That Man Behind the Curtain – Farewell

The Dissection of Marcus Wade

Illustration from the first story on our site “The Dissection of Marcus Wade”

On April 2, 2012, we published our first story. It seemed fitting, then, to have our final content for the site also be on April 2.

Normally when we do a look behind the scenes, we look at our financial progress (or lack thereof). For our final look behind the scenes, I thought I’d highlight all that we’ve done that is positive.

Over the course of our eight years, we have done:

  • 32 quarterly collections, which featured:
    • 418 weekly stories, most with original art
    • 107 quarterly exclusives
    • 534 classified ads
    • 30 advice columns from Dr. Synthia and Dr. Oort
    • 12 horrorscopes
    • 11 gossip columns
    • 1 4-part serial
  • 6 yearly anthologies, which featured:
    • 6 corresponding successful Kickstarter campaigns
    • 138 stories
    • 23 pieces of art

All told, we published 530 authors and 20 illustrators. For many, we were their first publication, and many of those went on to bigger things! As much of a struggle as it has sometimes been, I’d like to think we did some good in the world.

Just because Mad Scientist Journal is closing, that doesn’t mean that we’re done. You can follow our future adventures at the following places:

Thank you for joining us on this adventure.

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Our Final Alumni Post Here!

With the closure of Mad Scientist Journal, this will be our final post sharing what our alumni have been up to on this site. Going forward, check out our Facebook and Twitter for occasional alumni news!

Recently, Atthis Arts announced the table of contents for their anthology, Community of Magic Pens, and it’s chock full of MSJ alums, including E.D.E. Bell, Andrew K. Hoe, Jennifer Lee Rossman, Lorraine Schein, Holly Schofield, D.A. Xiaolin Spires, and co-editor Dawn Vogel. You can preorder this book here!

Flame Tree Publishing has announced the lineup for their Bodies in the Library anthology, which includes classic tales and new stories from Deborah L. Davitt and Wendy Nikel! You can preorder this book here!

Finally, Deborah L. Davitt and co-editor Dawn Vogel have stories in issue 50 of New Myths!

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Thank You to Amanda Cherry!

Table at PuliconOur final thank you for Mad Scientist Journal goes out to the inestimable Amanda Cherry! Amanda’s official title is “Editorial Assistant,” but she’s helped us out in many ways. She’s written letters from the editor for a couple of the quarterlies, and she helped out with social media for a while. She also read slush with us for Battling in All Her Finery, and she regularly helps us sell books at conventions and other events. She is our BEST salesperson, hands down!

So thank you, Amanda, for all of your assistance!

If you want to find more of what Amanda is up to (which includes her own writing), check out her author page on DefCon One!

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Fiction: Victorian Velociraptor with Violets

An essay by Amada, as provided by Andrew K. Hoe
Art by Leigh Legler

The opera troupe could handle Amada being a fake name, but not that I was dying. They could handle my seven-foot velociraptor–Rodelia–and I sneaking away at night, but not that we were breaking into factories, hunting without luck for the serum that could save me.

My life-fibers were unraveling, my mutations accelerating, so I addressed everyone at morning meal.

“Rodes mimics any sound she hears. Perfectly.”

Madam Chien and the rest of the August Court of the Full Autumn Moon round the desert camp stared like they didn’t understand English, though they did. I’d learnt enough Chinese to know. Or maybe they were examining the worsening rash on my cheek. I angled my face away. The troupe’s airship, Full Autumn Moon, floated overhead, a great redwood junk, paneled sails gleaming silver in the morning light.

“Why are you telling us now?” Madam Chien, the soprano, asked. Even in her sleeping robe she was glamorous, ageless, ready for the stage.

I swallowed. She’d been kind to us, and I didn’t like what we were about to do. “We didn’t trust you. But now, we want to contribute more.”

Rodelia scratched the ground, rumbling disapproval. Eh-eh-eh-eh-eh …

Madam Chien looked at Rodelia’s five-fingered hands–not the three-clawed manus other raptors had. “Her ability is … traitwoven?”

Traitwoven, like her capacity to stand erect, handle human tools. Her almost-human intellect.

I nodded.

“Such a barbaric land, America. It’s supposedly illegal, but there are raptor-butlers and raptor-porters wherever we land. Black slaves escape north, only to be dragged back south.”

I growled internally. Rodelia’s traitweavings weren’t done here, in America, but in Europe–in a mountain laboratory-fortress we’d escaped months back, life-fibers warped by one Baron Veer.

Mine, too.

Illustration of a velociraptor wearing a dress and wig.

At Flagstaff, Rodelia strode onstage in dress and wig, gobsmacking everyone.

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2020 collection.

Amada (last name unknown) is currently at large in Arizona. She is wanted by the authorities of Phoenix for the destruction of the Orpheum Opera House, for questioning regarding the now defunct Veritas Elixirs and Tinctures, for the trial of Baron Helmut Veer concerning illegal experiments. Be forewarned, she is 5 feet 2 inches, sixteen years, brown-eyed, and of slight build, but possesses strength and agility most uncanny. She was a raptor-handler for an opera troupe. She speaks and reads many languages, is familiar with airships, and converses with raptors. $500 reward–yield her up.

Andrew K. Hoe is an associate professor of English and speculative fiction author based in Southern California. He is also an assistant editor and narrator for Cast of Wonders. Though he is excited to appear in Mad Scientist Journal, he is actually not a mad scientist–but insists that nobody can be perfect.

Twitter: @andrewk_hoe


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

“Victorian Velociraptor with Violets” is © 2019 Andrew K. Hoe
Art accompanying story is © 2019 Leigh Legler

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Strange Science: Tiny Squid!

Though the discovery was a couple of years ago, we’re still excited to learn about the Idiosepius hallami, a very small squid found by researchers in Australia.

