Reflections on a Void

An essay by an anonymous visionary, as provided by Braddock Gaskill
Art by Dawn Vogel

The good days wash over you like an ocean wave. The solid days of sixteen hours of pure productivity. They leave you cleansed in a baptism of human endeavor. You don’t remember how the code looked yesterday; you are reborn into a new unrecognizable world of your own creation. Subroutines that didn’t exist now exist, function, and interact with you like old friends.

Then there are the other days.

The slow days, the dumb days, the befuddled days. Getting dressed seems too complex; taking a shower is simply out of reach; programming a machine is a hopeless mysticism. The mental and physical filth clings to you, accumulating day after day.

Delusions are my profession. I create mathematical software for clients–the product of my days is nothing but a series of well-arranged symbols that invoke the underlying laws of nature. It should, therefore, not be surprising that I have a delusional personality. Creation is delusion incarnate.

So perhaps I was better prepared than most when the void appeared. Don’t get me wrong, it has pushed me to the verge of madness–or, I must confess, is possibly a product of madness. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Reflections on a Void

A crack of inky blackness and purple haze, a couple feet wide at the widest point. The edges fluctuate slowly. However, the overall size and shape seems stable.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Summer 2016 collection.

The narrator of this story wishes to remain anonymous.  Over many years, he worked himself up from nothing into a world of mathematics and machine logic.

During this process, he perhaps lost an appreciation for the reality of others. He toils alone, but his work is much sought after.

Braddock Gaskill is a senior research scientist at a major multinational corporation. His work involves computer vision and multi-lingual translation. His passion lies in machine learning in general and neural networks in particular. He has, in the past, written space industry news and numerous privately funded technology analyses.

Dawn Vogel has been published as a short fiction author and an editor of both fiction and non-fiction. Although art is not her strongest suit, she’s happy to contribute occasional art to Mad Scientist Journal. By day, she edits reports for and manages an office of historians and archaeologists. In her alleged spare time, she runs a craft business and tries to find time for writing. She lives in Seattle with her awesome husband (and fellow author), Jeremy Zimmerman, and their herd of cats. For more of Dawn’s work visit

“Reflections on a Void” is © 2016 Braddock Gaskill.
Art accompanying story is © 2016 Dawn Vogel.

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