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.

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For more of Errow’s portfolio, check her out at http://errow.carbonmade.com/.

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, http://shannonlegler.carbonmade.com/.

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!

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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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Order from Chaos

An essay by Dr. Albert Ratzwaren, as provided by Denzell Cooper
Art by Luke Spooner


I’d never killed anyone before, but killing myself seemed like the next logical step. The traffic beneath the bridge zipped by, headlights illuminating the tarmac as cars and lorries were swept along, up to the roundabout that would take them to the town centre or the suburbs or perhaps another city, homes with children and husbands and wives. None of them saw me, or if they did then they didn’t notice that I was standing on the wrong side of the railing. Or perhaps they didn’t care. Perhaps they just didn’t want to get involved, praying to the gods that I didn’t jump until they were already past, and they could see me on the news and say that it was such a tragedy but, no, they hadn’t seen me.

Horns blared and tyres squealed. I looked up to see the near miss as the cars slowly pulled away from each other on the roundabout. I couldn’t see the drivers, but I knew the gestures that were being made. It seemed odd that people were still going about their business as normal when the order in my life had fallen apart so completely. How could they not realise that today was so different?

I looked around to make sure that there was nobody else there before I spoke. “Today is no different for them,” I told myself, blushing despite knowing that I was alone.

Another scream of brakes straining to bring a ton of metal to a stop. So soon after the last, another car had almost slammed into the side of a white van. I had no idea whose fault it was. I imagined the police asking me to give my opinion and me pleading that at the time I was trying to kill myself. I smirked at the joke. Still got my sense of humour then. I took a deep breath and looked down.

I didn’t want to jump, but I couldn’t see any other solution to the problem. Sure, mum and dad would miss me. John at work who always said hello in the morning would wonder where I’d gone. Smoky, my cat, would probably pine for me until someone else realised that she needed feeding. Who else?  Not Ingrid, that was for certain. Ingrid wouldn’t even know unless she happened to see it on the news. I doubted that she was likely to be watching the news.

Brakes, horns, crunch. The two cars bumped together and caused some superficial damage. I’d never been out here at this time of the evening, with the rush hour traffic on a Friday causing people to take silly risks. There were certainly a lot of near misses and scrapes tonight. And then somewhere inside my brain, I pieced it together, the timings made sense to me. There was a pattern. Somehow, being there in the vicinity of the accidents and in such a heightened state as I was, I had noticed it where nobody else would. The accidents and near misses weren’t happening at random at all, they were following the most complicated pattern I had ever seen.

I knew that I should jump before someone saw me and called the police to talk me out of it, but this was fascinating. It made no sense, obviously, that there would be a pattern to it, but I watched and waited anyway. For ten full minutes I stood there, and then horns blared in fury and brake lights flared like a Mexican wave through the traffic behind the near miss. Right on time, I thought. Amazing. I made a little prediction to myself about when it would happen again as I climbed back over the railing and then gripped the cold metal and pulled my coat around me to watch.

When it happened right on schedule, I actually laughed. Not at the accident, obviously, that would be horribly cruel. It looked like quite a smash. But it confirmed it. There was definitely a pattern. “Well, well,” I said as I shook my head. I shoved my hands into my pockets and turned away from the road, shrugging down inside my coat as I wandered off towards home.

Order From Chaos

None of them saw me, or if they did then they didn’t notice that I was standing on the wrong side of the railing. Or perhaps they didn’t care. Perhaps they just didn’t want to get involved, praying to the gods that I didn’t jump until they were already past, and they could see me on the news and say that it was such a tragedy but, no, they hadn’t seen me.


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


Dr. Ratzwaren was an eminent theoretical physicist and mathematician until his suicide in October 2013. The events of his final weeks, as detailed here, are reconstructed from diary entries and a final declaration hastily scrawled in blood on the underside of a red Honda Accord. His wife, Ingrid, was placed in psychiatric care in early November 2013, where she is still recovering from “severe delusions.” Dr. Ratzwaren’s theories have been largely disproved by the scientific community, except for a handful of devotees who hope to reconstruct his work from his diaries and a chart found on his kitchen table.


Denzell Cooper works as a training consultant by day, and writes fiction and poetry by night. His work has appeared in the anthology Mental Ward: Echoes of the Past and Mad Scientist Journal, among many others. Regular free stories can be read on his personal blog: http://denzellcooperwriter.blogspot.co.uk/. He is a founding member of the Albert Ratzwaren Mathematical Pattern Investigative Team.


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 www.carrionhouse.com.

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Base goal met! Stretch goals?

