The idea of mad scientists seems so overdone, like an old relic of serials from the Cold War era, which is why it was so surprising to see such nuance in a new anthology edited by John Joseph Adams, called The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination.
The obvious expectation is a bunch of short stories about white-haired men in lab coats, cackling and rubbing their hands nefariously over a workbench covered in bubbling vials. There are a few of those in here, but the authors have given us a surprisingly wide variety of characters, goals, and motivations. Sure, there are guys, but there are also good guys with good intentions gone wrong, normal guys who are misunderstood, geniuses with broken hearts or broken minds, even children who don’t understand their own power. Another laudable choice was to include stories where the mad scientist is a woman, instead of the traditional stereotype.