Greetings from the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences: A Formal Introduction from a Steampunk World

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peculiar
adjective
strange or odd; unusual : his accent was a peculiar mixture of Cockney and Irish.
• [ predic. ] informal slightly and indefinably unwell; faint or dizzy : I felt a little peculiar for a while, but I’m absolutely fine now.

occurrence
noun
an incident or event : vandalism used to be a rare occurrence.
• the fact or frequency of something happening : the occurrence of cancer increases with age.
• the fact of something existing or being found in a place or under a particular set of conditions : the occurrence of natural gas fields.

Greetings, Friendly Reader of Ætherblogs far-and-wide. My card…

DEL-WellingtonBooksOh, dashitall, that really doesn’t work here, does it?

Greetings, Friendly Reader of Ætherblogs far-and-wide. My name is Wellington Thornhill Books, and I am the Chief Archivist and — much to my dismay — Active Field Agent serving at Her Majesty’s behest from within the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. While I am still a bit new to the field, I am well-versed in the odd, the extraordinary, and the unexplained our organisation encounters from day-to-day. The Ministry has faced it all, raging from mad scientists to spectral visions of pure malice to robotic teapots possessing minds of their own; and still we have not “seen it all” as one might believe. Throughout all of what we encounter on a daily basic, though, the Ministry must remain in shadow. While it could be argues that ignorance is not always bliss, open transparency may also open various hell mouths of madness. Best not to disturb your bank holiday with a brush against the Apocalypse, yes?

But I digress…

On the extremely rare occasion (primarily by new field agents and clankertons enlisted by R&D) I am asked “Exactly when is it a good time to call upon the Ministry?” A good question, deserving of a good answer; and it is a simple conclusion to reach. Ask yourself “To whom should I direct my call?”

Quite simple, really. When a pipe bursts or a faucet no longer works, you call a plumber. If your chimney starts spewing smoke into your house, you call upon a sweep. The Empire, under the graces of her Majesty Queen Victoria, provides services for those loyal subject inconvenienced. The thing about these cited inconveniences is that they are normal, and in their own way expected; which is why you know who to call when.

It’s when you look outside over your garden and discover a giant crater where your ribbon-winning hydrangeas once were. At the heart of that crater is a rock just larger than a breadbox. Oh, and did I mention this breadbox is glowing?

And your cat has not emerged from underneath your bed since the arrival of this mysterious stone. You are stumped in who you should call for help.dawnsearlylight

Same can be said when you discover your pianola modifying other household conveniences seemingly in sone grand scheme to rise up against their humans overlords. And what if you awaken to find yourself bound and gagged on an airship destined for Antarctica where a secret society awaits to unleash sadistic torture of which the likes those lost in the darkest recesses of the human mind could not fathom?

Not that I…would understand what it would be…finding themselves…trapped…bound and gagged. Very middle class, being Shanghai-ed like that, I must say.

These occurrences can only be described as peculiar, and this is when the world needs an organization like the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. As my counterpart, Eliza D. Braun, and I faced in Phoenix Rising, our adventure began with a cold case that led to a case of madness. A case of madness that leads to a playing card. A playing card that leads to an unexplained death by gas explosion. Like dominoes on display, each revelation leads to another, eventually placing us in the middle of a conspiracy against the crown.

Peculiar occurrences, indeed.

So whether it is shadowy societies plotting against Queen Victoria or mysterious airship disappearances over the Graveyard of the Atlantic, our unlikely duo is ready to take your own call for their intellectual services in making sense of the non-sensical. When the unexpected comes calling upon you, call upon the Ministry. Who else can you count on to shine light against the dark, and explain the unexplained?

Which brings me to the matter of that mad player piano who has fortified itself in your kitchen alongside the egg beater and meat grinder. So long as I have access to have a chaise longue, a dress shoe, a stick of chewing gum, and this ancient Norse sunstone that is geologically tuned to the space-time continuum, I should have all this resolved before your afternoon tea.

Nothing to fret about. We are the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. This is what we do.

—————

tee_headshotLast week, Tee Morris celebrated the arrival Dawn’s Early Light, the third book in The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series, written with his wife, Pip Ballantine. Their first title in the series, Phoenix Rising, won the 2011 Airship Award for Best in Steampunk Literature, while both Phoenix Rising and The Janus Affair were finalists in Goodreads Best in Science Fiction of 2011 and 2012. In 2013 Tee and Pip released Ministry Protocol, an original anthology of short stories set in the Ministry universe.  When Tee is not creating something on his Macintosh, he enjoys a good run, a good swim, and putting together new playlists to write by. His other hobbies include cigars and scotch, which he regards the same way as anime and graphic novels: “I don’t know everything about them, but I know what I like.” (And he likes Avo and Arturo Fuente for his smoke, Highland Park for his scotch!) He enjoys life in Virginia alongside Pip, his daughter, and three cats.

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2 comments to Greetings from the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences: A Formal Introduction from a Steampunk World

  • First Pip and now Tee. We are, indeed, doubly blessed. So very good to see you here, my friend. Looking forward to seeing you in person sometime soon, and to reading what looks to be an incredibly entertaining book. Best of luck with it. (BTW, my favorite Scotches right now are Speysides — Aberlour and Balvenie, both around 15 year. Not much of a cigar man, but I would love to sip with you when we have the chance.)

  • David, ask and you shall receive! 🙂