I’ve stated before that I like villains. A solid bad guy will make the whole story better, filling in the atmosphere and setting the stone. They’re the proactive players, usually, the ones the good guy has to best to keep the story going and the innocents safe. Their motivations are usually easier to understand than the hero, for better or for worse as well. That’s why I love books about bad guys. I’ve read Soon I Will Be Invincible, and Goblin Corps, and a few others (I call this the “black hat genre”). I enjoyed the sections narrated by the title villain in IT and Eyes of the Dragon the best. This book, which I’ll call EMVTSB for short, falls well in this neighborhood.
The protagonist is a Neptunon spacesquid who has recently retired from conquering the Earth. He soon falls into a complex scheme against a mysterious enemy, all the while trading barbs and stories with his unwilling associate who was ordered to kill him for his past crimes. While he tracks down his shadowy foe, we learn a little about his past and why he behaves this way.
It doesn’t sound like it would fit in the “bad guy” section, but it does. Mollusk is unrepentant about his past crimes, openly admitting them. He does it because it stops him from getting bored, since his immense intellect keeps on buzzing away. He’s not as twisted as Doctor Impossible from “Invincible”, but the same seed is there, the same ruthlessness.
Sadly though, I can’t give the story the A+ it deserves. Mollusk, err sorry EMPEROR Mollusk is a funny and clever character, but he’s so smart and well-prepared that there’s rarely any suspense. He has an answer and a plan for EVERYTHING, and while that does underline his intelligence and his argument that things would be better under his rule, it detracts from the story. Think Batman with fewer scruples, a robotic body and a soft squishy head and you have it. By all means read it, enjoy it, and recommend it to your friends, but it’s a light read without much thought or meat, and you won’t remember much about it afterwards. Except for the
Radioactive Brain of Madame Curie!