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Literature / Lair For Rent

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Lair for Rent (2019) is the first book in a series being written by Skyler Grant. Walter (Wealth Accumulator and Liquidity Trap Evasion Routine) is brought to life by Niles, a rogue hacker who learned that a supercomputer named Patriot with undefined powers is somewhere in the lower levels, but ran afoul of mutant bikers who currently hold the neighborhood. Having revived Walter to run the defense systems, they're reluctant allies who quickly accrue several villainous compatriots, as well as supervillain renters.

Walter doesn't care so much about heroes and villains, but as former accounting software, he's obsessed with accruing more money, and this venture seems profitable.


  • A Dungeon Is You: Walter "lives" in a set of servers in the Vattier building, and can interface with the floors he's taken control of.
  • A.I.-cronym: Walter personally thinks his name was a stretch of an acronym.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Mastermind's sole concession to a supervillain costume is wearing a nicely tailored suit.
  • Beast Man: The neighborhood where Walter resides is infested with roaming gangs of humanoid animals as a result of Mother's lingering taint. Hog riders are harassing Niles at the beginning of the book, and Walter's lair is later threatened by a group of aquatic mutants.
  • Character Level: For undefined reasons, increasing his Villain Rank gives Walter access to perks. Uma suggests it's to compensate for most superpowered individuals being able to upgrade and guide their power growth.
  • Death Is Cheap: EmmaTech bracelets guarantee resurrection within 48 hours. No one knows exactly how it works, although Mastermind finds a way to disable it. Walter, as an AI, can't take advantage of such mechanisms.
  • Divine Parentage: Jules is descended from a heroic lineage that dates back to ancient Greek mythology. At the beginning of the book, she's using her diluted powers of strategy to be an extremely efficient office worker at the supervillainy office, in part because there are several groups that hunt heroes. By the end of the book, she's considerably upgraded.
  • Fun with Acronyms: "Walter" stands for Wealth Accumulator and Liquidity Trap Evasion Routine. He thinks it's a dumb stretch of an acronym too.
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: Alien, mystic, and future technology gadgets exist which commonly provide an unpredictable upgrade.
  • Instant A.I.: Just Add Water!: Walter is brought to life with a Delo’nar power crystal, an Emmatech software module, and a Threek repair module.
  • Make Wrong What Once Went Right: Kid Chaos was a supervillain who claimed to have come from a utopic future. His goal (which he claimed to have completed before vanishing) was to prevent such a boring future from coming to be. Walter now resides in his Quantum Sphere computer.
  • Pokémon Speak: Due to his lab accident, Ox is essentially invulnerable, but can only speak, or write, his name. It's revealed later in the book that his accident is causing entire paragraphs to be compressed into a form that sounds, to the human ear, exactly like "Ox", and he gets a device that provides translations.
  • Superman Substitute: Ultimatum is a Flying Brick with a red cape who came from an alternate universe with highly advanced genetic engineering. He single-handedly massacres Walter's henchmen and allies early-on, but doesn't bother looking for Walter's core.
  • Super Serum: Ambrosia offers power upgrades to divinely powered heroes such as Jules, but the effects are only partially permanent; each dose slightly increases her base power, while also giving her a massive temporary boost.