Yeah, I’m still here. The holiday season was a busy one this year–in the past month I finished classes for my Masters in Library and Information Science degree, my grandfather passed away, I turned thirty, the world did not come to an end, Christmas, my first niece was born, I attended FutureCon 3: Scruffy Nerf Herders Unite!, and I’m currently packing to move in one week. But I haven’t forgotten about you, my likely nonexistent readers.
A companion volume to When the Hero Comes Home, this anthology of short stories follows the theme of the villain’s return home from their dastardly deeds out in the world. Once a villain, always a villain? And just what makes a villain a villain? Featuring stories by Jim C. Hines, Jay Lake and Mercedes Lackey.
I love villains. They’re usually so much more interesting than the heroes. All the hero has to do is stand around posing heroically while wagging their finger and saying, “You can’t do that because it’s naughty. Because it’s wrong.” (Yes, a Buffy quote. There are Joss quotes for everything.) Or as J.M. Frey puts it so eloquently in her contribution to this anthology, “Heroes can save the world. But villains can change it.”
I particularly enjoyed the short stories “Heels” by K.D. McEntire, about the life problems faced by a career henchwoman, including family weddings, relationships with heroes, and the difficulties of finding a really good pair of stiletto heels for her costume; “Than to Serve in Heaven” by Ari Marmell, about when God asks Lucifer to look after Heaven for a while; “Maddening Science” by J.M. Frey, about a retired villain who just wants to be left alone, when he makes the mistake of rescuing a young woman from certain death; and “Home Again, Home Again (Another Mid-Death Crisis)” by Chris A. Jackson, about an evil necromancer warlord returning home from his latest conquest to the arms of his vampire wife and half-undead children–all in all, he’d rather be out conquering again.