Self-Help for Super Villains

An essay by Bill Masterson, as provided by Christopher Holmes Nixon
Art by Scarlett O’Hairdye

“Deep within man dwell those slumbering powers, powers that would astonish him, that he never dreamed of possessing, forces that would revolutionize his life if aroused and put into action.”

–Orison Swett Martin

Hello. My name is Bill Masterson.

I want to begin by taking a moment to thank you. I know we’ve never met, but I know you. I already know who you really are, because you’re like me. We’re the same.

I respect you. I really admire and appreciate you because you’re different. You’ve already set yourself apart from the thousands of people who’ve been overcome by the frustrations of daily life, where the dream has dissipated, and have lost the sense of certainty that creates the winning edge. I recognize you as the type of person who wants to make a change, and more importantly, you’re willing to do something about it.

For over a quarter of a century, I’ve helped millions of people in almost every country achieve the life advantage and not settle for anything less than they know they can be.

I’m the guy who gets the call. I get the call when the problems start to burn out of control. I get the call when the octopus man is in a jewellery store surrounded by the police and his robotic arms have malfunctioned. I’m the guy who gets the call when the plan has failed, and the evil genius is being beaten senseless live on national television. I get the call when the fifth robot has been captured, and now the ultra-robot is fighting the climactic final battle with only one leg! Or sometimes I get the call just to say thank you. I just recently received a call from a client who said “I’ve attended all your seminars and read all your work, now I’ve taken the president hostage on my zeppelin, and how would you like a state named after you as a token of my appreciation?”

From all the people that I’ve helped, the biggest lesson that I’ve learned is that people are all the same. We may have different beliefs, different standards, different powers, but we all encounter the same obstacles. Our challenges are all alike, and the solutions that will help us overcome our limiting factors in order to achieve our maximum potential are identical whether you’re a criminal mastermind, a psychotic dictator, a systematic killer, a rogue computer program, or a by-product of a horrible lab accident.

I recognize the power that individuals have to change virtually anything and everything in their lives in an instant. I’ve learned that the resources to turn our dreams into reality are already within us, merely waiting for the moment that we accept the challenge to claim what is rightfully ours. Let my words be your impetus to accept the call to greatness, the catalyst to tap into the powers that you already possess and live your life to its fullest.

So let me extend my sincere gratitude for making the decision to change the quality of your life, and thank you for joining me. It’s my privilege to know you.

Every journey begins with a first step. So let’s begin.

Self-Help for Super-Villains

You don’t want to find yourself sitting on a pile of money wondering what to do, or standing triumphantly over the broken corpse of your arch-nemesis thinking “is this all there is?”

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2014 collection.

Twenty five years ago, Bill Masterson’s bitch wife left him. Ever since then, he’s worked as a motivational speaker and helped millions of people achieve the life advantage.

Bill Masterson’s trade specialty includes helping antagonists, villains, and evil geniuses from around the world overcome their limiting beliefs to achieve the winning edge.

His previous works include “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Criminal Masterminds,” “How to Win Battles and Intimidate People,” “Unleashing the Powers Within,” and most recently, “Self-Help for Super Villains.”

Bill Masterson enjoys self-improvement, exercise, long walks on the beach, and standing back to watch it all burn.

Christopher Holmes Nixon is originally from Calgary, Canada, and has degrees in Economics and Political Science from the same city.

He has served as an Infantry Officer with the Canadian Armed Forces for the last nine years, with one operational tour to Afghanistan.  He is currently employed as the Training Officer for the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, in Edmonton, Alberta.

Christopher enjoys all types of fiction, as well as an addiction to writing.

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

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Please Wait

An essay by Clifford Hahn, as provided by Robert Dawson
Art by Katie Nyborg

I could tell the dame was trouble as soon as she slithered into my office.

A real Sherlock Holmes type might have deduced this by scientific observation of her blood-red stiletto-heeled shoes, in the context of the matching miniskirt, spaghetti-strap top, lipstick, and fingernails, and all this at nine-thirty-seven in the morning. But I’ve had the dubious advantage of knowing Annie for twenty-three years, and trust me, my kid sister has been trouble since she learned to talk. I swung my feet down off the desk.

“Feet up on the desk, Cliffy?” she asked brightly, by way of greeting. “Business slow?” She slipped around the end of the desk and tried for a peek at my monitor.

