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Bob_Hummer
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I was sent the following ebook for review - http://themagicnetwork.com/magic-ebooks/......-saurabh

A description of each of the tricks can be found in the link above. Below are my thoughts...

FOREIGN THOUGHT - This is potentially very strong. It is very bold and reminds me of how far mentalism has come in the past decade. Fourteen years ago - this was the sort of thinking that Derren Brown was using to make waves at magic conventions. Although it seems like a combination of ideas I have seen before.

Still - the effect makes use of a glimpse which is a good one and is a nice variation on an old gambler's move.

The other nice thing about the structure is that it allows for some simple 'instant hypnosis' as part of the introduction to the trick. Yet the method is not built around it. As such this trick is useful for practising this sort of material in public. When this stuff is done well it can be the thing the spectator remembers most from your performance.

I have always being interested in 'think-a-card' routines. And this is one of the best I have seen (as simple as it is). It offers certain advantages over other approaches I have considered. And the presentation used should help smooth over the spectator's perception of the critical part of the routine.

For those who like this routine you should try and uncover a routine buried in 'The Spellbinder' magazine which takes an even more direct approach (but probably not quite as good since it is more of an 'Instant Stooge' type effect).

EQUEEN - This is another approach to the 'think-a-card' plot. It uses thinking similar to that I have seen from Derren Brown, Chuck Smith, Kenton Knepper and Bryn Reynolds. At first I was going to dismiss this as being unoriginal. But - I caught myself. This is a useful addition to previous work in this area. An excellent subtlety is used at the very beginning of the effect which helps achieve most of the trick there and then.

For those who are not confident using these techniques (the title is a clue to the technique involved) - this is a workable approach. And - thanks to the subtlety used - the spectator will go away falsely remembering exactly what choices were offered. I have never used these techniques before. But - I may give this one a go since it is so much simpler than the other work I have seen in this area.

CONFINED - Another 'think-a-card' effect. But this sort of thinking has already being detailed in the works of Juan Tamariz, Simon Aronson and Michael Close. So - it won't be new to most magicians. Also - some of the other work in this area makes use of the clever "No No's" concept of fishing. So - there are more interesting avenues than this one to explore.

COLOURIC - A parlour type effect using multiple outs to achieve the successful prediction of a choice of one out of three objects. I don't really like this. I am always hesitant with these sorts of methods since some laypeople are aware of the concept of multiple outs.

And it is unimpressive when you are only predicting something which you would naturally hit 33% of the time through luck alone. In effects of this kind - you need to up the stakes . For example - putting spikes under two of the cups and slamming your hand down on one of them. Or perhaps by putting money in one of the envelopes - and setting fire to two of them. Or putting a bullet in the barrel of a gun and firing it at your head.

Alternatively you can take the approach of somebody like Banachek. Who will use a simple trick like this as part of the selection of a spectator to sell the idea that they will be a susceptible good subject for a later and more indepth routine.

Lastly - the best approach I have seen to a 3-way out in such a simple effect (which doesn't use either of the above approaches) is in SIMPLY SIMON by Simon Aronson. There he makes use of such a trick for a charming version of the children's game of 'Paper, Rock, Scissors'. And even there a novel mathematical principle is used to add more smoke to disguise the use of a simple 3 way out. Aronson's effect is worth checking out since it makes use of a game familar to everyone, and therefore provides an interesting hook. All kids have wondered at some point if there is a way to always win at this game.

INDUCED ANOMALOUS TRICHROMANCY (I.A.T.) - This is an unusual trick. It uses gimmicks to achieve an effect similar to one I have seen from Joshua Quinn. Jay Sankey and Richard Sanders also worked together in the late 80's on a similar plot as well. Still this is a powerful effect which will require careful stage management. It is worth investigating for those who want to achieve an impact totally unlike that found in 99% of mentalism effects.

NORTHERN NIRVANA - An Open Prediction effect which uses a method which 99% of magiciaNs wiLl never have attemPted before. Probably because most magicians are highly sceptical when it comes to this type of psychology. Your mileage may vary. Still - if you can master this arcane subject it might be worth using your powers on a trick more interesting than The Open Prediction. Since it is one of the most boring card plots around.

