Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Published by Tor on February 19, 2013
Reviewed by: Chis
From Victor Frankenstein to Lex Luthor, from Dr. Moreau to Dr. Doom, readers have long been fascinated by insane plans for world domination and the madmen who devise them. Typically, we see these villains through the eyes of good guys. This anthology, however, explores the world of mad scientists and evil geniuses—from their own wonderfully twisted point of view.
An all-star roster of bestselling authors—including Diana Gabaldon, Daniel Wilson, Austin Grossman, Naomi Novik, and Seanan McGuire…twenty-two great storytellers all told—have produced a fabulous assortment of stories guaranteed to provide readers with hour after hour of high-octane entertainment born of the most megalomaniacal mayhem imaginable.
Everybody loves villains. They’re bad; they always stir the pot; they’re much more fun than the good guys, even if we want to see the good guys win. Their fiendish schemes, maniacal laughter, and limitless ambition are legendary, but what lies behind those crazy eyes and wicked grins? How—and why—do they commit these nefarious deeds? And why are they so set on taking over the world?
If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions, you’re in luck: It’s finally time for the madmen’s side of the story.
I have a confession to make – I’m not usually a big fan of anthologies. I’m not sure if it’s because I get annoyed that there’s not more to the story or what, but short stories and I have never gotten along. So of course I went with an anthology for my first review here at All Things Urban Fantasy. Oops. Or at least oops is what I was thinking when I first sat down to start the book. Then I started reading and that oops quickly changed in to a grin as I dived in to story after story.
This topic is absolutely perfect for the short story format. I may not want to read an entire book from the evil genius’ point of view, but reading a couple dozen pages from said point of view was certainly fun. Way more fun than I was certainly expecting.
From the delightful opening “apology” letter written by Austin Grossman to the closing story by Ben Winters there wasn’t a bad story in the bunch. Which is saying something as there were a few authors included who I normally have no taste for.
If you’re like me and you normally avoid short story collections like the plague then you need to do yourself a favor and give this one a try. This is especially true if – like me – you find yourself rooting for the bad guy in books and movies more often than not. If nothing else these stories make for a delightful tonic if you’ve temporarily had your fill of good guys doing good guy things with their good guy pals.
Now if you’ll excuse me I need to get back to my lab…
• “Professor Incognito Apologizes: an Itemized List” by Austin Grossman
• “Father of the Groom” by Harry Turtledove
• “Laughter at the Academy” by Seanan McGuire
• “Letter to the Editor” by David D. Levine
• “Instead of a Loving Heart” by Jeremiah Tolbert
• “The Executor” by Daniel H. Wilson
• “The Angel of Death Has a Business Plan” by Heather Lindsley
• “Homo Perfectus” by David Farland
• “Ancient Equations” by L. A. Banks
• “Rural Singularity” by Alan Dean Foster
• “Captain Justice Saves the Day” by Genevieve Valentine
• “The Mad Scientist’s Daughter” by Theodora Goss
• “The Space Between” by Diana Gabaldon
• “Harry and Marlowe Meet the Founder of the Aetherian Revolution” by Carrie Vaughn
• “Blood and Stardust” by Laird Barron
• “A More Perfect Union” by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
• “Rocks Fall” by Naomi Novik
• “We Interrupt This Broadcast” by Mary Robinette Kowal
• “The Last Dignity of Man” by Marjorie M. Liu
• “Pittsburg Technology” by Jeffrey Ford
• “Mofongo Knows” by Grady Hendrix
• “The Food Taster’s Boy” by Ben Winters