Well, as a point of fact, business was slow. Computer consultancy has two speeds, slow and trying to do six things at once, and today was slow. Hell, this year was slow, and next year wasn’t looking too good. But not slow enough to justify the window that was open on the screen. I reached to switch the monitor off. Like a striking snake, her crimson-nailed hand pinned mine to the desk.

“Naughty Cliffy. Let Annie see …”

Well, at least she could see it wasn’t porn or Farmville. Front and center on the monitor was a rectangular window, with two words, “Please Wait,” superimposed on a picture of a misty alien landscape. Nothing moved except for a little spinning hourglass. “It’s called HyperWorld III. The first two were fairly spectacular, but this one is supposed to be legendary. The game world is like the size of Niven’s Ringworld, and every square meter is realistic. Of course it’s not all stored on disc; it’s algorithmic, based on fractals. But they get everything, geography, biology, languages, and customs for thousands of different cultures, everything. But you have to download it; Gandcom won’t sell it on DVD. Nobody knows why.”

Annie didn’t seem all that interested. “How long has that Install Wizard been running for?”

“Since last night,” I admitted. “I thought it would be finished long before I got in this morning. But it’s eleven o’clock and still less than half finished, and, well, I hate to stop it now. And as long as it’s loading, that window stays up, and the keyboard’s locked out.”

“So’s mine,” she said, almost sheepishly. “I was hoping you had a solution.”

Please Wait

“Do not meddle in the affairs of Install Wizards,” Annie intoned, “for they are subtle and quick to anger.”

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2014 collection.

Clifford Hahn has a degree in computing science from Rutabaga College. Until this year he ran a successful software consulting business. He now works at Gandcom, one of the fastest-growing game development companies in the world. Hi Cliffie! Nice to see you’re coauthoring with a real scientist! But you don’t get an Erdös number unless it’s a research article, you know 😛 What he’s working on is highly secret right now, but you’re going to love it when Gandcom rolls it out in the spring. Plan your annual vacation for May, HyperWorld fans! Actually, my spies tell me he’s updating their billing database and getting coffee for his boss. –Anne Hahn, PhD

Robert Dawson teaches mathematics at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. His stories have appeared in various magazines and anthologies, including AE, Mad Scientist Journal, and Journal of Humanistic Mathematics. His mathematical research is mainly geometry, but he’s done all sorts of things. When not working or writing he enjoys fencing, cycling, and hiking, and volunteers with a Scout troop.

Katie Nyborg’s art, plus information regarding hiring her, can be found at

“Please Wait” was originally published in Imaginaire,  Sept. 2012.

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That Man Behind the Curtain: October 2014

It’s been a little quiet lately with submissions closed. Here are the numbers!

The Money Aspect

Amounts in parentheses are losses/expenses.
Hosting: ($17.06)
Stories: ($105)
Art: ($232.73)
Advertising: ($109.73)
Payment Processing Fees: ($10.90)
Printing: ($16.28)
Donations: $51.00
Ad Revenue: $0.94
Book Sales: $61.73
Total: ($378.03)
QTD: ($378.03)
YTD: ($2,643.49)
All Time: ($10,156.06)

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. I also cover Paypal expenses when paying authors and artists.

Printing costs this month consisted of replacing a couple books for Kickstarter backers that were either mutilated or missing. Sales of That Ain’t Right continue to be pretty strong.


We were closed to submissions in October, so we remain at at 54.94% for all time.


Facebook: 865 (+10)
Twitter: 337 (-1)
Google+: 44 (+1)
Tumblr: 47 (+9)
Mailing List: 26 (+5)
Patreon: 6 (+0)


October experienced a bit of a drop in traffic. We had a total of 1,065 visits. Our traffic consisted of 658 users and 1,868 page views. Our highest daily traffic was 82.

This month’s search engine term is “sex xxx vestes”. Because seriously: What does that even mean? What kind of porn did they think they’d find?

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Sworn Statement

Report by Herbert W. Wackerman, Ph.D., as provided by Julie Bloss Kelsey
Art by Dawn Vogel

[The following transcript is an excerpt of an audio recording of Herbert W. Wackerman, Ph.D., recorded on the night of the incident.]

My name is Dr. Herbert Wackerman. My research attempts to demystify the courtship displays and mating rituals of the common household gym sock, Sweatiferous maximus. Casual observations suggest that S. maximus retains monogamous pair bonding, at least while young. However, in 2001, Sockwatcher and Soleman found that S. maximus prefers to form amorous polygamous bonds with lone members of more colorful sock species, particularly the lesser argyle. The suggestion, however, that the coloration of the lesser argyle is an evolutionary courtship strategy used to lure pair bonded gym socks away from their partners is beyond the scope of my research. Of course, you do realize that I am … [unintelligible].

