An essay by Max Steiner, as presented by Nathaniel K. Miller

Scientist profile: Dr. Marvin Steiner was a controversial and pioneering nodal physicist, known for developing the Jaunte Drive, an early prototype teleportation engine. He and his son Max disappeared under mysterious circumstances after an apparently disastrous test of the device. The bodies of Steiner’s wife and lab assistant were later found in a nearby area. Steiner has been suspected in several other disappearances, but remains at large. His current whereabouts and status are unknown. Despite his apparent age, authorities now believe Steiner may still be alive due to the Bester effect (type two).


When I crawled into the machine, my dad was still bashing Meier in the face with the stool. My mom kept screaming at him to stop, but he was gone to that place he goes sometimes.  He was screaming about the calibration, calling Meier lazy and stupid. He kept saying “Toby,” which is our dog’s name. He kept saying, “Distance! Distance, not duration!” He was almost dancing, whipping the stool around, dancing and screaming. The last thing I heard before I hit the switch was his voice, angry as all get-out, saying “Just distance!”

When the machine stopped whirring, I was back where I was born. I wanted to see the place where they’d made me. I started walking, real casual, down the sidewalk, heading for the hotel. I’d seen it in pictures: “The Winchester.” People passed by, looking scared. I scowled right back at them, and they all turned away. What a dead-end place this town was. What a hole.

By the time I got to the hotel, my guts started feeling sloshy. I made my way around to the back of the building–-I didn’t want to get caught–-and that’s when I saw myself. At first I thought it was the glass, which was old and lumpy, but it wasn’t–-it was me.

I was huge. My head was as big as a pumpkin, and my hands looked like baseball gloves. I was too big, and sort of melted looking, like I’d been stretched out and then let go. I shrieked, but the sound was awful and low. That was the last thing I saw before my panic pulled me back.


I was too big, and sort of melted looking, like I’d been stretched out and then let go.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Summer 2012 collection.


Max Steiner is trying to look on the bright side.

Nathaniel K. Miller is a writer and psychologist-in-training living in the Philadelphia area. His fiction can be found in at Mad Scientist Journal and is forthcoming at Apocrypha and Abstractions and Theurgy Magazine.

Image credit: harveysart / 123RF Stock Photo

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