CUPPIE QUICKIE - Another trick involving the guessing of an object placed under one of three cups. This approach strikes me as a useful addition to the work done in this area by Rick Maue in his TERASABOS effect.

SEPTAGONAL - Another approach to The Open Prediction plot. The method (using a clever technique taught earlier) is a good one. This is one of the better solutions to this (boring) card problem I have come across. Still - nothing revolutionary I'm afraid.

------------------------

This ebook is part of the Derren Brown/Banacheck/Kenton Knepper 'prop-less' type approach to mentalism which has being so influential over the past ten years. Often involving clever scripting, equivoque, psychological forces, dual reality and false memories. It is a school of thought that I have studied a lot myself. But these days - I prefer to not entirely do away with every last prop usually used by mentalists (such as books, pens, business cards, dollar bills, envelopes and balloons). For me the charm in mentalism is to make use of the sneakiest thinking possible.

And whilst I think the past decade has bought an important correction to some of the lazy excesses of the past (if I never see another nail-writer I will die happy). I sometimes feel the pendulum (another prop I can do without) has swung too far the other way.

Once you start stripping back the methods and tools you use - you can sometimes leave yourself exposed. To expect a clever script to handle all of the weight of the presentation, AND the method can be too much. Personally - my preference is for clever mentalism with the occasional verbal subtlety thrown in. Such as I see in the work of Barrie Richardson and Bruce Bernstein. There is nothing better than a little touch of dual reality to keep the smart ones awake at night.

So - these days I usually steer clear of the modern types of mentalism ebooks that are cascading on to the market.

And I tend to not use cards in my mentalism effects. I have a ton of great card tricks already and prefer to use different props when doing mentalism. But that is a personal preference.

Still - with all that said. This is a useful collection of mental effects mainly using cards. And it is part of the modern approach which can create miracles when it goes smoothly. But which can seem sometimes feel a bit 'samey' for the purchaser looking for something new.

So - for those who enjoy playing in these fields I give this a recommendation.
vinnymac
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Thank you for taking the time to give such a detailed review! Indeed, my collaborators and I were focused on a more hands-off and modern approach with many of these routines. I enjoy these types of effects because they can be done in very impromptu situations with little to no preparation or props, and one of the reasons I got into mentalism was because of my love for psychology.
Your points are all well taken and I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts.
Thanks for your kind words on eQueen and Septagonal, those are two of my favourites and I am quite proud of them, so I am glad you enjoyed them.
Cheers.
P.S. There is another review of Mental Blueprints in the "Mentally Speaking" thread here: http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......um=303&2

And anyone interested in purchasing the eBook can find it here: http://themagicnetwork.com/magic-ebooks/......-saurabh

Thanks!
AndrewJSpeirs
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Thanks for posting up such an honest review.

I'm glad you enjoyed 'FOREIGN THOUGHT', and seen the potential to add hypnosis to the trick (or not), as this was the way it was designed.
eSamuels
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Vincent shared his new collaboration with me and I have only a few (new) comments, as I share much of what Bob's has already written.

First, this is a playing card-centric series of routines, presented in a mental(ism) style.
I won't get into the topic of whether or not playing cards should be used in Mentalism, as this is a matter of personal choice and depends as much on 'character/style' as it does on how the cards are actually used (including how they are physically handled).

But I will say that I would never perform more than one 'card' effect in a performance.
I believe that, with notable exceptions, the moment you perform a second demonstration with playing cards, the spectator's perception shifts to witnessing 'tricks.'
This is very much a matter of cultural conditioning, so it is difficult to combat, regardless of any efforts to re-frame the presentation.

The reason I mention the card-focus of Mental Blueprints, is that I would expect a collection of routines packaged as "Mental Performance Pieces" to offer a more rounded selection of approaches.
That said, I enjoyed several of the card routines, particularly those that involved little, if any, 'moves' or card sleights (perhaps this is because my 'chops' are few).

eQueen was an interesting approach to a theme that has been deftly handled by Bryn Reynolds (Seven) and, to some extent, Marl Elsdon (On The Mark).
Although I did find the initial 'choice' to be 'one step deep' in the process, which might fly by most people, but got my attention.
With that one exception (the starting point) the structure is sound and this is truly impromptu.

