The Supervillainy series by C.T. Phipps has been a guilty pleasure of mine for a few years now. Not only has Gary Karkofsky’s antics as an accidentally successful supervillain just been an absolute pleasure to read, but the world environment, the unexpected twists, and the tongue-in-cheek references to pop-culture makes for an exciting and entertaining read.
The newest arrival to that series, The Science of Supervillainy, hits all of those notes in spades.
This book picks up directly where the last book left off. The Other Gary and President Omega are about to pull off their plan, but Gary and crew take care of it pretty quickly, until they don’t. A time jump ahead and all of the old characters, a bunch of new characters, and a little girl with a super brain step up to help Gary save…err… I mean take over…err…well save first, and then take over? Whatever his plans, the world is in danger, and not his kind of danger. So it’s up to him and his rough and tumble crew to step up and stop Other Gary from erasing them all from existence.
The Science of Supervillainy is filled with both comedic and dramatic moments that blend well together. Using both the dramatic and comedic is how Phipps illustrates, surprisingly well, the conflicts of being a supervillain with morals. Wanting to own and rule the world doesn’t necessarily mean that you want the world to be a filled with shitty people, and Gary most certainly wants to rule the world, but why can’t he have his cake and eat it too?
Elements of this book I loved were the same as the previous titles. The cross-pollination from other worlds, time-travel, comedy, weirdly conceived relationships, and of course the pop-culture references help to make this a fun read. It works so well, and I look forward to the next installment.
5 out of 5 stars.
That kind of fun led me to C.T. Phipps’ “The Tower of Zhaal.”
The Tower of Zhaal is the sequel to Phipps’ first successful foray into Lovecraftian fiction, Cthulhu Armageddon. In that first book, the world has been ravaged by the long ago (but still in our current future) rise of the Great Old Ones. The hero of the first book, John Henry Booth is back, and the taint of the world has eeked it’s way into his own flesh. With Nyarlahotep whispering in his ear, and the threat of the end of the human race on the brink of happening, John has to risk everything with a team that he can’t trust in order to save the few parts of the hellish world that mean something to him.
While traveling to and with some very Mythos specific names, as well as some that are a treat for readers of contemporary Mythos fiction (ie: the Ghoul priest being named Hoade as an obvious reference to fellow contemporary Mythos writer, Sean Hoade). The explanations of Magic, the Science of the Mind, and the different Alien races make it an epic adventure on par with Lord of the Rings or Star Wars, but within the Mythos elements that bring us back.
The world has ended, Alien Gods are everywhere, and the question of humanities survival is a complex one. Can Humanity survive? Should Humanity survive? Would the Humanity that survives even be recognizable as Human?
Phipps weaves a great tale, that makes for an exciting read.
5 out of 5 Stars!
Minor Potential Spoiler: There’s a scene in this book that made me laugh out loud, but not because it was funny. The moment I read it, I wanted to shout, “Ah! He’s been Rick and Morty’d!!!”
I was lucky enough to listen to the audio book, Esoterrorism by C.T. Phipps.
I’ve been a fan of C.T.’s other books (The Rules of Supervillainy, Cthulhu Armageddon) and Esoterrorism doesn’t disappoint.
You follow an agent of the “Red Room,” Derek. The Red Room is a like the CIA of the supernatural. Most importantly, they focus on keeping the majority of the world’s populace in the dark about the things that go bump in the night.
This leads to some moral questions regarding whether or not the world is prepared to know and at what point does the prime directive of keeping the secret interfere with keeping the world safe?
Of course, it wouldn’t be a C.T. Phipps book without a strong character with emotional conundrums plaguing his life, and Derek definitely delivers. His questionable parentage, his conflicted relationship with his ex-wife, and the fact that the interbreeding of the Red Room means that a large portion of their dying agents and operatives are relatives of his. Needless to say, every day at the Red Room should have a mandatory psych eval hour.
The battle includes Derek’s new partner (he has a sordid history with partners), who isn’t altogether what she seems. Using the resources of the Red Room, they have to work together to stop a worldwide disaster of supernatural proportions.
There are two things that Phipps does insanely well. The first, I’ve already mentioned. His characters are usually carrying emotional baggage with them and the story works well to help them in their journey. They have arc and undergo great character development.
The second thing is the action, and this book delivers. Phipps fills this book with the perfect balance of action to developmental scenes and the story reads great because of it.
In regards to the audio book, Jeffrey Kafer is a great voice and a great producer. I’ve been a fan of each of his works and he delivers a great performance in this one as well. I think my only complaint was that after listening to each of the Supervillainy books, I found myself having a hard time not thinking of this supernatural action thriller as somehow intending to be as comical as that series was. That’s more a commentary on my personal experience in the audio book, than anything against the book or it’s audio producer. Like I said, stellar work by the producer.
This book gets five stars, and I look forward to the sequels.
This was a review that I originally wrote for Shoggoth.net.
I first came across the writings of C.T. Phipps while reading his Rules of Supervillainy series. I thoroughly enjoyed those books, so when I heard that C.T. was coming out with an almost Cthulhu Western that takes place after the world has been overrun by every work of Mr. Lovecraft’s, I had to read it.
Great fiction makes readers feel what their characters are going through. When an author can reach into a reader’s heart and pull at the same strings that his or her characters are going through, an author has done their job and done it well.
Philip Hemplow does just that with Ashes.