7 June, 2018
Good morning readers,
Do you like science fiction?
Do you like funny science fiction?
Do you like funny, cartoonish, edutainmental science fiction, starring two rival mad scientists duking out their inventive competitions in a small Midwestern town, with the help (and hindrance!) of a colorful cast of minions, villains, and bumbling detectives?!
Welcome to the world of Turingsbug County, USA, the setting for perhaps my most fun fictional co-project!
This is “The Farmer Project,” which I’ve been working for the past year with several other contributors, under the leadership of J. Farmer. I was hired over UpWork to write and revise these short, humorous, older-children-to-young-adult science fiction stories.
This collection of stories runs under the series name The (Mildly) Mad Scientists of Turingsburg County, or, Mildly Mad, for short, and in fact are available in Kindle, paperback, and Audible form over on Amazon right now.
The series follows the adventures and misadventures of two rival mad scientists: Dr. Henry White, and Dr. Radcliff Green. (Both Ph.D.) They’re both supposedly retired from the whole mad scientist career after some serious run-ins with the government back in the day, so they’re hiding in plain sight on their neighboring farms, in the tiny, out-of-the-way, Midwestern town of Turingsburg, located logically within Turingsburg County, USA.
Both scientists/farmers take different approaches to their work. White, whose career was originally in mechanical, computer, and electrical engineering, prefers to create robotic minions and technological solutions that run like clockwork: predictable, programmable, and doing exactly what they are designed for and told to do.
Green, whose specialties are biology and chemistry, prefers a more organic, free-flowing approach: his genetically engineered animal hybrids and super-plants often react to challenges in unexpected ways, as they mutate and evolve with new forms and new ideas of their own.
Both approaches have their strengths and their drawbacks, of course, with White’s creations requiring crystal clear instructions, and Green’s inventions sometimes needing a strong hand on the reigns to stop them from blooming into a chaotic, unforeseen mess.
White and Green love to compete with each other in various challenges, such as creating the most helpful minions for the town, growing the best cabbages, or collecting the biggest pile of trash. Other times, they join forces to save the town from dangers such as an illegal street racing gang, cyborg rats, or a mysterious force which is causing every object in town to get increasingly stuck together at an exponentially accelerating rate. (The latter two problems, they, uh, may have sorta accidentally created themselves … >_>)
Assisting each scientist are their equally rivalrous “not-so-super” supercomputers: MIRA for White, and C64 for Green. Both scientists compete in continually upgrading and reaching new, impactful uses for their respective computers and their ultra-advanced artificial intelligences, including the design of entirely new security robots (like the infamous “Summer Snowmen”) and the hacking of shadowy mega-corporation servers.
MIRA has an interesting backstory connected to one of White’s old computer engineering co-workers, Dr. Valerie Schnoover. Schnoover and her daughter Vivian do play a direct role in an upcoming story with an especially cyberpunk theme. MIRA often helps White with his experiments and inventions, and runs the security on his farm and secret underground lab, including, at times, the direct control of his various “robo-toy” minions. She’s a free-spirit at heart, and as much as she enjoys the acquisition of new knowledge and of helping “Henry” on his latest experiments, she also does get a kick out of pushing his buttons once in a while, or later, helping to protect and mentor Dr. Schnoover’s daughter, Vivian.
Dr. Green’s supercomputer, C64, is made of a hybrid of conventional silicon chips, plus carefully designed and grown bio-organic circuitry. He often helps Green with experiments the same way MIRA does for White, and he runs the various greenhouses where Green’s latest genetic creations are nurtured. C64, similar to MIRA, also enjoys occasionally teasing “Radcliff,” and like MIRA, has his own adventures ina virtual, cyber-punk world. Plus, he has a classy English accent, and Green often calls him “Commodore,” so that’s neat.
For other helpers, White has his aforementioned robo-toys, which range in size from several centimeters to about a meter tall, plus his bigger robots such as Tractor Bot. And, at least temporarily, he had control of the solar-powered, ice-cream slinging, highly aggressive Summer Snowmen…but he doesn’t like to talk about those.
Green has his right-hand rabbit, Bodo! Bodo is a highly intelligent and bipedal hybrid of a bunny and genetically-modified fungus, so he has these cool mushroom ears. He’s essentially Green’s apprentice and learns quickly from the scientist in the ways of biology and chemistry. Bodo is also a major fan of Japanese history and culture and enjoys practicing his ninja skills. Also with Green are his various animal and plant hybrids, especially the kung-fu fighting “rhino-chickens.”
Then there are the cyber-rats, who escaped from Green’s control sometime after he and White almost burned down Turingsburg, and appear to be evolving a society and upgrading themselves in the woods that neighbor the farms …
For other recurring characters, there is most importantly, Detective J.R. (James Roosevelt) Grey, Turingsburg PD’s best (only) investigator. He’s got a good heart and an iron determination to see justice served, but, he can be a bit of a bumbleking at times. He also, at first, thinks that ol’ farmers White and Green are up to no good out on those mysterious farms, and he’s determined to get to the bottom of their purportedly supervillainous activities.
Then we have various visitors to town, (such as bigfoot hunters,) recurring townsfolk, sidekicks, (like Grey’s trusty deputy, Polonski,) and villains such as the wealthy and alluring widow, Raven Black, and the uncatchable street racing gang known as the Speed Demons.
Each story includes a concise and educational “State of the Science” article, elaborating on the reality of the science and technology featured in that tale. Mr. J. Farmer, the creator and editor-in-chief of the Mildly Mad series, is an engineer himself, and a descendant of Midwestern American farmers. He conceived of the stories as a way to entertain and inspire young readers, including his own kids, on the wonders of scientific and technological possibilities.
I tremendously dig the stories, and I’m happy to be contributing to them!
I hope you’ll check them out! Personally, I think a lot of adults with a sense of humor and an interest in this sort of whimsical science fiction will enjoy them just as much as kids do.
Here again is the link to the official website, and you can click the images below for links to Amazon for several of the individual stories: