The Curious Case of Alpha-7 DE11

Transcript of voice mail found by Dr. Jarothy Pickman, as provided by Dan Stout
Art by Dawn Vogel


Hello, Joachim. This is Dr. Manderagon. Vincent Manderagon.

I’m calling because I’m having trouble with one of our Golems. Specifically … ah … I just had it in front of me …

<Rustling papers> 

Here it is: Serial number Alpha-7 DE11. He’s behaving oddly, and I’m worried that it may be starting to spread to the rest of the brood.

I called tech support, but they’re just bouncing me back and forth. I know it’s the weekend, but you’re my sales rep, and I need to get a call back today. Let me give you the situation quickly.

This Golem came with the brood I purchased two months ago–still well within the warranty period. I had them uncrated and left them to acclimate to the island’s humidity so that their clay wouldn’t crack once they were animated, blah-blah, you know the drill.

Regardless, after 48 hours I animated them with holy words and dead man’s blood, and before you know it, they’re stomping up and down the corridors, carrying equipment, cleaning up after surgeries, performing just like they should. I was all ready to give you guys a great write-up on Yelp, when I started to notice odd behavior.

The Curious Case of Alpha-7 DE11

The other twelve Golems in the brood appear normal. But this one–this Alpha-7–seems to almost show emotion. Oh, I know its face is hardened clay, but it manages to convey something with its, I don’t know, its body language, I guess.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2015 collection.

Dr. Jarothy Pickman served as primary tech assistant to the late Dr. Manderagon. He was off-site on a material re-stock expedition during the unfortunate events at Manderagon Manor. Dr. Pickman’s whereabouts are currently undisclosed, though he assures us that he is nestled in concentric circles of arcane protection and heavy armament. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the fund to establish Manderagon Mansion as a permanent historical landmark.

Dan Stout is a freelance writer living in Columbus, Ohio. During the day he helps businesses share their stories with customers and clients, and at night he writes about the things which terrify and inspire him. His fiction draws on his travels throughout Europe, Asia, and the Pacific Rim, as well as an employment history spanning everything from “subpoena server” to “assistant well driller.” Visit him at

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

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Review of Zombies and Calculus by Colin Adams

41A28ODX9bL[1]A review by Robert Dawson

A few years ago, Seth Grahame-Smith, believing that Miss Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was insufficiently sensational, added zombies to the recipe. In the book under review, Dr. Colin Adams does the same for the zombie-apocalypse genre by adding calculus.

Craig Williams (like Dr. Adams) is a math professor at a small New England college. One morning, one of his students comes in to class late and starts biting the other students. The zombie apocalypse has begun. But even with the world collapsing around him, and colleagues and neighbors dropping by for a bite at odd hours, Professor Williams finds ways to put his calculus skills to good use, helping his family escape.

Calculus is used (among other applications) to determine the speed at which a zombie body cools, the force required to crack a zombie skull with a paperweight in a stocking, and how to herd zombies into a circle. Progressively more advanced differential equations are used to model the outbreak: first an exponential model for the initial hours, then a logistic model as the zombie population levels off, and finally the two-variable Lotke-Volterra model with its cyclic solution.

The reader is warned that the solution found at the end of the novel may not work as well in real life. While most parts of Canada can get chilly at night, there are in fact no parts where the overnight temperature reliably falls to below freezing in August. Even in Yellowknife, in the Northwest Territories, the average daily low in August is around 283°K.

The prose style is much the same deadpan humor found in Adams’ columns in the Mathematical Intelligencer. The emotion is somewhat flat–nobody seems plausibly horrified or frightened, and the ending is somewhat anticlimactic. This seems to go with the genre: truly sparkling didactic math fiction is rare. This book is not, in my opinion, quite at the level of Gardner, but a comparison with Shasha’s very readable “Dr. Ecco” books, or Knuth’s Surreal Numbers, might be appropriate.

With books like this, there is always the question of whether the author is “preaching to the choir.” The book was loaned to a student now taking first-year calculus, and to a non-mathematician with a BSc in physics. Both read it in one sitting and enjoyed it. There are two appendices–one continues certain conversations that might have interfered with the flow of the story, the other gives the background details about calculus that could otherwise have ended up as an information dump. The author is to be congratulated on this decision; while the appendices are quite readable, they are better where they are.

There’s no doubt about it: when the zombie apocalypse comes, the demand for brains can only increase!

(This review is expanded from one by the same reviewer that appeared in Zentralblatt MATH. Just in case anybody thought Zentralblatt didn’t have a sense of humor or anything.)