As to the night in question, you must know that anecdotal evidence suggests common gym socks engage in fierce battles known as ravel rousers while hidden deep within their mating grounds. Socks often emerge from these battles for dominance with loose elastic and frayed edges. Some even go missing. There is no existing research to adequately explain what happens when S. maximus engages in courtship displays and mating rituals. Until now.

I agree that it was late when I slipped into the Drip ‘n Dry laundromat on West Main. And I did take great precautions to hide myself from the proprietor, one Mr. Marvin Johnson. Mr. Johnson has, on previous occasions, sabotaged my observations by manually removing bedding materials from preferred gym sock mating sites via the use of traps. Far worse, he has been known to disrupt the wild sock population by physically expelling single members from the breeding grounds and relocating them into waste receptacles. Mr. Johnson is indeed correct that I hold him in disdain.

Sworn Statement

There is no existing research to adequately explain what happens when S. maximus engages in courtship displays and mating rituals. Until now.

On this occasion, I jumped into the largest industrial sized drum and waited for the socks to arrive. I concur that this was my boldest and most thorough attempt to gather research to date. I repositioned my cloak of small scented sheets in an attempt to shield myself from the prying eyes of Mr. Johnson. I had hoped that the fresh spring scent would be enough to counteract any nervous perspiration that I might be emitting. Gym socks are notoriously shy. Just one whiff of a human can cause them to disappear, suggesting invisibility as a possible defensive evolutionary strategy. I was excited to finally test my theories. I knew that I was on the cusp of greatness.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2014 collection.

Dr. Herbert W. “Footie” Wackerman is an esteemed government researcher in the field of laundry migration and dispersal. He currently serves as Chairman of the Council to Preserve Free-Range Hosiery and is a tireless advocate of protecting endangered sock species, such as the lesser argyle. Footie is the author of the forthcoming book, The Secret Life of Sweat Socks. He is opposed to sock monkeys and prefers wearing sandals.

Julie Bloss Kelsey writes speculative fiction and science fiction poetry from her home in suburban Maryland. In 2011, her scifaiku “Comet” won the Dwarf Stars Award given by the Science Fiction Poetry Association. You can catch her on Twitter where she posts @MamaJoules. This is her first speculative fiction publication outside of Twitter.

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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Weather is a Zero-sum Game

An essay by Sam Keegan, as provided by Judith Field
Art by Leigh Legler

I wheeled my new invention up the garden. It was a metal box about the size of a pillow, with an array of switches, instrument panels, and levers down one side. At the top was an axle attached to a horizontal row of plastic drainpipes of different widths and lengths, looking like a set of organ pipes on their sides. The box was mounted on the frame and wheels of an old-fashioned pram. This one would make my fortune. A thirty year old millionaire. I imagined the headlines in the press: “Local man makes good.” Just like Bill Gates. Only more.

I unwound a cable as thick as my wrist from a bracket at the end of the box and plugged it into the extension lead running out of the back door of the house. Luke looked over the fence from the garden next door.

“Hi, Sam,” he said. “Looks like rain. So much for my barbecue.”

“It won’t rain,” I said. “Just wait and see.” I looked up at the grey clouds that had been gathering all afternoon and tapped the side of my nose.

“How do you know?” Luke asked. “Was it on the weather forecast? Can’t believe that lot, they make it up as they go along. Wanna come over? There’ll be sausages, burgers, kebabs–”

“–will Cara be there?”

“Said she might, if she finishes her revision. It’s this ‘chemistry for a sustainable future’ thing she’s doing at night school. I think she’s off her head, doing exams when she doesn’t have to.”

“No, you weren’t one for the academic stuff at school, I remember.”

Weather is a Zero Sum Game

“I call this the Cloudzapper. Plenty of people have tried to seed clouds to make it rain, but this does the opposite. Chases the clouds away.”

“I think she fancies you, God knows why, she really must be off her head. She’s always asking about you.”

“Really?” I asked. “I could use a bit of help with this project from a big, beautiful woman, that’d be sweet.”

“Oy!” Luke leaned over the fence, his mouth set in a line. “Less of the letching, that’s my sister you’re talking about.  I’m not sure I want her going round with a beer-gutted layabout like you.”

“Layabout? Leave it out. I’m a freelance designer/inventor, me.”

“Yeah, right.”

