Sinister supreme genius and super-villain, Dexter Snide, has floated Evil on the stock market and has gathered together a band of fellow villains, whose key challenge now is to ensure that Evil shows a consistent profit.
Evil UnLtd: on a mission of indefinite duration, to seek out new evil schemes and boldly go to depths and extremes where no super-villain has gone before.
Every so often, I read a book that catches me completely off-guard and I fall head over heels in love with it. Either it’s a random find discovered while browsing in a bookshop or it’s in a genre I don’t read very often. In 2010, Evil UnLtd: The Root of All Evil by Simon A Forward was that book. Or, more accurately, that ebook.
I think most of us would admit to sometimes preferring the character of the baddie in a novel over that of the good guy. They’re fun to write and even more fun to read about and secretly cheer on when you know they’re safely contained between the covers of a book or, as is increasingly becoming the case, trapped inside an eReader. The list of fictional villains I admire is a long one and includes Captain Hook in Peter Pan, The White Witch from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Cruella de Vil in 101 Dalmatians, Long John Silver in Treasure Island and Ferdinand in The Duchess of Malfi.
So imagine my sheer unadulterated joy when I read the blurb for Evil UnLtd only to discover that the heroes of Simon’s novel were the villains. Too perfect! I had to read it.
The main character of Dexter Snide is a wonderful creation. As the evil mastermind behind the thoroughly modern criminal organisation that is Evil UnLtd, he is brilliantly aloof, holds just about everyone in contempt, and is the proud possessor of a biting wit. He excels at formulating excessively complicated plans which are often frustrated, thus forcing him to wing it with a flair only he could bring to such an endeavour. He assembles a suitably motley crew of villains: I loved the muscle of the operation, Mr Knucks, who has cybernetic arms that he can take off and send to do a workout – I mean, just how cool is that?! I also grew very fond of the Hatchling, a bad tempered stegasaurus-like creature who spends most of his time in an egg, waiting to unleash all his pent-up fury whenever he’s released; then there’s Evil Robot, who’s always handy in a fight and is biding his time to restore his kind to their rightful place in the universe; poor old Professor Doomladen, who is nervous, apologetic and bumbles his way to discoveries that he can never remember so he can repeat them; and then there’s Tanith Troy, who’s my kind of heroine, confident, assertive, ballsy, adventurous, and with a wit to match that of Dexter’s, she’ll happily tease her opponents into submission, if her sex appeal and charisma doesn’t floor them first. The only character I didn’t especially warm to was career criminal, Mr Ferret, but I think he might have suffered from being overshadowed by the sheer brilliance of the others.
Naturally, with all of these villains, there has to be a hero and he comes in the form of “tanned gorilla” Rolph Stengun: The Muscles from Nova Stockholm. I really don’t need to say anymore about him, do I? Good, I thought not.
Evil UnLtd: The Root of All Evil is a genius space farce. Dexter Snide and his associates bumble their way through a series of (mis)adventures with a view to accumulating as much power, notoriety and wealth as they can. It is a wickedly funny, extremely well-written sci fi comedy that reads like a mash-up of Douglas Adams meets the TV sit-com, Red Dwarf, and one of my favourite sci fi tribute films, Galaxy Quest. It’s literate sci fi, chock full of humour and word play with some lovely nods to the genre and a wonderfully fitting cast of characters. Happily, as you’ll also no doubt have noticed, The Root of All Evil is only Part 1 in the Evil UnLtd series and Simon is currently working on Evil: Part 2. This makes me excessively happy, as I can’t wait to rejoin this band of villains on their next scrapes as they chase Evil domination of the Universe. I suggest you beam the first volume down to your eReader and buckle up for the ride. It’s great fun being Evil.
Evil UnLtd: The Root of All Evil is currently available as an ebook in Kindle format (you don’t have to own a Kindle to read it) or from Smashwords. It is also available to pre-order as a paperback. You can read a sample of the book on BookBuzzr. Evil UnLtd has its very own blog 4d Evil, which has some excellent extras such as character sketches and background info, your very own Evil UnLtd e-shirt to download, a step-by-step guide to make your very own Hatchling, together with a whole host of goodies that Simon put together for his 12 Days of Christmas giveaway. You can find more information about Simon and his work from his Author Website and you can also Follow Simon on Twitter.