That Man Behind the Curtain: April 2013

This last month saw a victory of sorts: I finally got Mad Scientist Journal up on Amazon. It’s a mixed blessing, as I’ll explain below. Otherwise it’s just another month in the word mines.

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Our Quarterly Special Call for Submissions

Once again, we are doing our special call for submissions. We are looking for:

  • Flash and Short Fiction: This will be for the “fiction” section of our quarterly magazine. We have a bias towards speculative fiction, but will consider non-speculative pieces. Heck, it doesn’t even need to have mad scientists. We’re hoping to accept 6-8 pieces to be spread out between two quarterly anthologies. 
  • Fictional Classified Ads: We are again looking for people to submit classified ads appropriate to a mad scientist journal.
  • Questions for Advice Column: We will again have our advice column and would love for people to submit mad scientist advice questions.

Please pop over to our Submissions page for details about how to submit things and what we pay.

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Women of Mad Science

Earlier this week, I received a link to an article on Slate entitled “Why Aren’t There More Woman Sci-Fi Writers?

Here at Mad Scientist Journal we are certainly well-intentioned and try to evaluate each story on its own merits. We don’t actively try to get more submissions based off of gender or anything. So we were curious about how we were doing in terms of gender equality. We aren’t a strict sci-fi market. We publish a healthy dose of fantasy, with the occasional horror or other genre along the way.

So we dug through our submission logs to see who submitted to us and who we accepted. I thought I’d share the results.

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Evolutionary Tendencies Observed in the Callentradian Snare

From the unpublished field journal of James L. Goldstein, PhD, edited and with an afterword by J. J. Roth
Art by Justine McGreevy


In the three years since I left New Earth to take my current post studying native avifauna on the planet Callentradia, I have yet to encounter a species that should charm me as much as falsus-cygnus tympanum, the creature commonly known as the snare.

Snares have none of the annoying habits that many other common birdlike species on Callentradia present. Billy-blues smell like cattle pens. Twee-ops follow whatever they see until another moving animal or object crosses their field of vision. I’ve picked up a small army of them while trying to band a single pale pink leg. Once twee-ops imprint, they’re not easy to shake, but I’ve come up with a method that succeeds 99.9% of the time.

Kellies have a call like a rake on cement. Poreans have a symbiotic relationship with silibotes, midge-like creatures that live under their wings and have a predilection for flying up any human nostrils within sneezing distance.

None of my colleagues at the Center for Naturalist Studies on Callentradia would fault me for becoming a snare specialist. I wouldn’t have to stand for the constant, derisive yammering about perceived shortcomings of intellect or character that passes for camaraderie here, along the lines of, “What do you see in those things, Jim?” and be forced to come up with some sort of lame explanation as I would with, say, billy-blues. Like “Sorry, I’ve had too much of the sulfur-tinged air here, thought I’d try some barnyard for a change,” or “The aroma brings back fond memories of that time we roomed together at orientation, Alan.”

Evolutionary Tendencies Observed in the Callentradian Snare


To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Spring 2013 collection.


James L. Goldstein received his B.S. (summa cum laude), M.S. and Ph.D. all from Bennicott Polytechnic, the most prestigious university in Tellon, the thriving human colony on New Earth. A protégé of the renowned ornithologist, Simeon Brattwick, Dr. Goldstein’s career enjoyed a meteoric rise in the field of off-world ornithology until his beloved wife Allie’s death in the tragic Pioneer’s Cup regatta accident along with 17 other sailors. Fighting debilitating depression in the wake of Allie’s death, Dr. Goldstein left New Earth as a founding member of the Center for Naturalist Studies on the planet Callentradia.


J.J. Roth’s fantasy and science fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight MagazineThe Colored Lens, Aoife’s Kiss and Every Day Fiction.  A transplanted New Yorker, J.J. now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and writes when not chauffeuring two young sons or working at a large IT company.  Visit  http://www.jjroth.net for more info and updates.


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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Protocol 3.1

An essay by K. S. O’Neill
Art by Luke Spooner/Carrion House


Web Alpha: Access not granted.

Protocol 2 not available.

Protocol 3.0 not available.

Protocol 3.1 engaged. Contact with web Alpha via temporal sheer bounce attempted via local web access.

Access code: 6584641519687864163160684

#

You will all have noticed that I did not attend the multiverse peace negotiations, which I suppose must have surprised most of you since I was the primary planner and instigator.

As a result, I have no idea what final form the treaty took. I suppose sectors A0 to B98 are still in some flux. I have great hopes that my allies in sectors H76 to J88 were able to maintain our position along the tau-8 reality lines.

But I do not know, because I was not there. And I was not there because someone sabotaged my transport. And that someone who sabotaged my transport was one of you.

Protocol 3.1


To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Spring 2013 collection.


K. S. O’Neill is a math professor and fencing coach at a small college. He wishes certain people reading this to know that his patience is not infinite.


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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Mad Scientist Journal now on Amazon!

After some technical delay, we finally have all four collections of Mad Scientist Journal available on Amazon! I’m hoping that breaking into the Amazon market will help offset the costs of operation. Even if you have no interest  in buying it, please at least take some time to help improve visibility: write a review, add it to your wishlist, send friends links. Mad Scientist Journal is not the first thing to come up when you search for “Mad Scientist Journal”, so any help you can give would be much appreciated. Here are the links for the books:

For those curious why it’s taken so long, the short version is:

I went with Smashwords because it seemed easier to get the ebook together through their Meatgrinder. Especially since our ebooks required at least some graphics. And Smashwords says it distributes to a bunch of retailers, including Amazon.

But it turns out that distribution to Amazon has been on hold until Amazon sets up a bulk upload option for Smashwords. After a year, this has not happened. So I bit the bullet and figured out how to get this done.

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An Encounter with Hemphillia candelabru​m

From the Journal of Miss Allegra Bushwallow, as provided by Janka Hobbs
Art by Katie Nyborg


The night was dark, lit only by the phosphorescent trails of giant slugs sliding like zeppelins through the jungle trees. The incessant drone of insects was punctuated by the cries of night birds and the helpless bleating of the goat that my father, Professor Ferdinand Bushwallow, had staked out on the shore to attract the slithering beasts.

I pulled my wrap tighter around my shoulders and leaned out over the boat railing. Faint reflections of the slug trails writhed like wires from a failed experiment on the river’s black water.

“Careful, Allegra, my love, I wouldn’t want you to fall in.”

I looked back over my shoulder. Chauncey’s pallid face peered at me, watery eyes squinting.

“Ah, but I would be delighted if you did,” I replied sweetly. “Although it would make Papa unhappy to lose yet another protégé, and I suppose well brought up young ladies ought not feed their suitors to the piranhas.”

“Chauncey? Chauncey!” My father’s voice bellowed up the stairs from his below decks laboratory, followed shortly by his own heavy footfalls. “Oh, there you are. Well, uh, I suppose I shouldn’t disturb you, if you are charming the young lady.”

I gathered my skirts, intending to use my father’s entrance as an excuse to return to my cabin. It would be a welcome respite from Chauncey, though the partially dissected adder on my work table was beginning to smell, and the glowing slime globs didn’t give off quite enough light that I could finish its portrait before morning.

A light flashed from the shore. Could this be what we’d been waiting for? I turned and ran for the skiff tied at the back of the riverboat. Perhaps this time, the congregation of bloated glowbugs really had attracted my father’s real quarry, Hemphillia candelabrum, the rare carnivorous jumping beacon, which sucks the juices from the slower luminescents, and uses the concentrate to fuel its refulgent communications.

An Encounter with Hemphillia candelabru​m


To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Spring 2013 collection.


Miss Allegra Bushwallow, daughter of Professor Ferdinand Bushwallow, PhD., etc., etc., spent much of her youth assisting her father with his researches. In her later years, Miss Bushwallow gained some fame and notoriety touring the world with a travelling sideshow. Those who knew her remember a radiant dowager with a truly unusual taste in snacks.


