Starter Villain

John Scalzi

21 September 2023
272 pages


Locus and Hugo Award-winning author John Scalzi brings us a turbo-charged tale of a family business with a difference - as Charlie discovers when he inherits it. This one comes with a hidden headquarters, minions, talking cats and James Bond-like supervillain rivals.

'Starter Villain establishes Scalzi as SF's leading humourist' - SFX

Warning: supervillain in training. Risk of world domination.

Inheriting his late uncle’s business proves complicated. It’s also way more dangerous than Charlie could ever have imagined. Because his uncle had kept his supervillain status a secret – until now.

Divorced and emotionally dependent on his cat, Charlie wasn’t loving life. Although they weren’t close, news of his Uncle Jake's death didn’t help. And that was before Jake’s rivals (seriously vengeful ones) ambushed his funeral. Now Charlie must decide if he should stay stuck in his rut, or step up to take on the business, the enemies, the minions, the hidden volcano lair . . .

Even harder to get used to are the sentient, language-using, computer-savvy cats – and the fact that in the organization’s hierarchy, they’re management. If Charlie does say yes, this lifeline could become a death wish. Because there’s much more to being an Evil Mastermind than he suspected. Yet could this also, finally, be his chance to shine?

Praise for John Scalzi:

‘Hugely enjoyable, intelligent and good-humoured fun’ - The Guardian

‘Sheer geeky pleasure from start to finish’ - Financial Times

‘An escapist delight’ - The Times

Scalzi's latest is a light-hearted story with a likeable fish-out-of-water protagonist and a lot of very smart cats. There's also a dolphin labor dispute, some truly awful techbros, and a volcano island lair . . . Who could resist?
Laugh-out-loud funny, intricately plotted and big-hearted enough to touch even the grumpiest cynic, Starter Villain establishes Scalzi as SF's leading humourist
Prepare to be delighted and surprised