Holy doodle! Barring shenanigans, we hit our funding goal! And we have a week left? Could we hit a stretch goal? With a title involving the word “Selfies,” we’re hoping to include some extra art in this book. We didn’t include it in our base funding, because we tried to set our goal as modest as possible.

If we hit $3,500, we will be able to include art!

The first stretch goal will allow us to do six pieces of art AND send a set of post cards featuring that art to backers who pledge at $30 or higher. We have four artists that have agreed to do pieces for us if we hit our stretch goal, and are open to taking art from other artists. We just wanted to secure some artists to show our aesthetic for this book.

The first of the artists we’ve invited along on this madcap ride is Luke Spooner.

Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2013

 

Luke has done a lot of illustrations for us over the years, and did the cover art we have featured with this Kickstarter. He brings a dark and grungy feel to all of his work, and we love  him for it.

Inside Job
Diaries of the Margliss Expedition

His art is so dark that we were surprised to discover that he also does children’s books. Not only that, but he’s won awards for it! Several of his books won the IJOCS Outstanding Books Award.

Over the next week we’ll showcase other artists we’re hoping to involve if we meet our stretch goal!

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Stories from the End of the World

Selfies from the End of the WorldWe’re a little more than half way through our funding period for our Kickstarter, and we’ve passed the 80% mark in terms of backers. Assuming nothing goes wrong, we will be opening for submissions for the anthology starting March 1st and going through the end of the month. So we thought we’d get people thinking about what they might submit if we fund.

The anthology, Selfies from the End of the World, will be a collection of stories about the apocalypse and post-apocalypse told from the point of view of people experiencing the end of the world. In our Kickstarter description we provided a list of the sorts of stories we’re hoping for:

  • A report from an angel harvesting the faithful at the Rapture and running into trouble.
  • A man trying to apologize to his boyfriend in the brief span of time available before the bombs hit.
  • Zombie outbreaks in the heart of Tokyo.
  • The narrative of a survivor of a breach in space and time, recounting her life in the a shattered world where time is meaningless.
  • A war reporter on the front lines of Ragnarok.
  • Two women and their adopted child struggling to survive in the flooded out ruins of Mumbai after global warming destroys the world economy.
  • Survivors in the Amazon basin after genetic engineering turns the rain forest into a warren of carnivorous plants.

To refine that a bit, what we are really hoping for are stories that are not the usual apocalypse stories. We want stories that have a different protagonist than we normally see, take place in a different setting than we are normally presented with, or in some other way push beyond the usual tropes. This isn’t to say we will turn down stories about straight white men in the ruins of the United States, but there are so many possibilities for stories outside of that box that we hope people will send them to us.

We would also like to hear from new voices. Not only would we like to have a diverse roster of writers submitting to us, but also writers who haven’t been published before. We have been the first publication for many of our authors, and we would like to continue that trend with Selfies from the End of the World. We’d like to encourage our regular readers to help boost the signal and bring a broad range of writers to our submissions page.

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Floating

An essay by Dr. Barrett Eustice, as provided by Chris Vander Kaay
Art by Justine McGreevy


They still call me lightweight at work. They think it’s funny, and I never said anything the first time they did it, so now I’m stuck with it.

I know they don’t take me seriously at the lab. If there were ever a bigger insult for a research scientist than “they don’t take me seriously,” I don’t know what it is. The irony of it all is, I’ve actually invented something that could possibly change the nature of nature itself, and because of the fact that I used it on myself, I’m now a punchline in the scientific community.

The idea was to invent something that helped with weight loss. Personally, I could care less about whether or not someone is overweight, but certain things pay the bills in the medical industry, and weight loss is second only to pills that help you get erections, so that’s what I was working on.

Kay always supported me, though. And not because she thought it was a good idea, because it wasn’t. I’m not sure why, but she did. She was the one who volunteered first to test the serum, when no one from the panel would take my research seriously. I couldn’t let her do that. I told her she was too important to risk for some stupid weight loss thing. And besides, she was perfect the way she was.

An unintended side effect of that conversation, albeit a pleasant one, was the night we spent together. She never said why she came over. She had some vague questions about how to proceed and was sounding off about the modern American disdain for scientific achievement. Then she kissed me. She kissed me, and she had her eyes open the whole time. I know, because I kept opening mine to look at her. She pulled me down and climbed on top of me, and we fell asleep on the couch together, her resting on my chest, my arms around her back.

The serum wasn’t going to be tested, they made that clear. And I certainly wasn’t going to use it on Kay. So my options were limited: find an unwitting test subject, or do it myself. And since I wasn’t Victor Frankenstein, I decided it had to be me (which, I guess, makes me Henry Jekyll).

Floating

She kissed me again, and then laid her head back down on my chest, curling her body up against me. She fell asleep before I did, her arms hanging down on either side of me.


