Well, it looks like I have my next book project lined up! This one’s a bit of a departure for me, since I will be an editor this time as opposed to an author. I will be editing a tribute volume to Raymond Smullyan, to be published by Dover Publications probably sometime next year.

I’ve mentioned Smullyan a few times in this blog. He’s probably best known for his many books of logic puzzles. He did not invent the genre of puzzles about liars and truthtellers, but he certainly elevated it to a high art. He is also well-known for using puzzles as a device for communicating deep ideas in logic, especially Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem. But there’s much more to his work. He has published two books of retrograde analysis chess problems, multiple books on Taoist philosophy and the philosophy of religion, books about paradoxes and other philosophical conundrums, and multiple collections of puzzles of a more overtly mathematical flavor. And this is in addition to numerous significant academic papers in mathematical logic.

I’ve been a fan of Smullyan ever since I was nine. With that list of topics, are you surprised that I jumped at the chance to do this book when Dover approached me about it? Smullyan, now 93, lives in the Catskills in upstate New York. I spent a weekend with him over the summer, and found him to be an impeccable host. The book will partly be a “Best of Smullyan” anthology, meaning I now bear the awful burden of having to reread all of his books and pick out the parts I really like. Is there no end to the sacrifices I am willing to make for my craft? There will also be some original material, in the form of essays written by outside contributors, and hopeful some other goodies as well. Stay tuned!

Comments

  1. #1 Dan U
    United States
    August 27, 2012

    Can’t wait for the book — loved Smullyan’s knights & knaves puzzles and the chess retrograde problems, which I found I could figure out even when my friends were all beating me at chess.

  2. #2 Charles Sullivan
    August 28, 2012

    Surely, you can pay some puzzle-minded mathematician grad student $40.00 an hour to weed out the puzzles that won’t work for your book.

  3. #3 John Farrell
    http://blogs.forbes.com/johnfarrell/
    August 28, 2012

    Great news, Jason. Congratulations!

  4. #4 Another Matt
    August 30, 2012

    YES! I’m reminded of that video you posted of him doing and watching card tricks. I look very forward to the book.

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