I first discovered the Hopeless Maine Scientific Society back when I was working on the obituaries. And for those of you who weren’t reading the Vendetta then, let me explain. We did a kickstarter, with obituaries as a perk for the first 100 backers, so I spent an autumn killing people here on the blog. Fun times!
It turned out that the Scientific Society had a high mortality rate for some reason. Hopeless may not be a good place to live if you have a profound attachment to rationalism, confidence in conventional physics and an interest in biology that cannot accommodate random detritus posing as life forms. Further, the pursuit of reason, across a misty cove towards a jellyfish woman, is not a pursuit that tends to end well.
The above image shows some of the gentlemen of the Hopeless Maine Scientific Society, and features in the Optimists volume. All of the gentlemen featured are, in the loosest sense of the term, real. On the right hand side, we have Keith Errington and Keith Healing, both of whom are heavily involved in all things Hopeless. On the left we have James Weaselgrease and Robin Treefellow. These two anarchic scientists will be involved with the Hopeless Maine online festival as they attempt to recruit new members for their society.
The Hopeless Maine Musical society does not, in the normal scheme of things, actively seek out music that is likely to kill the performers. Our literary society does not seek out books that will drive it mad – although there is always the scope for death by boredom. The chicken fancier’s limit themselves to the kinds of chickens that are not demons.
And so I must ask, what is it inherent in the Hopeless Maine Scientific Society that drives members towards their doom? Is it a cursed organisation? Does the membership process accidentally include some dire formula that commits those joining to the certainty of a gruesome death?
I’ve wondered for a while if it might be their meeting place, in an otherwise unused warehouse in Gaunt Town. There are those who say that Gaunt Town itself sits upon the grave of a mad and deceased God, and that this accounts for it being so very haunted, dangerous, and largely free from human citizens. Even the vampires do not much like it.
The Scientific Society has been vague to say the least on the subject of RIP Odebralski’s death – which happened at their meeting place in Gaunt Town late last night. The body of the deceased was returned to the living side of town in a wheelbarrow.
Doc Willoughby’s assessment is as follows. “The deceased had filthy hands with dirt deep under the fingernails. Poor hygiene is so often a cause of death, and the look of horror on the face supports this hypothesis. You can get all kinds of nasty things from soil, which is probably why the hands are frozen in claw-like gestures.”
The Hopeless Maine Scientific Society reports… “Sometimes science requires sacrifices. It’s really unfortunate. There’s nothing even slightly irrational about the kinds of sacrifices that have to be made for science. We’re very clear that our members are responsible for their own choices and the prices they are willing to pay for knowledge.”
But as a precaution, they suggest that RIP Odebralski should be buried with a stone in the mouth, and a liberal quantity of feathers.