I invite you to enter my Maze. I say it is mine, because despite who else I might be, I am the architect as well as your guide. Your first goal is to find the shortest route through the Maze – a simple task, I assure you, if you know what to look for. I have planted clues throughout for your interpretation – or misinterpretation.  Indeed, you will be fascinated by the Maze’s ambiguity, stimulated by its mystery, stymied by its riddle. But fear not! I will be with you all the way. Fear not, that is, if you truly believe that my clues or I can be trusted.

Enter room 1.  Which door should you take from here? Someone in the narrative uses the word “story,” and the same word appears above the door to room 20. Is that the connection? Is there a connection?  Give it a try and go to room 20, which is peculiar in its own way. Just inside the door to room 27 you see what looks like the bottom half of an archer’s arrow – an arrow pointing the way perhaps? I will not tell. Perhaps it wouldn’t help if I did. It is up to you to decide, as you move from room to room, hoping that fact is not fiction and that your best judgment has not led you astray.

Tempted? Test your wits against mine. I guarantee that my Maze will challenge you to think in ways you’ve never thought before. But beware…one wrong turn and you may never escape.

 - Images and text copyright 1985 by Christopher Manson
used with permission. [Purchase MAZE from Amazon]


Hidden Hint:

● Over the door is a red colored fish, this is a visual metaphor for a “red herring.” [Credit: Unknown - prior to 1990.] The door is in the shape of a pi symbol. [Independent Credit: LoMoody | Hidden Mystery | White Raven] A comparison between this image and the matching image in the prologue shows that the red herring is gone and has been replaced by the phrase “THE NEXT PAGE.” This illustrates a basic principle in the book, room linkages between two rooms are red herrings. Reinforcing this is the pi symbol which symbolizes infinity (i.e. this applies to the whole book). Also reinforcing this is the umbrella which is a running gag in the book in which the visitors are urged to prepare for rain that never comes. [White Raven]

Next:  Title Page

85 thoughts on “Cover

  1. I know I’ve been the king of “maybe we should think about this” lately, without offering any actual productive thought, but…

    Maybe we should think about this. The parts of the book that give the most explicit warning that clues might be untrustworthy are the back cover and the directions–both of which were likely among the last bits of text written. I wonder–did Manson always intend to make it so clear that the Guide was untrustworthy, or was this a late concession based on feedback? It really flavors the book differently, right from the outset, to have these clear warnings, and not have to derive from experience just *how* untrustworthy the Guide and the clues are.

    And that makes wonder whether any parts of the book work differently, were intended to work differently, for a reader that wasn’t immediately handed those warnings. Maybe something that seems to do nothing more than hint at the Guide’s evil nature *really does* do nothing more, because it was created before the decision to give the reader a free heads up.

    • Hmmm… this is so core to how the book operates I’ll have to think about it more. But honestly, telling the reader the guide will be untrustworthy is kind of meta-manipulation in its own way. So much of the time the guide is actually validating the visitors, so expecting lies from him makes the reader do 4D chess in their brain.
      It’s hard, I guess… much of the guide’s presence in the book from a decision making standpoint is confusing or almost nonsensical, even when you know what all the right answers are. Which is probably the point. So telling the reader that might give them added reason to overanalyze everything he says, confusing them even more. It might be a way to make the visitors make believable decisions, keep the guide’s influence subtle, and still inspire the reader to make strange ones to go against the guide. Take 2, 9, 11 and 35. The way the visitor text and guide text work together make a disorienting reverse-psychology experience.

      The guide doesn’t act predictably either, so things that make him seem distrustful vary wildly from each room.
      I guess the guide is just so hard to interpret that interpreting how we interpret him is also hard. Getting a warning certainly does make the book feel malicious, though most readers probably wouldn’t have trouble figuring out that malice anyway. Malice =/= misleading? Maybe the guide isn’t even that misleading and the part was added in the directions and back cover to ADD difficulty? It’s so hard to say.

    • Ok so I now realize what I wrote basically was just “hmmm maybe but also hmm maybe not”

    • No matter how you slice it there isn’t one narrative lens we can apply to the guide that makes him make sense. So for his purpose, he’s written extremely well

  2. I can understand why the by is not capitalized, but why not capitalize “ the “ ? Could it be an overall clue as to what can be done or from what one can do?

  3. Im sorry to say this but the door is literally impossible to open once closed because if you look inward the door rather that have a knob has a ring to pull it open except that the door opens inward rather than outward meaning the ring on the door is used for the sole purpose of trapping people in there

    the cracks on the floor make the phrase all

    and last but not least the arch now this deals with geometry and a little geometry lesson a circle always has a center point in the center the distance from the surface and the center point is the radius and the length of the middle of the sphere is the diameter and the lengh of the edge of a circle is the Circumference which is measured by Pi theres only half of the circle meaning we have to measure the diameter

    or its 3 things to make a message from the bottom to the top the floor says ALL the door TRAPS people and Pi on top of the door goes on FOREVER


    • Well, if there’s a handle on the other side of the door then this isn’t really a problem.

    • The doorway itself is also shaped like the symbol pi.

      And there’s a fish, a PI-scine marvel.

    • Now you may say I should have scrolled down to notice that WBMcL made the same points. But I expressed them in a PI-thier way.

  4. Not only is the door in the shape of a pi symbol, the red colored fish could be foreshadowing its use as a pi sign or “piscine”, since piscine means “of, pertaining to or characteristic of fish”.

    • Wow, you made a comment where I completely understand your mostly sensible train of logic! Good job!

      You’re still wrong, but baby steps.

    • I appreciate the plain statement too! I think we should be very hesitant to conclude that rectangular door frames are capital pi symbols, and using a sign with a fish on it to combine with pi to make a word meaning “relating to fish” seems redundant. Isn’t “piscine” pronounced “pie-seen”?

    • I don’t know. I think the “circling and dividing…which half” text in the prologue is a pretty decent clue that the half-circle/πr thing is intentional.

    • It’s an interesting connection to make. But П is not π; in fact, it is not just a different symbol, but one with a different mathematical meaning assigned to it. And “circling and dividing” and “half” connect just as easily to the semi-circle without a doorway as pi and an umbrella as r. I don’t think it’s impossible that Manson used this doorframe as a loose pi shape–it’s not a non-existent bull’s head–but it’s not convincing on its face.


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