The story of Viktor von Valkyrie – such a tragic tale! Born in the farthest reaches of the Slav Republic, no one in Viktor’s village could read or write. Yet somehow Viktor managed to take Ph.D.’s in astrophysics, anatomical biology and theoretical mathematics at Oxford – all before he reached age 27. He achieved a full professorship by the time he was 30 – the same year his hearing began to seriously decline. Convinced of an undergraduate conspiracy to drive him mad with their persistent mumbling, he devised a revolutionary ear trumpet and managed to have it surgically implanted. Although it made sleeping unspeakably awkward, it also enabled the good professor to hear small children eating cornflakes several miles away. In retrospect, this was most likely the first hint that something was seriously amiss, but von Valkyrie’s brilliant inventions, like the autonautical dirigible – the first vehicle to successfully negotiate land, air and water travel – distracted colleagues and friends from that knowledge. However, as Viktor continued to have himself altered in alarming ways, even his most ardent supporters had to admit that he was most certainly deranged. On the eve of the unveiling of his stunningly elegant airship, the Vampyricon, Viktor appeared with set of fully functional mechanized bat wings sprouting from his shoulder blades. With such a disturbing appearance, no one could glean much from his increasingly convoluted lectures. When a species Titanus giganticus land beetle emerged from his cerebral cortex, the college elders knew something had to be done. A plot was hatched to lure the professor to an exclusive asylum hidden away in the Swiss Alps, but of course Viktor overheard every detail of the plan. Packing up his fantastic inventions, he vanished as suddenly as he had appeared, although sightings of the flying scholar have been reported from Prague to the very tip of the Siberian Peninsula. If you see the shadow of his wings overhead, whisper a hello. He will hear you.