Basically, we found this serialised online book by a writer called Joseph Haryana Alexander. He's got a PhD from Oxford in literature and he's done write-ups for A24 studios, and has possibly worked for them for at least three years doing something mysterious, possibly writing this book.
The book includes kind of a cat and mouse game, where clues in the book lead you to real places with clues. It's also an entertaining read on its own. It is possibly structurally similar to Joyce's Ulysses (is one idea) and parodies/criticises American culture but is still funny and mysterious. It is a serious work of fiction that the author (a literature PhD from Oxford) has put a lot of time and effort into. This is not a self-promotion. We need people who are good at analysing books.
About the author: (feel free to skip) He is possibly from a military family, has travelled a lot and is from a romany traveller family. He has been to some academic literature conferences so we know he's real, but he might be writing under a pen name (though he uses that pen name in his conference appearances). He is both highly academic but also marginalised and writes about that conflict. He is very weird and seems to live a sort of travelling writer lifestyle. To be clear, it's the book we want to solve, not the guy, so we're not trying to doxx him, just to play the game he's made and read the book.
We found the first clue, that led us to a geocache in the middle of nowhere in Germany (no kidding!). Inside we found two coded messages, one was easy to decipher and the other we're still working on. The first one said
"You found the first V
Ice cream for anyone who can find me
I look forward to meeting you…"
And then it gave an email address that you have to go to to find the next clue. The book is called VZ, and V seems to be significant somehow.
To give you an idea for how complicated this is, the german geocache was in the middle of a V-intersection, and the clue for how to get there was hidden in the first words of certain marked paragraphs that you had to use pythagorean numerology (as the chapter suggested) to reduce to coordinates that led you through Cameroon (that the book chapter confirms was the right intermediate stage) to Germany, bang in the middle of a V. So whoever made this, they've spent some serious time doing it.
The problem is, we can't get to the next stage because the clue for how to do it is really well encrypted.
So, we need your help. The cipher key is hidden somewhere in the book, but it's probably not discoverable by statistics alone (we have a lot of Humans of Math working on this).
If you're interested, please join us on our Discord channel here: https://discord.gg/RWWb56x
We are currently about 50 people, some are more literary and some are more math/code breaker type. The group has a good vibe and it's a lot of fun, so please do join if you think it's interesting.
You can find the book here: https://www.wattpad.com/story/185509944-vz
Source: reddit post