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The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius

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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-sta 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.


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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-sta 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.

59 review for The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius

  1. 4 out of 5

    Felicia

    I don't really like short story compilations. I'd rather have 800 pages than 80. BUT this was a VERY cool anthology of short stories by fantastic authors about Mad Scientists. Some were artistic, some were Dr. Horrible-esque, and all were very very enjoyable! Definitely recommend to turn your head around on the bad guy we see in all our genre faves!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gavin

    This anthology contained 22 short stories. As with most anthologies the quality varied wildly. I was initially drawn to this anthology because it sounded like a fun premise and it contained short stories from Austin Grossman and Theadora Goss. In the end I was shocked that I liked many of the other short stories better than the ones that caught my eye. Grossman's opening story was actually a bit of a flop. The Goss story fared better, but was only enjoyable rather than anything memorable. My fav This anthology contained 22 short stories. As with most anthologies the quality varied wildly. I was initially drawn to this anthology because it sounded like a fun premise and it contained short stories from Austin Grossman and Theadora Goss. In the end I was shocked that I liked many of the other short stories better than the ones that caught my eye. Grossman's opening story was actually a bit of a flop. The Goss story fared better, but was only enjoyable rather than anything memorable. My favourites were David D. Levine’s “Letter to the Editor”, Jeremiah Tolbert’s “Instead of a Loving Heart”, and Marjorie M. Liu’s “The Last Dignity of Man”. All three tales were interesting and emotionally engaging and left me wishing they had been full novels! Naomi Novik’s “Rocks Fall” and Genevieve Valentine’s “Captain Justice Saves the Day” also deserve a special mention. I'll be pursuing more short stories or full novels from these authors at some point in the future. The only truly awful story in the collection was Harry Turtledove’s “Father of the Groom”. I'll be avoiding his books! Some short thoughts and my rating for each of the individual stories: "Professor Incognito Apologizes: an Itemized List" by Austin Grossman I was actually a bit disappointed in the opening story. Which is a pity as it was the one I was most looking forward to reading. It was not half so much fun or interesting as Soon I Will Be Invincible was. I wonder if that is because the itemized list premise just did not work out well in audio. This is basically a list where Professor Incognito apologizes to his girlfriend for a few things. Mostly from keeping secrets from her, but also about the fact that he is secretly a supervillan and has just succeeded in selling out the planet earth to an invading Martian horde! It had a bit of humor and a offered an interesting commentary on the nature of a relationship, but on the whole was nowhere near as funny or interesting as Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible. Rating: 2.5 stars. "Father of the Groom" by Harry Turtledove In this short story the father of the groom decides to literally make his new daughter in law into a bridezilla. It sounds like it should be a good premise for some light hearted hilarity. Unfortunately it did not play out that way. The omnipotent narrator gave the whole story a pompous and arrogant feel. Rating: 2 stars. "Laughter at the Academy" by Seanan McGuire This tale featured a very different sort of mad scientist. A devious and murderous psychologist who used her own special area of study to push scientists in other fields into madness. The story was OK, but had no real hook that grabbed my attention. Rating: 2.5 stars. "Letter to the Editor" by David D. Levine This was the first truly engaging story in the anthology. This is the story of Doctor Talon, the arch nemesis of the famed alien superhero Ultimate Man. He explains, in the form of an open letter to the wider world, that rather than a mad scientist supervillain he is actually a misunderstood saviour of humanity. I found our narrator's tale to be an engaging and fascinating one. The story had an incredible and unique take on a superman like hero. Rating: 4.5 stars. "Instead of a Loving Heart" by Jeremiah Tolbert This was another excellent short story. The tone was surprisingly sad as this story was told from the POV of ZED03 an android slave/servant of a mad scientist. The mad scientist in question is seeking to create an even greater AI in the hopes that it will eventually supplant humanity and in doing so prove its creators genius. ZED03 was once fully human before his mad master ripped his brain from his body and placed it in his now inhuman shell. ZED03 fears becoming obsolete once his masters new creation comes into existence and despairs over the fact that he can no longer create the art he used to love while a human. He was a fascinating character. Despite this being one of the shorter stories in the anthology we still got a glimpse of potentially interesting world. It is a pity this was never expanded into a full length novel as there was infinite potential for more fascinating stories in this world. Rating: 4.5 stars. "The Executor" by Daniel H. Wilson This was another strangely sad tale. It was about a man who desperately wanted to save his daughter's life. To do see he needs a lot more money than he has the ability to earn. The solution is a simple one. He needs to attempt to pass the tests of The Executor. The Executor is a genius AI who was created by a mad scientist 200 years ago. The robot guards, and successfully manages, the largest fortune in the world. A fortune that can be claimed by any member of the mad scientist's descendant's who can pass the Executor's tests. Unfortunately for our the Executor is not the only one with a vested interest in making sure no one passes his test. The futuristic world seemed an interesting one and the lead character was easy to sympathize and root for. The only real flaw in this story was that Wilson tended to slow the pacing by being overly descriptive in his writing. Rating: 3.5 stars. "The Angel of Death Has a Business Plan" by Heather Lindsley This proved to be another very engaging story that had a good blend of action and humor while also managing to be strangely dark. The Angel of Death is an aspiring supervillain in her own right, but a lack of funds has forced her to set up as a counsellor and superhero surrogate for other supervillians. She helps boost their self confidence or simply listens to their villainous monologues! She has her own dreams of world domination and means to follow her own advice to see her goals achieved. In a world packed with larger than life superheroes and supervillains our determined narrator proved to be the stand out character. I'd have prefered a different ending, but I guess it was in keeping with the tone of the story. Rating: 4 stars. "Homo Perfectus" by David Farland - another 3 star This was actually a super creepy story. A new employee for a brilliant pharmaceutical company finds herself being tested by the company's director and founder while thinking she is on a dinner date. Our mad scientist in this one came across as part spy and part date rapist as he uses his drugs to manipulate both himself and his date. The twist at the end was fairly interesting and just about saved the story from being too disturbing. Rating: 3 stars. "Ancient Equations" by L. A. Banks This was a mix of fantasy and sci-fi as the mad scientist in question was trying to summon a Goddess with a mix of magic and physics. This mad scientist was perhaps the craziest in the whole anthology, but it was also easy to sympathize with him as he was trapped in a lonely and isolated existence. If I had to pick for faults, I'd say the tone of this story was just a bit crude at times for my liking. The ending was also left open to the readers imagination. Rating: 3 stars "Rural Singularity" by Alan Dean Foster I'm not sure what to say about this story. Like most of Alan Dean Foster's work it is perfectly readable, but not particularly memorable. A journalist is dispatched to a rural farm to investigate the reports of a two-headed chicken. It is a slow news week and the journalist expects to get there and find the whole thing is just a money grabbing hoax. Except it turns out it is not. The farmer's daughter is not entirely sane, but she is a genius, and her inventions go far beyond just some genetically mutated chickens. The story was OK. Rating: 3 stars. "Captain Justice Saves the Day" by Genevieve Valentine Brenda is the assistant to a crazed mad scientist. The guy might be an evil genius, but he cannot even competently deal with people for long enough to order a pizza! The madman's last assistant has disappeared without a trace and Brenda suspects she know why when her boss suggests she let him strap her to his latest doomsday device as a damsel in distress lure to entice the heroic Captain Justice. Brenda mulls the idea over before decided to give it a try. This story was both fun and humorous. Brenda was a likeable character and proved you do not need to be a mad scientist to be smart or a muscle-bound superhero to save the day! Rating: 4 stars. "The Mad Scientist’s Daughter" by Theodora Goss This was the story of what life might be like for a group of daughters of mad scientists after their fathers died. We had the offspring from the likes of Jekyll, Frankenstein, and Moreau as well as others. It was an interesting story. Not one high on action, but a thoughtful and interesting tale. Rating: 3.5 stars The Space Between by Diana Gabaldon This one felt out of place for the anthology. For one thing it was about 10 times the length of the average short story in this collection. It also lacked the mad scientist theme. It was more of a historical paranormal tale. It turned out this was actually a novella from Gabaldon's Outlander series. Which makes sense considering this felt like a story where the reader should already be familiar with some of the characters and with the magic of the world. Since I was not it was actually quite confusing at times. It did not work great as a standalone novella. I found this a little slow paced and confusing and did not particularly enjoy all the Scottish lingo from days of yore. The story did hold my interest at times so it was not all bad. Rating: 2.5 stars. "Harry and Marlowe Meet the Founder of the Aetherian Revolution" by Carrie Vaughn This was an interesting short story set in an intriguing alienpunk(rather than steampunk) world. Harry and Marlowe investigate a notorious mad scientist's lair for signs that he has lapsed back to his old ways. I found the story quite enjoyable. I wish this had been a set up for a larger series with these characters and this world. Rating: 4 stars. "Blood and Stardust" by Laird Barron This story is a tough one to rate and review. It was told from the first person perspective of a female Igor as she explained a bit about her life as an assistant to a mad scientist and her plans to escape. It was hard to decide what to think of Mary, the main character. She was definitely villainous, but I still managed to sympathize with her. The story was bizarre, but interesting. Its main flaw is it was confusing and hard to follow at times. Rating: 3 stars. "A More Perfect Union" by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. The mad scientist in question in this story was a political strategist. We follow the progress of his candidate through from the early regional elections right through to eventual leadership of a futuristic North America. This one could have been quite clever, and it did have its moments, but on the whole it came across as a bit dry and boring. Rating: 2 stars. "Rocks Fall" by Naomi Novik This was excellent. Very short, but captivating and emotionally engaging. It mainly focused on a short conversation between a supervillain and a superhero as they waited, trapped in the ruins of a collapsed building, for the rescue team to reach them. With neither person knowing who's men lead the rescue team. Both the characters were fascinating individuals and the story managed a few twists in its short length. I was left wishing for more. Rating: 4.5 stars. "We Interrupt This Broadcast" by Mary Robinette Kowal This was quite an interesting and sad tale. It was not action packed, but was interesting for how easy it was to sympathize with and like the mad scientist despite what he plans to do. Rating: 3.5 stars. "The Last Dignity of Man" by Marjorie M. Liu This was the second longest story in the collection and I think it made good use of that time to build both the story and the character. It was a melancholy tale. It asked the question does a man make a name or does a name make a man. Alexander Luther believes the latter. Though he is never quite as villainous as he thinks he is. I found the story enjoyable and engaging. Rating: 4.5 stars. "Pittsburg Technology" by Jeffrey Ford This story never really worked for me. It was about a guy who was not happy with his life and found himself using his savings to buy into the Pittsburg Technology in the hopes it could improve his life. It was sort of like one of those get rich quick schemes. With similar results! Rating: 2 stars. "Mofongo Knows" by Grady Hendrix This was another short story that fell just a little flat for me. Geniues ape Mofongo has been imprisoned by his nemesis for years. Only now his jailer has died. Mofongo discovers that he is no longer considered a relevant threat and that his Nemesis's adult daughter is shipping him off to a retirement sanctuary for apes. The story is an allegory for old age and the losing of ones mental faculties. It could have been quite poignant if it had been executed better. Rating: 3 stars. "The Food Taster’s Boy" by Ben Winters This was a poor way to end the anthology. I'm still not sure what the point of this story was. To show that we yearn for things, but are still not really happy even when we have the things we yearned for? Rating: 2 stars Overall anthology rating: 4 stars. It was worth reading for the good short stories. The lesser tales were not that bad and all were quite short with the exception of the Outlander novella. My advice it to skip that one if you do not like the start. Audio Note: This was narrated by Stefan Rudnicki, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Justine Eyre. I like Rudnicki as a narrator for hard sci-fi stories and while he did OK here his narration is not ideal for humorous stories. Both Kowal and Eyre were excellent. Kowal is one of the very few authors I've encountered who is genuinely talented when it comes to audio narration!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mir

