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If I Were an Evil Overlord, edited by Martin H. Greenberg Book Review | SFReader.com
If I Were an Evil Overlord, edited by Martin H. Greenberg Genre: Fantasy Anthology Publisher: DAW Published: 2007 Review Posted: 7/8/2013 Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated
If I Were an Evil Overlord, edited by Martin H. Greenberg
Book Review by Joshua Palmatier
Have you read this book?
I picked up this anthology based solely on the title, I have to admit.
However, I?m happy to say that it's a well-rounded anthology with some
good stories in here. We see the Evil Overlord from his/her POV, from
the second-in-command, from the beginning, near the end, from the
minion's POV, the heir, and the hired hand sent to fix the
air-conditioning. We have Seriously Evil Overlords, and others that are
so over-the-top that they're hilarious. In fact, probably half of the
stories in here have a tongue-in-cheek tone to them. Comments on
individual stories follow, but I'd recommend this anthology for some
good, old-fashioned Evil Overlording fun.
If Looks Could Kill by Esther Friesner: As expected, a funny,
tongue-in-cheek story about an elf and his sidekick captured by an Evil
Overlord. In this case, the Overlord is never seen, but instead the elf
and sidekick are visited by the Overlord's daughter in the dungeon.
Hilarity, of course, ensues.
The Man Who Would Be Overlord by David Bischoff: This time we
see the Evil Overlord as he tells his tale of how he came to be the Evil
Overlord. An OK story, although the build-up to the ending was a
little too long... or it ended too quick.
Ensuring the Succession by Jody Lynn Nye: Here, the Evil
Overlord is attempting to secure his succession by testing his heir for
his suitability as Evil Overlord replacement. (This is not a spoiler;
did you read the title of the story?) I liked the story, but found
myself thinking that parts of the story would have been more interesting
if they'd been written from the heir's POV, rather than strictly from
the current Evil Overlord's POV.
The Life and Death of Fortune Cookie Tyrant by Dean Wesley Smith:
This story begins with the first tentative steps of a man destined to
be Evil Overlord... if he doesn't make any mistakes along the way.
So we get to see how an Evil Overlord might develop. An interesting
premise on how the main character gets his powers, and a little
Daddy's Little Girl by Jim C. Hines: The main character here
isn't an Evil Overlord, but rather a minion who died and has been
brought back to life by the Evil Overlord's daughter to help her take
over her father's business, so to speak. I liked the fact that...
well, if I tell you what I liked it would spoil the story. But there's a
twist regarding the main character and the daughter that I liked and
that made the story different.
rdie Culligan vs. Dr. Longbeach & the HVAC of Doom by J.
Steven York: A fun little story where the main character is an air
conditioning maintenance man, with an apprentice sidekick. I really
enjoyed reading this story, and totally believed that the man?s
expertise would enable him to save the day... or at least get most of
the way there. Lots of fun.
The Sins of the Sons by Fiona Patton: A much more serious take
on the theme here than some of the previous stories. I love the world
that Fiona creates here in such a small space, and the characters were
particularly interesting. The author doesn't shy away from some of the
more gruesome aspects either, giving you just enough details to make you
squirm and leaving the rest to imagination. I found the names a little
hard to keep track of, but really enjoyed the story overall.
Loser Takes All by Donald J. Bingle: This story starts off a
little light-hearted, with the main character intent on playing and
winning the video game Ultimate Overlord. The story also has a unique
structure, since we are told the rules he intends to play the game (and
his life), with little vignettes on the actual game play in progress.
It has a slightly darker turn to it by the end though, that I can't say
much about without ruining the story.
The Next Level by David Niall Wilson: Another story that sort of
crosses a video game with a main character, although much different
than the last story. Here, the computer game is more real than what's
happening in the real world. In fact, the story is more about the
supposed computer game than anything else. An interesting take though.
Advisors at Naptime by Kristine Kathryn Rusch: This is a play on
that old adage that a 'five-year-old could have solved that.' The main
character is a five-year-old who simply wants a nap. She doesn't
realize the importance of the job she actually has to do. A fun story
with some real tension in it, especially toward the end. The author did
a great job of keeping us in the POV of the child who doesn't really
understand what's going on around her?while still giving us everything
we need to know what?s really going on.
A Woman's Work... by Tanya Huff: A great Evil Overlord in
this story, someone who knows what they want, why they want it, and how
to get it. The reason this one is memorable is because the Evil
Overlord isn't over the top. She's smart and practical... and will
perhaps remind you suspiciously of your mother.
To Sit In Darkness Here, Hatching Vain Empires by Steven A.
Roman: A truly evil Evil Overlord here, who perhaps goes a step too
far. It takes a little while to get to the main story here, but once
you do, the story is interesting and engrossing.
Stronger Than Fate by John Helfers: I like that this story
plays on the tropes of the epic fantasy novel... probably because I?m
an epic fantasy novelist. *grin* There is, of course, a twist at the
end that you really should be expecting.
Art Therapy by Nina Kiriki Hoffman: I absolutely love the idea
behind this story, where two young boys from the slums vow to aid each
other on their climb to Evil Overlord, one being the Overlord and the
other their trusted second-in-command. But what happens when the Evil
Overlord starts going a little soft? What can the second-in-command do?
The answer is obvious and leads to some great humor.
Click here to buy If I Were an Evil Overlord, edited by Martin H. Greenberg on Amazon