A Thank You to Our Artists, Part 2

Last week, we thanked several of our artists who have helped make MSJ so awesome! This week, we are thanking several more!

We met Errow and America at the same time, when they were cosplaying Cecil and Carlos from Welcome to Nightvale at GeekGirlCon. We told them we loved their costumes, and they gave us their card. When we found out they were artists, we contacted them to see if they would like to do some commissioned artwork for us, and they agreed! They’ve been producing covers and interior artwork for us ever since! Check out Errow’s portfolio here and America’s here!

Scarlett O’Hairdye is a Seattle-based burlesque performer who we met through that art form. We found out she was also an artist, and we brought her on board to make art for us as well! She’s done some of our strangest pieces, when there was no one else we could think to give it to other than her! You can find more about her here!

Finally, Ariel Alian Wilson is someone who Jeremy has known since she was a toddler, who has also developed into a talented artist in the intervening years between then and now. She’s the artist behind one of our most popular MSJ covers, “Scientist Cat“. You can find more of her work here!

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Review of Chilling Effect

Chilling Effect (Harper Voyager, 2019) by Valerie Valdez is a fast-paced space adventure with twists and turns aplenty. With amazing characterization and witty dialogue, it’s the sort of book you’ll only put down if you absolutely have to.

The book is centered on Captain Eva Innocente, who learns her sister has been kidnapped by a sinister organization that wants Eva to run errands for them if she ever wants to see her sister again. Eva’s used to doing shady jobs as a smuggler, but some of the operations she’s asked to do go far beyond that. Trying to keep her goals a secret from her crew is a challenge, especially as she finds herself more and more attracted to her engineer. And then there are the psychic cats.

While the above may sound like a lot to fit into a novel, Valdez manages to squeeze all that and then some into Chilling Effect. Despite the plethora of weird events and plot points, it all sticks together brilliantly. The book will appeal to fans of Firefly and quirky humor in the vein of Cat Valente’s Space Opera. So check it out!

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More Magical Tales

If you enjoyed Monday’s story about magic and roller derby, check out a few other stories we’ve published related to magic in the context of mad science!

“Mrs. Hobgobble’s Grade 5 Troll Homework: Tooth Fairy Experiments” by Sarina Dorie (experimentation on a magical creature) (available in MSJ Spring 2017)

“Weaselbearer v. Del Toro” by K. G. Jewell (rivalries between magicians) (available in MSJ Spring 2015)

“The Beginning Botanist’s Guide to Lair Defense” by John A. McColley (magical plants to keep a lair safe) (available in MSJ Autumn 2013)


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Fiction: The 2019 Magiyatogorsk Champions League Scrapbook: Selected Excerpts

An essay by Ekaterina Serafimevna Poponova, as provided by Blake Jessop
Art by America Jones

Week 3: Vĕdma Magiyatogorsk VS Schwarzwald Werwölfe

“Cut inside her, Ilona!” I scream, and no one listens. My teammate soars around the oval track in a flat arc, visible only from the waist up in the giant clay mortar that all Russian witches use to fly. Her coarse witch’s cloak billows like a sail before the wind as she leans into the turn. I glance up at the scoreboard. Down by fifteen.

Ilona is a great witch, but she isn’t really built for speed. If I were in charge, she’d be a blocker, not the pivot. I would be the pivot.

Ilona flies her mortar with grim determination, trying to find a way past the howling pack of German werewolves. Schwarzwald Werwölfe has the most disciplined blockers in the entire Champions League, and there’s no way they’re going to let Ilona slip past. The rules of the sport I have devoted my life to are simple; if my scorer circles the track more often than yours, I win. You use your blockers to try to stop me, and my pivot calls the plays. Add every style of magic on Earth to the cauldron, however, and the recipe gets complicated.

The Germans lope around the huge oval with the confidence of supreme hunters. The giant wolves shift amongst each other to stop the rest of my coven from breaking through. The traditional clay mortar is fast, but about as aerodynamic as a giant tea-cup. Most of the rest of Russian magic involves curses and bad luck, so Ilona is out of options.

“We’re never getting off the bench, “I say, slumping back as the Germans finish another lap in the lead. Ivan Maximov, our coach, is stretching the seams of his expensive American suit and screaming at the referee for failing to punish some penalty that exists only in his mind.

“You never know, Katya,” Anton says. My brother is an incurable optimist, and he’s had to be. He is the first man to ever earn promotion to Magiyatogorsk’s senior team. People look at him the way they look at boys who prefer dance class to ice hockey. No one likes to see a man doing women’s work, and in Russia, magic has always been a definitively female profession.

Illustration of two witches facing off.

Can she not see how her scorn harms other women in her profession, how it harms me? We should be supporting each other, holding each other, as closely as possible.

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

Ekaterina Serafimevna Poponova (b. July, 1990) is a Russian witch who plays pivot for the Vĕdma Magiyatogorsk professional wizarding team. She is the elder sister of 2019 MCL rookie of the year Anton Poponov, and a finalist for the Marie Laveau coach of the year award. Known for her crafty and innovative style of play, Poponova is sponsored by Adidas, the Red Army, and Uncle Vlado’s Top Notch Pierogis.

Blake Jessop (b. September, 1980) is a Canadian author of science fiction, fantasy and horror stories with a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Adelaide. He has covered the International Sport Magic circuit as a journalist for many years, and you can keep up with all of the latest inside scoops on Twitter @everydayjisei.

