cover image Escape from Puroland

Escape from Puroland

Charles Stross. Tordotcom, $19.99 (96p) ISBN 978-1-250-80570-6

Ghostbusters meets H.P. Lovecraft—with some Japanese horror tropes and Hello Kitty kitsch thrown in—in Stross’s fun, bite-size 11th installment to his Laundry Files series (after Dead Lies Dreaming). In an alternate England where magic coexists with modern technology, Bob Howard is employed by the Laundry, a super-secret agency dedicated to stopping supernatural incursions from ruining the days of ordinary citizens. Over his protests, Bob is sent to Japan to keep minor demons called yokai in their place. Partnered with Dr. Yoko Suzuki of the Miyamoto Group, Bob gets a shock when he’s informed of the real reason he’s been brought to Japan: to confront an existential threat in the form of a hellmouth located beneath Puroland theme park, a “Disneyworld knock-off.” While staying mindful of all the innocent children visiting the park, Bob is forced to confront the ultimate horror—a terrifying version of the Princess Kitty cartoon character. With Yoko thrown into peril, can Bob save both her and the park before being destroyed himself? Once again, Stross exhibits a range of imagination that borders on the supernatural, using language to dizzying effect to create scientific rationales for otherworldly phenomena. This might be a minor addition to the Laundry Files canon, but the entertaining case and Bob’s sidesplitting asides make it a must for series fans. (July)