In an almost unprecedented move, a conclave of The Super Evil convened last year at a secret lair in North America to create a guide book for aspiring ne'er-do-wells. The result? A collection of papers known generally as "A Method to the Madness: a Guide to the Super Evil, " a collection destined to become the handbook globally of every evil genius. The collection includes 24 papers presented by evil luminaries such as Her Serene Omnipotence Calassandra, Conqueror and Empress; Janus Kinase Hateyuaniwae, BFA, PhD, PhD, FRCCP, P.Eng; and Dr. Evil-n-Carnate, Frequent Flyer, Grocery Shopper and Overlord Of Cubical Block 3257J - to name but a few. Between the 24 sages who assembled at the North American Conclave, they created insightful papers on the pressing subjects of "Cognitive Perspective in the Pursuit of Evil; Principles of Biology and Genetics for Minion Breeding Programs;" and, "The Importance of Date Night to the Married Super Villain."
Book Info: Genre: Short story anthology/Self-help parody Reading Level: MG on up Recommended for: Those who want to be a super villain, or a supervillain for that matter...
My Thoughts: Okay, this was just hilarious. A series of articles including advice on all aspects of being Super Evil, including the care and maintenance of minions, person.al presentation, etc. If you've been wanting some advice on how to be truly Evil, whether it's big or small, you can find that here. Don't miss the biography section at the end that gives information on the various villains that wrote the papers (and the pen names by which they are better known to the outside world). This is an all-ages sort of book, I think anyone with a sense of humor will enjoy it and have a lot of laughs, so definitely check it out
Disclosure: I received an e-book copy of this through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: In an almost unprecedented move, a conclave of The Super Evil convened last year at a secret lair in North America to create a guide book for aspiring ne'er-do-wells. The result? A collection of papers known generally as "A Method to the Madness: a Guide to the Super Evil," a collection destined to become the handbook globally of every evil genius.
The collection includes 24 papers presented by evil luminaries such as Her Serene Omnipotence Calassandra, Conqueror and Empress; Janus Kinase Hateyuaniwae, BFA, PhD, PhD, FRCCP, P.Eng; and Dr. Evil-n-Carnate, Frequent Flyer, Grocery Shopper and Overlord Of Cubical Block 3257J - to name but a few.
Between the 24 sages who assembled at the North American Conclave, they created insightful papers on the pressing subjects of "Cognitive Perspective in the Pursuit of Evil; Principles of Biology and Genetics for Minion Breeding Programs;" and, "The Importance of Date Night to the Married Super Villain."
This collection of short works is presented as a set of essays meant to guide the young would-be Evil Genius or super-villain through the intricacies and challenges of his or her chosen field. Contributions from more than 20 authors range from "Cognitive Perspective in the Pursuit of Evil," through "The Art of Minionizing Marine Life" (tip: small prey fish are prone to being eaten just when you have them trained. Larger predators may eat you), to "The Importance of Date Night to the Married Super Villain."
The essays are categorized in 8 groupings, "Advice," "Education," Fashion," "Henchmen," "Lifestyle," "Mad Science," "Marketing," and "Help Wanted," some of which probably overlap. These are indicated by icons at the beginning of each essay, which unfortunately were a bit too small to see clearly on my Nook, and the meaning of which often eluded me. It didn't really matter, though, as I was not reading for any particular information, merely to gain an idea if a career in the Super Evil might be for me. If I had been trying to address particular needs, however, I would have found it more helpful if the essays had simply been grouped together the categories, rather than scattered throughout and merely identified by icon. As many of the essayists note, efficiency is important in an Evil Organization.
The quality of the essays varies. Some read rather like conference papers, which is to say, a bit on the dry side. Others might more accurately be labeled "short stories" ("Confessions of a Young Mad Scientist," by Julian Kaiser, PhD., MD, MSD [doctor of mad science] [a.k.a. Scott Roche] falls into this category), and are enjoyable reads. Quality of editing is also inconsistent, with some clearly very carefully prepared and others in need of, at least, a good proof-reader. A few rose to the level of annoying me with mistakes, as I'm a bit of a stickler for getting the language right.
Logistically, I would also have liked an easier way of connecting the stories to the actual authors (easy enough with the paperback to look in the back where all is revealed, but more awkward with an ebook). A hot link from the Evil Genius to the less evil writer would solve that problem and allow readers to make a note of any they wish to follow up on, either to read their fiction or to put an FBI watch on.
It isn't completely clear what the intended audience of the book is, but I would say that young adult readers who are fond of tales of superheroes and villains, as well as fans of speculative fiction in general, would enjoy dipping into this and sampling the wit. A reader of my blog has noted that it could be helpful in understanding the villains we create in our own fictions, too. Above all, of course, the entire book is tongue in cheek, with a few good zingers directed at current events and political absurdities, so anyone who likes humor will find something to chuckle at. I did find that the concept grew a little tedious when reading through in one fell swoop, but as the majority of the essays were diverting when not taken in such large doses, I can recommend it for browsing.