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


Dr. Barrett Eustice is an associate research scientist at the Creation Bank Global research firm located in San Jose, California. He graduated at the middle of his class at the Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in Laboratory Science Technology.


Chris Vander Kaay is a co-author and co-screenwriter (with his wife Kathleen) of many films, and their first nonfiction book, The Anatomy of Fear, which compiles interviews with cult horror and science-fiction filmmakers, is is available at www.theanatomyoffear.com.


Justine McGreevy is a slowly recovering perfectionist, writer, and artist. She creates realities to make our own seem slightly less terrifying. Her work can be viewed at http://www.behance.net/Fickle_Muse and you can follow her on Twitter @Fickle_Muse.

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Tor.com Features a Story by Mad Scientist David D. Levine

full_damage[1]MSJ alumnus David D. Levine has new fiction available at Tor.com. “Damage” is a heartbreaking tale of war, loss, and the love a starfighter A.I. has for its pilot. You can read it all here!

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A Taste of Empty

An essay by Jonah Greenwich, as provided by Dorian Graves
Art by Leigh Legler


I was at my wit’s end when the bird was brought in.

Before its arrival was a stalemate. The rain had not stopped outside, leaving trails in windows that hadn’t been cleaned in months. On a chair to my left, a laptop with saved articles on fever remedies, still unable to connect to the internet. To my right, a cup of noxious green liquid that smelled of sewage, but according to the bottle, was the strongest combination of vitamins on the market. My patient, Seth Cross, eyed the concoction and pulled the blankets halfway over his too-pale face.

“I think God already hates me enough, Mr. Greenwich,” he muttered. His voice was soft and breathy, body too thin for a growing teenager. “You don’t need to hate me too.”

“No need to get melodramatic. I mean, this can’t do more harm than good, right?” I tried to hand him the cup, along with a napkin. “And it’s Jonah, please.”

Seth did not argue; I had met him before, and he never spoke a rude word to me. Granted, he never said much in general, but that might’ve been because I was dating his mother, Martha. Not that it mattered what he thought of me, for none of the doctors in town had anything helpful to say, other than “fever and a stomach bug, here are some prescriptions.” I figured I could at least try to help, and even if Martha’s home was a small mobile home–or as Martha called it, “a one-trailer trailer park” in the mountains–I still preferred it to the empty house or noisy cubicle I resided in.

Seth did not try the vitamins, see if they would stay down when everything else he’d eaten the past three days came back up with retching and tears. He did not get the chance, for this was when the bird was brought in. Its arrival was announced with a cheery “Seth! Look what I found!” from the younger Cross sibling, Angie. She entered in a soaked pink dress, golden curls bobbing. She stood next to me and showed us her find, its chest red, head lolling at an unnatural angle.

“It ran into the window,” Angie explained with the enthusiasm only children can muster. “Isn’t it pretty? I think it’s the first robin of spring, but I’d hafta’ ask Momma.”

I wasn’t a doctor by any means, but even I knew that even touching dead animals was bad news. I reached for the bird, already starting in on a lecture, but it was already out of the girl’s grasp. It was in Seth’s hands, and he stared with wide eyes. Even in death, the robin was so much more vibrant than his own pale skin.

Pop. Squish. Crunch.

He’d popped the bird into his mouth. And even as his teeth crushed down and snapped its tiny bones, his expression grew into one of mortification.

“What did you do that for?” I reached in vain for the bird no longer there.

Seth turned his face from me and shook his head. “Don’t know,” he muttered through bites. Squish crunch, squish crunch, gulp. “I was hungry.”

A Taste of Empty

Blood smeared his body, though it looked like he’d tried to wash at least some of it off his face and hands.


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


This story was mailed in by one Jonah Greenwich, with no return address. An attached note states that this is his “only warning about what is to come.” The manuscript was written in pen on notebook paper, instead of typed, with parts that were almost illegible due to burn marks and water damage. No further records on Mr. Greenwich have yet been found.


Dorian Graves is a recent graduate from Mills College, majoring in English/Creative Writing; “A Taste of Empty” was half of a senior thesis. Dorian can usually be found in the mountains of the West Coast, working on the first (and second, and third) book of an urban fantasy series, or herding cats. More information, along with some artwork, can be found at http://pictureofdoriangraves.blogspot.com/.


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 http://leighlegler.carbonmade.com/.

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Collection of Stories from Andrew May

The Museum of the Future and Other StoriesNow available in print and ebook format from MSJ alumnus Andrew May is The Museum of the Future and Other Stories, published through CFZ Press. It collects 20 stories of high strangeness, ranging from crashed UFOs to anti-gravity to past life regression. Be sure to give it a look and let the world know what you think.

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