On the Perils of Self-Mummification

An essay by Dr. Constanza Vivette as provided by Sylvia Cullinan
Art provided by Justine McGreevy

Never underestimate the value of a good lackey–or the scheme-destroying potential of an incompetent one.

Perhaps Hairy Joe’s willingness to adopt such a misleading moniker should have been my first clue that the man was as inept as a one-legged unicorn wielding a chainsaw–our correspondence had prepared me for a hulking ape of a man, not the slight, ragged, and embarrassingly hairless gentleman whose sopping-wet clothes left a trail of water on my nice hardwood floor as I led him into the heart of my lair. Nor had I expected the incessant chatter that spewed forth from the man’s fleshy pink lips.

“A bit stormy tonight, eh?”

I shot him one of my best withering looks, well-perfected after hours of intensive training, and carried on towards the dungeon. “Your job, Misleadingly-Hairless Joe, will be to serve as my replacement laboratory assistant until Gretchen starts returning my calls again and comes back to work. I’m currently working on …”

“What happened to Gretchen?” Joe’s voice contained a note of suspicion–a bad sign. My professors at the University had squabbled over every facet of the malicious sciences, and disagreed about every idea but for one–that a good henchman was as loyal as he was silent. My new friend, I feared, lacked both of these salient qualities.

“She had a personal issue.” I wasn’t ready to open up to Joe about the anguish I’d experienced when Gretchen had lost a few layers of skin to the pore-sealing serum we’d been concocting and stormed out of my lair in rage. I hadn’t had a good afternoon snack since she’d left–the hussy had gone so far as to steal the last of the snickerdoodles on her way out. It was a grievous sin, indeed, but the longer I spent in the presence of Hairy Joe, the more eager to forgive my heart grew.

On the Perils of Self-Mummification

Suddenly I felt something dripping down my face. I brushed my hand against my cheek, only to realize that the strange concoction of chemicals I’d used to preserve my youthful allure had caused my skin to break out into pus-oozing boils.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2012 collection.

Dr. Constanza Vivette received her doctorate in experimental biology from the Academy of the Malovent Arts & Scienes in 1992. Since then, she has published a number of papers documenting her experiments, including her Hershowitz Prize-winning article, “The Diabolic Utility of Domestic Felines.” She currently resides in a spacious lair in the Swiss Alps where she lives with her wretched henchman, Hairless Joe, and a clowder of tricloptic cats.

Sylvia Cullinan likes writing stories about giant mantises, virgin sacrifices, and, occasionally, mummies. She also likes making friends rather a lot, so follow her on Twitter @SylviaCullinan if you enjoy reading about bizarre creatures, discussing speculative fiction, or viewing pictures of the writer’s cat.

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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An essay by Chris Lyman, as provided by Keith Baldwin

I’d had a few drinks and was about to head to bed last night when this chat window popped up from Lenny.


Leonard Cassler: I’ve done it

Chris Lyman: What are you talking about?

Leonard Cassler: The machine. It’s done, man.

Chris Lyman: No way! Are you joking?


He’s been tinkering with his machine for as long as I’ve known him–at least the past three years–but I never really took it seriously. I guess I always figured he was more of a theorist than anything. Or, you know, crazy.

The first day I met him, when I came to check out the house, he left me waiting at the door for about five minutes. I was going to leave when, ringing the doorbell for what must have been the fourth time, I finally heard him clumping up the basement steps. He came to the door still wearing those funny little goggles he used for soldering.

The place was great, the rent was cheap, because he wanted the basement all to himself, and–once I’d confirmed that he wasn’t chopping up bodies down there–Lenny was sort of the perfect roommate. Quiet. Kept to himself. A little scatter-brained, but not messy. It wasn’t until we got drunk together one night that he started talking about his work, and I got the sense of how truly passionate, and possibly crazy, he really was.

“The processing power of consumer electronics is doubling every year, but if you really know what you’re doing, you can get way more performance out of these new chips. We’re getting to the point where the idea of, like, replicating a human mind inside of a computer is going to stop being science fiction.”

“Uh huh. And why would you want to do that?”

“Why wouldn’t you?! You’re a slave to your brain right now, man. Can’t you see that? Always searching for new stimulation for your senses, anything your brain needs to release the chemicals that make you happy. But if your whole experience was a program that you controlled, the possibilities would be endless!”



It’s better than I even could have guessed, man! You don’t even realize how uncomfortable you are in your own skin until you’re out of it. No more pain, no more boredom. One hundred percent perfection.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2012 collection.

Chris Lyman was the mild-mannered roommate of the world’s greatest and maddest basement-inventor. He is currently being processed into energy for the Super-Being that his roommate created, but he wants his loved ones to know that he has never been happier, and can’t wait for them to join him.