“No, really. Who do you think dreams up all those things you never knew you needed, in the gift catalogues? Me. And I’m doing very nicely out of the last one I came up with.  Combined golf ball holder with integral hip flask in a sumptuous leather case, lavishly personalised with up to three initials of your choice.”

Luke shrugged. “I never look at those things. I’d shove them straight in the bin if Cara didn’t insist on recycling everything.”

“Talking of trees, now I’m branching out.” I pointed at my invention. “I call this the Cloudzapper. Plenty of people have tried to seed clouds to make it rain, but this does the opposite. Chases the clouds away.”

“What happens? Does it suck them into those tubes? They don’t look long enough.”

“No, no!” I rolled my eyes upwards. “This is pure science. It sends a super-powered stream of ions into the atmosphere. To be precise, the bit called the tropopause …” I could see Luke’s eyes glaze over in that way people’s so often did, so I skipped to the end. “Anyway, the jetstream whips the clouds out of the way. Then there you are. For as long as it’s switched on,” I started to sing, “The sun has got his hat on.” I realised I didn’t know the words of the rest of it and substituted “ner, ner” under my breath, in the manner of someone who realises they’re going on to the second verse of “God Save the Queen.”

I turned a crank on the side of the Cloudzapper and the pipes swivelled from their horizontal position until they were pointing almost vertically towards the clouds, like a bundle of howitzers. I flicked a switch, a red light glowed on the control panel, and the machine began to hum and pulse. I turned a knob, and a lever flicked from “zero” to “50%.”

“Look up there!” Luke’s gaze followed mine. The clouds moved aside like a pair of curtains pulled back by a pair of invisible hands, leaving clear blue sky. A blazing sun shone directly overhead. In the distance, all around this blue, sunny gap were rainclouds.

I went into the house and switched on the radio. The news reported a localised thunderstorm, which had flooded three streets in another part of town.
To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2014 collection.

Sam Keegan lives in the south of England, with his live-in girlfriend and business manager, Cara. He’s still a designer, his most successful item to date has been a combined hand-held generator and umbrella. You might remember seeing him and Cara on the news, following their attempt to draw down electricity from the jetstream using a giant kite that exploded, striping the clouds in rainbow colours and jamming the streets with sight-seers. But that’s another story.

Judith Field was born in Liverpool, England and lives in London. She is the daughter of writers, and learned how to agonise over fiction submissions at her mother’s (and father’s) knee.

Her fiction, mainly speculative, has appeared in a variety of publications in the USA and UK. She speaks five languages and can say, “Please publish this story” in all of them. She is also a pharmacist, freelance journalist, editor, medical writer, and indexer. She blogs at

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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The Long Toss

A diary entry by George Schier, as provided by Gary Cuba
Art by Luke Spooner

Hell of a way to lose, I thought, as I plowed my way through the detritus covering the parking lot.

I headed toward my office in Newton Hall, the center for Physics and Mathematics studies at Manley University. The trash was the day-old aftermath of the school’s final football game of the year. It consisted, in the main, of plastic beer cups, discarded game programs, and empty half-pint liquor bottles.

The students had been gifted with a good reason to get smashed. Once again, their team had managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, ending their season with a record whose “wins” column consisted of an unblemished goose egg. What had made it all the more depressing was the way they had lost, on a last-second “Hail Mary” pass by the opposing offense. Heck, I thought. How had that scrawny Framingham Tech quarterback managed to throw the football so far, scrambling from deep in his own end zone? It must have traveled ninety yards in the air!

I plopped my heavy briefcase down on my desk and looked over at my office-mate, Harvey Atwood. Harvey was a full Professor, an aging don with dual doctorates in Physics and Chemistry. His unkempt, gray hair spilled across his shoulders, making his deep frown seem all that much more dour.

“Morning, Harvey. You look like you bet on the wrong team. How much did you manage to drop?”

Harvey snorted. “George, you know I try to stay clear of that sort of thing. Unless it’s a sure deal. No, there’s something else bugging me about that game–about that last play, that last pass.”

“Like, perhaps, the thought that it was impossible? That it violated the laws of physics and human physiology? Old friend, my lowly field of expertise may be in linguistic meta-geometry, but even I know that. It had to be a fix, a trick football. Filled with helium or something.”

“Not a credible hypothesis,” Harvey replied. “The volume-to-weight ratio is too small. You couldn’t pack enough helium in there to make a significant difference in the ball’s performance. But we saw it with our own eyes. It seemed impossible–but it’s obviously not. I’ve been tearing my hair out all night, trying to reason it out scientifically. And then, this morning, I began to think about Dudley.”