Three stars, knocked down from 3.5 by the editing issues.
Are you aiming for world domination? Looking for tips on minions and henchpeople? Need a boost to your moral in a world that just doesn't appreciate evil the way it should?
Look no further, because I have the book for you!
A Method to the Madness: A Guide to the Super Evil is a collection of papers for aspiring ne'er-do-wells, written by those who have succeeded in the world of evil.
And if you're not aspiring to a life of evil, you might pick this up to see what the junior high kids down the road are really up to...
On a more serious, less tongue-in-cheek note, I chuckled and howled my way through this book. I mean, see if you don't grin a bit just looking at these chapter titles:
Being Evil in Normal Ways, by Dr. Evil-n-Carnate, Frequent Flyer, Grocery Shopper and Overlord of Cubical Block 3257J Lairs: A Conversational Tirade on Functionality, by Minion's Employer The Genius of Being Fashionably Evil, by Dr. Markus Mefistofoleez The Importance of Date Night to the Married Super Villian, by The Dark Lord Public Relations Tactics for Supervillains, by Jack Dickerson Human Resources in the Evil Organization, by Dr. Ignatius Duplicitous
This is an entertaining read, and if you even remotely enjoy essays, you have it here. I thought at first one person had written all of them, and I marveled at how very different the voices were. Come to find out (at the end) that it was in fact written by a host of different writers, all assuming a personality.
If you're looking for good beach reading, here you go. If you're ambitious, you might notice themes throughout that are slightly troubling...like, wait a minute, are certain government officials taking this advice?
All too often, I get really stuck in being serious and finding the deeper meanings. It's not bad to have a fun book like this to fall back on.
Recently it occurred to me that I'm not getting any younger and its time for me to start following my life's dream of becoming an evil mad scientist and take over the world. The problem was I didn't even know where to begin, I mean it's not like there are evil genius classes that you can take at your local community college. Then I was looking online and found A Method to the Madness A Guide to the Super Evil edited by Jeffery A Hite and Michell Plested.
This book will tell you everything you need to know to be an evil super villain. It includes articles on how to choose an evil henchman, how to dress to take over the world, how to cross-breed minions, how to decorate your secret lab and how to be evil in normal ways. Several Evil masterminds have gotten together to give people like me, who dream of being evil, a guidebook to make things easier.
There is a lot you can learn in this book, such as the pros and cons of having zombies as henchmen, how to get your own Igor and the problems you run into with creating an army of super robots. I would recommend this book to anyone with plans on world domination because there is a lot of good info in here. Keep in mind though when you get this book that it is a self-help book and not really a novel.
The people who will really enjoy this book our the people who like to read comics and root for the bad guy. A Method to the Madness really gets into how a super villain would think if there really were super villains. There are 24 articles in this book about being super evil. Each article is by a super villain with the writer behind the villain given at the end of the book.
There were some really funny parts in this book. My favorite part was learning that evil masterminds were running the health care system. Considering how much it is to visit a doctor, I guess I should have figured that one out. I also liked the sections on choosing a henchman. I laughed out loud at one of the villains saying how creepy it is watching his carnival freak show minions just sit there. Other sections I enjoyed were public relation tactics for super villains and why giving ultimatums don't work.
While I do want to recommend reading A Method To The Madness I have to say that this isn't the kind of book that you would enjoy reading all at once. This book is more like a manual then a series of short stories and if you read it all at once you may get bored. It gets a little dry in places and some of the ideas get repeated. You would enjoy A Method To The Madness much more if you read one article every other day and not all at once. Keeping that in mind, I think for any fan of super hero literature, this book is a must have.
I was given this book complimentary from LibraryThing.com in e-book form in return for my honest review. Everything stated in this review is of my own opinion and I was not compensated monetarily for providing this review. I found this book to be a slow read, not due to it being badly written - it is not. I am one of a minority who did not like 'Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy', fans of this style of humor I suspect are the target audience for this book. I read this one section at a time normally while waiting on other things. It was mildly amusing but I never laughed out loud although I did frequently smile. This is an ideal book to dip into while waiting for appointments. I am a big fan of superhero books and love the Astra series by Marion G. Harmon, all the X-men books and most of the others in this genre but I am sorry to say this just did not float my boat.
I was given this book to review as an ebook. That made it easy for me to read it while waiting for other things in my life to happen (a store to open, a doctor to see me, that sort of thing). That was, unfortunately, the only good thing about it. It was not badly written, it was just simply boring. I found my mind drifting from the words and taking flights of fancy that had little to do with the book I was supposed to be reading.