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Peter Higgins, author of Wolfhound Century

Myke Cole, author of Shadow Ops Series

John Brown John, translator of the Zamonia Novels

Jim C. Hines author of Libriomancer

Nick Harkaway author of Angelmaker (review here)

Martha Wells author of The Cloud Roads

David Tallerman author of Giant Thief

Mazarkis Williams author of The Emperor's Knife

Rob Ziegler author of Seed

Steven Gould author of 7th Sigma

Douglas Hulick author of Among Thieves (review here)

Mark Charan Newton author of Nights of Villjamur (review here)

Kameron Hurley author of God's War (review here)

Brent Weeks author of The Black Prism (review here)

Anthony Huso author of The Last Page (review here)

Brandon Sanderson author of The Way of Kings (review here)

Lou Anders Editor of Pyr Books

Ian Tregillis author of Bitter Seeds (review here)

Sam Sykes author of Tome of the Undergates (review here)

Benjamin Parzybok author of Couch (review here)

Kristine Kathryn Rusch author of Diving Into the Wreck (review here)

Ken Scholes author of Lamentation

Cherie Priest author of Boneshaker (review here)

Lev Grossman author of The Magicians (review here)

Character Interviews

Alexia and Lord Maccon from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Lord Akeldama from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Eva Forge from Tim Akers's The Horns of Ruin

Atticus from Kevin Hearne's Hounded


The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn

Cold Days by Jim Butcher

Year Zero by Rob Reid

Alif: The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Control Point by Myke Cole

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
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GUEST POST | A. Lee Martinez on Supervillains

"It's almost a cliche at this point, but as the saying goes, The villain is the hero of his own story.

I'm not one of those folks who roots for the bad guy. I might like the villain. I might even respect them. But I don't generally find them as interesting or worthwhile as genuinely heroic characters. I know that this is kind of an old fashioned attitude but I don't find Lex Luthor to be more complex than Superman. Lex just has a heck of a lot more baggage, but that doesn't mean he's a richer character. And it seems like every day someone tries to convince me that Batman is more interesting than Superman because Batman is "screwed up". To which, I reply, "Batman is no more screwed up than Green Arrow, who fights crime because he's really good with a bow and arrow, but you don't hear people talking about how complicated Oliver Queen is."

I don't find villains innately appealing. Perhaps I just don't have that dark side. Still, there are villains I like and villains I love. And here's a brief list of them and why I love to read stories with them:

The Riddler: For most folks, the Joker is the definitive Batman rogue. Why shouldn't he be? He's colorful, crazy, and gets most of the publicity. But I love the Riddler. He has style and heart. Out of all the villains portrayed in outside media, Frank Gorshin's Riddler remains my favorite. The Riddler commits crimes because he wants to show he's smarter than you. The crime itself is almost incidental. The Joker might challenge Batman's morality, but the Riddler challenges Batman's intellect. And he's fun in a way that a mass murdering clown can never be.

The Penguin: He's short, pudgy, dresses in a tux, and carries trick umbrellas. In a city full of weirdos, you have to admire the Penguin for his moxy. He found his niche and made it work. There's something admirable about that.

M.O.D.O.K.: A giant floating head with the genius and psychic powers that come with being a giant floating head. Is he ridiculous? Absolutely. But in the best possible way.

Shuma-Gorath: He's a tentacled space god from beyond. How many of these guys are there at this point? Too many. Technically, Shuma isn't a supervillain. He's a force of nature, a monster god. And he isn't relatable to we mere mortals. But I still love the guy despite that.

Shuma-Gorath stands out among his ilk because he fights Dr. Strange, the world's greatest sorcerer. Cthulhu and Shub Niggurath might be more terrifying in their powers, but they also tend to stick to the lower rung of enemies, helpless mortals who can only be driven mad by the mere mention of their names. But Shuma-Gorath goes toe-to-toe with the most powerful magician of our dimension and while Shuma doesn't win, he at least poses a significant threat. And if you're going to play in the big leagues, there are worst shames than losing to the ultimate master of the mystic arts.

Plus, his name is just fun to say.

And last but not least, Doctor Doom: Seriously, this guy is the best supervillainy has to offer. He has his own country, superscience, and psychic powers. Heck, he can even do magic. He's also got the definitive look. You have to be a supervillain to wear power armor and a green tunic and get away with it. He's arrogant (with good reason), and he's his own worst enemy. Being a comic book character, he's been depicted in various ways over the years, so there's really no definitive version. But my Doom of choice is a man of drive who is imprisoned by his own obsessions, who builds a time machine and then doesn't use it very often because that would be too easy. He isn't cruel, but he will destroy you if you get in his way. And he wants to make the world a better place, even if that definition of "better" is all about him being in charge because he's smarter than you and you should just accept it.

To be sure, Doom is a flawed guy, but he needs to be. Without those flaws, he'd have already won by now. Just as Superman's morality isn't a weakness, but a requirement to keep him interesting, so Doom's obsessive nature and strange honor code are limitations that keep him worthwhile as a character.

Bottom line: The guy has a castle, a time machine, and loves to monologue. If that doesn't make him the greatest supervillain ever, I don't know what else to say."

A. Lee Martinez was born in El Paso, Texas. At the age of eighteen, for no apparent reason, he started writing novels. Thirteen short years (and a little over a dozen manuscripts) later, his first novel, Gil's All Fright Diner, was published. His latest novel Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain was just released. His hobbies include juggling, games of all sorts, and astral projecting. Also, he likes to sing along with the radio when he's in the car by himself. For more information on the author, check out

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