America is an illustrator and comic artist with a passion for neon colors and queer culture. Catch them being antisocial on social media @thehauntedboy.

“The 2019 Magiyatogorsk Champions League Scrapbook: Selected Excerpts” is © 2019 Blake Jessop
Art accompanying story is © 2019 America Jones

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Strange Science: Earth’s New Tiny Moon

You won’t see it if you look up into the sky, but the Earth currently has a bonus moon.

The second moon is considerably smaller than our normal moon, only about the size of a compact car. It’s probably an asteroid, though it could be a chunk that was knocked off the normal moon, or it could be space debris of a non-natural sort, like a piece of a rocket. Whatever it is, it’s been in orbit around the Earth for a short while, and it will eventually no longer be in orbit. But for right now, we’ve got two moons!

You can read more about the tiny moon here!

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Resources for Teaching Science

Whether you’re a science teacher, a parent, or someone who enjoy teaching kids about science in an informal setting, the University of California Berkeley Understanding Science site has you covered. There, you’ll find resources for teaching science regardless of grade or age level, from Kindergarten to undergraduate levels, and even resources for teaching other educators.

Parts of this site might also be a valuable resource if you just want to teach yourself the basics of a scientific concept for writing or other purposes!

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Awesome Finds: Glow

If you like comics by diverse creators with a cool real-world basis to a fantasy world, you might want to check out the Kickstarter for Glow.

Glow takes place in a world where magic catalyzed both industrial revolution and nuclear holocaust. Half a millennia ago, an ancient and powerful empire known as Nymera developed a means to channel and store magical energy into a sticky blue substance known as anima, storing them into massive Towers across the world.”

The Kickstarter seeks to fund the fourth issue of this comic, but all of the previous issues are available physically or digitally as well.

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A Thank You to Our Artists, Part 1

Since the very beginning, Mad Scientist Journal has been dependent on the work of our very talented artists. Neither of the co-editors have much talent for visual art, though Dawn tries from time to time. If we hadn’t found and maintained our relationships with such great artists, we would have had a much different look to our little magazine!

Katie Nyborg, aka Stick, was one of our earliest artists, who designed the very cute robot logo that we use for MSJ as a whole. She eventually stopped doing art for hire, but she also helped out with some of the cover layout now and then. And she’s remained a strong supporter of the magazine, too. She doesn’t really have anything we can link to here, other than her podcast about creepy things, Morbid Moment.

Stick also introduced us to Leigh Legler, aka Red (who is also part of Morbid Moment). We fell in love with Red’s style from the very first piece they sent us, and we were happy to give them many insects and creepy things to illustrate. You can find more of Red’s stuff here.

Justine McGreevy was also one of our early artists, and it’s been a delight to see her style evolve over time! Looking at the difference between the covers she did for us always blows me away! You can find Justine’s work here.

One other artist who we’ve worked with for a long while is Luke Spooner, who also has the honor of being the artist farthest from MSJ’s headquarters, across an entire ocean! He’s also one we liked to send the creepy pieces, because his style lends itself so well to dark stories. He’s making quite a name for himself in the horror illustration world, too! You can check out Luke’s portfolio here!

(We’ll be back next week with thanks for our remaining artists!)

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Fiction: Touring Test

An essay by John Q. Knobody, as provided by Holly Schofield
Art by Scarlett O’Hairdye

I pulled over onto the shoulder of Highway 16 and opened my door for the hitchhiker. Sweat from the summer heat ran down his face as he pulled the door closed. His grubby jeans were shoved carelessly into rubber boots that reeked of manure. Just the sort of person I wanted.

“I just need to get to Township Road 255. Got my combine in the field. Hoping to get in a full day’s harvest,” he said after thanking me and settling into the ripped passenger seat. I put the old Impala in gear and pulled back onto the highway.

“Well, happy to give you a ride. You’re probably the only verbal interaction I’m going to get today,” I said, aiming for simultaneously off-the-cuff and nerdy.

The stranger took off his Viterra Feed cap and scratched his forehead where the farmer’s tan ended. “Name’s Rick, pleased to meet you.”

He was in his thirties, crinkles beginning to form around his eyes, his wind-reddened skin contrasting with his short blonde hair and day’s stubble. The perfect stereotype of a Saskatchewan farmer. I kept my doubts to myself.

Illustration of a person hitchhiking with a non-human shadow.

A Gliesian from out Andromeda way, without a doubt.

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

John Q. Knobody is a typical grad student at Western Prairie University. John has no family and very few friends, but he’s always happy to reach grocery items off the top shelf for you and to indulge in a good chat about the weather.

Holly Schofield travels through time at the rate of one second per second, oscillating between the alternate realities of city and country life. Her short stories have appeared in Analog, Lightspeed, Escape Pod, and many other publications throughout the world. She hopes to save the world through science fiction and homegrown heritage tomatoes. Find her at hollyschofield.wordpress.com.

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

“Touring Test” is Copyright 2013 Holly Schofield
Art accompanying story is Copyright 2019 Scarlett O’Hairdye

“Touring Test” was originally published in AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review under the title “Off-Campus Housing”.

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Strange Science: Cats Do Love Us!

While many people believe that cats are aloof and unloving, science now proves that myth wrong!

Part of the different between cats and dogs, scientists found, is that they speak different languages in terms of affection. So while people understand what a loving dog acts like, those same traits can’t be translated directly to a loving cat.

You can read more about this study here!

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