    Favorites: Professor Incognito Apologizes: an Itemized List by Austin Grossman Instead of a Loving Heart by Jeremiah Tolbert Rural Singularity by Alan Dean Foster Harry and Marlowe Meet the Founder of the Aetherian Revolution by Carrie Vaughn Rocks Fall by Naomi Novik Mofongo Knows by Grady Hendrix Vaughn's and Tolbert's seemed like parts of larger stories that I'd be interested in reading. A few other stories that I liked less but found noteworthy: "The Mad Scientist's Daughter" by Theodora Goss. Actual Favorites: Professor Incognito Apologizes: an Itemized List by Austin Grossman Instead of a Loving Heart by Jeremiah Tolbert Rural Singularity by Alan Dean Foster Harry and Marlowe Meet the Founder of the Aetherian Revolution by Carrie Vaughn Rocks Fall by Naomi Novik Mofongo Knows by Grady Hendrix Vaughn's and Tolbert's seemed like parts of larger stories that I'd be interested in reading. A few other stories that I liked less but found noteworthy: "The Mad Scientist's Daughter" by Theodora Goss. Actually mad scientists' daughters, plural. All of them living together, trying to make ends meet. Really liked the concept but too many characters for the short length, and not enough action. "Space Between" by Diana Gabaldon. This is novella, not a short story. Are there no page limits assigned? Hardly any other author even wrote 20 pages and this was 80. The opening pages with Rakoczy and his allusions to 'the frog' were intriguing but then we switched to a different narrative with a Scottish widower and a lady planning to be a nun who seemed to know nothing about nuns conversing and it was so boring that I looked ahead and saw how long the story was and skimmed a bit and then quit. "Father of the Groom" by Harry Turtledove Is Turtledove always this full of bad puns? and antiquated gender stereotypes?

  4. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination is as much fun as it sounds. It feels like the authors here had a lot of fun with the concept; there's some excellent stories, and the vast majority of this book is the kind of entertaining romp that you want from a title like that. There was one story that didn't fit, to me - Diana Gabaldon's The Space Between. Taking up a solid 25% of the book, it not only stands out in length but in tone. It's not that I didn't enjoy it - in any other setting I wou The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination is as much fun as it sounds. It feels like the authors here had a lot of fun with the concept; there's some excellent stories, and the vast majority of this book is the kind of entertaining romp that you want from a title like that. There was one story that didn't fit, to me - Diana Gabaldon's The Space Between. Taking up a solid 25% of the book, it not only stands out in length but in tone. It's not that I didn't enjoy it - in any other setting I would have been completely into it. But in this book, it felt like replacing an hour of Thor:Ragnarok with an hour of Outlander. It's not bad, it's just not what you ordered. The rest of the stories though, were so good that it was entirely worth the detour. Seanan McGuire brings us the world's most dedicated assistant, Theodora Goss introduces her Athena Club with a truly fantastic look at what happens to those mad scientists leave behind, and mind control, deadly AI and monologues galore populate the rest of the pages I've left unnamed. One of the better ways to keep yourself entertained if you're indoors and isolated right now.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    I generally like to review each story, but so far they've all been short, appropriately humorous, & quite good (3-3.5 stars, at least). Each are preceded by a short blurb which has been very good, too. Just enough to set the stage, never a spoiler. A few stories were exceptional or stinkers. Comments after those. From the editor's web site: http://www.johnjosephadams.com/mad-sc... The following stories can be found in The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination. Foreword by Chris Claremont - short I generally like to review each story, but so far they've all been short, appropriately humorous, & quite good (3-3.5 stars, at least). Each are preceded by a short blurb which has been very good, too. Just enough to set the stage, never a spoiler. A few stories were exceptional or stinkers. Comments after those. From the editor's web site: http://www.johnjosephadams.com/mad-sc... The following stories can be found in The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination. Foreword by Chris Claremont - short & to the point. Excellent. Professor Incognito Apologizes: an Itemized List by Austin Grossman - This was a perfect way to begin. I've only read one book by him before Soon I Will Be Invincible which is quite similar. Father of the Groom by Harry Turtledove. LOL! I've been one twice. No, there is nothing so extraneous, thankfully. Father of the bride is far worse, especially on the wallet! All good, different takes - 3 stars: 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 - another hoot. 3.5 stars Comics just don't pay enough attention to economics. ;) Homo Perfectus by David Farland - another 3 star Ancient Equations by L. A. Banks - Her writing has never been to my taste & this was no exception. Yuck. Rural Singularity by Alan Dean Foster Captain Justice Saves the Day by Genevieve Valentine - what a hoot! The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss - interesting. Surprisingly, I had to look up a couple, but that was easy enough & made for a better story. The Space Between by Diana Gabaldon - Awful! Couldn't finish it. This is a novella & boring. Harry and Marlowe Meet the Founder of the Aetherian Revolution by Carrie Vaughn - Fun! I'm not thrilled with her PNR books, but she did well in this setting. 3 stars: 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 I'd only give 2 stars or less to the following 3. The Last Dignity of Man by Marjorie M. Liu Pittsburg Technology by Jeffrey Ford Mofongo Knows by Grady Hendrix Certainly not upbeat, but well done. 3.5 stars. The Food Taster’s Boy by Ben Winters If it's not obvious, I liked the upbeat, funny stories the best. IMO, they're more in keeping with what I expected due to the title & foreword of the book. Mad scientists are looney characters, so the deep or long stories just lost me. The subject doesn't support it well. Overall, I'm glad I read the collection, but it wasn't exceptional.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tim Hicks

    This just barely made three stars. Mostly, I am remembering Diana Gabaldon's long story/novella which is set in her Outlander world. Many here bought the book just for that. Maybe for them it was good. For me it was a complex story that ended with a giant Pfffft! Big, long buildup, and thud, it's over with nothing resolved. I suspect many who aren't into the Outlander series found this story disappointing. And it's full of unnecessary Scottish dialect -which I am quite familiar with, it just was This just barely made three stars. Mostly, I am remembering Diana Gabaldon's long story/novella which is set in her Outlander world. Many here bought the book just for that. Maybe for them it was good. For me it was a complex story that ended with a giant Pfffft! Big, long buildup, and thud, it's over with nothing resolved. I suspect many who aren't into the Outlander series found this story disappointing. And it's full of unnecessary Scottish dialect -which I am quite familiar with, it just wasnae needed. The repeated references to clenching wames were unnecessary decoration that distracted. A lighter touch would have sufficed to present them as Scots. A couple of others just left me flat, too. Took an idea, ran with it, ended up nowhere special - and made it into the book anyway. But there were some that earned, "Heh, heh, that was clever." Which stories were which? Ah, I won't tell, because the ones that succeed or fail for you won't likely be the same as mine. Not a bad idea for an anthology, but it wasn't - for me - an unqualified success.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship

