Codes and Secret Writing

Clifford A. Pickover

Prometheus, 2000

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The strange looking codes in this book come from another world -- an ancient world filled with stick-like runes, a beautiful alphabet used by Northern Europeans from the first century AD and into the Middle Ages. In Cryptorunes, they serve as portals to secret knowledge and provide an exquisite puzzle experience.

Cryptorunes is for anyone who wants a mental workout -- to increase attention span, to improve memory and stretch the imagination. For the ultimate challenge, clues for the location of several marvelous golden runes are provided in the chapter "The Golden Rune Contest." Can you decode the clues and find the strange locations of the mysterious golden runes? See the marvelous award offer for those who succeed at this difficult quest. As you solve the cryptorunes and read the accompanying material, you will not only have great fun and learn to focus on symbolic problems, but you'll also be discovering a lot about the structure of language and the history of codebreaking. In special chapters, codebreaking hints and simple examples explain how to make your own secret messages and how to crack other people's cryptograms. Anyone can be an amateur cryptoruneologist!

Advance Praise for Cryptorunes

"This book strains, stretches, and then crushes the brain without the slightest apology from its author. Clifford Pickover, the ultimate mental trainer, offers the secrets of life as they have been explored in literature, anthropology, philosophy, religion, history, science, and mysticism -- all in a code that is as beautiful to the eye as it is baffling to the cortex.

His computer analysis of the English language and some restrained clues are helpful, and when you solve a rune that explores "What is love?" you'll weep for joy. Codes have always offered a mental workout, but few books on code breaking offer a mystical experience to boot. Pickover is a mystic poet for the science-savvy.

A gem for teachers across the curriculum, Cryptorunes explores the structure of the English language in a way that both math and English teachers can appreciate and use in their classrooms. Code breaking is an adventurous way to teach symbolic problem solving, and Cryptorunes makes it a mental treasure hunt as well."

-- Elizabeth Lindstrom, Senior Editor, Odyssey

"Pickover introduces us once more to puzzling treats with Cryptorunes. He skillfully draws examples from the contemporary scene as well as from ancient history, giving our minds the ultimate work out. With references ranging from Robert Redford's movie Sneakers to Sanskrit poems, any budding or veteran cryptographer will be tantalized."

-- Theoni Pappas, author of The Mathematics Calendar

"A must for all CIA analysts, and, rather surprisingly, for proponents of the New Age movement. The science and history of codes comes alive as readers explore ancient runes and New Age secret knowledge. If I were banished to a remote island and could take only a few books with me, Cryptorunes and Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow would be two." -- Marsha Sisolak, amateur cryptographer and author

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Hall of Fame

The following seven people are the only individuals in the world who have been able to decipher the seventeen visitations and ascertain their true meanings. The task is not impossible, but it is so difficult that few can persevere.
1 Nick Miller, California 5/00
2 Bill Mason, California, 6/00
3 Harold and Elaine Benney, UK, 7/00
4 Bob Collins, Oregon, 7/00
5 Will Atkinson, New Jersey, 7/00
6 Scott Purdy 9/00
7 Anne Denham, UK 10/00

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