“Dr. Luttle, over at Framingham? What possible connection could Dudley have had with yesterday’s game?”

“He was there, so I naturally suspect him. I’d suspect him for causing the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, too–except I know for a fact that he wasn’t in Ukraine at the time.”

I knew where this was heading: the same place any conversation about Dudley went. Harvey was a brilliant man, but I had come to learn over the years that he harbored a vindictive, malevolent impulse when it came to his arch-rival. He saved and stored Dudley’s professional slights as an English Squire might collect postage stamps: immaculately kept, but overly ruminated upon. He sputtered on.

The Long Toss

Harvey suddenly gained complete composure, smiled and faced the seminar attendees. “Dr. Luttle was right. I made an error in my calculations, an unforgivable sophomoric mistake. I stand corrected, and for that I must give our colleague his proper due.”
Harvey turned back to Dudley, grabbed him by his lapels and yanked him skyward, flinging him through the ceiling of the hall, out into the atmosphere, destined for outer space and a long, slow trip to the end of the universe.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2014 collection.

George Schier (1935-2011) was Professor of Linguistic Meta-Geometry at Manley University. While his own lifetime scholastic achievements were for the most part unremarkable, he is better known today for the extensive diary he kept during his tenure at Manley, which detailed the numerous capers and exploits he undertook with his close friend and eccentric colleague, Dr. Harvey Atwood. This is but one selected excerpt.

Gary Cuba lives with his wife and an unruly horde of domestic critters in South Carolina, USA. Now retired, he spent most of his career working in the commercial nuclear power industry, and holds several US patents in that field. His short fiction has appeared in more than eighty publications, including Jim Baen’s Universe, Flash Fiction Online, Grantville Gazette, Daily SF, Penumbra and Nature Futures. Visit to learn more about him and to find links to some of his other stories.

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

“The Long Toss” was originally published in Crossed Genres: Science in My Fiction (April 2011).

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Triumphs of Mad Scientists

As Halloween approaches, we have news to share of our alumni!

Darin M. Bush will be at CONjuration in Atlanta, GA, speaking on panels about a wide variety of SF/F topics. You can track him down on the convention’s schedule.

David D. Levine has signed a three-book deal with Tor! The first novel in the series, Arabella of Mars, is described as “Regency Interplanetary Airship Adventure” and is expected out in late 2015 or early 2016. You can read more details on David’s blog.

Cat Rambo has started a Patreon. If you want a steady stream of her writing and want to help support her, you can look into backing her fiction here!

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Science for Crackpots

An essay by Waldo Krankenstein, as provided by Andrew May
Art by Katie Nyborg

I know what you’re thinking: “Crackpots don’t need to read textbooks because they already know everything.” You’re right, of course. But this isn’t a textbook, just a collection of useful tips based on my own thirty years of experience as one of the world’s leading crackpots.

The Scientific Method

The heart of mainstream science is something they call “the scientific method.” This is a kind of Masonic handshake that scientists use to keep insiders inside and outsiders outside. In reality, the scientific method is like the Emperor’s New Clothes–it sounds fancy, but there’s nothing really there. As a crackpot, you won’t lose any credibility if you ignore the scientific method altogether.

Many promising young crackpots are put off by the mistaken belief they have to plough through piles of books with boring titles like “Integrated Principles of Zoology” or “Principles and Applications of the General Theory of Relativity.” This simply isn’t the case. These books were written by scientists, and scientists don’t know everything. If they did, the world wouldn’t need crackpots.

One of the founders of quantum theory, Max Planck, observed that “new scientific ideas never spring from a communal body, however organized, but rather from the head of an individually inspired researcher.” So where will the next great scientific idea come from? It might be your head–in fact, it probably will be.

Science for Crackpots

One of the first things the aspiring crackpot needs to do is choose a belief system. Be as imaginative as you want–you can always change it later if you decide you don’t like it. As the great philosopher Rudolf Steiner pointed out, “Truth is a free creation of the human spirit, that never would exist at all if we did not generate it ourselves.”

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2014 collection.

Waldo Krankenstein is one of the world’s leading crackpots. His first major triumph, back in 1984, was the revelation that NASA has had a permanently manned base on the Moon ever since the 1950s. Two years later, he followed this up with another Earth­shaking revelation–that the supposed Apollo Moon landing of 1969 was nothing but a cynical government hoax. He proved this scientifically, on the grounds that no human being could survive the intense radiation of outer space.

