I'm trying to remember a short humorous story from Asimov's in the early 1980s (when Scithers was editor, I suspect).

There's a mad scientist obsessed with making his mark, trying to do something diabolical with snow. A news report comes in and reveals that for some strange reason, all the snowflakes falling around the world are now identical. The mad scientist is delighted - it may not have been what he wanted to do, but it's something. If I remember correctly he's so happy that he dies (but at least he's happy).

The truth was that his beautiful daughter had faked the broadcast; I believe another character in the story was an agent who had been captured by the scientist, who serves as someone to listen to both the scientist and his daughter.

1 Answer 1


This is "Snowflake" (printed with an bar over "flake" I don't know how to reproduce) by "Freff."

"At last count I’ve found eleven hundred and fifty-two exactly identical snowflakes. The rate of duplication seems to be going up, too. If it continues on this curve all the flakes will be identical in 39 hours, plus or minus six minutes. Do you realize what that means?"

The scientist's daughter is actually called the "Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter."

It's only been published in the April 16, 1981 issue of Asimov's and is available at the Internet Archive.

  • 2
    Thank you. ISFDB changed how search works - I searched for "Flake" expecting to find anything including those characters, but it only found exactly "Flake" - and so missed this one.
    – Andrew
    Commented Jun 9 at 22:05
  • 1
    @Andrew I think they did that to save resources. It's free to sign up, though, and the advanced search feature works as you'd expect.
    – DavidW
    Commented Jun 9 at 22:49
  • 1
    I can't believe I wasted time trying to find out what that meant...
    – Daviid
    Commented Jun 10 at 11:50
  • I'm sorry that you do not know how to reproduce, but for the other part about the printed bar over flake, please join my complaining over at meta.stackexchange.com/q/357778/334517 - I need it for another site.
    – pipe
    Commented Jun 10 at 21:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.