Mulholland Books was kind enough to send me an “S” Book Club Kit. A list of contents is below, along with more detailed analysis further down.
- A letter from J. W. Dominguez, the webmaster of EOTVOSWHEEL.com
- A dossier of possible Straka candidates, sheathed in a Ship of Theseus book cover.
- A CD containing the first transmission from Radio Straka
- Two erasable colored pencils to be used to add your own notes to Ship of Theseus alongside Jen and Eric’s
- A postcard from the Botanical Gardens in Rio De Janeiro (Jardim Botanico).
- A playfair cipher along with a sealed envelope that contains instructions for solving the cipher.
The Letter from J. W. Dominguez
Dear book club,
Thank you for selecting S. for your reading group. This unique web of narratives is best experienced in the company of other readers. Moreover, I’ve devoted many years to trying to uncover the identity of V.M. Straka, and the more people we have investigating it, the better. To that end, I’ve included materials that will also help you solve the many ciphers in S. and discover the elements within and outside the book, bringing S. more deeply to life.
Let me tell you what’s inside this kit. You have received a dossier I assembled of possible Straka candidates. You have also received instructions for solving a Playfair cipher, which will come in handy as you read Ship of Theseus. A CD contains the first transmission from Radio Straka, which appeared on radiostraka.com this past fall. Two erasable colored pencils have been included so you can add your notes and observations to Jen and Eric’s. And finally, we encourage you to write and mail a postcard to Straka’s translator, F. X. Caldeira. We’re collecting these correspondences in our New York Office and posting them online at mulhollandbooks.com/s-bookclub.
I’ve never gotten a straight answer about how Mulholland got hold of Jen and Eric’s annoyed copy of Ship of Theseus, but I’m glad they did. It’s been a tremendous boon to Straka scholarship. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I have.
J. W. Dominguez
Marketing Consultant, Mulholland Books and
The Dossier of Possible Straka Candidates
This 20-page dossier is a reproduction of this EOTVOSWHEEL.COM page, containing a list of possible Straka candidates, including…
Juan Blas Covarrubias (the almost certainly fictional last Spanish pirate)
Tiago Garcia Ferrara
The Nineteenth Prince of Spiders
Vaclav A. Straka
Victor Martin Summersby
The CD of the First Transmission of Radio Straka
If you have not already, head on over to RadioStraka.com and listen to the excellent transmissions of another seeker to the solution of the Straka mystery.
Two Erasable Colored Pencils (20045 Carmine Red and 20067 Purple)
@MJHasOwlEyes points out that the colored pencils appear to be unique for each Book Club Kit.
The Postcard from The Botanical Gardens of Rio De Janeiro (Jardim Botanico)
This is an interesting choice of postcard to be included. What is the significance of the Botanical Gardens in Rio de Janeiro? This pond just happens to be a few hundred feet away from the picture on the postcard insert in Ship of Theseus between p190-191. Though the place name has been removed, that insert pictures the entrance to the Botanical Gardens of Rio de Janeiro. This garden stands in the shadow of the Christ the Redeemer statue.
The Playfair Cipher
I don’t want to spoil it, so enjoy. You can easily find the solution online, but why not try your hand at solving it yourself? The marginalia between Jen and Eric should be enough to help you figure it out.