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Diana Gabaldon , Austin Grossman , Seanan McGuire

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Book Description

4 Feb 2014
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.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Breathtakingly rich... Superior writing, fantastic storytelling, and creative adherence to the theme will keep readers enthralled.--Publishers Weekly, starred review on Federations. Editor John Joseph Adams has put together an impressive collection.The Washington Post on The Living Dead 2 --Various --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

JOHN JOSEPH ADAMS is the bestselling editor of Wastelands, Under the Moons of Mars, Seeds of Change,The Living Dead, The Way of the Wizard, By Blood We Live, and The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. He's a two-time finalist for the Hugo and a three-time finalist for the World Fantasy Award. He is also the publisher and editor of Lightspeed Magazine, and the co-host of's The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast. He lives in Coastal Central California. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  60 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Anthology 25 Feb 2013
By Books31 - Published on
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.

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent anthology for fans of mad science! 25 Mar 2013
By G.L. - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This anthology features 22 short stories (well, some of them are novellas) about mad scientists and all the different aspects of being a mad genius. The stories vary greatly: some of them are fairly terrifying, while others are laugh-out-loud funny. You probably won't like all of those stories, but you'll still get a great bang for your buck in terms of value and thought-provoking goodness.

Here are brief, spoiler-free descriptions of every story:
"Professor Incognito apologizes: an itemized list" by Austin Grossman - even supervillains have girlfriends, and they have as many relationship problems as regular people. This story features a pretty entertaining apology to a supervillain's girlfriend, written in a hilarious, itemized way.

"Father of the groom" by Harry Turtledove - I think Turtledove got tired of writing alternate history "what if" fiction, which is why he wrote this story to break the mold. It's a short goofy story about a goofy scientist. It's written almost like a fairy tale, which may be a turn-off for a serious reader. Kids will probably like it, though.

"Laughter at the academy" by Seanan McGuire - one of my favorite stories in this anthology. In this world, every brilliant scientist sooner or later succumbs to the Schizotypal Creative Genius Personality Disorder (SCGPD) and becomes a supervillain. Not all mad scientists are physicists or chemists, though. Behold the wrath of Liberal Arts!

"Letter to the editor" by David D. Levine - the story's character is an awful lot like Lex Luthor and his nemesis is as close to Superman as you can get without violating copyright laws. Here, the villain explains what he did, why he did it and why he's not really a villain after all.

"Instead of a loving heart" by Jeremiah Tolbert takes place during World War II. There's a typical mad scientist, a castle on a mountain peak, death rays and a lonely robot who once used to be human...

"The Executor" by Daniel H. Wilson - nice piece of futuristic sci-fi. It doesn't feature a mad scientist per se, but it shows how his actions can change the world for centuries to come.

"The angel of death has a business plan" by Heather Lindsley - fun, short and creative. The protagonist is a motivational coach who helps struggling supervillains get their act together. Her high fees are used to fund a very special project...

"Homo Perfectus" by David Farland - not so much a fictional story about a mad scientist as an all-too-realistic "holy crap, that might really happen" look at the dark side of the pharmaceutical industry, which is shady enough as it is.

"Ancient equations" by L.A.Banks - not all mad scientists are suave charismatic individuals. This story is about a mad scientist who is a gold-hoarding conspiracy theorist and who can't find a woman of his dreams. But what if he can make one?

"Rural singularity" by Alan Dean Foster is a story about a journalist who discovers something entirely unexpected when he drives out into the middle of nowhere to investigate a lead about two-headed chickens. The story had some potential, but the ending was a tad abrupt and disappointing.

"Captain Justice saves the day" by Genevieve Valentine - even supervillains need secretaries. The protagonist of this story is a secretary with a criminally insane boss and a pretty good instinct for self-preservation. This is one of the shorter stories in the anthology, but it's pretty funny. For some reason it reminded me of "Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog."

"The mad scientist's daughter" by Theodora Goss was one of the two stories I couldn't finish. It features a club of young women whose fathers (or creators) were supervillains from the 19th century: Dr Frankenstein, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, etc. The exposition is nice, but there's not a lot of action... The story might end up with an amazing heist for all I know, but I just couldn't get past the middle.