    An anthology on supervillain stories, The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination is, at once, both darkly humorous and perceptive. The stories range far and wide; while the mad scientists are the focus, they don't always tell the story but nevertheless, we see them in lights, contexts and situations unheard of and unseen before. In all, the stories are unique and creative even though, some of them have structural frames rather similar to that of tales of superheros. There's a gradual change i An anthology on supervillain stories, The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination is, at once, both darkly humorous and perceptive. The stories range far and wide; while the mad scientists are the focus, they don't always tell the story but nevertheless, we see them in lights, contexts and situations unheard of and unseen before. In all, the stories are unique and creative even though, some of them have structural frames rather similar to that of tales of superheros. There's a gradual change in the tone of stories as the anthology progresses: the telling becomes graver, and stories less comical, discerning and more focused, which unfortunately, also decreased their selling points. In the shadow of riotous stories prior to them, their tone becomes almost unbearable and straightforward. Professor Incognito Apologizes: An Itemized List by Austin Grossman. In this one, the supervillain leaves a long list of apologies and explanations for his fiance after he dooms the world by handing it over to Martians. There are yet surprises to be revealed in the story but the Professor's voice- arrogant yet trying hard to make amend- was a breath of fresh air. Yet after a while, his apologies/narration started to grate on my nerves because of repetition. Father of the Groom by Harry Turtledove Another hilarious excerpt into a mad mind's everyday life. I appreciated the author's writing, especially its occasional smugness. Yet there's really no point to the story and it remains constrained to its beginning, but that's not really a demerit. Laughter at the Academy by Seanan McGuire This story was dark but not by much. It's very straightforward and there's little appeal to the characters as it's told by a detective who's looking to identify and capture the supervillain. But it was fun, nevertheless. And the world building was interesting, to say the least. Letter to the Editor by David D. Levine Ha! This was intriguing and made me see supervillains in a new light. Basically, Doctor Talon, supervillain extraordinaire is dead of leukemia(I think) but has left his legacy to the world in the form of an explanation of his actions against the world's savior. What draws me to the story yet still is that it draws paradigms to our society of winner/powerful writing the history and controlling the present. Instead of a Loving Heart by Jeremiah Tolbert Hmmm. I'm not sure what to say about this one. Ambiguity is a big theme of its ending, I think, but the whole story is one I'm ambiguous about. While the artist and all that he lost, all that he does were written in an evocative manner, the story never grabbed my by the collar. The Executor by Daniel H. Wilson I could've loved this story but there were too many unnecessary details, unsavory paragraphs that I had trouble not skimming because they were so monotonous. But I did skim, and that made the story so much more heartfelt and to the point. It's about a father who wants to save his daughter but doesn't have the means to. I liked the emotion and the plot, but the execution and tools used were crap. The Angel of Death has a Business Plan by Heather Lindsley SO MUCH YES. The story was entertaining throughout and ended with a bang that complemented the story, even if it was of the norm. The Angel of Death works as a counselor to supervillains, helping them to aim for their heroes and resist the urge to go Voldemort style- giving speeches when they just need to kill. Homo Perfectus by David Farland A slice of life supervillain-style! On a date! But simple and boring. The only difference was in the narration. Keeps the notion that supervillains like isolation in check. Ancient Equations by L. A. Banks Super-freaking-fantastic! The beginning was slow and trivial, where the narrator just keeps whining and yapping, but once it gets going, and entered gods and monsters, it was delicious. It's another of the story where supervillains look for partners in crime. It'll NEVER pan out, I suppose. The ending has me a bit confused, and my sister and I had opposing ideas about it but whatever. Captain Justice Saves the Day by Genevieve Valentine Brenda is a supervillain's assistant so this one is basically about all the dirt deeds behind the curtains. A must especially since Brenda is an engaging and figuratively kick-ass narrator. The Space Between by Diana Gabaldon This story had me the most excited but sadly, it was the one that let me down the most. Not only is it convoluted and prolonged, there's also an outrageously serious tone that the rest of the stories follow. It's a wearying story and I couldn't finish it. Anyways, the rest of the stories didn't either retain my attention or there's nothing to comment upon. Review copy provided by Tor/Forge.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    The editor of this anthology has the annoying habit of spoiling or summarizing each story in the introduction to that story. I prefer to find out for myself what a story is about. I wanted to like this anthology. It is an intriguing premise, and I have a soft spot for mad scientists. But there was only one story that I liked in the entire anthology; Rocks Fall by Naomi Novik. It is a clever, poignant little story. The rest of the anthology I found forgettable. I didn't even finish some stories (a The editor of this anthology has the annoying habit of spoiling or summarizing each story in the introduction to that story. I prefer to find out for myself what a story is about. I wanted to like this anthology. It is an intriguing premise, and I have a soft spot for mad scientists. But there was only one story that I liked in the entire anthology; Rocks Fall by Naomi Novik. It is a clever, poignant little story. The rest of the anthology I found forgettable. I didn't even finish some stories (and a few, such as Father of the Groom, by Harry Turtledove, seemed a bit insulting with their view of women (in Father of the Groom, the idea of a (view spoiler)[bridezilla is played as humorous, and the story seems to be trying to perpetuate harmful stereotypes of women planning weddings, and as someone who finds the term "bridezilla" to be dismissive and generally hurtful to women, I didn't like the story. (hide spoiler)] )) If I could rate the Naomi Novik story seperately, it would have at least three stars, if not four.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jammies

    Three stars minus one star for the horrible Outlander novella. Three stars minus one star for the horrible Outlander novella.

