The Mad Scientist's Club

My father wrote twelve stories and two short novels describing the adventures of the Mad Scientists' Club. The order in which these works were written, starting in 1960, is as follows:

The Strange Sea Monster of Strawberry Lake (1960)
Night Rescue (1961)
The Unidentified Flying Man of Mammoth Falls (1962)
The Secret of the Old Cannon (1963)
The Great Gas Bag Race (1964)
The Big Egg (1964)
The Voice in the Chimney (1964)
Big Chief Rainmaker (1965)
The Telltale Transmitter (1966)
The Cool Cavern (1966)
The Flying Sorcerer
The Great Confrontation (1968)

The first seven tales were collected in The Mad Scientists' Club book published in 1965. The first three stories originally
appeared in Boys' Life--The Strange Sea Monster of Strawberry Lake--in the September 1961 issue, followed by The Unidentified Flying Man of Mammoth Falls in November 1962 and Night Rescue in February 1964. The Secret of the Old Cannon and The Great Gas Bag Race appeared in Boys' Life in 1966. MacRae Smith wanted to include eight stories in the book; however, in early 1965, the editor rejected the eighth story, Big Chief Rainmaker, so the book was published with seven tales.

In one of those amusing twists, the publisher wrote my father some months later, complimented him on the Rainmaker story, and urged that it be included in the subsequent book. It was. The last four stories were written for The New Adventures of the Mad Scientists' Club, published in 1968. The last story in that volume, The Great Confrontation, completed in 1968, was the last Mad Scientists' Club short story. My father was already at work on The Sunken Village, which became entitled The Big Kerplop!

The Big Kerplop! was published in 1974. It is the first novel-length story of the Mad Scientists of Mammoth Falls (the name they liked). Although it relates how the Club was formed, it is a more complex story about reputations and the propensity of public officials to cover up unpleasant facts. It was written from 1968 through 1973. As the publisher was encountering financial difficulties at the time, the book was not published until 1974, and only 1000 or so copies were distributed. That is why original copies of the book are so rare. One minor item is that the title my father gave the story is as you see it here with the exclamation mark. The publisher dropped the mark in the final title. We restored the title when we re-issued the book. More details on how the book was written and previews of the chapters are found on the TBK! page.

The Big Chunk of Ice is the last tale of the Mad Scientists' Club. Completed in 1974, it is a novel-length international adventure of the Club, taking them to Austria. It was still in manuscript form when Purple House Press published it for the first time in 2005.

Illustrations used by permission of Bertrand R. Brinley, L.L.C.

Copyright © 2010 Sheridan Brinley