The Mysterious Package Company is an entertainment company like no other, offering a range of genre narratives — Lovecraftian horror, for example, or Victorian murder mystery or zombie apocalypse — that are deconstructed and retold through custom-designed objects and ephemera. These obsessively researched materials are packed into a series of “mysterious packages” that are delivered by mail, most often as gifts to unsuspecting recipients. It is the job of whomever receives these packages to figure out the connections among the items and hunt for telling details in the hopes of reassembling the narrative. “Stories you can touch,” is the MPC tag line.
After a year freelancing with the company, I was hired at the start of 2016 to devise and enact a wholesale revamp of the MPC’s quixotic quarterly publication called Curios and Conundrums. As editor in chief, I was to up the ante in terms of the publication’s weirdness and quality, to broaden its appeal among the company’s eccentric and discerning membership.
See below for samples of my work with the MPC.
Time is luxury. Any writer will tell you that having enough time to properly research a story is invaluable — and increasingly rare. Wrapping my mind around the complexities of Einsteinian physics was a challenge, but a delightful challenge because I found myself with time to research. (It did take some effort to get up speed. I seem to recall that physics and calculus were my best subjects as an undergrad!?!)
Over the two years I was editor in chief of Curios and Conundrums, every issue had on the cover a fact-based feature story illustrating how truly weird the world can be: the horrific Colney Hatch asylum fire of 1903, the Maryland pumpkin patch that launched McCarthy’s Red Scare, Key West’s terrifying Robert the doll…. (And each story featured a Victorian engraving-style illustration by the amazing Michael Custode.)
My cover story for Clockwork Mutineers, our time-travel issue from 2017, explored Einstein’s theory of relativity — how Einstein came to envision it, and how it underpins most theories of time travel. It’s a story humming with bewitching music.