As a satire of the insane, life-depleting demands office drudge-work makes of its "victims," RwM predated pop-culture giants like Office Space and "The Office," and so it might not have the same bite today as it did 20 years back. The novel uses Mythos ideas and terminology in an almost-too-glib manner at first; this might be a turnoff for some readers. Stick with it: Spencer fleshes the old ideas out with some new ones, giving them a contemporary weight and implication. Not scary or horrifying, mind you, just weighty. Heavy, man.
His coworkers are drones, he has few friends, and his novel he's been writing for years, The Despicable Quest, seems to be unfinishable. Philip, as they say, can't catch a break. Looking for someone to help order his cluttered thoughts, he seeks help in the ads of a weekly paper and there finds Lily Metcalf, an aged hippy who lends a non-judgmental ear. She doesn't blanch when he blurts out that "Hideous, cone-shaped creatures from outer space are going to leap, telepathically, across six hundred million years and destroy human civilization."
Spencer provides flashbacks to Philip's past interspersed them with the present: a father who reads him Weird Tales but who hits Philip's mother when he's drunk; a neighbor who pays him to swim naked in his pool. Philip's first marriage was to Emily, a painter; together they'd lived a perfect kind of late '60s life: listening to Dylan, playing folks instruments, smoking dope, going to political protests in DC, trying to live as artists (he's gonna write a first novel that will make Norman Mailer jealous). This doesn't happen. Emily ODs and dies; Philip ends up at corporate giant Micromeg in Virginia. This is where he meets Amelia. This relationship is mostly wonderful but she hates hates hates the Lovecraftian novel he's working on and what it does to his psyche. Philip and Amelia split too; she heads to Austin and Philip follows, taking another desultory job at Ralph's One-Day Résumés. He and Amelia speak often in guarded, cautious words; she speaks mostly of her poor relationship with her sister, and oh, check it out, she got a job at Pelidyne, another faceless giant whose headquarters suggest hostile takeovers.
What happened to [him] was similar to the fate suffered by the narrator of Lovecraft's The Shadow Out of Time. The Great Race had, in the case of that unfortunate man (a professor at Miskatonic University), hurled him back across millions of years to reside in a monstrous, alien body.
In Philip's case, the time leap was only a matter of a few years, and he had landed in his own body.
O the ignominy! This means he's going to have to relive every crappy job he's ever had.
It's at this halfway point that the HPL stuff really ramps up, and we learn what really runs this corporate world, the one Philip's dad drunkenly called "the System." It's the mind-bending amorality of the Old Ones and their hunger for domination, it'll grind you down to a nothing, "Don't let the System eat your soul," or worse, make you a mindless slave working for the profit of a thankless leader. And just after he's gotten a call from one of the best independent publishers in New York interested in putting out his novel!
The second half of RwM gets a bit wonkier as Philip flips back and forth in his lifetime, a Christian terrorist shows up and must be stopped, Philip's novel is published and a comely fan arrives on his doorstep, and he continues his therapy with Lily (who's started a relationship with Al). There's some derring-do and more Mythos madness. But there is no attempt to truly imbue Lovecraftian awe in the story—which is fine; Spencer's usage of Mythos icons is unique: to satirize American corporate work culture. Wait till you get to the nameless rituals of the Xerox and fax machines!