  10. 4 out of 5

    G33z3r

    Most of the authors in this anthology took their cue from the odd title and wrote humorous stories, though a couple tried for a more serious approach. On the whole, I preferred the funny ones: "Professor Incognito Apologizes: An Itemized List" by Austin Grossman — I enjoyed this story. It made me laugh. The itemized list is quite funny in itself, mixing the profound with the trivial, and it's all comically phrased. It actually did make me chuckle, repeatedly. Grossman has a nice talent for the cle Most of the authors in this anthology took their cue from the odd title and wrote humorous stories, though a couple tried for a more serious approach. On the whole, I preferred the funny ones: "Professor Incognito Apologizes: An Itemized List" by Austin Grossman — I enjoyed this story. It made me laugh. The itemized list is quite funny in itself, mixing the profound with the trivial, and it's all comically phrased. It actually did make me chuckle, repeatedly. Grossman has a nice talent for the clever parenthetical aside. And as you say, Jim, the ending reveal is pretty amusing, too. There's an actual story here! Soon I Will Be Invincible is already on my to-read list, but I'm going to have to move it up into the echelons of stories that I actually have a chance to get to in this lifetime. :) By the way, it occurred to me while reading that there's no specific information in the story that would allow you to definitively assign a gender to Professor Incognito. The obvious assumption would be male. (If the professor were a women, would she be Professor Incognita? :) **** "Father Of The Groom" by Harry Turtledove – This story is hilarious, a real pun-fest from Turtledove! I confess didn't get the stop-light pun until I'd laughed at the superconductor joke and gone all the way down to the motion censor. Then I backed up, wondering what I'd missed in the stop light paragraph, and eventually the penny dropped. There's also an interesting Theodore Sturgeon reference here: "I’m not even going to talk about his microcosmic green goddess. That’s a whole ’nother kettle of sturgeon." Using sturgeon were the usual expression would be fish. One of Sturgeon's best known short stories is "Microcosmic God", which stars a super scientist names James Kidder (same last name as the story's narrator, Tesla Kidder.) Aside: why do sci-fi authors do this to Theodore Sturgeon? Is it just the irresistible urge to pun his last name? E.g., Kilgore Trout,.... I also like some of the strange mixing of phrase in this story, e.g. "Kate owns a whim of iron". And the wonderful, "When the wind is southerly, he knows which side his bread is buttered on," mix of expressions. **** "Laughter At The Academy" by Seanan McGuire – This story didn't really entertain me much. It starts with a strangely entertaining premise of a world where scientists periodically turn into evil, mad scientists, so often that there's an agency tasked with monitoring scientists to prevent or mitigate. Unfortunately, I thought the storytelling from there was rather flat, and it didn't have much either funny or exciting to add to that premise. It all just felt pro forma after the first paragraph. There might be an entertaining story based on this concept, but this one isn't it. ** "Letter To The Editor" by David D. Levine – A story that takes its amusement by writing about something familiar from a switched perspective, that of the villain, it in the form of a self-justifying letter to the editor. A Lex Luther type villain muses on his long-running feud with a superhero known as Ultimate Man, a stand-in for Superman. Includes the wry observation that Ultimate Man's powers have been growing, from leaping tall buildings to actual flying, etc. The allegedly-evil Dr. Tallon explains that all his activities have been for the benefit of mankind, an explanation that might be accurate or might be simply delusional. I liked the observation: "In real life, the most important moments in science are not greeted by the exclamation 'Eureka!' but by a puzzled frown and the words 'That’s funny…'" Enjoyed the story. The letter to the editor format keeps it brief and brevity is the soul of wit. *** "Instead Of A Loving Heart" by Jeremiah Tolbert – I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this story. Not really ambivalence, since I liked it, I'm just not sure specifically why I liked it. A sort of alternate history on the eve of World War II has a mad scientist, Dr. Octavio, creating his ultimate invention in his secret laboratory. The story is written from the PoV of an automaton seemingly formed of a mechanical (not necessarily humanoid) body with a human brain, but somehow wired to obedience. There's a real (almost amazing) economy to the storytelling, leaving much of the background to our imagination but giving us plenty of hints. Dr. Octavio's relationship to Lucinda and both their histories, the origin of the PoV automaton "Zed", and Zed's relationship to Lucinda & Octavio, are sketched with just a few dropped hints. I think that's a sign of excellent writing? ***1/2* "The Executor" by Daniel H. Wilson – An interesting, more serious treatment of the subject matter in which the mandatory "mad scientist" is actually an AI appointed executor of a will with the contingency that only one of the deceased's descendants can inherit a staggering wad of cash, and that by passing a test (which turns out to be a riddle!) The AI apparently isn't totally mad, and is still constrained by its programming. If you think about it too much, the premise gets a little strained. Failing to pass the test rules out a second try, but doesn't prevent you from blabbing the riddle to everyone else (and since you're not allowed a second try, why wouldn't you sell that information?) Anyway, without thinking too hard about it, I thought it was an okay story. It's angling for an emotional attachment I didn't entirely feel. (And how much effort does it take to invoke sympathy for a baby?) *** "The Angel Of Death Has A Business Plan" by Heather Lindsley — I definitely enjoyed this story. It made me laugh. Woman wants to be a super villain, is picking up money to fund her costume and gadgets by acting as a "superhero surrogate" to other super villains, so they can practice their monologing and other techniques before taking on an actual superhero. Lots of cute little asides, and some terrific dialog, especially in the second half. I loved her description of the late Capt. Justice, done in by a common handgun. And the villain Burn Rate in her flirting was hilarious. "Want to come up to my lair and try out my orbital death ray?" The twist ending, which isn't much of a twist, wasn't really necessary, since the journey was so much fun. But I suppose the story needed some sort of ending, and that was as good as any. **** "Homo Perfectus" by David Farland — This is one of the stories that takes the "mad scientist" proposition seriously, instantiating him as the amoral head of a giant pharmaceutical company. He's out to dominate the world by means of controlling the patents to the drugs that will keep people alive. So, not that much fiction. I need to recalibrate my story appreciation mode to not expect humor but rather somber contemplation: A representative of the pharma giant is checking out one of the new female employees for both moral flexibility and mating. "Most new employees felt this way until their conscience faded." Filtering out some of the unpleasant date rape aspects of the PoV's aspects, the story points to a future where only the privileged few will have access to incredible medical miracles. All this is happened before, and all this will happen again. I liked the story, thought it had interesting moral theme. (It does stand out more serious and contemplative than the other stories I read in this anthology so far.) **** "Ancient Equations" by L. A. Banks — From the point of view of Ernest, a scientist who is clearly mad already, socially isolated, loves humanity but can't stand people. He figures all the traditional gods our simply facets of the Akasha (a Hindu concept.) And if he works out the proper ancient equations, he can summon these deities, acquire universal knowledge & power, right all the wrongs in the universe, and as a side benefit, finally get laid. I wasn't terribly interested in the character of Ernest, he was clearly so far gone, and his cause was rather mundane. The short story ends with the not unexpected twist as Ernest's equations don't quite get him everything he wants. The old evil madman summoning ancient forces to obtain power is pretty old hat, though usually it's a cultist summoning a deity or demon. The trope is probably ripe for either satire were subversion, but this story isn't either. **1/2* "Rural Singularity" by Alan Dean Foster — The venerable Alan Dean Foster takes a slightly different definition of "mad scientist" in the short story. Suzy is a 17-year-old idiot savant, creating all sorts of miraculous devices in the "playroom" her farmer dad has provided. She's not out for world domination, or even to hurt anyone, she's just tinkering. A reporter shows up to interview her about two-headed chickens she's bioengineered, and dad is a little nervous about publicizing his little girl's talents. Mildly amusing story. I thought the reference to the "mini-Schwarzchild discontinuity" that "swallowed the Deere" was funny enough to laugh out loud. I had some puzzlement at the ending. Is there some joke hidden in "quantum paperclip" that's gone over my head? Aside: the Titan Board of Tourism wishes to remind readers that Methane doesn't smell like rotten eggs, and neither does Titan. **** "Captain Justice Saves The Day" by Genevieve Valentine – Another interesting alternative approach to telling the classic mad scientist story in the superhero context. Brenda is hired as the executive assistant to a super villain so he has someone to run the office and handle the paperwork while he's busy creating new instruments of terror with which to torment Captain Justice (one of the local superheroes.) She also helps draft is ransom notes and various manifestos. This is a pretty amusing approach. Brenda gets overtime for acting as the damsel in distress with which to lure Captain Justice into the fiendish trap. She's kind of curious what happened to her predecessor, Enid. I think Brenda approaches her job with just the right amount of low-key, subtle cynicism. It makes for several good laughs. **** "The Mad Scientist’s Daughter" by Theodora Goss — A very quiet story in which nothing really happens. The first-person narrator describes it as a "sketch" of the style Victorian novelist George Eliot might've written. (Real name Mary Ann Evans, probably best known for Silas Marner, beloved of American English teachers back when I was in high school.) A group of women have taken to living together, sharing a home in Victorian England. They all have in common being "daughters" of classic literary mad scientists (though the term "daughter" is broadened to include creations by Drs. Frankenstein and Moreau, and maybe Stoker's Lucy(?).) There's an interesting... nostalgia(?).... to their stories, focusing on characters the original authors didn't spend a lot of time on, being secondary characters to the story at best. Final large, there stories are tragedies in their own, though ignored by their literary creators. But the entire story still felt rather flat to me, imaginative, perhaps, but a bit too uninvolving. *** "Harry And Marlowe Meet The Founder Of The Aetherian Revolution" by Carrie Vaughn — Yet another approach to the mad scientist archetype, the fallen hero. Harry and Marlowe are recurring characters in stories by Carrie Vaughn. In Victorian England, Ernest Carlisle was a hero of the Empire, having unlocked and adapted the Aetherian technology found in the wreckage of an alien spacecraft and giving the British Empire it decided military technological advantage in its various colonial wars with Continental powers. But then Carlisle killed thousands in a lab accident, and has since an in house arrest. Harry and Marlowe are almost a cliché from a buddy movie, this sort of Lara Croft & Indiana Jones team up, scrounging up bits of Aetherian technology from around the world. They arrive at Carlisle's country estate, "unofficially," convinced he had discovered other Aetherian secrets he had chosen not to reveal for leverage. They find him even stranger than they suspected, in a really gruesome way. Sort of like "what if Thomas Edison had spent his later years trying to reanimate the dead?" A mostly serious story for the collection. In some ways it could've been a Victorian horror story, though it has a lighter tone & lacks the creaking floorboards. ***1/2* "Blood & Stardust" by Laird Barron — The mad scientist in the story is essentially an amped-up Frankenstein. The story is told from the point of view of his lab assistant. Since Shelley and her novel exist in this universe, the reader can assume the references are understood by the characters as well. Dr. Kob also seems to have invented a TARDIS to go with his reanimation experiments. I had a lot of trouble reading the story, result of not being able to really place the main character and the setting. I think the exposition is sorely lacking, and that lack kept me from enjoying the tale. What is Mary? I infer from a few comments she's not human, plucked from some other place in time and space, possibly a Neanderthal or who knows what? There is a tiny reference to the nursery rhyme, "Mary had a little lamb," that annoys & insults Mary, though the reason for that annoyance wasn't clear to me. Anyone get that? I also wasn't able to place this story in time. It's in Olympia, WA, so at least 1900's, but the "Gothic manor" and "medieval dining room" put me in mind that Dr. Kob would feel quite at home in Dr. Frankenstein's lab. It certainly doesn't seem to be a fully modern world. There's also a bit of a "mystery" dumped on the reader from the opening paragraph (most of the rest of the story being told as a flashback.) The author doesn't seem to have provided us with sufficient information to anticipate his mysterious solution. Whatever the reason, I never felt comfortable in this story. ** "A More Perfect Union" by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. — Sort of reimagines Hari Seldon as a political consultant as an Evil Genius in this vehicle for Modesitt's political treatise. **1/2* "Rocks Fall" by Naomi Novik — This is one of those entries in this anthology for which you probably shouldn't read the preface before reading the story. Takes the rather standard superhero/supervillain trope, and merges it with the old standby of two enemies trapped together. The entirety of the story is their conversation. Despite the pretty much "nothing happens" approach, it's an interesting conversation. The villain only teases his true motivations, asserting that the crimes and a few hundred deaths he causes now are justified, and seeming otherwise perfectly rational. Because we don't know what catastrophe the villain thinks he's saving the earth from, it's not possible to argue with specifics, but only generally discuss the merits of the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few. Also interesting is Novik's approach to the engaging narration. (view spoiler)[ Choosing a 1st-person narration by a character who dies at the end of the story, leaving the last couple of paragraphs to switch to 3rd-person omniscient. Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire) does that in one of her Newsflesh novels. (hide spoiler)] For all, rather liked the story and it's two characters. **** "We Interrupt This Broadcast" by Mary Robinette Kowal — I'm not a big fan of Kowal. On those occasions when she writes science fiction, it's always "soft" SF. I don't mind soft SF, but I think Kowal has a tendency towards full-on treacle. (e.g., "Lady Astronaut of Mars".) This story is no exception on either score. Alternate history where Dewey won over Truman. A Pentagon scientist (the mandatory mad scientist) is planning some unauthorized modifications to an American satellite launch, since that satellite is carrying a nuclear weapon to be used as a orbital bombardment threat. Opposed to the planned American hegemony, he plans to use the nuke to drop an asteroid on Washington, DC, in the theory that that will bring the world closer together. (His logic is a little like that of the old Outer Limits episode where scientists create an alien to give the people of Earth a common enemy. Harking back to the previous story in this anthology, "Rocks Fall," it certainly ups the stakes on the idea of killing a few people now to save many more later, given that in this case "few" it is probably in the millions.) Does Kowal really expect the reader to feel sorry for her mad scientist mass murderer team up at the end? See my previous remarks on treacle. Asides: Kowal's Dewey time period is messed up. If Dewey had defeated Truman, his (assumed) 2nd term (displacing Ike's 1st term) would've ended Jan 1957, almost a year before the first man-made satellite (Sputnik). **1/2* "The Last Dignity Of Man" by Marjorie M. Liu — Some emo crap about a guy who has his panties twisted in a bunch because his name is Alexander (Lex) Luther. That makes for a fairly benign "Mad" scientist. Please spare me the contrived angst. It's interesting one can write a story involving Lex Luther plus Superman references without acknowledging the characters are registered trademarks. ** "The Pittsburgh Technology" by Jeffrey Ford — A weird story that kind of left me puzzled. I thought I knew where it was going (that the whole concept of a technology to "change your life" was a sham, intended to get the customers to look more closely at the life around them as they search for that tiny "event"), but it didn't seem to go that way at all. Waste of a perfectly good dog. *** "Mofongo Knows" by Grady Hendrix — I enjoyed this story, not entirely sure why. It had a sense of humor and absurdity with its pathos. Mofongo the Gorilla of the Mind was once a super intelligent mad scientist super villain, with his "mind rays" and a collection of super weapons (including antigravity boots and disintegration rays.) Now he's just a sad, old, pathetic exhibit in a carnival sideshow, stuck in the cage provided by the "hero" who defeated him, "Steve Savage", an equally pathetic carnival huckster in his dotage. Strange to feel sorry for Mofongo in his declining years (maybe it helps that his evil crimes aren't detailed.) **** "The Food Taster’s Boy" by Ben H. Winters – This seemed a lengthy variant on the old two-line joke: "I'm a masochist. Torture me." "I'm a sadist. No." The Earth's brutal, all-powerful dictator, "C", is bored because there's no one left to oppose him. So he tries to create and motivate an appropriate opponent. (Isn't this a bit like the plot of the animated movie Megamind.) Aside: I noticed to the postscript to this story misidentified Winter's novel The Last Policeman as "The Lost Policeman". ***

