Grandpa's Amazing Tale

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Available from Amazon.

From the Introduction:

When Claire wakes her grandfather and asks him to tell her a story, he responds with a wild tale that involves time travel and dinosaurs. The story is illustrated with mazes because this is both a story book and a maze book, but it is mostly a maze book, with more than 100 pages of them.

The mazes are designed for children in grade school, roughly ages seven to ten. There are no solutions provided because the mazes are fairly simple. The key to solving them is trial and error—if one path does not work, try another, and since there are limited numbers of paths, you will eventually find the right one. (The same is often true in life.) The advantage of omitting solutions is that more pages of mazes can be included.

The mazes in this book are based on grids of triangles, rectangles, and hexagons. A maze-generating computer program randomly connects the cells in the grid so that there is only one path between any two cells. I wrote several of these programs, each with different capabilities, in the 1990s. The output of these computer programs looks like gibberish, but special typefaces convert the output into printable mazes. These specialized typefaces can either make a maze very easy or, by making connecting passages small so one cannot see the solution at a glance, quite challenging. Because every cell in a maze connects with any other cell with one path, you can do a second solve by selecting any two cells and finding the path between them.

This book surprised me because when I finished Mazes Escher Would Like in 2018, I expected it would be my last maze book. Sales of my maze books are unimpressive and my software no longer runs on current computers. But in early 2021 I rediscovered a story that I had written for grandchildren and I wanted a break from work I was doing. A maze book was inviting because designing maze books is fun. Sharing the result with others is a side benefit.

I hope you enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed designing it. I apologize in advance for remaining errors.

Robert Schenk
April 2021

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