Mad Scientist Week . . .

mad scientist club medThis post is kicking off a week of Mad Scientists.

They work hard, they understand mad science. Do they catch a break? No, everybody else gets a happy ending but them. Because I like fantasy, I felt that equal-opportunity rec time is in order:

Club Med for Mad Scientists and Dark Lords.

After a steady diet of reading about mad scientists and dark lords when I was young, I felt a sneaking sympathy for them. The Mac Scientists put in all that effort at their giant computers, just to get blown up for their trouble.

And Dark Lords! You have world-smashing megapower and yet your castle reeks of dried blood, where insects, monsters, ghouls, and other vermin of minimal conversational ability roam at will, and your décor is restricted to bones, skulls, and the ugly, moss-covered statuary required for the blood sacrifices you have to spend so much time presiding over, when you’d really rather be looking at spiffing the GNP, and trade negotiations with Elfland.

Mad Scientists and Dark Lords both have got to be suffering constant migraines from the buzzing of their protective nuclear-powered eyepacks and blood spells respectively, meant to keep heroes’ eyes from smoldering, burning, piercing, and scorching them. Where can they go for a getaway?

What about granting them their own Club Med? This seaside retreat will not only forbid battery-powered eye-lights, but all Dark Lords will be issued, on entry, comfortable t-shirts in several tastefully cheery colors, easy-wear draw-string trousers, and espadrilles, with a laundry facility just a phone call away. Mad Scientists will get an unending supply of fresh lab coats, if they like, along with surfer trunks for maximum comfort.

The décor will be airy, audio-equipped with musical choices ranging from smoky blues to high opera (hiphop for the younger Dark Prince) and food will be fresh, tasty, no blood—in fact, tomato juice will be dyed just to avoid the reminders of the required diet at home.

All child visitors will be normal, loud, obnoxious brats who punch and shove one another, repeat stupid butt jokes endlessly, and eat like pigs—not a beautiful, delicate child in sight, and their eye-packs, too, will be confiscated, so if one of the urchins races by any Dark Lord’s chaise lounge by the pool, he will not be discommoded by innocent gazes piercing to being-cores.  In fact, all being-cores will be firmly stored in the boot closet, leaving everyone just a normal spine, liver, spleen, and other functioning guts.

Mad Scientists’ daughters and nieces will have an optional club of their own, which will not be frequented by any two-fisted manly men. Any of these latter will be firmly escorted to the cage fighting sports bar at the other end of town.

Igors and robot computers can serve if they wish, but their time off will find them in their own wing, featuring a spa, make-over, and a fully equipped lab with programmers who will design apps to re-direct the incendiary effect of Star Trekian fake-philosophy questions into harmless fireworks.

All priests in red robes will be sent to the Calvinist retreat down the road, white coated minions to the Unitarian Universalists to help at the bake sale—and the only sacrifices will be of one’s bank account.



Mad Scientist Week . . . — 18 Comments

  1. Estara, can you produce a hump? warts? How about a sneering expression? Let’s see you curl that upper lip. Because (shush, don’t tell) no actual science is involved. . .

  2. what if, instead of two-fisted manly men, you get princes? In search of the ogre’s, or ogress’s, or witch’s, or even the devil’s beautiful daughter, in the old style?

    • Anyone seeking entrance or employment who happens to be a good looking youngish male will no doubt be subjected to the most rigourous background checks to ensure no trace of royal blood more recent than Charlemagne exists in their veins, and anyone whose background includes farmwork will be automatically disqualified regardless of paperwork, as farmboys are the #1 source of previously unidentified royal bloodlines. Those who pass these tests and a rudimentary test of their evilness (You know, the kind the true heroes always fail, like killing a kitten – mad scientists are invited to supply their designs for robotic kittens so as to spare the evil overlords from any possible chance encounter with blood, and prevent closure by the SPCA or the health inspectors) will be hired as bouncers to keep all other good looking young men out. Their presence will allow the evil sorceresses and female scientists some eye candy whilst preventing any possible accidental conversion of beautiful but evil daughters to the cause of good. (Oh, and IQ tests will be considered a basic part of application, as not only would stupid henchmen be a risk factor for allowing princely infiiltration in spite of best efforts, but they might accidentally remind evil scientists or overlords of the status of minions on their own home turf, and the point is to get away.

  3. This sounds delightful. Hopefully the relaxing surroundings, confiscation of headache-inducing buzzing equipment, and absence of annoying hero types would significantly reduce the cutthroat internecine bickering that so often ensues in comics when mad scientists and evil overlords (particularly Doctor Doom, who is both in one) get together with their colleagues–usually to carry out some convoluted scheme for world domination.
    Have you read Phil and Kaja Foglio’s steampunk graphic novel series “Girl Genius” (also available as a webcomic, and currently in the process of being turned into prose novelizations as well), in which most of a 19th-century alternate Earth is basically ruled by mad scientists referred to as “sparks”? Agatha Clay, the klutzy, bespectacled grad student heroine, turns out to be the long-lost daughter of one of the Heterodyne brothers, famous heroic sparks who disappeared about twenty years earlier after spending years fighting menaces unleashed by more malign and/or irresponsible and power-hungry sparks. Agatha winds up being more or less forcibly recruited into the ranks of the apprentices who provide tech support for one of the more ambitious older-generation sparks, who flies around with his entire entourage in a giant dirigible and is already the de facto emperor of much of Europe.
         There’s also “Narbonic,” a webcomic about mad scientists by Shaenon Garrity which bears even less resemblance to the usual hero vs. mad scientist villain concept, and not just because it’s drawn in a very cartoony and sometimes rather sloppy-looking style. “Narbonic” is basically about the adventures of youngish female mad scientist Helen Beta Narbon, her well-meaning lab assistant Dave, and various of their allies, enemies, and rivals. The latter include Helen’s rival and occasional boyfriend Professor Lupin “Wolf” Madblood, a classically over-the-top mad scientist who keeps an army of android duplicates of himself in his secret moonbase, and Helen’s mother, also named Dr. Helen Narbon, who is a much more ruthlessly evil mad scientist than her daughter. (The younger Helen, who is actually a clone of her mother whom the original Dr. Narbon made in case she ever needed any spare parts, calls herself evil and does some pretty unethical experiments involving the hapless Dave, but comes across as having a moral alignment more along the lines of chaotic mischievous.)
         Another important character in the strip is Artie, a literal guinea pig–well, gerbil–whom Helen genetically engineered to be super-intelligent and capable of talking and, eventually, shapeshifting into human form. Artie, who is the most morally upright character in the strip, also turns out to be gay, although he is too disconcerted by the fact that once he starts turning human everyone he is attracted to is human to figure this out himself until Dave and Helen’s psycho female bodyguard Mell point out to him that all the humans he has crushes on are male.
         The complete run of “Narbonic,” which ran from 2000-2006, is available online at, in both the original version and a director’s cut edition with authorial commentary.

  4. Have you been listening to Seanan McGuire again? If not, I strongly recommend her album “Red Roses and Dead Things.” Lyrics are here:

    I especially recommend songs like “What A Woman’s For” & “Maybe It’s Crazy” for your mad science fix.