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    For my Halloween-themed read this year, I picked up this little anthology: The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination. It’s my own fault that it took nearly the entire month of October to read it. This is a collection of 22 tales involving science, madness (broadly defined, here) and a healthy dose of megalomania (a madness that is de rigueur for our protagonists). Only three have been previously published, so there is little chance that you will run across lots of “old chestnuts” (well not fo For my Halloween-themed read this year, I picked up this little anthology: The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination. It’s my own fault that it took nearly the entire month of October to read it. This is a collection of 22 tales involving science, madness (broadly defined, here) and a healthy dose of megalomania (a madness that is de rigueur for our protagonists). Only three have been previously published, so there is little chance that you will run across lots of “old chestnuts” (well not for years and years to come at least). There is also a brief but nicely turned foreword from Chris Claremont (no, not the ax murderer, the long-time writer of the Uncanny X-Men. What? You didn’t know about the ax murderer?). Like pretty much every collection of short fiction, this had its ups and downs. Not that there was any story that I wished I had not read or did not finish. I just liked some better than others. Since I often ignore the index or title page when reading I only discover which story is next and its length once I run into it. (No leaping ahead either, usually.) At first I thought this might be a collection of really short shorts, as the first few were of nine to fifteen pages length. But then the lengths started to stretch out with one hitting 80-plus pages. I must admit that as much as I liked this particular story I think it could have used some cuts. Here’s a partial list: Oh and there’s likely to be a spoiler/hint in each one, so I’ll wrap the whole list in a tag. (view spoiler)[ Professor Incognito Apologizes: An Itemized List Where the hidden secret identity of our protagonist meets that of another. Bet she’s going to break more than the crockery once she can move again. Father Of The Groom Even though she lives through becoming a literal Bridezilla, I think the Prof’s son may have been more than a bit optimistic thinking she’ll mellow out once his intended is away from her over-achieving parents. P.S. I’ve always liked Harry Turtledove’s humor. Laughter At The Academy (subtitle is too long to bother with) This was a nice twist on the madness of mad scientists and the mundane (well, grunt work) aspect of trying to prevent nasty incidents. Possibly the funniest of the set. Letter To The Editor What if ol’ Supe was really a danger to us all despite his best intentions? If his powers and abilities were always increasing, when would he lose control? Would he even know that he was moving towards loss of it? And how would we protect ourselves? Consider yourself forewarned. Instead Of A Loving Heart More than a bit of a Frankenstein derivative, the brilliant, but misguided genius seeks to build an AI that will be able to construct other AIs. But that’s not exactly correct. Unlike Dr Frankenstein he isn’t just doing it for science he really does hope it will take over the world and displace humanity. His assistant (Fritz in the original movie) is just a previous, but lesser experiment – soon to be discarded. The Executor This is a nice, tight story about a very rich man who, with the best of intentions, sets up an AI to administer his will and creates chaos within his family and the world. Years pass. Decades pass and no one can claim the inheritance. Until one man tries and fails, but then tries again for his daughter’s sake. I thought it was pretty good; absolute power corrupts everyone, including AIs. The Angel Of Death Has A Business Plan Think of this as the nascent supervillain’s version of How to Succeed in Business (and drop that “Without Even Trying” crap). Good idea, good story about a gal who earns her chops. She must have studied Management-By-Objectives. Homo Perfectus What happens when a twisted, evil, sociopath has a bit of a conscience? Well, maybe he started out with one before becoming a weird, evil person… Ancient Equations We’ve all heard it before, “Be careful what you wish for.” Yup and this tale proves that even someone with a genius IQ can still not have the sense God gave a phone pole. Rural Singularity Whether you like his original fiction and novelizations or not, Alan Dean Foster is a prolific author who has wit and an evil sense of humor (guess that’s why I like him.) This little tale shows that all the smarts aren’t in the big city, not by a long shot. Captain Justice Saves The Day Even superheroes should read Dale Carnegie. After all shoot your big mouth off one too many times and maybe, just maybe a smart, moral assistant will stop saving the world in her own little way… The Mad Scientist’s Daughter Even the wives and progeny of evil doers have feelings and needs as this tale of a most unusual club shows. Blood & Stardust Take one Frankenstein derivative, add some additional SF elements, further humanize the monster (see the end of the novel), and give it extraordinary intelligence and a gender swap. A More Perfect Union For those who love to wear Tin Hats or think every politician is an evil schemer, meet the man behind the jerk. Makes the usual hard science guy look down right docile. Rocks Fall A poignant look at hero-villain interaction and what it takes to remain at the top of the evil-doers list. We Interrupt This Broadcast Another politically-minded tale that resolves things in a somewhat more direct manner. I liked this one a lot. How we might have rooted for Oppenheimer if he had the ability to rebel against the pols. Mofongo Knows What happens when hero and super-villain live too long? Do they just fade a way into obscurity or do they have one last hurrah in them? The answer may lie in between those two extremes. (hide spoiler)] Given my penchants for evil, world domination, and twisted science I’d like to give this a really high rating, but in all honesty it was good, but only a couple of the stories are real re-readers or ones that I’d tell someone else about to get them hooked. A nice, light read and worthy of Three (3.0) Stars, but no more. I know it’s November, but these stories are fine any time of year. Pick up a copy and see if you agree with me.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Adrian Fridge

    This is a set of very diverse stories, so much so that by sheer law of probability there must be something in here for you. There's sci-fi, fantasy, action adventure, thriller, horror, dystopia, historical, steampunk, and even one (maybe) case of contemporary. Science is magic, magic is science. Good intentions gone wrong, bad intentions gone wronger. I'll point to some of the gems I discovered. I'll pique your interest with the more creative reimaginings: - In "Laughter at the Academy" by Seanan This is a set of very diverse stories, so much so that by sheer law of probability there must be something in here for you. There's sci-fi, fantasy, action adventure, thriller, horror, dystopia, historical, steampunk, and even one (maybe) case of contemporary. Science is magic, magic is science. Good intentions gone wrong, bad intentions gone wronger. I'll point to some of the gems I discovered. I'll pique your interest with the more creative reimaginings: - In "Laughter at the Academy" by Seanan McGuire, we have a mad behavior specialist in a society where 'Schizotypal Creative Genius Personality Disorder' is a thing. (Bonus for woman scientist) - "The Angel of Death has a Business Plan" by Heather Lindsley dives into the life of a mad career counselor for supervillains, giving trusted advice such as less monologuing, with the added perk of subverting romance. (Bonus for woman scientist) - And "A More Perfect Union" by L. E. Modesitt, Jr, has a mad political advisor out to conquer the world one election at a time. Next we have your misunderstood mad scientists: - "Letter to the Editor" by David D. Levine is all about how having good publicity can be the difference between 'Mad Genius Threatens Crowd with Heat Ray' and 'Philanthropist Inventor Staves Off Global Destruction.' - "Rural Singularity" by Alan Dean Foster takes the tricky route of idiot savante and traverses the dangerous path of what if creative science fell into the wrong hands. - Ever wonder what would happen if a hero and a villain got trapped in a cave? "Rocks Fall" by Naomi Novik digs into that budding relationship, revealing how even the evilest villains can have some empathy. Finally, let's remember to sing the praises of the ones who aid their mad scientists: - "Instead of a Loving Heart" by Jeremiah Tolbert is a heart-twisting retelling of the Tin Man in which an artist's brain is shoved into a helper bot, forced to serve his evil master, who doesn't appreciate art. - On the other hand, "Captain Justice Saves the Day" by Genevieve Valentine has a willing assistant, one who puts up with her employer's demands, always making sure to be one step ahead of him. - And, of course, "Blood & Stardust" by Laird Barron, giving you a whole new Igor, one who's going to get her freedom even if it means getting her hands dirty in the meantime. I admit this is only a tasting of what's inside the covers. If I listed any more, I'd be itemizing the entire anthology. You'll notice I'm not discussing any of the tales I wanted to punch in the face (and I sincerely did). I'm also not going to super-whine about that one super long story that felt so out of place and then hit me with an unnecessary sex scene. Nope. I'm going to remain positive in this review because this book deserves it. Mad scientists. Some of them want to rule the world while others want to save it. Some do it alone, some require help. All of them make you wonder about the limits of imaginations and their worth to the world. {Check out this review at Entropy Alarm Reviews}

  13. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    Check out Books Are My Drug for other reviews. My review copy was an eARC provided for free by Tor through Netgalley. Reviewing short story collections is tough. No matter how much work the collector put into it, there’s always going to be one or two that you don’t think work. I can’t give a rundown review of all of them, so what I am going to do is discuss a few I thought were good, a few I thought… weren’t, and then talk about how well the collection works together. The first story (Professor Inc Check out Books Are My Drug for other reviews. My review copy was an eARC provided for free by Tor through Netgalley. Reviewing short story collections is tough. No matter how much work the collector put into it, there’s always going to be one or two that you don’t think work. I can’t give a rundown review of all of them, so what I am going to do is discuss a few I thought were good, a few I thought… weren’t, and then talk about how well the collection works together. The first story (Professor Incognito Apologizes: An Itemized List by Austin Grossman) is a strong opener, which is always necessary in a collection. Witty, amusing and a nice riff on the supervillain theme, as well as on the nature of the lies we tell about ourselves to the people we love. Also, I jsut love the writing. Grossman is a strong writer, and does humour well. In three more weeks I had a working blaster, and we met to see Hannah and Her Sisters at the Regent. I fell asleep on your shoulder, dreaming the genetic code for a race of sentient tigers. Wonderful. But as well as being funny, it’s also quite an honest and touching look at a troubled and turbulent relationship, where both parties have been lying about something big. I’m sure there’s more than one reader that can relate. From that onto another story about villains and love, except this one is by Harry Turtledove and there’s not much to say except the fact that I’ve never really liked his writing and this short didn’t convince me otherwise. That may be heresy, but I am what I am and I’ve never been keen on that sort of self-conscious trope acknowledgement. Far too arch and knowing. Clever, but in love with its own cleverness. Blah. Not for me. There are a couple of good-but-not-great pieces before we get to the next one I really liked – Instead Of A Loving Heart by Jeremiah Tolbert, a story about artificial intelligence and true, uncaring evil. It’s very sad, and bleak, and it makes my heart hurt to read. I simply do not have enough space to review the entirety of the rest of the collection, but in all I was pretty impressed. There were plenty of good stories, a few great ones and very few bad stories – though there were a couple I thought were mediocre, or that I thought didn’t fit. In general, it’s a well-curated collection, with most of the stories being above average and working together very well to increase the strength of the whole. I may have to track down a physical copy for dipping in and out.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Davie

