In 1985, Christopher Manson wrote and illustrated a book called Maze. It really is a beautiful and unique piece of work.
Manson actually said that this book isn't really a book at all, but rather a building in the shape of a book. Intriguing, right?
Upon first glance, the gauntlet is thrown at the reader—“Solve The World’s Most Challenging Puzzle”—and believe me, the challenge is a lulu.
Each lovely page represents one room of a house that the player must navigate through to the center and back…in just 16 steps. Each numbered door on a page is a portal and some rooms lead to infinite loops while others will lead to dead-ends. Along the way, the reader is also challenged to discover an answer to a meta-puzzle.
The idea of a book acting as a labyrinth is a very cool one, and when it was originally published in 1985, a $10,000 prize was offered to the reader who could solve it the quickest. In 1988, 12 winners were chosen and they split the prize.
Since its publication, this book has spawned podcasts, clue websites and countless gallons of tears. I was fascinated with this book, but when I first got my copy, I succumbed to online message boards to help get me through it. It is absolutely ridiculous, the amount of work that people have gone through to solve this puzzle in different ways. My hat is off to them, but I just wish that I could look at Maze again with fresh eyes.
And now is your chance to journey into the maze. To help you out, I offer to you some spoilers...not that I'd use them or anything.
Maze: Solve the World's Most Challenging Puzzle [Amazon]
See Michael, a passionate collector of artifacts and designer of unique puzzles, at Boing Boing's three-day extravaganza, the Weekend of Wonder, running Sept. 18-20. A weekend of workshops, tech demons and wild performances, there'll be plenty of fun surprises!
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