Janka Hobbs lives in the Puget Sound lowlands where she studies Botany and Aikido when she’s not playing with words. Her story “Photographic Memories” appeared in the January issue of Emerald Sky Magazine.


Katie Nyborg’s art, plus information regarding hiring her, can be found at http://katiedoesartthings.tumblr.com/

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The Black Spot

An essay by Michael R. Burnes and Martin Hobbs, as provided by Mathew Allan Garcia
Illustration by Luke Spooner/Carrion House


They calmed the blaze that had consumed four lives at 4:03 a.m. on December 22nd, 2005. When they found him, he was hanging from a beam in his study, an extension cord tied around his neck. His neck was swollen around the cord itself, so it could not be seen beneath the folds of skin and flesh that had been pumped with blood left with nowhere to flow. In the autopsy report, the coroner found horizontal markings on his wrists indicating that Mr. Hobbs not only hung himself on the third floor of his apartment complex, but also slit his wrists beforehand. The coffee kettle was left burning on his stovetop, which firefighters found to be the source of the blaze. Neighbors stated they heard the whistling at around 10:30 p.m., but thought nothing of it. Mr. Hobbs said he was working on a manuscript for a novel regarding the prostitution business in Los Angeles. They thought he was working late, and went to bed without the slightest thought. When they awoke around midnight, the third floor of the complex was engulfed in flames. By the time firefighters put out the fire, the death toll had risen to thirteen.

A preliminary investigation of his apartment found nothing indicating motive. Family members, who admitted that they did not stay in touch as often as they should, claimed that Mr. Hobbs had a history of depression. Medical records confirmed this, although not to the extent that the family claimed. Most cases stemmed from life events: his divorce in ’87, his mother’s death in ’95, etc.

The only thing of note in the investigation report regarding the state of his apartment was the fact that every single window and mirror in the apartment was broken. It was later discovered that a shard of glass from the windows had been used to cut the crude slits in his wrists, as traces of his blood were on the edges.

The manuscript was found two months later, when family went through Mr. Hobbs’s things. It was found under a loose floorboard in a metal box under his bed. The heat of the metal singed many pages so that a few sections could hardly be made out, though many manuscript pages (all largely unedited), handwritten notes, newspaper clippings, and a small leather bound journal survived. Some pages were completely illegible.

When asked who would take the box, only his nephew, Michael, volunteered.[1] His research into his uncle’s death, the notes, and journal entries, as well as sections of the unfinished manuscript, would later be published in a collection known as The Black Spot.

The Black Sot


[1] Michael R. Burnes, son of Martin Hobbs’ sister, Jayden Burnes. At the time of Martin’s death, Michael was only nineteen years old. The Black Spot was published in 2013.


To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Spring 2013 collection.


Martin Hobbs was born in Los Angeles, California. Graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Master’s in Psychology, he began investigating the mass of suicides by escorts in downtown Los Angeles. He was working on a novel based on his discoveries prior to his untimely death. It it believed his investigation had something to do with it.


Mathew Allan Garcia lives with his wife in Hesperia, California. He has four dogs, as well as countless demons that he has yet to exorcise onto paper. His work can be found mostly in his head, as well as First Stop Fiction, and Mused Literary Review. He has been writing for as long as he can remember.


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 peaks 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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That Man Behind the Curtain: March 2013

Time flies when you’re stupid busy. March has been the Bataan death march of deadlines. But the Winter 2013 collection is out with (almost) no hitches. Lets look at some numbers.

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Winter 2013 is now available!

I’m excited to share that the Winter 2013 collection of Mad Scientist Journal is now available. It’s only available on Smashwords at this moment, but it will be available at most other outlets within a few days. This month’s exclusive content includes Eric J. Guignard, Nicholas Knight, and Richard Zwicker! I hope you enjoy the contents as much as we have.

Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2013

Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2013 available on Smashwords!

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