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Game of the Week: 2120 and books that contain mazes


A two-page spread from 2120 showing a hallway in an office building with various objects the reader can inspect including a light patch of wall.
Image credit: George Wylesol/Avery Hill

I don't know if you're familiar with the Mr Gum books, but I read them with my daughter when she was seven or eight, and I don't think I'll ever get over them. They're ingenious and hilarious and weird, and they all have this lovely sense of having been written at great speed, just conjured on the spot, with jokes and characters and plots flinging themselves together on the page at the pace of the author's typing.

Sadly, this isn't a Mr Gum fan-site - yet - but I want to talk briefly about one of the books which has really stuck with me. I can't remember which book - oh no you'll just have to read them all then - but Polly, the hero, is lost in the woods, and whenever she tries to leave a landmark behind - it's a windmill - she walks off and then finds herself, moments later, back where she started.

It's a scene right out of The Prisoner, but what makes it special here is that each time she finds herself back at the windmill, we get a new chapter. So her confusion in the woods impacts the structure of the book, with a bunch of short repetitive chapters one after the other, while the joke is how long the book will keep this loop going.

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