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By All Cool Reads • Issue #5 • View online

First off, an apology: this month’s Free Bundle Magazine won’t launch on time. I will make my best effort to launch next week, but that might prove difficult with things as they are. You will understand why in a bit.
Now, the reason: a year or so ago, as many of you know, we offered several alternative newsletters besides the one you are reading. The Society of Extraordinary Readers (a.k.a. The Verne Club) was among those alternatives. It intended to be a small book club, where members could discuss weird and fantastic literature. Regular readers of the magazine might recall the Society’s ad on the first page of each edition, signed by Sir Nathanial Baker himself (the actual Grand Master of the Society).
Well, you won’t be seeing those ads in the magazine again, that’s for sure.
Last night, a member of The Society with whom I’ve been in touch (they call themselves Keepers) learned that someone had broken into the Grand Lodge over the weekend.
Many versions are circulating about what happened. One of the rumors says this unidentified person broke in and took possession of one of the most dangerous books in all existence: the Necronomicon.
Again, there is not much official information at the moment, only rumors, and that is part of the problem. Some say the Necronomicon was stolen from the Grand Lodge, others say it wasn’t stolen from the Grand Lodge itself, but from the Romanian customs, where it was in custody.
This morning, Keepers woke to this email from Sir Baker himself, the Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge.
“As some of you might have heard by now, there was a security breach in our Grand Lodge over the weekend. Due to the current pandemic situation, there was minimum security personnel at the moment of the incident. The Grand Lodge profoundly regrets this incident happened.
This was a significant breach in our security protocols, but it was handled quickly and professionally. Our preliminary inspection says there was no access to the Grand Librarium. All of our books appear to be fully accounted for.
We will be providing additional information as it becomes available. For now, we ask that you please refrain from viewing or posting any rumors or unsubstantiated information on social media sites until further notice from us. Please understand that rumors published by a few unscrupulous individuals could turn into panic among other Keepers.“
It is absolutely unacceptable to use the Pandemic to excuse the lack of security in a library as crucial as the one The Society of Extraordinary Readers holds. If that book ends up in the hands of some wacko, there is no knowing what could happen. We are not talking about some obscure first edition of Treasure Island here; it’s the freaking Necronomicon.
Sir Nathaniel Baker, the head of the Grand Lodge, wrote to me some time ago explaining they were looking into attracting new members. There has always been a halo of secrecy around the activities of the Society of Extraordinary Readers in the publishing circle, and Sir Baker said they were now looking forward to being more open and inclusive, as the times are rapidly changing.
In short, they needed new blood, and I was honored they chose Free Bundle Magazine of all speculative fiction outlets out there to kickstart their efforts. We built a mailing list, a landing page, and social media profiles for the Society, but then the cyberattacks began, and we had to take everything down quietly.
The landing page received thousands of visits per hour, but no signups, making it impossible for anyone to subscribe.
We still don’t know who was the cyber attacker or where those attacks originated because Sir Baker refused external help and relayed only on the technical abilities of current Keepers, which are outdated. Although no data was compromised from our end, MailChimp (our provider at the time) was reluctant to keep business with The Society, so we had to shut down.
Until the Society of Extraordinary Readers makes a public statement giving full disclosure of what happened, no one can tell for sure. To act, we need details. But this being a secret society, a public statement could take a while, if it happens at all.
In the meantime, I’ve been asked by my friend, the Keeper (who will, of course, remain anonymous), to let everyone in the literature world know what happened; he will try to do the same from his end. If The Society of Extraordinary Readers was in fact in possession of the Necronomicon, and if it’s true it got stolen over the weekend, we can only assume things will escalate out of control pretty fast.
Their website is :
Sealed. Absolutely hermetic. There is little to no info there, and Keepers I’ve talked to tell me there is no way of getting in without being a member.
Now you understand why, at least for the time being, I have to stop the presses and focus on what can be done from my end. Hopefully, the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge will soon step forward with a statement. I’ll be updating this post periodically until then.
I’ve sent a preliminary draft of it to my friend the Keeper, and he agrees this issue involves everyone in the publishing world, not just a secret society.
We will not ask you or anyone to get involved in this, but we ought to warn you that this is not an ordinary book that got stolen.
We suggest you do your own research about the Necronomicon and decide for yourself if tracking its whereabouts is something you want to get involved with.
– Javier Cabrera
Editor, Free Bundle Magazine
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All Cool Reads

All Cool Reads (formerly known as Free Bundle Magazine) is your independent source for in-depth reporting and commentary on the publishing and pop culture. We publish essays, short fiction, and poetry.

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