Zombies and Calculus can be obtain at Amazon and Princeton University Press,

Robert Dawson teaches mathematics at a Nova Scotian university.  He claims that mathematics can be  useful in the real world. The book reviewed here may or may not support this point: you may judge for yourself.

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That Man Behind the Curtain: February 2015

And now: numbers.

The Money Aspect

Amounts in parentheses are losses/expenses.

Hosting: ($17.06)
Stories: ($240.00)
Art: ($409.68)
Advertising: ($90.00)
Processing Fees: ($18.24)
Printing: ($15.93)
Donations: $69.00
Ad Revenue: $0.33
Book Sales: $212.48
Total: ($509.10)
QTD: ($885.14)
YTD: ($885.14)
All Time: ($11,331.37)

As per usual, I try to list costs for art and stories under the month that the stories run on the site rather than when I pay them. Sales are for sales when they take place, not when it’s actually paid out to me. I also cover Paypal expenses when paying authors and artists.

Sales continue to be solid, if not as amazing as last month. After doing our special call for submissions in January, February had the spike in payment for stories that we accepted. There was also an added cost for art because we paid more for the cover for the first print edition of our quarterly. Mad Scientist Journal: Spring 2015 will be available in print as well as ebook. The hope is that having it available in an additional format may make it more approachable to people who haven’t jumped on the ebook bandwagon.


We received 29 submissions in February, of which we accepted 7 (24.13%). Our all time acceptance percentage is at 53.56%.


Number of followers in social media as of the end of last month.

Facebook: 950 (+33)
Twitter: 373 (+34)
Google+: 46 (-2)
Tumblr: 68 (+12)
Mailing List: 35 (-2)
Patreon: 9 (+0)


Our traffic decreased a bit in February, which seems odd since I’d have thought we’d have more traffic during the Kickstarter. But it was still better than we’ve experienced in past months. We had a total of 1,874 visits. Our traffic consisted of 1,180 users and 3,415 page views. Our highest day of traffic was 128.

This month’s search engine term is “ebay 1979’s quilt patterns.” Not necessarily because it was the funniest. But because two people came to our site on that search. I don’t know how they managed it, but bless them for their persistence in believing that they could find 1979 quilt patterns on ebay through us.

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Living Blue

An essay by Dr. Carol Arnold, as provided by Dr. J.A. Grier
Art by Leigh Legler

Recollections on the process of invention, entitled “Living Blue” from the journal of Dr. Carol Arnold, by J. A. Grier


Even over the phone, my mother’s voice held the same mix of syrup and threat it always did. “Of course we want you here for Thanksgiving, Carol. It would disappoint your cousins if you didn’t come. People are counting on you. I’ve bought so very much food. You live so close and yet never come over to the house.”

I closed my eyes tightly, forcing my mouth into the shape of the word “no”–instead I said, “Yes, then. I’ll come, but I can’t stay long.”

“Of course you can, there will be so much to do. Don’t wear that blue dress of yours, it shows how fat you are. Honestly, if only you’d have watched the calories as a girl like I had told you. Don’t talk about all that technical stuff, either. It bores people. Your Aunt Dolly says she’s bringing her apple pie again, even though I told her I have all this food. I’ll call again tomorrow.”

I hung up, and looked around my desk. It did seem a strange mix of knickknacks for a chemist: old greeting cards, badges from meetings, a plastic model of the Moon, silk flowers, an art deco reading lamp, and a bright blue butterfly in a glass frame.

I gazed at the butterfly for a long time. It was an ideal specimen of a blue swallowtail butterfly, a Papilio ulysses. Supposedly, it was collected after a good long life and a peaceful, natural death on some eco-farm. I wasn’t naïve enough to really believe that, but had been too enamored of its beauty to pass over this particular vacation souvenir. I carefully lifted its case from the wall and took it to my small workroom in the basement.

I set it on the old wooden table and pulled the frame apart, releasing its quiet occupant. I rummaged around and found a magnifying glass, then spent the better part of an hour gazing over the creature’s lithe body, luminescent with blue and teal. It seemed utterly undamaged. It was a marvel that such perfection could actually die–that something so untouched could possibly be mortal. It wasn’t right, somehow.

I ransacked the house for supplies. Then I drove to the hardware store, the home repair shop, the electronics outlet, and my laboratory at work. I brought several boxes and bags back down to my workspace, and systematically sorted through the material. This was going to take some time.

