You always hurt the one you love

So this happened.

Maze old copy

I got this edition of MAZE from my sister about 10 years ago. She saw it at a secondhand store and bought it for me as a birthday gift, remembering how much we’d both enjoyed looking at it as kids when it first came out. Not sure where that original copy went, but Mom’s a librarian, so it was probably just a loaner.

Maze old copy

Anyway, this is the copy I’ve been poring over for the past decade. It’s obviously not a first edition because it is missing the contest sticker, but it was from the first set of printings before the book went out of print for a time. I’m not one of those people who take care to keep books in pristine condition, so although the book was in excellent shape when I got it, well, you saw what happened.

At first it was just wear and tear from constant page flipping, somewhat reduced once I found the obs-us site (now hosted by Mazecast), and later the Abyss, and used those instead for navigation. Then Alex gave me the great idea of noting down the numbers of the unnumbered doors in rooms to help research connections when not online, so I did that, further defiling the pages. Then the Guide Puzzle stuff got going, and I ended up feeling so frustrated I started drawing and writing on the book – anything to conjure up a little inspiration.

Maze old copy Maze old copy Maze old copy

But then I started to feel sad. Now this book that I love for aesthetic as well as puzzley reasons had become messy and dogeared. Even though, as I said, this normally doesn’t bother me, in this case it did.

The solution was simple: I ordered a new one.

Maze comparison

In hindsight, I wish I had used the new edition for a beater copy and taken better care of the old edition. There’s something that seems a little cheaper about the new one. The paper quality is not as good; the printing seems a little less dark and rich. The back cover looks like a slightly blurry photo of the original. (Hard to tell from this blurry photo, of course.)

Maze comparison

So now I’m on the hunt for another copy: an affordable older copy in excellent condition. I’m planning to cut out and frame the pages to decorate my little “office” – really a corner in my basement. (Watch for a future post on interior decorating with MAZE.)

How many copies of MAZE are too many? I’ve thought about this, and I feel like it’s a bit similar to the tipping point at which you transform from woman who owns a few cats to crazy cat lady: up to three is probably okay but go beyond that and people may begin to realize that you’re close to something and sound the alarm.

But wait. If I cut up the new old edition when I get it for decorating, then I’ll still be left without an older edition in good shape. So… maybe just one more…?