My Cultural Diet

358 reviews of movies, TV shows, books, restaurants, etc. My own private Goodreads, Letterboxd, and Yelp all rolled into one (more info here). Ratings are 100% subjective, non-scientific, and subject to change. May contain affiliate links.

Starter Villain by John Scalzi
Charlie Fitzer is a down-on-his-luck substitute teacher barely living from paycheck to paycheck. When his ultra-rich uncle dies, it seems like things might finally be turning around for Charlie — except that in addition to being ridiculously wealthy, Charlie’s uncle was also one of the world’s greatest super-villains. And now Charlie has been tapped to be his heir, which means dealing with the world’s other super-villains. But at least Charlie now has his very own island volcano lair. Starter Villain is precisely what I’ve come to expect from John Scalzi: an engaging and entertaining read that’s the literary equivalent of a bacon double cheeseburger with a side of fries and a chocolate milkshake. (Which is a good thing.) It’s frequently funny — the potty-mouthed talking dolphins trying to unionize had me chuckling, as did a scene of super-villains trying to meet over Zoom — and as an added bonus, Scalzi makes some pointed digs at tech bros and ultra-rich elites alike. (Which feel particularly relevant in light of, say, Elon Musk’s “inspired” leadership that’s current driving Twitter down into a death spiral.)

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