Living Blue

“I’m bringing a butterfly back from the dead.”

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2015 collection.

Dr. Carol Arnold is a Principal Research Chemist for Nutri-Vision Chemical Solutions Corporation. She develops eco-friendly pesticides for recurrent insect and pest problems in staple food crops.

Dr. J. A. Grier is a planetary scientist, poet, educator, and wine lover. She spends her time penning odd articles, reading strange stories, finding bargains on red blends, and looking at impact craters on other worlds. She doesn’t like absinthe but she wishes that she did, and keeps a bottle on hand just in case. Her babblings can be found on her blog ‘Fictional Planet’ at and @grierja on Twitter.

Leigh’s professional title is “illustrator,” but that’s just a nice word for “monster-maker,” in this case. More information about them can be found at

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Sins and Dust

An essay by the Confessor, as provided by James Fadeley
Art by Luke Spooner

I write these words with total shame, for herein lies the confessions of an arrogant fool. For forty years, I have served the church as a preacher of the faith. And yet I am the greatest of hypocrites. Once a God-doubting man of science, I now lead others on the path of righteousness, as I too hope to be forgiven for the sins I have wrought against heaven and men. Sins far graver than the anguished stories I receive in the confession booths, worse than the unrepentant.

They are sins worse than a single man is often capable of, for I have no accomplices upon which to defer the blame. All that has transpired was wrought by my hand.

I was born in 1903, near Boise City in Cimarron County, Oklahoma. My parents were farmers. Ma was a kindly woman who occasionally repaired clothing for additional income. My father worked part time as a mechanic, and believed in the importance of earnest and hard work, a value he taught through farm labor.

But there were differences between us, my hobbies for one. I loved reading and learning; the discoveries and possibilities waiting to be unlocked enthralled me. Information is power, and I was determined to become quite powerful if only in mind. Pa saw value in what I did and desired an education for me, but he still saw fit to pull me away from the library whenever the harvest seasons came upon us.

Perhaps it was from my reading and scientific pursuits that I could not see eye-to-eye with my father’s Christian values. It was not a point of terrible contention between us, for I reluctantly went to church with him and Ma, always wishing I could be reading. I daydreamed of the works of Mark Twain and Charles Dickens, and I was often drawn to biographic works of great historical leaders. Or even some of the more complicated reads, such as the rediscovered works of an Austrian Friar by the name of Gregor Mendel.

But my church going came to an end in 1917, when Pa was pulled into the war. Ma reluctantly let me remain home, provided I performed necessary tasks and chores. With Pa away, she needed as much help as she could get.

Pa returned from the war in 1918 a proud man, mercifully uninjured, and believing in the future of our country. And like faith rewarded, the following decade was a grand one. The joyous twenties were an exciting period at the close of my childhood and the cusp of coming manhood. Vivacious music and youthful spirit abounded. This Jazz Age was a reprieve earned from the hard times of the Great War. Yet, Pa insisted that I earn my place in this new, victorious America.

My reading had forwarded my studies. By leaps and bounds, my knowledge and understanding of the world grew. My graduation from high school was rewarded not only with a diploma, but also a scholarship to Carnegie Mellon University. My interests veered towards the foundations of creation itself, and within four years I earned a degree in biochemistry, with distinct honors.

By 1926, I was employed by a pharmaceutical company, complete with a research grant, and times were good. Many of my colleagues were turned towards the hedonistic joys of drinking and dancing. Businessmen throughout the country thought to expand man’s capabilities from without, with their radios and refined automobiles. My interests were the opposite, turned towards medicine and new, wondrous drugs. I saved a considerable sum for the next few years, yet still enjoyed the independence my employment afforded me.

My career came to an end through no fault of my own. Despite my promising research, built upon Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin a year earlier, the Great Crash of ’29 destroyed our chances of further funding.

The loss was neither immediate nor dramatic. But the company’s troubles did not disappear. Through the next two years, research and development was cut and cut again. Then the company itself went under, costing me my employment. I turned to my accrued savings account, but fearful mobs made vast withdrawals on the banks in the thirties. My funds were wiped out.

I was ruined.

Sins and Dust

My hopes rose when I found a few sample groups of certain combinations not only survived, but also thrived in the sandy soil conditions, with no outlying differences. I cut these down once they reached their height, and discovered that a few of them took to containing water, just as cacti do. Yet, somehow, prickly spines had grown from the ears.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2015 collection.

