Quickstart Guide to The Monarch Papers

Originally published at: About CJ Bernstein - Ackerly Green

Below is an ever-updated, easy-to-reference collection of reader-chosen Links and Tips to quickly get you up to speed and fully immersed in the world of Ackerly Green, The Lost Collection and the Guide to MAGIQ!


This Youtube channel has quick puzzle recaps (currently being created by my awesome readers.) You’ll be able to get the gist of the story and catch up to current readers in a matter of minutes. Be sure to subscribe so you get alerts when the recaps go up.

This is the reader-created wiki for the game. It’s still being fleshed out but there’s already a lot of information to help get you up to speed, especially videos that walk you through creating a forum account, posting, reporting issues, etc.

Eaves’ Weekly Recaps are currently the best and most in-depth way to catch up on what’s happened in the story. Those will also be delivered to you every week via email, and posted on the Basecamp blog.

There’s a category for off-topic conversation on the forum called The Cabinet of Otherworldly Wonders.

There’s also a category for chatting with me and commenting on my blog posts, but it’s hidden from the front page since it’s also “out-of-world” (has it settled in yet that I’m OBSESSED with immersion?) You can follow the above link or just click the hamburger menu near the top right of the forum (it vaguely looks like a hamburger) and it will show you all the categories, including the hidden ones.


You’ll usually receive one email a week, which is Eaves’ Weekly Recap.

But occasionally The Book of Briars will also send critical messages to Mountaineers. To make sure those super-important messages don’t end up marked as SPAM do one of two things…

Add the following email addresses to your contacts or address book:



When you get an email from any of the above addresses, respond to them. Just send them a quick reply and that will “whitelist” those addresses so that they don’t get stuffed into your junk folder.

And if you decide you don’t want to read or play The Monarch Papers anymore, no hard feelings, but please click the UNSUBSCRIBE button at the bottom of all the emails instead of marking them as SPAM. I’d really appreciate it.


This isn’t a typical ARG. I don’t hide binary cryptograms in site source code. This is a magical literary experience. The puzzles we’ve created for TMP require logic, teamwork, but most of all they require imagination.

Having said that, if you go digging into the story’s sites you might accidentally find a “hidden” page I didn’t hide as well as I thought, or even find the solution to a puzzle earlier than intended.

It happens.

I’m (mostly) only one guy, and things fall through the cracks sometimes. If you do find something, PLEASE send a message to “Meta” which is our out-of-world forum account:

You can message Meta by clicking the little horse fish “hippocampus”symbol at the top right corner of the forum, or in the sidebar of the Basecamp blog.
The forum is a place for pretend, in-world speculation, and collaborative exploration. Spoilers and spoiled puzzles there are usually met with sighs instead of cheers.

But if you submit your find to Meta, you might even be rewarded for discreetly reporting rather than exploiting your find. We all want to have fun and build this world together. Your help in keeping the fun alive is key.

I really, really hope you enjoy this experience and get something out of it.

From experiencing a living book to helping shape the outcome with your choices, from solving puzzles with other readers to creating new works and imagining new worlds at the forum’s Campfire, there’s tons to do and I can’t wait to build the world of MAGIQ with you!