Keith Baldwin is a writer and student living deep inside the comforting warmth of his own head somewhere in Brooklyn. He is currently studying Creative Writing at Brooklyn College, and exploring every permutation of the robot uprising at story-bot.com.

Image credit: sirylok / 123RF Stock Photo

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Mad Scientist Alumnus Rosemary Jones has a Superhero Team-Up

Author Rosemary Jones, who we have had the honor of publishing in May as part of our Spring 2012 line-up, has a new book coming out at the end of this month. In fact, it’s one of three books being bundled together under the title Cobalt City Rookies. Her book, Wrecker of Engines, is the first of three young adult superhero tales available in this book. In addition toWrecker of Engines, Cobalt City Rookies will also feature Tatterdemalion by Nikki Burns and Kensei by Jeremy Zimmerman (who is also the editor of Mad Scientist Journal and loves to talk about himself in third person).

We’ll provide a link when this book is available.


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Special Call for Submissions: Autumn Edition

As we get the hang of this whole production schedule thing, we are getting better at knowing how to plan ahead. Things went pretty well with our Summer 2012 collection. But now we look ahead and realize we have a huge kink in our production schedule: National Novel Writing Month. While certainly not all writers will be doing NaNo (as the cool kids call it), I imagine it will be enough that it will eat a chunk out of potential submissions. And since Dawn and I participate every year, it will take a chunk out of our production schedule.

So we’re starting the submissions period a little earlier and running it a little later. From now until December 15th, we are accepting submissions for our Autumn 2012 collection in the following categories:

– Classified Ads: 100-500 words of fictional classifieds by and/or for mad scientists. Ideally there will be a story suggested. We are fine with just something fun. $5+royalties

– Original Fiction: Rather than the “essays” and similar narratives that we normally post to the site, we are looking for the sort of fiction that mad scientist readers will want to enjoy. Though we as editors have a bias towards SF/F, we will consider almost any genre so long as it’s fun to read. We only ask that you avoid gratuitous sex or violence. We aren’t looking for erotica, splatterpunk or the like. We pay $10 for flash (500-2000) and $20 for short fiction (2000-8000). Both options get a share of royalties and a high likelihood of having your name on the cover.

For more information on submitting to us, check out our Submissions page!

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An essay by Dr. Deitolf Hamm, as provided by Eryk Pruitt

The specimen is Sam Tuley, chosen not just for his overzealous sex drive, penchant for alcohol and violence, and inability to make the most of a second chance, but rather because, try as he might, he will forever be damned to a hospital bed with tubes going in and out of him. This is where I found him. This is where our journey began.

Ask him what he remembers most about being awake and alive. To a pretty nurse, the cut of her figure may catch his eye, but the sparkle is long gone. Through cracked lips and a dry throat he will creak three cranky syllables:


Then, as if he’d summoned every last bit of his being to produce that much, his body will collapse back into itself, further into his hospital bed. The machines keeping him alive and reporting his condition will crank and whirr, beep and whistle for a bit, then fall back into their syncopated rhythm.

The poor bastard will be left to his dreams.

So I decide he will be the perfect candidate.


Upstairs. Up thirteen wooden steps, through a skinny, cramped hallway and into a room he’d been so many times.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2012 collection.

DR. DEITOLF HAMM was born in Stuttgart, Germany and studied in Mainz, Brussels, and Princeton. His work was largely controversial and caused him scorn and ridicule in professional communities. His pamphlet “God and the Helicopter Apocalypse,” a treatise on time travel, caused him expulsion from the academic community. His website, long discontinued, was shut down by the United States government. Following an investigation by authorities after reports of large purchases of suspicious materials, he went into hiding and has never resurfaced.

Eryk Pruitt is a writer, screenwriter, and former restaurant professional living in Durham, NC. His short dark comedy “Foodie” has won awards at screenings in film festivals across the United States.

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A Call For Retroaction

An essay by Professor B.A. Darling, as provided by Rebecca L. Brown

To all at ‘The Journal of Better Times,’

I am writing in response to Dr. A. Muchworthy’s paper of July 1892, which I believe was entitled ‘Looking Towards a Better Future: Potential Techniques of Forecasting and Prediction.’

I feel that I must express my growing concern and dismay at the preoccupation with which Dr. Muchworthy–and indeed much of the scientific community at large–display with regards to the future and future events.

Whilst it is understandable and perhaps even commendable that Dr. Muchworthy seeks to advance scientific understanding through the use of informed prediction–or ‘foresight,’ if you will–I am concerned that these new discoveries will be at the expense of the inventions and advancements of the past.

