Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Top Ten (Or So): Evil Child Geniuses

They're massively more smart than anyone else. They're completely unconcerned about how their actions effect other people. They're also rather on the small side.

In not exactly any order:

--Cadel Piggot, from Evil Genius and its sequels by Catherine Jinks. My very favourite evil child genius in the history of evil child geniuses. Evil Genius is much more fascinating than might be guessed by the very shiny cover and simplistic title. (Though I actually quite like both of those.) It's full of plots and terror and computer hacking. And Cadel himself is as clever and ingenious and desperate as you'd want him to be. (Note: One of the characters in the second book is honoured with a position on my list of Top Ten (Or So): Fictional Canadians.)

--Ender Wiggin, from Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game (only this book, as I haven't read any of the others in this series). This book is ackowledged by everyone to be awesome. And there's a movie being made of it, so you'd better read it soon before it gets destroyed in your mind forever... Anyhow, Ender is a brilliant strategist, surrounded by a bunch of other young geniuses who are only slightly less brilliant. Great fun. (Note: Like some others on this list, he doesn't exactly fit the "Evil Child Genius" category, but this time on the "Evil" side of things. Mostly, he tries to be good and not murder people. But I liked him and his book so much that I didn't want to exclude him. Plus, he definitely does have a darker side.)

--Artemis Fowl, from Eoin Colfer's series of the same name. Evil child genius--with fairies! Not my favourite bookss ever--there's a bit too much bathroom humour, and the last couple books are rather boring and weird. But they're still great fun: there are centaurs, fairy police, parallel worlds and time-travel. Artemis himself is suave and Irish and slowly being redeemed.

--Oliver Watson, from I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President by Josh Lieb. He seems slightly improbable, even when in the company of the rest of these illustrious child geniuses. He's one of the richest people in the world, and he controls practically everything. And this is supposed to be the real world, unlike in the Artemis Fowl books. Also, he just doesn't provide the same level of pathos as people like Cadel and Nathaniel and Ender. Still, he's an evil child genius none the less, so I love him. Plus his sort-of love interest Tatiana is fantastic.

--Light Yagami, from the manga series Death Note. He's not exactly a child, but he does start out in highschool. And he's amazing, so I didn't want to not include him. The battle of wits between him and the detective L (also a young genius, but not included because he's really not evil enough) is morally ambiguous and completely engrossing, with twist upon twist as they constantly out-guess each other.

--Gwendolyn, from Kirsten Miller's How to Lead a Life of Crime. I don't want to give too much away about Gwendolyn, because Spoilers! But man, does she have a darker side. I don't know if she quite gets into the genius category, but she's obviously brilliant or she would be the Dux of Mandel Academy. Also, like Light, she's a teenager, so not exactly a child. But close enough. And she's one of the few people on this list who is truly evil, so I had to include her.

--Harry Potter, from a HP fanfic called Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality. I never really like Harry himself--not in the original books, and not in fan fiction--even when he's an 11-year-old Ravenclaw genius with an mysterious dark side, living in an alternate universe. In this case, the dislike is somewhat because he clearly partly functions as a tool to get across the author's ideas. But I'm adding him because when he isn't spouting off rationalist maxims, he's often having amazing Ender-like battle games with a cool and Machiavellian Draco Malfoy, and a surprisingly-adept-at-battle Hermione Granger.

--Nathaniel, from the Bartimeus trilogy. He's actually one of my favourites from this list--tied with Cadel, I think. He's so close to not becoming evil that I find his books extremely tense. And his enmity/sort-of-friendship with Bartimeus will probably be on my future Top Ten (Or So): Bromances--even though they basically hate each other for most of the time. However, I'm not totally sure he's quite at the genius level. In all other ways he's suitable: he's much smarter and a more talented magician than most people, he's very young (though he gets older over the trilogy), and he's inclined towards the Dark Side. 

And that's it. Only seven. Very sad. But it seems like few people write about evil child geniuses, for some reason. Also notice, only one girl! Is that because there aren't any others or because I've forgotten about them? Either option is not good. If I ever suddenly discovered in myself a splendid gift for writing, I would decidedly write a book about a female evil child genius.


Aquinas' Goose said...

I'm curious to know why you include Ender in the "evil child genius" category, because while he is a genius I do not believe he was meant to be 'evil'... especially considering his young adult / adult character as the series continues.

RED said...

Oh, I know. :) I'm pretty loose with the entries in these top ten lists. Ender fits the child genius part, and he certainly does stuff that isn't great. Perhaps I'll put him lower down and make a note that he doesn't quite fit, like I did with Nathaniel.

Also, I haven't read the rest of the series, so that might colour my opinion a bit.