The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination

Mad-Scientist-Cvr_091312The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius. John Joseph Adams, Ed. New York: Tor, 2013. MP3.

Genre: Anthology

Summary: A collection of 22 positively witty and wicked short stories from a slew of talented authors including Harry Turtledove, Diana Gabaldon, Carrie Vaughn, and Austin Grossman, to name only a few.

Critique: Throughout the collection, stories explore an intriguing hypothetical to its inevitably surprising conclusion.

What if your girlfriend discovers and breaches your your super-secret underground evil genius laboratory? Do you forgive the violation of your private space and adult autonomy (not to mention countless passwords) or do you seal her up and doom her to a cruel atomic death?

What if you are the success coach and motivational speaker to some of the world’s worst bad guys? You know, the really inept ones who just can’t get their evil sh*t together and make a decent headline? Do you suffer under a crummy 15% commission for those rarely successful heists or do you steal every trick of the trade and turn yourself into the Mother of All Things Evil?

Or, what if you’re the personal assistant to a super evil genius who totally neglects to appreciate all that you do while the superhero’s personal assistant gets flowers on her birthday and regular salary increases? Would you sell out your boss and botch his next evil plan to take over the world?

Count on each story to take a fresh approach to modern villainy. Depend upon your heartstrings getting plucked and your thoughtomaton brain to purr with rumination more than once as tough interpersonal and ethical issues are dealt out and duked over. Most especially, expect to laugh out loud a lot!

For best results: read (or listen) to this book in a crowded public place!

How Right You Are, Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse

PGWodehouse

Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse when he was about 23 years old. Image PD.

Wodehouse, P. G. How Right You Are, Jeeves. New York: Harper & Row, 1960. Print.

Genre: humor

Summary: Rich boy Bertie Wooster goes on a weekend holiday at the same time his butler, Jeeves, is called away to judge a beauty pageant. In just a few short hours, Bertie manages to wreck his best friend’s wedding engagement, ruin his uncle’s lucrative business prospects, all while convincing a gossiping American author that he’s completely insane. Only one person can clean this mess–but can Bertie find Jeeves in time?

Critique: In a book where every chapter is a romp, I’m not sure most readers can keep from getting bucked off Wodehouse’s saddle. Especially not when they’re clutching the laugh-stitches stabbing their sides. Best of all: Bertie’s ultra glamorous slang. His life is so full of drama that he must always abbreviate. For instance, he must call Lady Wickham and get the sit. (situation). His past is a painful subj. Ultimately feels rather contemporary and not that different from txtspk. Additional humor derives from Bertie’s careless splicing of French and Latin alongside his patchy memory for practical words: “I’m what they call an a-something of novels. Aficionado, would that be it?” Everywhere else, the dialogue clips along as the mixups stack faster than bills in a millionaire’s wallet. In short, reading Wodehouse is a lot like watching one of Preston Sturges’s movies from Hollywood’s Golden Age! OMG. ROFLMAO!