow Crash) as my all-time favourite leading man.
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