SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 1523 If I Were an Evil Overlord, edited by Martin H. Greenberg Book Review |

If I Were an Evil Overlord, edited by Martin H. Greenberg cover image

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 tongue-in-cheek overall.

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.
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