Book Review: The Mad Scientists Guide to World Domination

Book Review: The Mad Scientists Guide to World Domination


April 18, 2018

This next book is a mouthful.  “The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination.”  A collection of short stories.  Another blurb on the dust jacket reads “All original, all nefarious, all-conquering tales from the megalomaniacal pens…” and then lists some authors.

I had gone to the library in search of David Weber’s newest book “A Call to Vengeance”. A prequel in the “Honor Harrington” series.  I found out that the story had been published and already reserved by someone.  Now I’m second on the list, yay me.  

Feeling lucky I searched for L.E. Modesitt Jr books, and low and behold this Mad Scientists book comes up.  Odd, it was not shelved according to the editor’s last name.  The book was shelved by the title.  For those of you who want to know details?  The editor's name is John Joseph Adams.  I can see why he added Joseph in, would be odd to have John Adams, president edited an anthology about mad scientists.

It is hard to pick a favorite out of the stories provided.  If a gun was placed to my head, I would choose a story I had not known anything about.  The story is by Theodora Goss, the story is “The Mad Scientist’s Daughter”.  You may or may not realize that Ms. Goss wrote “The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter”.  The story here is about the same characters found in the “Alchemists” book, more of a prequel.  I liked it.  Yes, so much so  I found the “Alchemists Daughter” on the “New Book Shelf” and checked the book out.

Carrie Vaughn wrote the only story that had a touch of horror with “Harry and Marlowe Meet the Founder of the Aetherian Revolution.”  This is being very much like a pulp story from the 50s with the tone of the mad scientist.

I must mention L. E. Modesitt’s story “A More Perfect Union”.  This story scared the pants off me.  Not because of the monsters.  I found disturbing, with how spot on the story could be about today’s events in the news.  I found that a political mad scientist running the world from behind the scenes, scary.  There is a little footnote in the author’s bio area where it states; “This story inspired by the events that led to his becoming the legislative director for a U.S. congressman.”  Sounds like the author is a mad political scientist.  Maybe?

I won’t bore you with going through all the stories in the anthology, I will say “Blood and Stardust” was an interesting spin on a Frankenstein like tale.  From a different Igor/assistant’s eye.  Laird Barron was the author who brought the spin, and I rather liked it.

I would not be doing my job if I didn’t mention the stories I didn’t like.   I did not enjoy Diana Gabaldon’s “The Space Between”.  The story didn’t get started.  It was also the longest story in the collection.  I don’t think length has anything to do with my dislike, it is worth a mention.

There were several superheroes vs. villains stories by far the most thought-provoking one is “The Last Dignity of Man” by Marjorie Liu.  This story is about Alexander Luthor, or Lex Luthor, the hook being there is no Superman.  The comics exist, Alexander want’s there to be a Superman, there isn’t, and he feels lost.  Yes, there is a LOT more to the story than my simple thought, and Ms. Liu does an excellent job.  I will look for her stories in the library.

Mary Robinette Kowal of “Writing Excuses” also had a story in this collection.  The story entitled “We Interrupt This Broadcast”.  I listen to “Writing Excuses” almost every Monday on my walks.  So, I had a little fanboy going on.  “I know what this author sounds like, I follow her on Twitter.”  It was then I also realized I had not read anything she has written.  Being an anthology, it was OK to skip around.  I read this story first.  It was a delight.  Purposely not including it with the others because of a known bias, it still needs a mention.

Till next time, see you at the library, go read.

Yes, I keep trying out different taglines till I find one that fits.

Yes, I did use Pro Writing Aid to assist in the editing of this story.

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