Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Office of Doom, by Richard Bowes

Spoilers, what little I can divine anyway.

One of the writers of the last story and I have something in common, we love the titles of Lovecraft's stories. The Colour out of Space,  At the Mountains of Madness, The Shadow over Innsmouth, they both describe everything and nothing about the story.

This sounds like the episode title to something from Invader Zim...
The story begins with our unnamed protagonist tasked with clearing out the titular office, its a short amount of time before he leaves this university he's been at for 35 years now, and he beginins to reminice about its history.

This is explained over several people, but its essentially the place they put people they will fire soon, thus its name. There's only two people truly relevent, Chris, a nerd conspiracy theorist student who used it as an office between firings, and was a friend of the protagonist, and liked Lovecraft stuff. (A reoccurring habit in the mythos is being meta with Lovecraft himself.) and Hooker, a teacher who hated Chris and took over the office, unaware of its reputation.

The story flashes between time periods, past and present, this is what I liked most about it, it felt unique, though difficult. Its worth mentioning this was an extremely short story, like, I read it during loading scenes and pauses in Alice, Madness Returns and waiting for a youtube video, so it felt very much like someone remembering something over about an hour.

In cleaning the office, though, he discovers an envelope labled Necrom/Mikaton and decides to visit who he calls the Campus witch. Visiting her, there's they vaguely hint an ominous fate befell Chris, and that he did a prank with a interlibrary loan.

The woman's an old bitch, but she says she'll do something about the letter and lets him get back to his flashbacks. It turns out that the protagonist helped with this prank, requesting the necronomicon, it was all fun and games. Then it arrived.

It's vaguely hinted certain parties did not like this, but they never connected him to this, just Chris. Eventually its time for the removal of the letter, and Chris arrives, taking care of it personally. Then the protagonist has his retirement party, it turns out, everything worked and he now has a job cleaning up these mythos related mistakes where people were sloppy, this is explained to him by the witch, and the story ends.

It wasn't the largest of world changing adventures but I really liked how it was written, and the lack of if things were real and mythotic, it was some legal thing for a childish prank or so one. Then I read the spiel on what inspired the author, and it turns out to a point, this was a true story. Oh I'm sure there were no witches or Chris, but...

The author worked in a library and joked about attempting an interlibrary loan of the book, this was apparently a very popular thing to do and caused a lot of drama back in the day for librarys. This little fact alone made up for any dislike of the story, simply due to amusement, and making me put more appreciation into this bit of history then thinking it was more or less a failed prehistoric ARG.

Not the best, the crevasse was more my style, but an entertaining read.


  1. Glad you somewhat liked it.

    Rick Bowes

  2. Mythos stories don't always have to be big and earth shattering. I can remember a few minor ones where people get out though I don't know how common it is.

  3. 1) Invader Zim is the shit
    2) Everyone loves when things change time and there's epic booms
    3) +follower

  4. thats nice, keep it up!

  5. @ Rock Bowes: Man I wasn't expecting a response from the author! Sorry it can't be more positive, but as I said, the fact it was partially real and unique writing definitely make improve on it.

    @Badscribbler: It's not, but it does happen. The fact this is more outside looking in perspective on a mythos story helps.

    @M_BIA: I did like the show, just the title constantly brought it to mind, and thats a bit of a distraction for nihilist horror.