These short stories all feature a character engaged in an unusual type of, or generally disapproved of, experimentation. Sometimes the person is simply eccentric; other times they are actively evil.
“Professor Incognito Apologizes: An Itemized List” by Austin Grossman
Professor Incognito leaves a holographic projection for the person who finds his secret laboratory beneath his apartment complex. He has evaded discovery before, eluding some powerful people. The countdown that’s been triggered will take a while, so he has time to talk. There are several things he wants to apologize for.
This story can be read in the preview of The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction. (13% into preview)
“Father of the Groom” by Harry Turtledove
Professor Tesla Kidder is a mad scientist. He plunged the area around his lab into absolute darkness, invented a room-temperature superconductor and froze the freeway at rush hour. Now he’s interested in genetic engineering. His son Archie is getting married. At a family gathering, the professor overhears a remark that gives him an idea.
This story can be read in the preview of The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction. (43% into preview)
“Butterfly Island” by C. J. Tudor
A motley group of survivors hang out at a beach bar. Bill wants to go to Butterfly Island, a nature preserve from the old world that was owned by a rich inventor. It used to be heavily guarded, but with the way things are now, it can’t be. They get a group of thirteen people together and take two boats.
This story can be read in the preview of After Sundown. (7% in)
“Laughter at the Academy” by Seanan McGuire
Miss Channing is hired as Dr. Frieburg’s assistant, to handle the mundane things. Later, the authorities investigate Frieburg’s destroyed lab. This is a confirmed incident, even though he showed no signs. They search the ruins for the remains of his staff.
Most of this story can be read in the preview of The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction. (70% into preview)
The following stories and many more can be found in Mad Scientists: An Anthology of Fantasy and Horror.
“Heading Home” by Ramsey Campbell
You were obsessed with your research, paying little attention to your wife. You can hear your wife and the young man talking somewhere above. You must have been thrown down the stairs into the cellar. They must think you’re dead. You strain every muscle—at least the ones you can still use—to climb the stairs.
“Conversation Piece” by Richard Christian Matheson
A journalist is assigned to interview a man for a story. He doesn’t want to, but he hasn’t turned out a good article in a while. They talk in the man’s den. The journalist gets his work history and the challenges he’s faced. His first job was just after college. He sold a little blood for leukemia research.
“The Manuscript of Dr. Arness” by Gahan Wilson
Before a man takes his own life, he wants to leave an explanation. He’s brilliant so his warning is for the elite, not for the average person. He researched a method of extending life—not the later years, but the years of a person’s prime. He applied it to himself with astounding results.
“A Scent of Sarsaparilla” by Ray Bradbury
William starts spending a lot of time in his attic. He views the attic with all its remnants of the past as a Time Machine. His wife doesn’t share his nostalgia.
“The Doctor’s Heroism” by Villiers De L’isle Adam
Doctor Hallidonhill is a renowned lung specialist with a steady stream of patients. One day a man in terrible condition comes to see him. He is tall, has enlarged pupils, is emaciated, and he’s looking for help.
“The Fly” by George Langelaan
Hélène calls her brother-in-law one night and confesses to the murder of her husband. The police are called and they investigate. Hélène cooperates fully except for one thing—she won’t say why she did it. The dead man had recently invented a device that could teleport matter through space.
“Cool Air” by H. P. Lovecraft
The narrator explains why he’s afraid of cool air. He lived in a New York boardinghouse. Above him lived Dr. Muñoz, a recluse. One day while writing, the narrator had a heart attack. He struggled to make it to the doctor’s door. When it opened, he was hit by a rush of cool air.
“Rappaccini’s Daughter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
While studying at the university in Padua, Guasconti notices Beatrice, the daughter of Rappaccini, a renowned expert on poisonous plants. He has been using his daughter in experiments, making her immune to all poisonous plants. As a side effect, she can’t touch a person without harming them.