How tiny, you might ask? About the size of a human adult thumbnail. That’s a whole lot smaller than what most people think of when they hear the word “squid”!

You can read more about these tiny squid here!

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Thank You to Our Regular Columnists

Today, we’re thanking our regular columnists. If you’ve only experienced Mad Scientist Journal on our website, you may not be familiar with these regular columns, which only appear in the quarterly magazines. But they’ve been strong supporters and contributors to our endeavor all along!

We’ve run the advice column for mad scientists almost for as long as the magazine has been in existence. Our columnists for that were Sean Frost (writing as Dr. Oort) and Torrey Podmajersky (writing as Dr. Synthia). We crowd-sourced the questions for the advice column, so we got all sorts of fun questions for the columnists to answer.

For a while, we also had Kate Elizabeth writing “horrorscopes” for the quarterly. She moved on to focus on other writing projects, but we always loved to see the fun takes she had on traditional horoscopes when applied to mad scientists and the world of the supernatural.

When we retired the horrorscopes column, we brought on a gossip column, written by Lucinda Gunnin (writing as C. Zytal). She created a delightful character that could comment on real world and fictional events, themed appropriately for every season.

Thank you to all of our regular columnists, and also those who wrote questions for the advice columns and inspired some of C. Zytal’s gossip!

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Awesome Finds: Aquanauts!

The deep sea is awesome in the original sense of the word: inspiring awe. There’s just so much we DON’T know about such an enormous part of our planet. But in Aquanauts, you get to explore the oceans from the comfort of your own home.

Aquanauts is a board game that’s currently on Kickstarter, and we think it looks super cool. It appears to be a resource management game with research goals that drive it. There are some parts of the game play that are cooperative, but ultimately, it’s a competitive game with only one winner.

The Kickstarter runs until April 10th!

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That Man Behind the Curtain – February 2020

Photo of a cat lying on their back.

The tummy is not a trap.

We’re almost all done. This is our penultimate look behind the scenes. Here’s a look at the numbers.

Continue reading

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Fiction: Observations and Oversights on the Opportunistic Occupation of Octopuses in the Office

An essay by Camille Delacroix, as provided by Michael M. Jones
Art by Justine McGreevy

It all started with one simple question.

“Daphne, why is there an octopus on the ceiling?”

For there was, indeed, an octopus clinging to the ceiling of the renovated warehouse space I shared with my girlfriend, and it appeared to be … replacing a lightbulb. It was a relatively small one, only a few feet across, and sadly, that’s as far as my ability to identify specific species of octopuses goes. And while I’ve gotten used to a lot of weird things ever since I moved in with Daphne Watson–scientist, inventor, accidental cross-dimensional exile–this was as unlikely a phenomenon as any. I wheeled myself into the room, the door helpfully shutting itself behind me with a hiss of pneumatics–another one of Daphne’s never-ending efforts to make our shared space both accessible and automated.

The mad scientist herself practically bounced out of her workshop, stripping off goggles and lab coat and tossing them into a bin just outside her door marked “Decontamination” and came over to give me an enthusiastic hug and kiss in greeting. “Camille, darling!” As always, she was all lush curves, big blue eyes, long blonde hair tucked up into a bun for safety, and you’d never have guessed that she had a frightening disregard for the laws of physics, a so-so relationship with ethics, and had nearly destroyed the universe on our first date.

I returned the greeting but knew better than to let her get distracted from the topic at hand. “Octopus. Ceiling. Explain?”

Illustration of an octopus changing a lightbulb.

“Daphne, why is there an octopus on the ceiling?”

To read the rest of this story, check out the Mad Scientist Journal: Winter 2020 collection.

Camille Delacroix is a lifelong native of Puxhill, where she attends Tuesday University as a grad student and TA for their Masters of Arts in Liberal Studies program. A diehard geek and avid cosplayer, she’s highly active in the local fan community when she’s not mainlining caffeine and stressing over schoolwork. Her girlfriend, Daphne Watson, claims to be an “esoteric specialist” from an alternate timeline where airships are still in vogue, and asserts that she possesses advanced knowledge of numerous disciplines, “most of which aren’t even considered legitimate science in your world.” They have a cat named Mr. Farnsworth.

Michael M. Jones lives in southwest Virginia with too many books, just enough cats, and a wife who dies a little inside with each new alliterative title he tests on her. His work has appeared in places like Constellary Tales, F is for Fairy, and Utter Fabrication. He edited Scheherazade’s Facade and Schoolbooks & Sorcery. Daphne Watson and Camille Delacroix first appeared in “Saturday Night Science” (Broadswords and Blasters, Issue 1) and will next appear in the Robot Dinosaurs! anthology. For more, visit him at

Justine McGreevy is a slowly recovering perfectionist, writer, and artist. She creates realities with the hope of making our own a little brighter. You can see more of her artwork and find links to connect on social media through her website

“Observations and Oversights on the Opportunistic Occupation of Octopuses in the Office” is © 2019 Michael M. Jones
Art accompanying story is © 2019 Justine McGreevy

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Strange Science: A Nothing Eating Space?

Physicists have theorized the possibility of what they are calling “bubbles of nothing” that could potentially eat spacetime and destroy our universe.

The good news is that the timeframe of such an occurrence is very likely not in our lifetime, nor that of many generations after us.

With a basis in string theory, the idea that a bubble of nothingness could form is related to the fact that our universe is a “false vacuum”–which means it seems like a vacuum, but it’s not entirely stable. But the universe is “stable enough,” which means that on a timescale of millennia, we’re unlikely to see any change in the stability. However, “If a bubble of nothing spontaneously forms in false-vacuum spacetime, it will grow and eventually swallow the entire universe.” And it’s a pretty big “If”.

You can read more about this here!

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