Before the beginning

So, I kind of started off by cheating…

After I found Mazecast, but before deciding to blog, I was watching episodes and starting where I’m sure many people do:
I built a room-connection map of the whole maze.

I’ve been using a simple flowchart program for several years when I would occasionally run into something where I wanted to show connections in a visual way. I used this program to create 45 circles, representing each page, then went through the book and added links for each of the doors that I could find. A black arrow was a numbered doorway, and a white arrow at the end of the line represents an unnumbered doorway (but I could verify that one of the empty doorways in the room should match up from the other room).

Here’s an image of what I ended up with:
Initial Connections
Congrats to me, I’ve obviously solved Maze…….

Don’t mind the bits at the bottom. As I was going through I added arrows to question marks to represent blank doorways that I hadn’t found links for yet, and removed them when I found the links.

The Side View

So next I figured I might learn something by trying to analyze what levels of the ‘house’ each of the rooms are on. It was to represent kind of a side view or cutaway of levels for the structure. I added colors to connections that went up or down (like a ladder or a chute). Then I used those connections to see if I could figure out (just from the diagram) what rooms were on each of the different floors of the maze, in the hopes that it might help with future analysis.

Using that methodology, I ended up with this:
Floors of Maze

This is a little bit more organized. I could kind of create a map of the floors, by guessing where the rooms are in relation to each other merely by looking at the tops and bottoms of ladders, stairs and chutes. Also, I was able to easily show the one-way connections to The Abyss. However, there are still problems.

First off, the entire concept assumes that Manson designed the maze in distinct floors (exactly the kind of assumption that can get you in trouble with this book). Second, it assumes that the only way to get between the levels is by an obvious visual clue like a ladder, or set of stairs. Third, there are rooms with connections to other rooms that seem to be on different levels. So if it is possible to just step through a door and move from one level to another, how can you tell which level you end up on if there aren’t any obvious signs as to where you are (ladders, an outdoor area, something in the text)? Lastly, and this is more of a caveat, because it’s a cutaway view, and not a top-down view, there isn’t much room to work out where each of the rooms are in relationship to each other on any given level.

I got tired and frustrated trying to figure out what levels rooms were on just by manipulating the diagram, so I decided to suspend this exercise until I do more research on the rooms and get more data.

However, I’m going to add a goal of trying to create a side diagram that places each room accurately on a particular level.

What’s the Connection?

Next, I decided to start trying to take a look at the diagram from the beginning and the end, that is, from Room 1, and Room 24. At this point I had heard that there is a section of the maze commonly referred to as The Trap, and was trying to figure out (just from manipulating the diagram) how that interconnected to room 24. While going through this process, I decided to change the lines so that I could tell whether they were one way connections or two-way connections just by looking at the line. Between that and the arrows it is now easier to see how exits in a given location connect to different areas. Also, there are still a few rooms with mystery doorways that I need to do more research on, and instead of having all of them link to one question marked mystery room, I broke those up into distinct connections for each room.

After playing around for a while, I came up with this:
Beginnings and Endings

Now I’m sure I could spend a lot more time trying to do a better job of organizing an unraveling this spaghetti, but at this point I feel like I should really just do as the author intended and start from the beginning. In my next post I’ll analyze the beginning of the book and the first few rooms I’ve moved through.