It’s so hard to find a good person of hench these days.
Nobody actually says that in this collection of 14 short stories, but it’s not hard to imagine some of them doing so.
The cliches of evil overlordism and Bond villain have worked their way into the Zeitgeist. From Dr. Evil to Darth Vader, everyone knows how the heroes outwit the villain and save the day.
And so do the villains, as a rule. Some have read the Evil Overlord List. Most are aware of the dangers of monologing.
Many of the stories are humorous; some are tongue-in-cheek. A handful are serious.
The stories are generally enjoyable, but there are no standouts. I liked Tanya Huff’s "A Woman’s Work…" about a supremely efficient queen; Nina Kiriki Hoffman’s "Art Therapy", regarding an intervention for a villain who’s lost his edge; Donald J. Bingle’s "Loser Takes All" about an obsessive computer gamer; and Fiona Patton’s "The Sins of the Sons", where the villain is disappointed by his heirs.
Let me also throw in a link to Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s Plot tricks, which I came across while writing this post.