Announcement! On Monday, October 8, the Numberplay blog in the New York Times will feature a problem based on my book, The Universe in Zero Words, and it will also have excerpts from my book. (In fact, it may have a whole chapter; I’m not really sure.)
“Numberplay” is sort of a subsidiary of another blog called “Wordplay,” which is mostly about crossword puzzles. But one day a week, the crossword puzzle blogger takes a day off and the math blogger, Gary Antonick, steps in. His blog is also very puzzle-oriented.
I’ve seen a page proof of the upcoming post, and it’s really cool the way that Gary has riffed on one of the topics in my book to create a puzzle that will be of interest to people without a high-level mathematics background. If you do happen to know some non-Euclidean geometry, you’ll find the puzzle a lot easier… but really the point of the puzzle, as well as the chapter in my book, is to introduce people to non-Euclidean geometry and explain why it is just as natural as Euclidean geometry (the kind you learn in high school).
I’m also really excited about this from a purely selfish, mercenary viewpoint. For an author, the absolute best publicity you can hope for (short of being on Oprah or something, which is completely unrealistic for me) is to have your book mentioned in the New York Times. It would be better if the mention were in the book review section, but I think that such a favorable plug on the website, with an excerpt to boot, should help raise the visibility of The Universe in Zero Words. We’ll see. I’ll let you know if the sales suddenly go up after Gary’s article comes out.
And even if his column doesn’t sell a lot of books, there’s another thing. If you do a search for “Dana Mackenzie” on the New York Times website, you come up with zero hits. Well, zero that are actually about me. (The search does find a few random articles that have both the names “Dana” and “Mackenzie” in them, and somebody named Dana Mackenzie Smith got married in 1973.) In other words, as far as the world’s leading newspaper is concerned, I do not exist.
But after Monday, I will exist!