It’s villain week!

by KJ in #AmReading

In which science fiction and Sam Bankman-Fried unexpectedly collide.

This week, it’s a tale of two plane flights. Let’s start with my travel to the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville. I’d planned to write on the plane, and I usually do, but I’d scooped up a paper advance copy of Starter Villain from John Scalzi for take-off and landing when laptops are verboten. And then I kind of accidentally read it the entire flight because it was that good.

The tag-line on my copy was something along the lines of inheriting your uncle’s super-villain business is more complicated than you’d think… and it’s a hysterical romp involving sentient cats, unionizing dolphins and the logistical nightmare that is a oceanic volcano lair. I loved it.

The flight home was delayed, and the result of walking by approximately 546 bookstores selling mostly faux-healthy plane snacks and also Michael Lewis’s book about Sam Bankman-Fried and the fall of FTX was that I purchased the latter. (And a donut, because I’m not falling for your trail mix shenanigans.)

It was wildly entertaining. And distressing, because of everything you learn about how this can happen, and disturbing because same.

But how, you ask, does that relate to Starter Villain—and my other villain book of the week, Assistant to the Villain, which I described accurately in my missive two weeks ago as one for my Princess Bride people out there?

Well it turns out there’s a lot of paperwork involved in being a villain, and villains aren’t necessarily good at it. They need staff. In fiction, that goes (relatively) swimmingly (some of) the time. In reality… not so much. But Starter Villain and Going Infinite turn out to have a lot more in common in their view of the financial system than you’d think. (Never trust your money to anyone who doesn’t understand that money is a human construct… but similarly, never trust it to someone who genuinely believes it’s nothing but a human construct.)

That’s it from me this week! Of course, as always, if you haven’t read Playing the Witch Card yet, I very much think you should grab one! Or get started with The Chicken Sisters or In Her Boots, because while the blurb on Playing the Witch Card says “Gilmore Girls meets Practical Magic” it really should probably be Practical Magic meets The Chicken Sisters. But it’s weird to comp yourself.

Good villain book recs welcome!

PS—y’all picked The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch as my next read and so did I and I LOVED IT. But more on that later…

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