“The Confessor” was born in 1903 near Boise City, Oklahoma. He attended Carnegie Mellon University for biochemistry, before working for the Emmerich and Johnson Research Firm, who went bankrupt in the 1930s. The Confessor then returned to Oklahoma to work as a teacher. He disappeared following a church fire in 1935 in his hometown, where a few dozen people died under strange circumstances. However, a letter delivered to Carnegie Mellon in 1973 interested the FBI. They traced it to Father Austin Harold (suspected an alias) of Kentucky, who had passed away following liver complications. The 1935 arson remains, officially, unsolved.

James Fadeley is a short story author/skjald and crazy software engineer living in Bethesda, MD. He writes horror, fantasy, sci-fi, crime, and psychology and historical fiction, and frequently blends these genres together. Always busy with one mad scheme or another, it was either going to be writing or world domination. If spotted, approach cautiously and offer a drink. His biography can be viewed at

Luke Spooner a.k.a. ‘Carrion House’ currently lives and works in the South of England. Having recently graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a first class degree he is now a full time illustrator for just about any project that piques his interest. Despite regular forays into children’s books and fairy tales his true love lies in anything macabre, melancholy or dark in nature and essence. He believes that the job of putting someone else’s words into a visual form, to accompany and support their text, is a massive responsibility as well as being something he truly treasures. You can visit his web site at

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The Arkham K-12 Science Fair

Transcript of a recording by Clifford Winter III, Ph.D., as provided by Jeannie Warner
Art by Scarlet O’Hairdye

12 April 1921.

Where’s the switch, turn on the switch … ah! There we go. Yes, it’s recording now. Okay! Tilly, please go ahead and transcribe these spools for my visit.

For the record, this is District Superintendent Clifford Winter here. These spools are the recording of my trip down to Arkham to finalize the adjudication of the Arkham K through twelve combined school science fair to approve their district entries to State level competition. The board has determined that we start annual tours of these lesser school systems to add them to the overall pool of candidates. As it’s their first year entering, please make sure that you fill in all the appropriate forms for these possible candidates as I describe their winning entries here on this recording device.

The school infrastructure needs work, although now that I’m down here getting a good look at the town, I’m surprised that anything functions reliably. Even something as basic as electricity is doubtful given the way the power lines tilt inward with the direction of the prevailing wind off the river. The firehouse was falling down when I passed it, and if the blank-eyed, moon-faced policeman that directed me to the school building is indicative of anything, I wonder where the taxpayers’ funds are going for good public servants.

Scratch that last. Actually, do me a favor and just edit out all of my personal remarks. Moving on, I will include a few remarks here and there as regards the building grounds and other capital investments for discussion with the budget committee if you wouldn’t mind adding them to the agenda for next month’s meeting. Our allocation into this school may need to increase to keep up minimum standards of cleanliness for the safety of the children.

Right, then. Arkham general school has three buildings with a gymnasium attached to the main office. Make a note to include budget items for exterior illumination and some grounds keeping. I’ll send O’Malley and his group down here once they’re finished with the Gloucester improvements; we have that bond out of Salem we need to spend so the State Board doesn’t come to believe we can get by with less next year. Also note the Arkham gym needs all new floors. The wood here is warped and stained. I hesitate to walk on it with my new wingtips, but there’s nothing for it.

Ah, a bit of civilization. There’s a punch bowl by the door, and they’ve offered me a cup. The smell is a little odd, peaty. Almost as if someone used single malt as a mixer, God forbid, but it does go down warm. There’s quite a number attending here tonight, although the ambient conversations are fairly low. It must be such a thrill for them to have a state official here, attending to their little science fair. Onward to the displays!

The Arkham K-12 Science Fair

The articulation is fully formed, and stimulated through electronic impulses that Miss Whateley controls with a series of switches attached to wires in a control box. The skeleton has danced, curtsied, and appears to be going through the motions of praying quite devoutly on the gym floor. We all applauded loudly at the end of her demonstration, none more so than me. This is far in advance of what I was given to expect for such a backwater.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2015 collection.

Clifford Winter III, Ph.D., matriculated from Yale with graduate degrees in science and medicine, although an unfortunate incident prevented him from practicing locally. Tragically, his poor eyesight was also enough to keep him from seeing action via the draft in WWI. Instead, Mr. Winter braved the Atlantic to pursue his interest in Eugenics at Cambridge with the esteemed Sir Ronald Fisher. Returning home, he married one of the subjects of his college-level medical experiments in fertility, and until his unexpected retirement he has been serving the Essex County as District Superintendent.

