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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Power Grid

The 10 Worst Fathers in Science Fiction and Fantasy


Allow Us to Explain

Allow Us to Explain

Last year for Mother’s Day and Father’s day we did lists of the best parents science fiction and fantasy had to offer. And while they went over well, we got some requests from certain people very close to us to do a grid of the absolute worst examples of parenting we could think of, so that they might not feel quite so inferior in comparison. So we did it for the Moms, and now we’re doing it for the Dads.

And what dads! The abusive, distant, or absent father is an incredibly common trope throughout not just genre fiction, but all fiction. We really, really like playing around with the bad dad as a concept. But we found while putting this list together that being an absentee or simply emotionally unavailable father wasn’t enough to make the cut (See Buffy’s Dad, or Dr. Henry Jones, Sr.). Neither was being generally evil, so long as you weren’t any more diabolical to your offspring as you were to everyone else (see Darkseid). Most fathers on this grid have singled out their own children for extra special emotional abuse, neglect, or manipulation far above and beyond their treatment of the other people around them.

In fact, the rest of these dads make the first worst father in science fiction you’re likely to mention (and the very first example on the list) look almost saintly in comparison.

Like usual, this grid is dedicated to the runners up: those mentioned above, David Cain, Professor Membrane, Kronos and Odin.


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  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    Mortal Engines spoilers…

    I want to add Thadeus Valentine, and in a way Shrike to this list; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thaddeus_Valentine http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrike_(Philip_Reeve)

    Thaddeus not only kills his ex lover and mother of his child, he does it in front of his daughter, Hester, then tries to kill her. Many years later he tries to kill her again, twice, but accidentally kills his other daughter. Shrike adopts disfigured (by Thaddeus’ attempts to kill her) little Hester but later, when she’s grown up, hunts her down to kill her and turn her into a cyborg just like him.

    Poor Hester! She’s not exactly a good mother either, but it’s not as if she’s had any great role models.

    Honestly not really into any of the worlds in the article except Star Wars :P

  • http://twitter.com/nicoleloi Nicole Loi

    I love the Mortal Engines series, and so excited that they’re being adapted!

    But yes, Thaddeus Valentine was a pretty atrocious father. To be fair, Shrike was at least partly programmed for it.. and he wanted to turn her into a Stalker so they could be together forever as father and daughter.

  • Anonymous

    Can’t believe you missed out on the Metabaron caste! they are all so despicable, EASILY hitting spot number two.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000500177841 Rachel Banzhaf

    I am saddened at the lack of Raven’s dad from Teen Titans. Also didn’t Deathstroke the Terminator also have a stepson he screwed up? My memory’s hazy on that one.

  • http://twitter.com/waxwendy WhitDC

    So glad to see Tywin Lannister on this list, but 7 Hells I can’t believe you’re going to make me defend him.  *** SPOILERS  *** It was Tyrion’s sweet sister Cersei (who has her own daddy issues) who wanted his head.  Tyrion demanded the trial by combat after striking a deal with Prince Obeyron of Dorne (who wanted a crack at The Mountain who Rides for his own vengeance).  Even after Tyrion was found “guilty”, Tywin still intended to send his son to The Wall.  And now I need to go take a Silkwood shower.

  • Anonymous

    Might I add Panis Rhal from the Sword of Truth series? He’s such a huge dick that even his name is phallic. It’s okay, though: Luke Skywalker/OopsImeanRichardCypher turns out to be a “rare person” anyway.

  • http://twitter.com/AbelUndercity Abel Undercity

    As I recall he had two sons. (TEEN TITANS COMIC BOOK SPOILERS) One tried to be just like him and went to the HIVE to gain powers similar to his dad’s.  HIVE, of course, neglected to mention that the process would burn out his body and kill him in short order.  The second, Jericho, was possessed (I forget if by Trigon or some other force), and Deathstroke’s method of exorcism involved three feet of steel sword through the heart.

  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    Huh, just read up on the possible adaptation by Peter Jackson, though not sure how that’s going if he’s working on The Hobbit.

    I REALLY want a Ghibli or Gonzo adaptation. I don’t think a live action version could really cut the mustard.

    True about Shrike, I guess. It wasn’t entirely his fault… still not exactly a model father. Tom, on the other hand, I liked Tom Natsworthy. He was probably the best adult in the whole series; not at all a villain or in it for himself and not /completely/ incompetent.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1164481042 Mieko Gavia

    My vote is for Ryuuichi Kai, evil father of Ukiko, aka Kabuki.  (SPOILERS) He is a sadist and psychopath in the 2nd world war, who rapes and mutilates his father’s fiance for being Ainu, a comfort woman, and thus “lower” than him.    When she dies in childbirth after bringing up Kabuki, grandpa-husband takes the child in, but one day Kai returns, strangling and mutilating Kabuki’s face, and leaving her on her mother’s grave to die.  
    He then forms an evil syndicate, which threatens to control the entire city of neo-kyoto.  Kabuki, trained as an assassin and in the employ of grandpa-dad, tries to go after him- but it turns out that Kai has infiltrated the system and posed as her handler in order to get her and her colleagues to kill off his enemies, thereby giving him a crime monopoly.  Grandpa-dad, crazed over his wife’s death (he hangs out with a mannequin he addresses as his wife), knows all this, but relents and lets his son keep that monopoly in exchange for some peace and quiet.
    Oh yeah, and then he tries to rape and kill her just like he did her mom, so Kabuki impales him with his sword and burns him alive.

