An Afternoon with Odessa Malko

An interview by R. L. Evars, as provided by Emma Whitehall
Art by Ariel Alian Wilson

When I first meet Odessa Malko, I barely know what to expect. The marine crypto-biologist has recently become the talk of Aforcaster, with her astounding research into the hitherto-mysterious creature, Microcosmus marinus–otherwise known as the Kraken. However, she is notoriously unavailable for interview. Her days are spent touring the city colleges with her lectures, and her nights campaigning at functions and soirées for her next expedition. Such a busy schedule, combined with an emerging family life (she recently became an aunt to twins), offer her little time for the press. However, I was fortunate enough to sit down with the elusive scientist at her club–The Acutus, home-away-from-home for the city’s intellectual elite.

The doorman lets me in (after a long glare at my written note of introduction), and I find Doctor Malko sitting in a plush leather armchair by the fire, sipping what she tells me is a lemon and mint Earl Grey. She is a striking woman of thirty-five–tall, with a handsome, vulpine face, and a braid of silver-white hair snaking over one shoulder. She greets me with a warm handshake, and we make amicable chit-chat until my own drink arrives.

Doctor Malko, thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to speak with me.

It’s quite alright. So often I feel I’m talking at people, at lectures and colleges, so it is refreshing to have an intimate chat again.

The lecture tour has been a roaring success, I really must congratulate you–I attended at Schuyler myself just last week, and I must say it is fascinating.

Thank you.

For my readers who cannot attend, could you summarise your research into a pithy sentence or two?

[Malko laughs here.]

I can attempt to. My research for the last ten years has documented the social and family lives of Microcosmus marinus. So much of our previous research focused on the base physicality of these animals. How large they grow, diet, limb length, etc. While this information was vital to our understanding, it lent credence to the idea of the Kraken as massive, mindless monsters. I wanted to learn about how their minds worked. And documenting my clan has given us some amazing insights. They really are a deeply intelligent species.

Art for "An Afternoon with Odessa Malko"

It’s the females–double in length, and much bolder–that we usually sight first.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2017 collection.

R. L. Evars is a scientific culture journalist for the Epoch Journal–winner of the Best Informational Journal Award in 1879. His earlier work can also be read in the Aforcaster Gazette, Young Biologist, and, for a short period, Miss Payweather’s Parrot Periodical. He is based in Aforcaster.

Emma Whitehall is a writer and spoken word performer based in the North East of England. Her work has been published in the United Kingdom, America, and Mexico. She also writes articles about writing, as well as genre fiction reviews. Find out more at

Ariel Alian Wilson is a few things: artist, writer, gamer, and role-player. Having dabbled in a few different art mediums, Ariel has been drawing since she was small, having always held a passion for it. She’s always juggling numerous projects. She currently lives in Seattle with her cat, Persephone. You can find doodles, sketches, and more at her blog

“An Afternoon with Odessa Malko” is © 2017 Emma Whitehall
Art accompanying story is © 2017 Ariel Alian Wilson

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