Andrew May is a science consultant and freelance author writing on subjects as diverse as quantum physics, astronomy, history, military technology, pulp magazines, the paranormal, and New Age beliefs. He keeps trying to write fiction, too.

Katie Nyborg’s art, plus information regarding hiring her, can be found at

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Accelerating Universe

A log by cryotechnician Coadyl Rassin. Here, transcribed by Dennis Staples
Art by Justine McGreevy

My shift begins an hour after I wake up, whatever time that is. I don’t really know. I haven’t gotten used to reading the ship’s clocks. The alarms are set up by the computer techs though, so I never have to worry about my schedule.

I wake up this morning to some trouble.

Ever since the ship left Za’ira I’ve been tired. Today the alarm just wasn’t powerful enough, and I slept through the loud annoying bell. The touch screen didn’t get my fingerprint confirmation since I didn’t get out of bed. That’s what alerted the captain.

Captain Otheo himself marches to my bedroom and yells me out of bed. I’m standing half-naked and getting scolded by a man in a suit. It was just like childhood nightmares about school, I swear.

“Do you realize hundreds of lives are at stake, Coadyl Rassin? Each more important than you getting a few more minutes in,” the captain yells.

“I know, I’m sorry.”

“Don’t apologize. Just get your lazy ass dressed and to your department. And fucking shave, pretty boy.”

I almost wanted to laugh at how his voice is so rigid, so practiced, but being scolded in my underwear makes everything lose its humor.

In the small bathroom in my quarters, I look at my face in the mirror. Aside from the red-streaked eyes, I don’t think I look that bad. My beard isn’t that long, and it’s the only thing that makes me look older than eighteen. I shave quickly and rush to the cryo-hangar.


Accelerating Universe

“This is Captain Otheo. Unfortunately, I must announce that our telescopes have confirmed the total destruction of Za’ira. As a precaution, we will be traveling at a faster speed to prevent any possible collision with debris from the planet. All crew will report to the flight deck to assure safety.”
I turn away from 13-471 and walk slowly out of the cryo-hangar. I think I can feel my heart through my entire body, my ears, and my head. It won’t stop.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2014 collection.

Coadyl Rassin was born on the planet Za’ira. He attended the Guild’s Initiative College with a degree in cryogenics. Shortly after graduation, he was selected to be a crew member on the Guild’s exodus to the planet Ersepha. After the landing, he was part of the successful first settlement on Ersepha. He enjoys drawing and spending time with his wife.

Dennis Staples was born in 1992 in Minnesota. He is currently an undergraduate student at Bemidji State University with a major in creative and professional writing. He enjoys writing fantasy, science fiction, and creative nonfiction. His work has appeared in the BSU literary magazine,

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 and you can follow her on Twitter @Fickle_Muse.

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That Man Behind the Curtain: September 2014

In September, we had the last of our Kickstarter costs, so we dumped out a whole lot of money. Plus we spent money on classified ads for the next couple quarterlies, which was another chunk of costs.

The Money Aspect

Amounts in parentheses are losses/expenses.
Hosting: ($17.06)
Domain Name Renewal: ($60.72)
Stories: ($130)
Art: ($334.40)
Advertising: ($100.00)
Shipping: ($474.63)
Payment Processing Fees: ($14.34)
Donations: $51.00
Ad Revenue: $0.91
Book Sales: $124.66
Total: ($954.58)
QTD: ($2,831.79)
YTD: ($2,265.46)
All Time: ($9,778.03)

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. I also cover Paypal expenses when paying authors and artists.

We had additional That Ain’t Right expenses, mainly in the form of shipping ALL THE BOOKS. On the bright side, we made record sales for books–five times our previous high point.


We received 35 stories in September, 14 of which were classified ads. (Most from new authors!!) We accepted all of the classifieds and 10 of the other submissions. So 47.62% acceptance for the general submissions, 68.57% for the month as a whole. This puts us at 54.94% for all time. We have sufficient content to last us until early September 2015. Because our contract stipulates that we have to publish the story within a year of signing the contract, that’s really almost all we can accept. So we’re closed for submissions for the remainder of the year.


Facebook: 855 (+10)
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Patreon: 6 (+0)


September was a bit up from August. We had a total of 1,377 visits. Our traffic consisted of 848 users and 2,782 page views. Our highest daily traffic was 81.

This month’s search engine term is “glow in the dark ghost from chicken wire”. Because we take things back to basics.

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