The Department Of Cautionary Tales
A young adult science fiction novel about Juniper Strauss, a teenage mad scientist trying to make it to adulthood without destroying the world while trapped in a secret government military laboratory prison. More
My ideas never seem evil until everybody is screaming and the SWAT team shows up.
It’s rough being a mad scientist. You make one tiny little mistake, like covering all of Houston in fungus, and they cart you off to a top-secret military prison laboratory. I’m Juniper Strauss and I’m stuck on the juvenile level at DCT. It’s not so bad. They gave me a shiny lab filled with all the latest equipment and let me do whatever I want so long as I complete the projects they give me. Sometimes it’s splicing vaccines into peanuts; sometimes it’s creating hallucinogenic vodka.
The other rogue experimentalists are pretty cool. There is my new best friend, Boom. She’s a grouchy chemist from New York. You know that ecodisaster that killed all the fish in the Great Lakes last year? That was her having PMS. Rex has a time traveling watch that he uses to prank historical figures and Kamal hacks into nuclear silos just for fun. Don’t get me started on Shelley. I try to stay on her good side because her bad side has lizard claws. She turned her boyfriend into a giant mutant bearman. He’s in DCT too. They have the most messed up relationship.
I’m starting to think I don’t want to be an evil genius. Maybe I want to invent socially acceptable things like giant carrots or a cure for herpes or whatever. I’m not sure how to be a good guy, though. I don’t exactly have tons of positive role models.