What if H.P Lovecraft had written a tale of rebellious teenagers fighting stygian horror? We don’t need to ask, since Daryl Gregory has with this prequel to We Are All Completely Fine, his magnificent 2014 novella which is shortlisted for the Nebula Award this year. The novella focused on a support group for victims of supernatural horror, and in Harrison Squared we get to see just what that horror was for one group member. Harrison Harrison, the teenage monster-hunter who survived the Incident in Dunnmouth.
The book is a loving tribute to HP Lovecraft without all that nasty racial purity stuff. Instead, Gregory focuses on what life would be for a teen growing up amidst the stygian horrors — learning non-Euclidean geometry and having vocabulary tests with words like squamous.
Fans of We Are All Completely Fine should note, however, that while Harrison Squared has a couple characters in common with that novella, the tone is markedly different. While We Are All Completely Fine was definitively an adult foray into the New Weird, Harrison Squared is firmly planted in the YA realm. It’s almost Scooby Doo meets The Shadow Over Innsmouth, only the villain isn’t Old Man Whateley wearing a fish mask.