Whilst the vast majority of the scientific community cheapen themselves through the pursuit of new inventions and new advancements, chasing the fame and fortune which we have come to associate with the science of the future, there are a few truly committed scientists amongst us who remain committed to the re-discovery–or retro-discovery–of our scientific heritage.

A Call for Recroaction

Where would we be, you may rightly ask, without the men who time and, indeed, time again diligently rediscover the wheel for us?

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2012 collection.

Professor Darling is the world’s hindmost expert in retrospective science. He currently lives in lesser Anklesfield with his wife-to-be, Beatrice, and his hamster, Mister Wiggly. His ground re-breaking paper on the discovery of fire was published more than twenty five years ago in the Journal of Colloquial Science.

Rebecca L. Brown is a British writer. She specialises in horror, SF, humour, surreal and experimental fiction, although her writing often wanders off into other genres and gets horribly lost.

Image credit: jgroup / 123RF Stock Photo

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Duotrope Editor Interview with Mad Scientist Journal

Duotrope offers an interview of sorts for editors of different publications. It’s a bit more like a questionnaire, but it at least provides an opportunity for editors to talk about what they are looking for in submissions. So Dawn and I tag-teamed their interview. You can read it here: https://duotrope.com/interview.aspx?id=7161

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That Man Behind the Curtain: September 2012

With a story on the first and a new collection to launch as well, I figured I’d wait until today to give the numbers behind the magic.

Continue reading

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Summer 2012 now available!

I was going to launch yesterday, but I didn’t want to steal the thunder of Monday’s story. So now I can say: Mad Scientist Journal: Summer 2012 is now available on Smashwords! In addition to the last three months of fiction, we have some awesome original fiction from Emily C. Skaftun and our classified-ad-style flash fiction.

MSJ Summer Volume 2012

I’m playing around with the price, so at the moment it is $1.99. But if you use this coupon code you can get it for 99 cents: KY34H

I’ve similarly dropped the price of Spring 2012 to $1.99 and have a coupon code to bring it down to 99 cents:  ER69M

In theory, Smashwords will export this out to other ebook retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but since Mad Scientist Journal: Spring 2012 went out a month and a half ago, the only place it has appeared outside of Smashwords has been Apple’s iBookstore.

If spending money on the ebooks isn’t your thing, but you still want to support Mad Scientist Journal, you can also add us to your books and/or review us over at Goodreads for either Spring 2012 or Summer 2012. More than your money, we could do with your time. At this point Mad Scientist Journal suffers more from obscurity than lack of money. If you love getting fiction from us, help us boost the signal.

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Financial Strategies for Innovative Researchers

An essay by Kelvin Schrödinger, as provided by Kenneth Schneyer

From the Bulletin of the Society for Innovative Research and Invention, vol. 195, no. 3 (Summer, 2012):

Everyone knows that funding is a perennial problem. With so little hardware and so few suitable reagents available off-the-shelf, your work becomes impossible without moles of ready cash. It’s no coincidence that our big success stories have been men of independent means, successful industrialists, or war profiteers.

If that’s your situation, congratulations. I wish you well in your Carpathian castle or your Schenectady manufacturing plant; please invite me to tea! But if you’re like most of us, you wear out your slide rule trying to figure out how to pay for your next Beam-Based Armament or Program for Global Governance.

Yet even the genius of humble origins can capture enough golden geese to supply his most demanding needs for protoplasm and plutonium. I’ve helped many an unheralded Prometheus find the wherewithal to assemble his dream. Let me take you through some of the most promising lines of capital acquisition.

Financial Strategies for Innovative Researchers

But if you’re like most of us, you wear out your slide rule trying to figure out how to pay for your next Beam-Based Armament or Program for Global Governance.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Autumn 2012 collection.

A regular contributor to the Bulletin, Kelvin Schrödinger has earned accolades for his five-day intensive seminar, “Getting the Research Support You Deserve.” 2012 Registrants who mention this article will receive a 20% discount. He is also available for lectures and conference appearances. Visit his web site at www.KelvinSchrodi.com.

Kenneth Schneyer’s stories have appeared in Analog, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Clockwork Phoenix 3, Abyss & Apex, GUD, Daily Science Fiction, Ideomancer, The Drabblecast, and that disquieting note you found in your mailbox yesterday. He attended the Clarion Writers Workshop in 2009 and joined the Cambridge Science Fiction Workshop in 2010. In his other life, Ken is a college professor who teaches business law and science fiction literature. Born in Detroit, he now lives in Rhode Island with one singer, one dancer, one actor, and something striped and fanged that he sometimes glimpses out of the corner of his eye.

Image credit: pakhay / 123RF Stock Photo

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