Evil point of view

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CogDissident
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Evil point of view

Postby CogDissident » Fri Aug 10, 2012 8:16 pm UTC

I'm curious, how many books out there do people know of that are partially or wholly written from the point of view of an objectively "evil" character? Not just an anti-hero or misunderstood hero, but someone who is actively evil. I just like a story from an unusual point of view, and yes I do realize that most people don't consider themselves evil, and some of the characters below don't consider themselves evil either despite clearly doing evil things for selfish reasons.

The ones I can think of off the top of m head:
Soon I will be invincible (super villain)
Tired of Death (Skeleton who eats the living in a dungeon)
I, Strahd (Vampire who controls a large province and feeds on the living)
Stranger Souls (Cybernetically ressurected zombie who has little memory of being human)

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Re: Evil point of view

Postby ahammel » Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:59 pm UTC

Lolita springs to mind.
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Re: Evil point of view

Postby PAstrychef » Sat Aug 11, 2012 1:42 am UTC

John Ringo wrote a series with a rapist as the protagonist. The first one is Ghost. Then they fade off into a bizarre mix of military action porn and soft-core BDSM. But our hero does know that his desires are wrong, and he gets rather pissed at people who use rape as a torture tactic.
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Re: Evil point of view

Postby Kewangji » Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:00 pm UTC

Patricia Highsmith's books, if I recall correctly, are written from the point of view of a sociopath.

The Dexter books.

The Last Ringbearer: http://ymarkov.livejournal.com/270570.html

Those are the ones I can think of from the top of my head. Haven't read any of them, unfortunately.
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hawkinsssable
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Re: Evil point of view

Postby hawkinsssable » Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:24 am UTC

American Psycho! Completely unambiguously beautifully psychopathic (and delusional!)
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Re: Evil point of view

Postby jeffk » Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:39 pm UTC

Probably not what you had in mind, but The Screwtape Letters (senior demon giving his nephew advice on tempting humans)

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Re: Evil point of view

Postby Puppyclaws » Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:42 pm UTC

Exquisite Corpse, by Poppy Z. Brite. One of my favorite books, from an author at their peak as a writer. There are four characters whose perspectives are considered at different times, but the only one who is written in first person (often called the "protagonist," inaccurately) is a serial killer.

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Re: Evil point of view

Postby ocean_soul » Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:37 pm UTC

Lolita seems the most obvious example. Also, possibly, Gaiman's short story Snow, Glass, Apples. If yo haven't read that, you should. I would say also The Catcher in the Rey belongs in this category, but in contrast to the others this one is also badly written.
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Re: Evil point of view

Postby radams » Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:50 pm UTC

The Wasp Factory

You might also like Grendel by John Gardner - the tale of Beowulf from the monster's point of view.

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Re: Evil point of view

Postby AvatarIII » Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:01 am UTC

in Peter F Hamilton's Pandora's Star, one chapter is entirely written from the "evil" alien's point of view,

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Diemo
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Re: Evil point of view

Postby Diemo » Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:41 am UTC

The Game of Thrones? Generally the characters dont see themselves as evil but objectivly are, well, not good.
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Re: Evil point of view

Postby thalia » Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:43 am UTC

Probably also not what you had in mind entirely, but Donna Tarrt's "The Secret History" is sneakily evil. It's just really subtle about it. I love that book.
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hawkinsssable
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Re: Evil point of view

Postby hawkinsssable » Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:35 am UTC

Lolita seems the most obvious example. Also, possibly, Gaiman's short story Snow, Glass, Apples. If yo haven't read that, you should. I would say also The Catcher in the Rey belongs in this category, but in contrast to the others this one is also badly written.


Disagree on all counts.

Lolita is the closest, maybe, but I'd hardly call the narrator "objectively evil":
Spoiler:
The narrative is highly subjective as Humbert draws on his fragmented memories, employing a sophisticated prose style, while attempting to gain the reader's sympathy through his sincerity and melancholy, although near the end of the story Humbert refers to himself as a "maniac" who "deprived" Dolores "of her childhood", and he shortly thereafter states "the most miserable of family lives was better than the parody of incest" in which they were involved.


Snow, Glass, Apples, if I remember correctly, retold a version of the story that made the original villain a strong female character and rendered the original 'happy ending' a tragedy. It's not told from an evil point of view because the 'villain' is no longer evil.

And I don't even understand how Catcher in the Rye made it up on that list. Holden feels intensely isolated and alienated because (stealing from Wikipedia) he struggles to find nice things like innocence, kindness, spontaneity, and generosity in the adult world.

The problem, of course, is that he's also complex, self-involved and angsty, and finds people who aren't "phony." So maybe he comes off as self-obsessed and whining to people who've never experienced the kind of alienation he writes about, but a) I thought that kind of angst was fairly easy to relate to for anybody who's been an even remotely introverted teenager, and b) self-involvement does not evil make.


And also, as soon as you adapt to the 1940's vernacular, the writing is amazing. I love them both, but Salinger is at the very least easily in the same league as Gaiman.
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Re: Evil point of view

Postby HungryHobo » Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:12 pm UTC

A Clockwork Orange comes to mind.

Day Watch

a lot of the warhammer 40K stuff but then really almost everyone is genocidally evil in those by normal standards.
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Re: Evil point of view

Postby Izawwlgood » Wed Nov 21, 2012 2:53 pm UTC

Couldn't resist;
House of Leaves; from the perspective of the House, and that House is... not good.

I felt like the protagonists in Margaret Atwoods Oryx and Crake and Year of the Flood are never anything more than self-motivated, and indeed, some characters are a significant cause of the worlds problems.
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Re: Evil point of view

Postby speising » Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:26 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:John Ringo wrote a series with a rapist as the protagonist. The first one is Ghost. Then they fade off into a bizarre mix of military action porn and soft-core BDSM. But our hero does know that his desires are wrong, and he gets rather pissed at people who use rape as a torture tactic.


While reading Ghost, i kept waiting for a "resolution", when it becomes clear that the author is either not serious, or makes it clear that the protagonist is a bad person (i mean, it starts with him stalking college girls and jumping them in the park); unfortunately, this moment never came.

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Re: Evil point of view

Postby Indy » Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:11 pm UTC

My vote would be Mme de Merteuil in 'Dangerous Liaisons'. Haven't read it? Read it.

Izawwlgood wrote:
I felt like the protagonists in Margaret Atwoods Oryx and Crake and Year of the Flood are never anything more than self-motivated, and indeed, some characters are a significant cause of the worlds problems.


Margaret Atwood is a bit of a cynic. I don't think I've come across _any_ characters of hers that are less than self-motivated. She's a good writer and very perceptive, but I find I can't read two books of hers in a row because although she has a clear eye for injustice and the complexity of human nature, she somehow lacks ... compassion I guess.
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