Book review: The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination


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

Editor: John Joseph Adams

Genre: Science Fiction Anthology

Publisher: Tor

Note: This review is being published simultaneously on Char’s blog, Apocalypse Mama, and here on In Case of Survival.


Mad scientists have never had it so tough. In super-hero comics, graphic novels, films, TV series, video games and even works of what may be fiction, they are besieged by those who stand against them, devoid of sympathy for their irrational, megalomaniacal impulses to rule, destroy or otherwise dominate the world as we know it.

Dr. Frankenstein was the first truly mad scientist of the modern era. And where did it get him? Destroyed by his own creation. And Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo, a man ahead of his time as well as out of his head, what did he do to deserve persecution?

Even Lex Luthor, by all counts a genius, has been hindered not once, not twice, but so many times that it has taken hundreds of comic books, a few films and no fewer than ten full seasons of a television series to keep him properly thwarted.

It’s just not fair. So those of us who are so twisted and sick that we love mad scientists have created this guide. Some of the names have been changed to protect the guilty, but you’ll recognize them. But it doesn’t matter. This guide is not for you. It’s for them, the underhanded, over-brained, paranoiacs who so desperately need our help.

What lies behind those unfocused, restless eyes and drooling, wicked grins? Why–and how–do they concoct their nefarious plots? Why are they so set on taking over the world? If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions, you’re in luck: Because we are exposing their secrets, aiding and abetting their evil. It all awaits, within.

Watch out, world!

My thoughts:

Oh my God, this book was so much fun. So. Much. Fun. I’ve always been slightly fascinated by mad scientists — you hardly ever see anything from their point of view. What makes them tick? Are they really mad/evil?

Luckily, this book shows us a glimpse into the mad scientist world. And it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

It’s a long book, so it took me a while to finish it. Not because it’s boring, but because it’s long and I don’t have as much time as I would like to read a book sometimes. Of course, since this is an anthology, it works quite well for people who can’t sit down and read a novel because they don’t have time.

There are over twenty stories in this book, all of which are written by known names in the genre. As you may expect, each story is well-written, interesting, and funny in a sarcastic sort of way (just my kind of story!). My favorite was the mad scientist/evil villain career coach. Seriously. A career coach. (I know, right?)

The only story I wasn’t enthralled with was the final story, which was Diana Gabaldon’s contribution. Before you Outlander fans hunt me down and stone me, let me explain why. The story was completely different in tone and length from the other stories and just didn’t fit. It wasn’t humorous (nor was it meant to be), and it was really, really long. I mean, we’re heading into novelette territory here. The story was set in the Outlander universe, so fans of Outlander will  probably enjoy this story. (I must admit, I didn’t finish the series.) Overall though, the story just through me off. Coming off twenty-some other stories of great mad scientists with a sarcastic wit to them, going into this one was a complete 180. And I didn’t really like it because of that. On its own it would be a good read, but with the other stories in the anthology, I thought it was out of place in both tone and style.

But! If you like evil geniuses, and you like them with a touch of humor, check out this anthology. Who knows, you might pick up some tips.


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