Sorry for the delay but it was my birthday, stuff happened, and today I remembered that I still haven’t finished my list. So here is Berley’s Top Ten Sci-Fi/Fantasy Villain Types (6-10)
6. The Scientist aka the Mad Scientist
I love when writers do it right and I hate when they do it wrong. The Evil Scientist and/or the Mad Scientist. This goes beyond Dr. Frankenstein, even though heís up there, heís not really a villain, at least not in the straight up, cut and dry way Iím discussing here.
My favorite example of a truly evil scientist is Dr. Shou Tucker, The Sewing Life Alchemist, from Full Metal Alchemist. In the anime, (spoiler alert ñ even though this came out about 8 years ago but whatever) he does something quite horrific to his own daughter Nina Tucker (Google her to find out). Iím not going to say what exactly because you know (spoiler alert). But either way it was really sadistic, irreversible and above all tragic. And what made his sick act even more sick, it fit perfectly with his character. Some writers have a bad habit of just having an evil scientist doing evil things for evil reasons or no reason at all. If thereís no reason behind the science and believe me that is never a good place to start or end or have anywhere in the middle. And worse, the fact that these evil acts are not within their character doesnít really matter. Iíve read a story where the evil scientist commits something close to genocide resulting in the deaths of thousands but it wasnít nearly as chilling as what Shou Tucker did to his daughter who is just one victim as opposed to many.
To me the perfect mad scientist is the scientist that puts science and his research above everything else. Especially their families, their friends and especially their own vices and desires. The evil ëgenocide-committingí scientist I read about did what he did because, as he put it, wanted to see how quickly his disease would spread in a wide population. Which is a load of BS. He knew exactly what would happen as he was doing it and even before he was doing it. Shou Tucker had no clue what was going to happen to his daughter during his sick experiment. And although some of you may disagree, I think itís far more chilling for a man to experiment on his own daughter while having no clue what the outcome would be than a man killing thousands of total strangers to test something he already knew would work because it worked the other half dozen times he used it before.
My advice for the mad scientist is this, SCIENCE and more specifically, The Mad Scientistís own research should come before anything else. His or her scientific curiosity should mean more to them than anything else, even their own lives. There have been a few mad scientists who have experimented on themselves to see what would happen. Also, please stay in character. And by that I mean the evil microbiologist canít all of a sudden be an expert in computer science or robotic engineering, chemistry or quantum mechanics. If he/she is a doctor, chances are they earned their doctorate in one or two things. They all canít be Dr. Evil.
7. The Riddler
The Riddler is my favorite Batman villain. The wonderful and at the same time puzzling thing about him is that I never know what his motives are. In fact they seem to change every time he and Batman butt heads. I can remember his riddles more than his objectives.
The Riddler Villain is also one of those, seen-more-in-thrillers-than-in-fantasy sort of villains. Unlike the Collector who collects things from their victims, Riddlers tease investigators, public (police) or privately funded (Batman or any vigilante or P.I.), with, what else, riddles. If you want a real life case study of this type of villain look up the Zodiac killer.
A Riddlerís motives tend to be the biggest riddle of them all. If you decided to use a Riddler I suggest giving him or her a really impressive back story or at the very least, give him a reason why he feels the need to tease in the form of riddles.
A Riddlerís loyalty is not any real objective but to the game itself. They have this need to prove that theyíre smarter than everyone else. They tend to be intelligent, extremely narcissistic, and overly aggressive when they donít get their way They care more about the cat and mouse game played between them and their victims, them and the police and especially them and the protagonist.
8. The Anarchist
This is a villain that is not difficult to write but is very difficult to write well. Most of them turn out being counterintuitive revolutionaries. Or worse, the readers start liking them more than the hero. Remember this post is about villains after all.
The Anarchist is a bit of an enigma because you want your reader to root for your hero and boo your antagonist. Anarchists are difficult to write well because depending on what theyíre after, they can easily fall into any of the other nine categories on this list or the millions of other categories not on this list.
Keep in mind, Joker villains are here to create anarchy, Anarchists are here to cause anarchy. Before you start thinking create and cause are the same thing you must first understand it in context. The Jokers act out in society where they have an audience and easy access to victims. Anarchists just want to cause the apocalypse. They donít even care if they didnít cause it. Just as long as I happens and they get to see it.
Jokers donít hate society or rather, their goals are not about hating society. They honestly donít care. Anarchists LOATHE society (of any kind) and will do anything to destroy it. Their goal is external, destructive and above all others, selfish.
Anarchists tend to be patient and methodical. Jokers tend to be psychotic and apathetic. Anarchists do believe in the end justifying the means, just as long as those means result in the destruction of society.
9. The Monster
When you think of monster, certainly the Wolfman or Frankensteinís monster are certainly good candidates but when I say ëmonsterí I donít mean in the traditional or in the figurative sense, like Hannibal Lector is considered a monster. At least not entirely. When I say monster, I mean someone of great physical stature and ability. A beast that is by nature, very difficult to kill. Batman’s Bane isn’t a traditional monster, but thanks to his Jekyll/Hyde venom his physical strength and size can definitely turn him into one. Then thereís Clay-Face, Doomsday, the Lizard, The Terminator and pretty much any monster from slasher/horror movies.
Monsters are simple villains as well but not nearly as simple as the Dictator or the Businessman. For starters most of them have an origin story. Bane was a genius scientist. Clay-face was a TV actor. The Lizard is Dr. Connors who was experimenting on how to grow his missing left arm back. Regardless of who they are, their origin is always there. And it is that origin that allows the reader to understand their motivations and get deeper into the story. Clay face just wants to be normal again. Dr. Connors just wanted to regrow his arm, not turn into a lizard monster. Even the various Terminators have a preprogrammed objective: Kill John Conner. It may not be a personal objective but itís still an objective. And better yet, itís an objective that makes sense. Iíd rather read about a killer robot programmed to kill some kid than a book about a ruthless dictator bent on world domination. The former sounds like an interesting story and the latter sounds like an interesting story that I’ve seen and read a thousand times.
10. The Soulless
The Soulless are like the Monsters except there are hundreds if not, thousands of them all coming at once. They are the hordes of vampires, goblins, orcs, trolls, trollocs, koloss, terminators and of course, zombies. Regardless of what they are, their only loyalty is to each other and their only enemy is everyone who isnít them. And itís not just limited to a mindless, massive army. Take the Daleks for example. The only life forms they care about are other Daleks and they exterminate any species that isnít one of them, especially if that species is a Time Lord or rather one Time Lord in particular. Zombies are an excellent example of this and so are the Arachnids from Robert Heinleinís Starship Troopers.
If thereís one thing Iíve learned from books and movies like Starship Troopers, World War Z, 28 Days Later, Arachnophobia and a few others is that mindless hordes of something can make interesting villains and make for very gripping suspense. Keep in mind, you can negotiate, threaten or reason with a businessman or a mad scientist. Thereís no reasoning with a horde of zombies coming to recruit or kill you. And most frightening of all, individualism is a sin. Remember there are no individuals in the Borg. Just the Borg.
As for my latest update, it looks like things are moving forward with Curiosity Quills. My book cover from the last blog post is evidence to that. And from the looks of it, other things will start happening pretty soon. As always I will keep you posted and thanks for reading.