"The space between" by Diana Gabaldon - ditto. This is by far the longest story in the anthology. It had something to do with 18th-century alchemists, immortality, a young woman who leaves her homeland forever, etc, etc. I know I'm being an impatient male here, but I like my science fiction to take place in modern times and have action, not feelings. I didn't get very far in this story since it just wasn't my cup of tea.

"Harry and Marlowe meet the founder of the Aetherian revolution" by Carrie Vaughn could use a better title, but the concept is brilliant: what if the Roswell UFO crash happened in the Victorian England? And what if the English adapted the unimaginably complex alien technology for their own uses?

"Blood and Stardust" by Laird Barron - a pretty unusual story about a mad scientist from Eastern Europe who lives in Seattle and uses lightning for his heinous experiments (free electricity - hooray!). An odd twist on the classic Frankenstein story, with a little genetic engineering and time travel thrown in for good measure.

"A more perfect union": by L.E.Modesitt, Jr. is a story that features not just any mad scientist, but a mad political scientist! The story is an all-too-realistic description of the way a mad genius can consolidate political power with just a few well-timed decisions.

"Rocks fall" by Naomi Novik was probably my favorite story in the entire anthology. An enigmatic supervillain and a run-of-the-mill superhero are trapped together after a cave-in. A very interesting dialogue ensues. The main character is extremely well written - I hope Novik writes a book featuring him. *hint hint nudge nudge*

"We interrupt this broadcast" by Mary Robinette Kowal - not all mad scientists have giant death rays and armies of minions. Sometimes all it takes is a small glitch introduced in the missile defense system... A short love story featuring a brilliant young man and his relationship with his assistant.

"The last dignity of man" by Marjorie M. Liu - what if your parents named you Lex Luthor? Would you shrug it off or try to emulate your namesake? The multifaceted and talented protagonist of this story does the latter. Great breakdown of the superhero/villain archetypes.

"The Pittsburgh technology" by Jeffrey Ford - what would it be like to have a mad scientist in our average, everyday world? An intriguing story told from the perspective of an average guy down on his luck.

"Mofongo knows" by Grady Hendrix - what happens to the heroes and villains of the Golden Age when they grow too old to be of any use? The super-intelligent ape Mofongo has the answer. A bit longer than other stories but a great read nonetheless. In a way, it resembles "Watchmen."

"The food taster's boy" by Ben H. Winters - what do you do for fun after you take over the world, kill all your enemies and run out of challenges? Create your very own nemesis, of course!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The title says it all! 25 Feb 2013
By Ron Titus - Published on
These days I seem to be buying almost as many theme story collections as full-length novels. Maybe, it is the covers, maybe it is the topics, but probably it is the chance for me to examine many authors' writing styles at once on a similar topic. This collection is no exception. I met some old acquaintances (Turtledove, Foster, Banks, Vaughn, Modesitt, etc.) while meeting some new writers (Grossman, Gos, Winters). After reading all the tales, my favorite two were the 1st two stories: "Professor Incognito Apologizes: An Itemized List" and "Father of the Groom". Both made me laugh and put me in a good mood for the rest of the day. What more do you want from a collection of tales. Read the collection, find your own favorites, and enjoy.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Dignity of Man, Mofongo Knows, and Tin Man are worth the price of the book all by themselves 17 Aug 2013
By Matthew Barron - Published on
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.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A look back on what scared us then 22 Mar 2013
By J.J. Kielty - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Amusing read with no lack of "tongue in cheek" humor. It recounts the days of world threatening evil men and women who came into being in comic books, cartoons and SciFi pulp magazines. Our various evil doers did their best to overtake a confused frightened world and usually failed. Some continued to move forward against overwhelming odds but alas, history reveals that no caped villain has ever been sworn into higher office and his or her counterparts have not, as yet, been able to take control of our lives. If you were a SciFi buff in the 50s and 60s, get your copy of this book and chuckle along with the rest of us. For those of you born into the computer and instantaneous age of constant connection...well. I am not so sure born you would see the humor or even understand the desire to take over the world.
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