Induced Anomalous Trichromancy is the standout effect in the ebook. This deals with a psychological ploy that has been used before in Mentalism, but this approach is new to me. There is some preparation required, albeit nothing substantial, and I might want to modify the method for ringing things in and out, but this is very clever and the kind of effect that doesn't evoke a "card trick" reaction. In fact, given the premise, I do wonder if an alternative to using playing cards might not be possible. I'll have to give this some thought. But it's a worthwhile pursuit, as the idea is great. This was the highlight of the ebook for me.

There are two non-card effects offered, both involving drinking cups. While I didn't mind the methods, which did involve reasonably well-crafted thinking**, I found little to no emotional engagement for the audience (more so in the first effect - Colouric). This seems to be the most common challenge with much of what is released in Mentalism, getting past the clever routining to the more important matter - why should your audience care?

**My caveat on this note is that one routine, Cuppie Quickie, makes a dangerous assumption that your on-stage assistant will be astute enough to follow your seemingly idiot-proof instructions. If not, you could end up actually damaging their personal property, which, of course, would end up on you! It's been my experience that despite our best efforts and intentions to choose seemingly capable audience members for on-stage assistance, they are sometimes made nervous my being on stage, or are just not very bright (IE drunk), not paying attention, or are motivated to screw with you, all of which can result in our best laid plans going awry.


Bottom-line, if you like card effects with a mental theme, this is very good value for under $15.

e
vinnymac
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Thank you e for taking the time to go through the book and write such a detailed review. I am glad to hear you enjoyed several of the routines and that you find the book to be a good value.

Indeed, eQueen was very much inspired by Bryn Reynolds' "Seven" because I like and use "Seven" a lot. eQueen is a my favourite alternative in case I want to perform a "Seven" type of routine and someone I have already performed "Seven" for is in the vicinity.

In terms of emotional engagement for Colouric, I take your point. One could add in some colour reading, or discuss how colours relate to our moods, etc. to add some engagement.

Your point on Cuppie Quickie is also well taken. While this has not been an issue for me, indeed it is a risk. I do have a solution that can be used in situations when you are not sure or don't want to take the risk (i.e. when your participant is drunk)... anyone who buys the book and wants to know, please PM me, or join the private discussion group on The Magic Network about the book, and I will post the solution there too.

I am sure Andrew will be very pleased to hear your praise for I.A.T. I will pass the message along to him.

Again, thank you very much e, your time and review really mean a lot to me.

Best,
V.
MagicAtlas
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I have read through Mental Blueprints.

The flavor of the book was familiar; it was a hodgepodge of ingredients, subtly seasoned with ideas that had been expressed before by others but never blended and served up exactly in this way. The influence of numerous masters can be recognized by the discerning reader and the emergence of some new ideas is the result.

To me, the finest offerings were Coloric and Cuppie Quickie - each offering the flexibility and punch that a good performer can shape into a miracle (though I echo Eric's warning about Cuppie Quickie).

The method employed in each of these situations is decidedly simple, allowing the performer to worry about performing, and I just had to smile when I read Cuppie Quickie. It would have fooled me. I would not use any of these effects on their own, but in combination with some other effects, I believe they would create an entertaining routine.

I envision combining these two effects (which utilize cups) with a three phase number based on the Hummer Principle for an excellent routine and a set that flows naturally and allows mind control, mind reading, and predictions - with a dramatic finale (thanks to Cuppie Quickie).

Best,

Atlas
vinnymac
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Quote:
On 2013-03-05 20:46, MagicAtlas wrote:
To me, the finest offerings were Coloric and Cuppie Quickie - each offering the flexibility and punch that a good performer can shape into a miracle (though I echo Eric's warning about Cuppie Quickie).

The method employed in each of these situations is decidedly simple, allowing the performer to worry about performing, and I just had to smile when I read Cuppie Quickie. It would have fooled me.

That is a fine compliment, thank you!

I am glad to hear you enjoyed it. Thank you very much for taking the time to read it and write a detailed review.
As we discussed, I will add your thoughts in the private group on The Magic Network for purchasers of Mental Blueprints, thank you for sharing them.
Best,
V.
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