    A very funny selection of 22 short stories revolving around the mad scientist, his assistant, and/or descendants. Series: “The Space Between” (Outlander, 7.5) The Stories Austin Grossman’s “Professor Incognito Apologizes: An Itemized List” is too funny for words in its bullet point apology combination of mad scientist AND boyfriend of all that Professor Incognito needs to explain to his girlfriend. Ah gots ta put Grossman on my TBR list. Harry Turtledove’s “Father of the Groom” plays off the bridez A very funny selection of 22 short stories revolving around the mad scientist, his assistant, and/or descendants. Series: “The Space Between” (Outlander, 7.5) The Stories Austin Grossman’s “Professor Incognito Apologizes: An Itemized List” is too funny for words in its bullet point apology combination of mad scientist AND boyfriend of all that Professor Incognito needs to explain to his girlfriend. Ah gots ta put Grossman on my TBR list. Harry Turtledove’s “Father of the Groom” plays off the bridezilla that has become too common in our North American society and demonstrates how a mad scientist would deal with her! Take notes! Seanan McGuire’s “Laughter at the Academy: A Field Study in the Genesis of Schizotypal Creative Genius Personality Disorder (SCGPD)” demonstrates the suspicious nature of an advanced college degree, clearly a sign of madness, lol. And McGuire is quite sneaky in this one! David D. Levine’s “Letter to the Editor” takes the form of an editorial complaining about the misperception the public has on the public service he’s doing for the world. Yup, another funny one. Jeremiah Tolbert’s “Instead of a Loving Heart” is gruesome as he slowly reveals the truth behind Dr. Octavio’s assistant. I am curious as to what happened to Lucinda. Daniel H. Wilson’s “The Executor” is a sad tale of a loving father wanting to help his baby girl and the trust he must go up against to claim the fortune his mad scientist ancestor left for whoever can win it. The choices he makes just make me cry… I could wish Wilson would pen a sequel; I bet it’d be bloody! Heather Lindsley‘s “The Angel of Death Has a Business Plan” is yet another funny with a…hmmm…can I say nasty twist? It’s a twist on the expected trope that benefits one person if no one else in the world, lol. It will take you aback. David Farland‘s “Homo Perfectus” takes the shape of a date with a test. I love how Farland uses dinner to explain what Chancellor Pharmaceutical does and their requirements of their employees. And yes, there’s another twist at the end. L.A. Banks’ “Ancient Equations” pokes fun at Ernest Lassiter and his totally organic approach to life. I do think he should have stuck with the totally natural, though. Alan Dean Foster’s “Rural Singularity” tells the tale of a too-eager reporter who doesn’t know when to stop, although I can understand his desire for access to Suzie’s inventions! I definitely want her generator. Genevieve Valentine’s “Captain Justice Saves the Day” is definitely a twist on the mad scientist assistant role. And thank god for Brenda! We need more practical assistants like her. I’ll bet Captain Justice is thrilled with her! Theodora Goss’ “The Mad Scientist’s Daughter” should really be plural since it’s a club of six daughters, all descended from mad scientists. It supposedly explores how genetics affect the mind, but it seems to veer more toward how being raised by mad scientists affect their child — nature versus nurture. Diana Gabaldon‘s “The Space Between” follows two separate people: the Comte St. Germain and Joan MacKimmie, The comte is obsessing about time travel and Maître Raymond with a side worry about La Dame Blanche. The comte does have an interesting addition to traveling through the stones using precious metal to make the passage easier and smoother, and one of his acquaintances, Mélisande, has left the comte afile powder that she got from Rose Hall in Jamaica. Meanwhile, Jamie’s stepdaughter is on her way to Mother Hildegarde’s convent in Paris. We get a glimpse of the tattooed Ian Murray with his advice to Michael Murray on how to survive the death of one’s spouse. Interesting bit in here about the Parisian cemeteries. I hadn’t realized the French still hadn’t put the dead into the ossuaries. Carrie Vaughan’s “Harry and Marlowe Meet the Founder of the Aetherian Revolution” is a subrosa look at a sequestered murder and the inventor of this new technology that supposedly makes life in late Victorian England so much easier. A bit gruesome. Laird Barron’s “Blood & Stardust” is a confusing short story about a female Igor, time travel, and circuses. This Mary hates her boss and eventually plots her freedom. L.E. Modesitt, Jr.’s “A More Perfect Union” is a horror story — it’s too close to reality in how political aides and managers manipulate elections and the men for whom they work. Naomi Novik’s “Rocks Fall” will make you cry. Novik has created a glimpse into the life, death?, of a superhero and his nemesis, and for such a short story, it is filled with a wealth of background. Then Novik ends it with hope on your part that they’ll get the guy. Damn it. Mary Robinette Kowal’s “We Interrupt This Broadcast” finds Fidel Dobes with no intention of letting American politicians bully the rest of the world, for the U.S. won too big after World War II and is taking its preeminence too much to heart. A little math, a few punch cards, and no one will ever know. Scary thoughts, from both ends and a little too close to home. Marjorie M. Liu’s “The Last Dignity of Man” has some fun with Alexander Luthor buying in a little too hard on those comic books. All it takes is one honest man to make it okay. Now what we’ll do about those government idiots… Jeffrey Ford’s “The Pittsburgh Technology” pokes fun at all those “get rich quick” ads. It’s disheartening to realize that P.T. Barnum was right: “There’s a sucker born every minute.” Grady Hendrix’s “Mofongo Knows” takes off on early twentieth century adventure stories with a super-bright gorilla who almost took over the world. In some ways, Mo’ ain’t too bright. Ben H. Winters’ “The Food Taster’s Boy” finds a dictator whose rule has been going on too long, and he’s bored. Bored, bored, bored. So bored, that he tries to set up a future bad scenario. I gotta say, it sounds like the kind of thing a crazed, bored dictator would do. The Cover The cover is shades of green with a splodge of orange and yellow inside the glass container — and no, I don’t want to look too closely at its contents — ICK! It’s bad enough having to look at the mad scientist with his squared-off glasses, half-bald with his long, stringy, white hair flaring out behind his head, those bared teeth with the gaps between them in that rictus of a smile. Eeek! The title could be appropriate, as any mad scientist, etc., could well use this as a manual for the Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination in his or her move to take over the world.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    I enjoyed this anthology, despite the fact that it took me nine days to read it. I spent three days reading “The Space Between” by Diana Gabaldon, the longest story in this book! I don’t exactly know why, but it was probably just because of daily distractions and nighttime gaming, and not because the stories were in any way dull. They were all pretty great, to be honest. These stories were also rather fun. I don’t know if I have a favorite. I really enjoyed Seanan McGuire’s story, “Laughter at th I enjoyed this anthology, despite the fact that it took me nine days to read it. I spent three days reading “The Space Between” by Diana Gabaldon, the longest story in this book! I don’t exactly know why, but it was probably just because of daily distractions and nighttime gaming, and not because the stories were in any way dull. They were all pretty great, to be honest. These stories were also rather fun. I don’t know if I have a favorite. I really enjoyed Seanan McGuire’s story, “Laughter at the Academy”; Carrie Vaughn’s Harry and Marlowe story; and “Rocks Fall” by Naomi Novik. So maybe those three were favorites of mine? It's quite probable that they were. :-) I also don't know that I have a least favorite story. As far as I can remember, I really enjoyed them all. I just don’t know, but this was a rather fun collection of stories that I really enjoyed reading. I might even buy it for rereading someday!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sunil

    With The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination, acclaimed anthologist John Joseph Adams has put together a (mostly) excellent set of 22 stories about the world of mad science and the people who practice it without fear of consequences, frequently in the name of, well, world domination. Mad scientists pop up fairly frequently in comic books, movies, and television shows, but they don't seem to be explored as much in fiction. We have the classics, like Doctors Jekyll, Frankenstein, and Moreau, With The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination, acclaimed anthologist John Joseph Adams has put together a (mostly) excellent set of 22 stories about the world of mad science and the people who practice it without fear of consequences, frequently in the name of, well, world domination. Mad scientists pop up fairly frequently in comic books, movies, and television shows, but they don't seem to be explored as much in fiction. We have the classics, like Doctors Jekyll, Frankenstein, and Moreau, among others, but I was interested to see these sorts of characters tackled in prose. While several stories do succeed in taking a tongue-in-cheek look at mad scientist supervillains, I appreciated more the stories that took the subject seriously and really dug into the psychology of these people. What drives a person to create monstrosities, to break the laws of God and man? Are they evil? Or simply curious? The most popular type of story is the superhero/supervillain setting, but the collection is fairly diverse, especially since it doesn't confine itself to focusing on the mad scientists themselves, telling stories from the perspectives of assistants, family members, reporters, and, in one case, a robot. I must also mention that one story is about a mad scientist gorilla. A mad scientist gorilla. Some of my favorite stories include Austin Grossman's "Professor Incognito Apologizes: An Itemized List," which is even more hilarious than it sounds, and David D. Levine's "Letter to the Editor," structured as a letter to the editor from a Lex Luthor-esque figure claiming that his evil deeds were done in the name of saving the world from a Superman-esque figure. Seanan McGuire's "Laughter at the Academy: A Field Study in the Genesis of Schizotypal Creative Genius Personality Disorder (SCGPD)" tells you what's going on right in the title, yet the slow reveal is wickedly sinister. Alan Dean Foster's "Rural Singularity" is a winning tale of a country girl who has created two-headed chickens...among other things. And Marjorie M. Liu's "The Last Dignity of Man" is goddamn fantastic, the story of a man named Alexander Luthor who struggles with living up—or down—to the fictional character whose name he shares and obsesses over Superman. I could praise nearly every story in the book. Some are a bit unfulfilling or confusing, but most are quite strong and present an interesting take on the topic. The one black mark is Diana Gabaldon's "The Space Between," a novella that has almost nothing at all do with mad science and whose inclusion is mystifying and irritating, given that those 80 pages could have gone to four interesting stories. For any of you interested in taking over the world with SCIENCE!!, this book is required reading. Mwahahahaha.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Thomas

    Twenty-two tales make up this anthology of the lives of Mad Scientists as they embark on attempts to dominate our world. They include the diabolical, the weird, the accidental, the peevish, as well as the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. You will not find the “typical” mad scientist within these pages for all of the stories herein are told by speculative fiction authors who have creative takes on the classic formula. Authors like David Farland, Harry Turtledove, L.A. Banks, Alan Dean Foste Twenty-two tales make up this anthology of the lives of Mad Scientists as they embark on attempts to dominate our world. They include the diabolical, the weird, the accidental, the peevish, as well as the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. You will not find the “typical” mad scientist within these pages for all of the stories herein are told by speculative fiction authors who have creative takes on the classic formula. Authors like David Farland, Harry Turtledove, L.A. Banks, Alan Dean Foster, Carrie Vaughn, Diana Gabaldon, L.E. Modesitt Jr., and Naomi Novik I have read before but of course I was introduced to new (for me) authors as well. The longest story in this collection by far is by Gabaldon (no surprise) and this novella was also the least “mad sciency” story of the lot. As with all anthologies, there were a couple of clunkers mixed in, but I’ve been drawn to John Joseph Adams’ collections before primarily because he has the uncanny ability to pick and choose the kinds of stories that I enjoy the most. Often, with other anthologists, I find too many stories included that apparently are of high literary merit but seem to lack any interest for me. It’s as if the main goal is to impress the award-granting committees rather than the readers themselves.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    I didn’t use to be a fan of anthologies, but I have to say over the last year or so they’ve really begun to grow on me. The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination is no exception to this new trend in my mind. Edited by John Joseph Adams, a veteran of over a dozen anthologies, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination is full of some interesting short stories. Some of them are from author’s who I’ve liked over the years, including Austin Grossman, author of Soon I Will Be Invincible, Seanan I didn’t use to be a fan of anthologies, but I have to say over the last year or so they’ve really begun to grow on me. The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination is no exception to this new trend in my mind. Edited by John Joseph Adams, a veteran of over a dozen anthologies, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination is full of some interesting short stories. Some of them are from author’s who I’ve liked over the years, including Austin Grossman, author of Soon I Will Be Invincible, Seanan McGuire, author of the Newsflesh novels and the October Daye novels, and Harry Turtledove. And others I had never heard of but will certainly be checking out now that I’ve read some of their material, such as Theodora Goss, Laird Barron, and Jeffery Ford. That’s what makes anthologies great, with the world of books expanding and with time so crunched in what we can read it’s hard to pick out and find new authors. Adam’s compiles a top notch level of authors, and while not all of them were my favorites, there were enough in there that did strike my fancy, that I have no trouble recommending this book as a fun and worth wile anthology. Now, if I had to pick my favorite from the book, I’d have to say it was Austin Grossman’s Professor Incognito Apologizes: An Itemized List. Not only was it hilarious and original, but it reminded me why I loved reading Grossman’s works, in fact so much so that I went out and pre-ordered YOU, his new book coming out in April. The story is a memo of the inner workings of Doctor Incognito’s love life and plan to take over the world. It is funny, engaging, and makes me wish there were more to read on the doctor’s adventures. All in all this was a fun book that introduced me to interesting new authors. Anyone looking for new books to read should check this out so they can sample a bunch of fun new authors. http://whatchamacallitreviews.blogspo...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Al

