Friday, September 4, 2009

If I Were An Evil Overlord

If I Were an Evil Warlord edited by Martin H. & Davis, Russell Greenburg is a collection of fourteen stories based on the Evil Overlord List. I first read the evil overlord list a number of years ago, many other lists in a similar vein as well, such as if I were a magical girl. Those lists are fairly amusing.

I don't think I could ever be an evil overlord, besides not being evil, I don't have the social skills required to be one, nor the ambition. I also don't find the idea of being an overlord all that appealing, while it would undoubtedly have various perks, the job has too many negatives, like people trying to overthrow you, dealing with all the problems that your domain has, etc. that sort of cancel out the perks. Many of the perks of being an evil overlord could be gotten with sufficient cash in real life and without a lot of the danger. We live in a world in which money can get you a lot of things it should not be able to, for example a sex (or any other use you want) slave can be purchased for less then a hundred dollars in some places (Haiti for an example).

Most of the stories have some type of moral to them, or at least a moral can be derived from them. Here is a list of the stories contained in the book and my opinion on each:

01. If Looks Could Kill - Esther M Friesner
- Pretty humorous fantasy story. Makes good use of the line, the evil overlord's daughter must always be as wicked as she is beautiful, for a funny ending.
02. The Man Who Would Be Overlord - David Bischoff
- A case of purposely mistaken identity, the overlord in this acts as a balance to prevent stagnation of civilizations, evil actions leads to evil appearance. A fairly mediocre story.
03. Ensuring the Succession - Jody Lynn Nye
- This story was fairly entertaining, an evil overlord sets up his successor by first testing him.
04. The Life and Death of Fortune Cookie Tyrant - Dean Wesley Smith
- This story sucked, the only good part was the line "you forgot rule 85" which is Once I have securely established myself, all time travel devices in my realm shall be utterly destroyed.
05. Daddy's Little Girl - Jim C Hines
- I liked this one because it has the evil overlord as a little girl. Evil comes in all shapes and sizes, but she still a little girl who, though evil, wants someone to love her.
06. Gordie Gulligan vs Dr Longbeach and the HVAC of Doom - J Steven York
- This one is supposed to be humorous, I just found it stupid. Air Conditioning repair man saves world from an supposedly evil overlord (supposedly evil overlord because all he does is build death traps but doesn't actually want to win).
07. The Sins of the Sons - Fiona Patton
- I didn't like this one.
08. Loser Takes All - Donald J Bingle
- This is one of the best stories in the book. It shows how an evil overlord is really lonely and basically a loser. Gave up everything (all social and familial ties) to become one and can trust no one.
09. The Next Level - David Niall Wilson
- Not so good. A witch somehow locks a video gamer up in a room and magically has the video game control the world she is trying to overthrow.
10. Advisers at Naptime - Kristine Kathryn Rusch
- Pretty good. This story uses the rule involving an average five year old used to check your plans. It is told from the five year old's point of view.
11. A Woman's Work - Tanya Huff
- This one is either the best or second best story in the book. If I were to be an Overlord, I'd probably be this type of overlord (though it's completely impossible). This overlord treats her people very good, quickly deals with her enemies, hires people to act as dissenters, doesn't tolerate stupidity and praises those who work for her/does their jobs well.
12. To Sit in Darkness Here Hatching Vain Empires - Steven A Roman
- I'm of a split mind as to whether I liked this story or not. It's not so much about an evil overlord but a destroyer of worlds. I found some parts interesting but overall I'm not sure if I liked it or not (I'll know in a few months, since if I still remember it, than I most likely liked it).
13. Stronger than Fate - John Helfers
- Not a bad story, the evil overlord is fated to lose, since evil always loses to good (in fiction and while not always in real life it does so more often than not). This evil overlord has a way around fate though.
14. Art Therapy - Nina Kiriki Hoffman
- Stupid story involving group therapy for Evil Overlords who are in a slump.

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