Sunday, June 24, 2012

Puzzle books: a new experience for me, at least


Today, a puzzle author at a local church was selling a self-published puzzle book that looked like an exercise in encryption.

There are about fifty pages with letters, numbers or characters in different fonts. The characters are to be collected into eighteen questions by “font”, and then certain worksheets are to be filled in that lead one to solve a puzzle.  It sort of reminded me of the progressive clues of a Clive Cussler novel (like the Dirk Pitt novel “Atlantis Found” (1999), or maybe “Sahara”, which became a movie).

The formal title of the book is “Trinity Presbyterian Church: Puzzle Book 2012”, with ISBN 978-1475286144. The author is Doug Gardner. The proceeds from sale of the book are intended to help fund a mission trip to Belize  (Central America) soon this summer (link).  Someone who solves the puzzle can win a quilt.

The website supporting the puzzle is “Octo-Puzzle”.  The email prefix is “info” for contact. I hope the author puts is on Amazon.  That's one way to sell.  

As for Cussler, I read the “Atlantis” book in 2000.  At writer’s conferences, in Minneapolis, where I was living then, there was debate over whether new authors offering “thriller” or “espionage” novels had the luxury of offering introductions set in the distant past and a long slow build-up of mystery.  Conventional wisdom is that the unproven fiction writer has to introduce an existential crisis on the first page to keep the reader turning pages.  I disagree!

Pictures (mine): The National Security Agency, NE of Laurel MD (yes, you can take outdoor pictures); inside the museum of cryptography. The NSA will build a new center in Utah to spy on all of us.  

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