An exuberant handbook for making the world better.

HOW TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD

PRACTICAL SCHEMES AND SCIENTIFIC SOLUTIONS FOR THE ASPIRING SUPERVILLAIN

A fun book about “the edges of science, the limits of what’s currently possible thanks to the technology that humans have already invented or are currently inventing.”

North, an Eisner Award–winning writer for Marvel Comics, offers an entertaining manual illustrated with suitably farcical drawings by comics artist Monardo, imparting detailed advice for becoming a supervillain with the intention of tyrannizing everything and everyone in the universe. With a career spent designing “increasingly credible world-domination schemes,” North has confidence that they could work, even though in the world of comics those schemes are always foiled by superheroes. Nevertheless, prospective supervillains would do well to find a secret base for subversive activities, establish a separate country, and unleash aggressive animals, such as dinosaurs, revived through cloning. In addition, supervillains will want to control the weather, manage the power of the internet, and achieve enduring fame, if not physical immortality. Though North’s proposals are outlandish, he grounds them in physics, biology, history, geology, zoology, computer science, genetics, paleontology, and cryogenics, not to mention politics and international law. He suggests, for example, three ways to take land away from someone else to start your own country (through stealth, force, or persuasion), and he enumerates the pros and cons of taking over Antarctica. At each step, he offers a timeline and cost analysis. As for dealing with climate change, “an obvious solution presents itself to even the neophyte supervillain: take over the world and use your iron fist to crush anyone who even thinks about emitting carbon.” Supervillains and heroes alike often face obstinate foes, requiring them to wield political influence. “The way you force people in power to do what you want,” North writes, “is by ensuring that they fear you.” The author’s spoof contains a serious subtext: The world has lots of problems—climate change, war, inequality, computer hackers, disease, and rampant greed, among others—that can be addressed through understanding, focus, and determination. Knowledge, he proposes, is the greatest superpower of all.

An exuberant handbook for making the world better.

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-19201-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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Strictly for dittoheads.

RADIO'S GREATEST OF ALL TIME

An unabashed celebration of the late talking head.

Rush Limbaugh (1951-2021) insisted that he had a direct line to God, who blessed him with brilliance unseen since the time of the Messiah. In his tribute, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis calls him “the greatest broadcaster that [sic] ever lived.” That’s an accidental anointment, given checkered beginnings. Limbaugh himself records that, after earning a failing grade for not properly outlining a speech, he dropped out of college—doubtless the cause of his scorn for higher education. This book is a constant gush of cult-of-personality praise, with tributes from Ben Carson, Mike Pence, Donald Trump, and others. One radio caller called Limbaugh “practically perfect” and a latter-day George Washington by virtue of “the magnetism and the trust and the belief of all the people.” Limbaugh insists that conservatives are all about love, though he filled the airwaves with bitter, divisive invective about the evils of liberals, as with this tidbit: “to liberals, the Bill of Rights is horrible, the Bill of Rights grants citizens freedom….The Bill of Rights limits the federal government, and that’s negative to a socialist like Obama.” Moreover, “to Democrats, America’s heartland is ‘flyover’ country. They don’t know, or like, the Americans who live there, or their values.” Worse still for a money machine like Limbaugh, who flew over that heartland in a private jet while smoking fat cigars, liberals like Obama are “trying to socialize profit so that [they] can claim it”—anathema to wealthy Republicans, who prefer to socialize risk by way of bailouts while keeping the profits for themselves. Limbaugh fans will certainly eat this up, though a segment of the Republican caucus in Congress (Marjorie Taylor Greene et al.) might want to read past Limbaugh’s repeated insistence that “peace can’t be achieved by ‘developing an understanding’ with the Russian people.”

Strictly for dittoheads.

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2022

ISBN: 9781668001844

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Threshold Editions/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 24, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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A top-flight nonfiction debut from a unique artist.

CINEMA SPECULATION

The acclaimed director displays his talents as a film critic.

Tarantino’s collection of essays about the important movies of his formative years is packed with everything needed for a powerful review: facts about the work, context about the creative decisions, and whether or not it was successful. The Oscar-winning director of classic films like Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs offers plenty of attitude with his thoughts on movies ranging from Animal House to Bullitt to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre to The Big Chill. Whether you agree with his assessments or not, he provides the original reporting and insights only a veteran director would notice, and his engaging style makes it impossible to leave an essay without learning something. The concepts he smashes together in two sentences about Taxi Driver would take a semester of film theory class to unpack. Taxi Driver isn’t a “paraphrased remake” of The Searchers like Bogdanovich’s What’s Up, Doc? is a paraphrased remake of Hawks’ Bringing Up Baby or De Palma’s Dressed To Kill is a paraphrased remake of Hitchcock’s Psycho. But it’s about as close as you can get to a paraphrased remake without actually being one. Robert De Niro’s taxi driving protagonist Travis Bickle is John Wayne’s Ethan Edwards. Like any good critic, Tarantino reveals bits of himself as he discusses the films that are important to him, recalling where he was when he first saw them and what the crowd was like. Perhaps not surprisingly, the author was raised by movie-loving parents who took him along to watch whatever they were watching, even if it included violent or sexual imagery. At the age of 8, he had seen the very adult MASH three times. Suddenly the dark humor of Kill Bill makes much more sense. With this collection, Tarantino offers well-researched love letters to his favorite movies of one of Hollywood’s most ambitious eras.

A top-flight nonfiction debut from a unique artist.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-311258-2

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 1, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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