    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. 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 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. 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.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    Ok so I should probably not *count* this as a book read, seeing how I only read the one short story ~ The Space Between, by Gabaldon ~ but did want to include it as a record for myself. I believe her collection of short stories will be available soon in the US. I enjoyed this story very much as it brought back 'to life' two characters that we had thought long-dead from the Outlander books, Master Raymond and the Comte' St Germain. Won't give out any spoilers here, except to say that 1) I *knew* Ok so I should probably not *count* this as a book read, seeing how I only read the one short story ~ The Space Between, by Gabaldon ~ but did want to include it as a record for myself. I believe her collection of short stories will be available soon in the US. I enjoyed this story very much as it brought back 'to life' two characters that we had thought long-dead from the Outlander books, Master Raymond and the Comte' St Germain. Won't give out any spoilers here, except to say that 1) I *knew* it, and 2) yes, I thought so!! Still anxiously awaiting MOBY -- and plan to re-read Echo this fall so that the story is fresh in my mind and then dive in head first to MOBY as soon as it is released!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Vogel

    (This review originally appeared at Mad Scientist Journal.) Here at Mad Scientist Journal, we were very excited to learn that John Joseph Adams would be editing an anthology titled The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination. With a title like that, we knew it would right up our alley. So when the nice folks at Tor asked if we’d be interested in reviewing the anthology for our journal, I jumped on the opportunity to do so. The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination is a collection of twenty-t (This review originally appeared at Mad Scientist Journal.) Here at Mad Scientist Journal, we were very excited to learn that John Joseph Adams would be editing an anthology titled The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination. With a title like that, we knew it would right up our alley. So when the nice folks at Tor asked if we’d be interested in reviewing the anthology for our journal, I jumped on the opportunity to do so. The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination is a collection of twenty-two short stories about many different sorts of mad scientists and their diabolical plots. In many cases, the mad scientists themselves are the narrators of their stories, but in other cases, the stories are from the perspective of someone who has been affected by the mad scientists and their plots. Two of the stories, “Instead of a Loving Heart” by Jeremiah Tolbert, and “The Mad Scientist’s Daughter” by Theodora Goss, are reprints, but they fit in seamlessly with the original stories. A good number of the stories involve superheroes (some recognizable, others not as well known) as the nemeses of the mad scientists. By focusing on the mad scientist as the protagonist, some of these stories present the traditional villain as a sympathetic character. For example, Naomi Novik’s story “Rocks Fall” features a mad scientist villain who I was rooting for by the end. There are a also handful of stories with steampunk elements to their mad science, like the action-packed “Harry and Marlowe Meet the Founder of the Aetherian Revolution” by Carrie Vaughn. Some of the authors provide mad scientists whose accomplishments are in the so-called “soft” sciences, like political science or psychology. But “A More Perfect Union” by L. E. Modesitt, Jr., will convince you that there’s nothing soft about a mad political scientist bent on world domination. Similarly, Seanan McGuire’s mad psychologist in “Laughter at the Academy” puts her education to good use in her maniacal plots. Overall, there’s a nice mix of humor and darkness in the collected stories. Hands down, however, my favorite story of the anthology was “Letter to the Editor” by David D. Levine. This story tells the tale of the sacrifices that the protagonist, Doctor Talon, has endured for the good of the world. True, it does just so happen that these “sacrifices” are largely in the arena of opposing the superhero Ultimate Man, but as Doctor Talon explains, he’s done everything that he has done for a reason. As is the case with most anthologies, this collection includes a little bit of something that is likely to appeal to every reader. The length of most of the stories was such that I could read a couple of stories in half an hour or so, though there are some considerably longer stories as well. All in all, I found all of the stories interesting and a good read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tasha Turner

    Loved Incognito Apologizes An Itemized list by Austin Grossman had mean stitches the 2 times I read it. This is a must read. It the entire book had been at this level I would have been really happy instead of disappointed. There are other stories I liked/were okay and 2 stories that I can't decide what I think of them. The rest I either read a bit of and skipped or they left me needing to take a break. I don't know if it was the narrative style of the book or something else. But this is one of tw Loved Incognito Apologizes An Itemized list by Austin Grossman had mean stitches the 2 times I read it. This is a must read. It the entire book had been at this level I would have been really happy instead of disappointed. There are other stories I liked/were okay and 2 stories that I can't decide what I think of them. The rest I either read a bit of and skipped or they left me needing to take a break. I don't know if it was the narrative style of the book or something else. But this is one of two anthologies that I had to put down and take a break every 1-2 stories. I liked The Angel of Death has a Business Plan by Heather Lindsley and it had me laughing in several places. The final line of the story is a killer. Homo Perfectus by David Farland was pretty good. My only issue was (view spoiler)[date rape drug (hide spoiler)] but I liked how it ended. Rural Singularity by Alan Dean Foster had a few surprises and kept me turning pages. What an ending. Harry and Marlowe meet the Founder of the Atherian Revolution by Carrie Vaughn got read twice and I'm still not sure what I think. I liked the steampunk feel but I didn't feel pulled in the way I usually am by her Kitty Norville stories. It moved slow and formal for a short story. There was a little humor and some violence as well as aliens and the mad scientist. Rocks Fall by Naomi Novik had an interesting couple of twist. An empathetic villain who wants to save the world but kills people along the way. For the most part I enjoyed this one. The conversation between the villain and one of the superheroes as well as the villains thoughts really brought him to life. We Interrupt this Broadcast by Mary Robinette Kowal was pretty good. Guilt, old punchcard computers, trying to make up for a previous mistake, and love. Hard to believe but I remember going to work with my dad and punchcard computers so the story brought up memories of work I'd done for him as a kid. This is the first thing I've read by this author and you can bet I will be reading more by her. The Last Dignity of Man by Marjorie M. Liu was a fascinating take on what happens when you believe fantasy might be true based on your name. I was surprised by how much growth we saw the villain go through in a short story. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this story as it had worms (ewwwww) and some other gross stuff. But I did enjoy it partly because it includes a message of hope and also the eternal struggle within ourselves between good and evil. The Pittsburgh Technology by Jeffrey Ford is another one where I'm not sure it I like it or not. I'm just not sure why I'm not sure. The plot was interesting, the protagonist was relatable, maybe the villain was not evil enough? I just don't know. Ant stories not mentioned didn't hold my interest or within the 1st page I knew they were going to hit triggers and I skipped them. YMMV. I received an eArc from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. However I ended up reading the hard cover version my husband brought home from the library.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination Edited by John Joseph Adams Performed by Stefan Rudnicki, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Justine Eyre I'm not much of a short story person because I don't really like how they end just as I might be getting interested in them. That said, I really liked this collection of stories. I don't know if it's all the comic book movies being popular these days, but I was in just the right mood for something like this. It wasn't all perfect. I really enjoyed the first h The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination Edited by John Joseph Adams Performed by Stefan Rudnicki, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Justine Eyre I'm not much of a short story person because I don't really like how they end just as I might be getting interested in them. That said, I really liked this collection of stories. I don't know if it's all the comic book movies being popular these days, but I was in just the right mood for something like this. It wasn't all perfect. I really enjoyed the first half of the stories in the collection but thought things got less interesting/slower in the second half. It may have been that some stories shared some similarities and the repetition got tiresome, but I don't think so. I think it was actually that the second half of the stories had more of a serious tone to them that just didn't go as well with me as the more humorous first half. Non story stuff: I really liked Chris Claremont's introduction to the book. I thought it brought some interesting insights into why the bad guy is so important for the hero. I thought John Joseph Adams' introductions to each story were helpful although a bit confusing in the audiobook format (it took a few stories before I understood what the heck was going on with the scientific categorization). I thought they helped me get into the story faster since I kind of knew what to expect and I do think I enjoyed the short stories more as a result. Some would say they spoil the stories but I didn't think they revealed any more than the back of a novel would about its story. Stories: This is hard because there are 22 stories in this collection. Many are humorous and have interesting spins on the common tropes you'd expect from mad scientist or superhero stories. I generally liked all the stories but I'd say my favorites were Professor Incognito Apologizes, The Angel of Death Has a Business Plan, Captain Justice Saves the Day, and Rocks Fall. I didn't overly dislike any stories except for The Space Between by Diana Gabaldon. The story is by far the longest and I had trouble following the different character's stories and understanding the point of the story. It appears that story is from a series by her so it may be that I didn't like it because I haven't read her other works. Audiobook specific: I really like all three readers of this collection. I thought they did a fantastic job with their voice acting. I would definitely listen to books performed by these readers again. I particularly liked Mary Robinette Kowal's performances. She does a great job doing voices of people trying to be patient with the mad scientists - whether it be their therapist, assistant, or fellow evil genius. TOR.com has posted some of the stories online to read for free and those would be a good litmus test if this is the book for you. Professor Incognito Apologizes: an Itemized List by Austin Grossman is a great example of the more humorous offerings and The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss is a good example of the more serious stories.