    Yup.  Father of the year, that one.

  • http://twitter.com/acidragdoll Bel

    This list is sorely lacking in one Professor Hojo!

  • http://twitter.com/Midnightxpress Geoff Johnston

    Pretty much every X-man that’s ever had kids could be on this list: Prof X, Magneto, Logan, Scott Summers,

  • http://twitter.com/Midnightxpress Geoff Johnston

    Pretty much every X-man that’s ever had kids could be on this list: Prof X, Magneto, Logan, Scott Summers,

  • http://twitter.com/WanderinDreamr dreamer

     Well, considering that Gonzo is just know making their first new anime in years (and that their calling card was “super conspicuous CGI which would be needed for The Mortal Engines if I’m remembering the story right) and this just doesn’t sound like a Ghibli film (these days they seem to be doing more whimsical, younger stories than the more steampunk-esque ones they’ve done in the past) I don’t think that’s happening, sorry. 
    *goes back to lurking, sorry for derailing!*

  • Mark Bannon

    Deathstroke’s resemblance to Deadpool is due to the fact that Deadpool started out as a humorless ripoff of Deathstroke by Rob Liefeld. 

  • JackieDee7

    Awesome list! I actually applauded at a few of them! Now I want to go watch Avatar again… 

  • Anonymous

    You might want to mention that most of those are spoilers for A Storm of Swords, the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, not just “Game of Thrones.” People might initially think you’re just talking about what has aired on the show so far.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7G4SWUX2MCWWXLMYNN347JMIZY Frodo Baggins

    Seriously? A comic book geek named Geoff Johnston? That’s hilarious. Is your best friend named Joe Quesadaston?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7G4SWUX2MCWWXLMYNN347JMIZY Frodo Baggins

    Why do you only have spoiler warnings for half of these?

  • Anonymous

    Does the world really need a spoiler warning about Darth Vader being Luke’s father? ;)

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  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    I have absolutely no delusions about Ghibli or Gonzo adapting Mortal Engines, I just want it to happen. It’s a bit like me winning the lottery; would be awesome but probably not going to happen… what with not playing and all.

    Saying that; there is nothing stopping Ghibli making a darker film again, and if Gonzo can reap some benefits from simulcasting and streaming, they’ll be in a better position to make more anime again in the near future.

    I don’t think the CG is necessarily needed for Mortal Engines. It’s more that moving/floating cities, steampunk and airships seem to be their thing.

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  • http://twitter.com/easyqueenie Sophie Brown

    How about the Cigarette Smoking Man/Cancer Man from X-Files? He pretty much subjected his son to a life of hell searching for his sister when daddy could have told him what happened to her from the beginning. He also kidnaps his partner and does terrible medical experiments on her that leave her fighting for life just to try and stop his son learning the truth, and that’s just the stuff that happened before the mid point of Season 2. Add to that burning down the room containing his son’s life’s work, sending his wife off to be a lab rat and arranging the murders of loved ones close to his children, he seems like a pretty rubbish father to me.

  • Anonymous

    I was thinking that too . . .  With the exception of Darth Vader, these all needed spoiler warnings.  I skipped over every one, except those I had already read/seen; and, with EVA – you totally ruined the entire series for someone who hasn’t watched it.

  • Maarten Meuris

    Dunno. I think the EVA series is ruined for everyone simply BY watching it :p

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  • Road Rhythm

    No Rusty Venture?

  • G-Max

    The entry on Ikari Gendo contains all sorts of erroneous information about Rei. Specifically, the connection between Rei and Yui is never actually made clear, and the relationship between Rei and Gendo is almost as cold and distant as that between Gendo and Shinji. Gendo most certainly does NOT treat Rei as a wife.

  • http://twitter.com/All4Av Avalon

    A hundred times yes!

    (In my head canon, it’s not finding out that J.E.N.O.V.A. is his mother, but finding out that Hojo is his father, that drives Seph mad :P)

  • http://twitter.com/All4Av Avalon

    Could we add John Winchester to this list?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1302051433 Audrey Lane

    How is John Winchester from Supernatural not on here? His selfish actions are what caused all the suffering his sons endure the entire series

  • Betty Windsor

    Yep, that just happened to me. Thanks Mary Sue. :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/kimberly.rodrigues Kimberly M Rodrigues

    I must admit, I’m kind of surprised and disappointed that Shou Tucker didn’t make this list. You don’t get much more horrid father than alchemically melding your daughter and her dog into a chimera that is in constant pain

  • Justyna Tenel

    I’m not sure if urban fantasy/horror setting applies here but in it’s spirit this list is sorely lacking one John Winchester.