Jeannie Warner spent her formative years in Colorado and Southern California, and is not afraid to abandon the most luxurious domestic environs for travel anywhere. She has a useless degree in musicology, a checkered career in computer security, and aspirations of world domination. Her writing credits include blogs of random musings, thriller novel manuscripts, and publications in Tightbeam online magazine, as well as KnightWatch Press’s Rom Zom Com anthology, several police statements, and a collection of snarky notes to a former upstairs neighbor. She lives in the Bay Area with several of her best friends whom she refers to as “minions.”

Scarlett O’Hairdye is a burlesque performer, producer and artist. To learn more, visit her site at

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That Man Behind the Curtain: January 2015

Due to the work load involved with the Kickstarter, this month’s look behind the scenes got delayed.

The Money Aspect

Amounts in parentheses are losses/expenses.

Hosting: ($17.06)
Stories: ($70.00)
Art: ($99.56)
Advertising: ($483.79)
Processing Fees: ($12.07)
Donations: $43.00
Ad Revenue: $0.25
Book Sales: $263.19
Total: ($376.04)
QTD: ($376.04)
YTD: ($376.04)
All Time: ($10,822.43)

As per usual, I try to list costs for art and stories under the month that the stories run on the site rather than when I pay them. Sales are for sales when they take place, not when it’s actually paid out to me. I also cover Paypal expenses when paying authors and artists.

Our Kickstarter technically started January 31st, and I dumped a good chunk of change on advertising. That Ain’t Right continues to sell like well. Bizarrely, our ad revenue dropped off significantly.


We received 75 submissions in January once we reopened. 21 were classified ads, 21 exclusives. Of these we accepted 41 (54.7%), which included all of the classifieds (100%) and 7 of the exclusives (33.3%). Our all time acceptance percentage is at 54.9%.


Facebook: 917 (+24)
Twitter: 334 (-1)
Google+: 48 (+6)
Tumblr: 56 (+6)
Mailing List: 37 (+1)
Patreon: 9 (+1)


Our traffic increased significantly in January. We had a total of 2,316 visits. Our traffic consisted of 1,494 users and 4,093 page views. Our highest day of traffic was 197.

Despite Google Analytics making it increasingly difficult to find this part of the report, I was still able to find the search terms from our organic traffic. This month’s search engine term is “plutonium super villain.” It’s a little obvious, but it’s better than the person wanting sex videos involving animals and dowels. As the young folk say: o.O

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The Amazing Errow!

The fourth and final artist that we have slated to be included if we hit our stretch goal is Errow Collins.

MSJ spring 2015_errow

We met Errow at the same time as Amanda Jones, cosplaying as Cecil to Amanda’s Carlos. (Beautiful, perfect Carlos.) You can imagine our delight to learn that they are BOTH amazing artists.



For more of Errow’s portfolio, check her out at

Errow will also have art in the anthology, but only if we hit our stretch goal of $3,500. This late in the Kickstarter, it seems unlikely we’ll hit that. But there’s always the chance. If we do, everyone who backed at Patron of the Arts or higher will also get art post cards featuring all six of the art pieces for the anthology.

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Featuring Shannon Legler!

Another day, another chance to promote a potential artist for our anthology!

MSJ Summer 2014

Shannon Legler is another artist who has been illustrating for us for a while. She has an amazing talent for cutting to the heart of a story, and is also great when it comes to depicting monsters.

Sweet Sand Fleas
Audio Recording 5024 Harnessing Hotters

You can check out more of her art in her portfolio,

If we are able to raise an additional $915 in the next four days, we will be able to include art from Shannon and five other artists!

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Our Next Stretch Goal Artist: Amanda Jones!

We’re still hoping to hit our first stretch goal, so here’s another look at another possible illustrator!

MSJ Winter 2014

We first met Amanda Jones at Geek Girl Con doing amazing cosplay as Carlos from Welcome to Night Vale. (Beautiful, perfect Carlos.) As an added bonus, we soon learned that she’s an amazing artist and is the co-creator of the webcomic The Kinsey House!

tumblr_n9pycnkHFU1t5jyd3o1_500[1] tumblr_nfosfw9T6N1r6fvyvo1_500[1] tumblr_neg8botWzL1r6fvyvo1_500[1]


You can see more of her art on her blog!

If we hit our first stretch goal of $3500, Amanda will be one of the six artists we will have provide illustrations. And, as mentioned before, backers at $30 or higher will receive a set of post cards with the illustrations in them as well. Help spread the word and allow us to reach this goal!

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