  24. 4 out of 5

    All Things Urban Fantasy

    Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy 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 Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy 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… AUTHOR LIST • “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 Sexual Content: Some Inuendo

  25. 5 out of 5

    Miss Clark

    Really Liked because of idea, execution, humor, etc. - Professor Incognito Apologizes: An Itemized List by Austin Grossman A really good idea, with some nice twists and a good focus, but too repetitive. Letter to the Editor by David D. Levine Again, great concept. A now-dead "supervillain" leaves behind an explanation of his deeds. Island of a Loving Heart by Jeremiah Tolbert /Tobart (Unsure of the spelling) Captain Justice Saves the Day by Genevieve Valentine I loved Brenda's narration and the app Really Liked because of idea, execution, humor, etc. - Professor Incognito Apologizes: An Itemized List by Austin Grossman A really good idea, with some nice twists and a good focus, but too repetitive. Letter to the Editor by David D. Levine Again, great concept. A now-dead "supervillain" leaves behind an explanation of his deeds. Island of a Loving Heart by Jeremiah Tolbert /Tobart (Unsure of the spelling) Captain Justice Saves the Day by Genevieve Valentine I loved Brenda's narration and the appreciation for all the assistants and aides of these villains and mad geniuses. Enjoyable/ Okay The Executor by Daniel H. Wilson An interesting concept, but bogged down by extraneous details and without a solid core. The Angel of Death Has a Business Plan by Heather Lindsley A therapist that helps supervillains with their monologue issues. Rural Singularity by Alan Dean Foster Mad Scientist's Daughter by Theodora Goss A great concept, but not at all impressed by the content. The Last Dignity of Man by Marjorie M. Liu I really liked the writing here. Father of the Groom by Harry Turtledove DO. NOT. WANT. Genuinely disliked these for a variety of reasons ranging from writing to content, authorial voice to characters. The Food Tester's Boy by Ben H. Winters Homo Perfectus by David Farland Ancient Equations by L.A. Banks Blood & Stardust by Laird Barron Mofongo Knows by Grady Hendrix The Pittsburgh Technology by Jeffrey Ford How utterly sad and pathetic. Simply Uninterested - Laughter at the Academy by Seanan McGuire The Space Between by Diana Gabaldon It was about Jaimie's nephew and set several years after the Voyager books. Harry and Marlowe meet the Founder of the Aetherian Revolution by Carrie Vaughn A More Perfect Union by L. E. Modestitt, Jr. Very politically dry. We Interrupt This Broadcast by Mary Robinette Kowal

  26. 4 out of 5

    Babbs

    If a wave of my magic centrifuge could add MY blurb to the back of this book, I totally would lift that 100lb puppy up and wave it around like a mad woman. I don't think I'm helping my case that scientists are people too... I expected something heartfelt, or at least some sort of rational justification for carting lab equipment to [insert ludicrous location like volcano, ocean, the moon, etc.], where you're absolutely certain no rep is going to uphold their service agreement. When you're centrif If a wave of my magic centrifuge could add MY blurb to the back of this book, I totally would lift that 100lb puppy up and wave it around like a mad woman. I don't think I'm helping my case that scientists are people too... I expected something heartfelt, or at least some sort of rational justification for carting lab equipment to [insert ludicrous location like volcano, ocean, the moon, etc.], where you're absolutely certain no rep is going to uphold their service agreement. When you're centrifuge blows up because some douchbag is breaking into your lab releasing your most recent attempt at scientific genius in to (or on to) the general public, putting your lab back together is going to be impossible. Tucker and Dale style, "this was all a huge mistake, and you just don't understand what's going on," would have been an awesome and hilarious take for such a unique point of view. I also thought the writing style would be more complex, as it is supposedly coming from a scientist, evil or not. It's not, and the condescending tone [could have been my interpretation colored by "evil scientist" remarks for the last 10 years] just made it worse. I'm sure I'm biased but even the comedic value was slapstick/ simplistic and just left me irritated. I can assure you I am most certainly not writing this from a secret lab in a ridiculously complex location, and scientists are just like everyone else. REAL science is in fact MUCH more boring than the media portrays. I can always tell when someone is about to "science" something because they start the centrifuge up, like it's some sort of mythical disease crystal ball. I read this exactly two years ago, so the details are sketchy at best, other than the general feeling of hate/ despise/ loathing I had at the conclusion, which I carry with me to this day. --this message has been sent from the secret underground lab of Sirius Scientist--

  27. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Barron

    This was a great concept for an anthology, and great fun to see where different authors took the mad scientist theme. Some broke away from the hard sciences and included mad social scientists, mad mathematicians, and mad political scientists. Many stories in this collection are full of camp and superhero parody, but I was surprised to find drama and philosophy too. There were three stories in the middle of the book that I felt were quite slow. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter was a great idea, and I This was a great concept for an anthology, and great fun to see where different authors took the mad scientist theme. Some broke away from the hard sciences and included mad social scientists, mad mathematicians, and mad political scientists. Many stories in this collection are full of camp and superhero parody, but I was surprised to find drama and philosophy too. There were three stories in the middle of the book that I felt were quite slow. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter was a great idea, and I feel that the author was trying to create a celebration of the mundane for his fantastic cast, but it made for a dry story. The Space Between took a long time to develop and didn’t fit the theme as well as some of the other stories. A More Perfect Union covered a long period of time with a distant narrator, which made it hard to get a feel for the characters. I’m glad I kept reading, however, because two of my absolute favorite stories from this collection are in the second half of the book. The Last Dignity of Man took me completely by surprise. It was an interesting concept that started out harmless, but when the characters were in jeopardy, I found myself really caring about them. This is quite an accomplishment from author Marjorie M. Liu. Mofongo Knows by Grady Hendrix is also one of my favorites in this collection. If you like talking gorillas or old pulps, you will like this story. In the first half of the book, Tin Man was another favorite. Those three stories alone are worth the price of the book. The reader may want to save the story introductions until after they have read the stories.

  28. 5 out of 5

    B. Barron

    Foreword by Chris Claremont -- *** Professor Incognito apologizes: an itemized list / Austin Grossman -- *** (Barely) Father of the groom / Harry Turtledove -- **** Laughter at the academy / Seanan McGuire -- ***** (LOVED IT!) Letter to the editor / David D. Levine -- *** Instead of a loving heart / Jeremiah Tolbert -- **** The executor / Daniel H. Wilson -- *** The angel of death has a business plan / Heather Lindsley -- *** Homo perfectus / David Farland -- *** Ancient equations / L.A. Banks -- *** Rura Foreword by Chris Claremont -- *** Professor Incognito apologizes: an itemized list / Austin Grossman -- *** (Barely) Father of the groom / Harry Turtledove -- **** Laughter at the academy / Seanan McGuire -- ***** (LOVED IT!) Letter to the editor / David D. Levine -- *** Instead of a loving heart / Jeremiah Tolbert -- **** The executor / Daniel H. Wilson -- *** The angel of death has a business plan / Heather Lindsley -- *** Homo perfectus / David Farland -- *** Ancient equations / L.A. Banks -- *** Rural singularity / Alan Dean Foster -- **** Captain Justice saves the day / Genevieve Valentine -- **** The mad scientist's daughter / Theodora Goss -- ***** (I would LOVE to see this fleshed out to a novel) The space between / Diana Gabaldon -- *** Harry and Marlowe meet the founder of the Aetherian Revolution / Carrie Vaughn -- **** Blood & stardust / Laird Barron -- *** A more perfect union / L.E. Modesitt, Jr. -- ** (Meh!) Rocks fall / Naomi Novik -- **** We interrupt this broadcast / Mary Robinette Kowal -- **** The last dignity of man / Marjorie M. Liu -- **** The Pittsburgh technology / Jeffrey Ford -- ** Mofongo knows / Grady Hendrix -- **** The food taster's boy / Ben H. Winters - **

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brent

    This is one of the best books I've read in months. Nay--years. They say that the villain is the hero of his own story. Nowhere is that more true than the pages of this book. And, as fate would deem it, many times the villains story is extremely humorous. I had many laugh-out-loud moments while reading this book. Not a grin. Not a snicker. A full-blown laugh. While most of the stories in this book were just... great (there's no other word for it), there are a few that were a little more of a stru This is one of the best books I've read in months. Nay--years. They say that the villain is the hero of his own story. Nowhere is that more true than the pages of this book. And, as fate would deem it, many times the villains story is extremely humorous. I had many laugh-out-loud moments while reading this book. Not a grin. Not a snicker. A full-blown laugh. While most of the stories in this book were just... great (there's no other word for it), there are a few that were a little more of a struggle, but ultimately paid off. I'd recommend this to adults who've graduated out of reading comic books, to young adults who may read comic books, to folks looking for nice bite-sized stories to read over their lunch hour, to superhero prose enthusiasts, and to absolutely anyone who needs a good laugh. As my digital ARC of this book is self-deleting, I will be buying a copy of this when it comes out, as I want to read these stories again and share them with others.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Starry

  31. 5 out of 5

    Beth

  32. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    I picked it up for the Diana Gabaldon story--which provided interesting and teasing hints into her world and her concept of time travel (but not enough! arrrgggh!)--but reading for the other stories. A very nice collection, told from the PoV of the "bad guys." Most enjoyed: "The Space Between," "Rural Singularity," "The Angel of Death has a Business Plan." "The Mad Scientist's Daughter" gets a special mention for the concept.

  33. 4 out of 5

    Kate

  34. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Seymour

  35. 4 out of 5

    M

  36. 4 out of 5

    Mekenzie Larsen

  37. 4 out of 5

    Angel Ludwig

  38. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    I only read Diana Gabaldon's contribution, The Space Between . It's not DG's best work. There were some interesting components to the story, but overall I didn't understand the characters' motivations and the story felt a bit contrived. Still, I love the series and will take whatever I can get while waiting for MOBY!

  39. 5 out of 5

    Gwen Morris

  40. 5 out of 5

    Sherry

  41. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    1st: "The Space Between" by Diana Gabaldon - 3/19/13 2nd:

  42. 4 out of 5

    Perla The IB Teen Book Blogger

    Diana Gabaldon's THE SPACE BETWEEN was worth the price of admission. Was there other stories in the book as well, I hadn't noticed.

  43. 5 out of 5

    Lou Rocama

  44. 4 out of 5

    A book away from an episode of hoarders

  45. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

  46. 4 out of 5

    Alicia

  47. 5 out of 5

    China Duncan

  48. 4 out of 5

    Yuko86

  49. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

  50. 4 out of 5

    MelonSamba

  51. 5 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

  52. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa (Books Take You Places)

  53. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  54. 5 out of 5

    Calamity

  55. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  56. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

  57. 4 out of 5

    Shellie (Layers of Thought)

  58. 4 out of 5

    Christina

  59. 5 out of 5

    Sheila

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