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Topic: Award winning magic book of John Cornelius
Message: Posted by: Pavlo (Sep 14, 2002 04:13PM)
Hi there.
Can somebodu tip me about the content of the book? Is it worth getting? What kind of routines are there? Thanks a lot.
Message: Posted by: Lance Pierce (Sep 14, 2002 04:58PM)

The writing of the book was actually completed about five years ago; it's finally seeing the light of day. You can find a list of the contents here:


As to whether it's worth getting or not, that's hard to say, because I don't know whether it would be worth it to YOU to get or not. If you're interested in the kind of magic that John Cornelius has been known for, then this book is DEFINITELY worth getting, because it contains a prime selection of his routines that he devised over a lifetime, and John is very clever.

I expect that over the next couple of weeks, as the book sells and people have a chance to read it, you'll see more and more comments posted on various forums that will further help you make your decision. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing what people have to say about it myself.


Message: Posted by: Pavlo (Sep 14, 2002 05:00PM)
Thanks a lot. I'll have an eye on the posts.
Message: Posted by: Lance Pierce (Sep 20, 2002 10:57PM)

I've received my copy of the book, if you're still interested. I'm a little too close to the situation to comment on the writing or anything like that, but I can mention that John Cornelius has been highly regarded as one of the most creative minds in magic for many years. We're talking about a man who has won the world prize at F.I.S.M. and is (as the back cover of the dustjacket points out) the only American to win the World Championship in Magic in TWO different categories. He's also the only person to win the IBM Creativity Award three times.

The book showcases John's most famous routines, including the Fickle Nickle and the very famous F.I.S.M. Act, in which he performs every card trick ever invented in ten minutes. I once saw him perform this act in Dallas, Texas, and it was breathtaking just from the sheer immensity of the task that he handled so easily.

He's got a lot of great effects and principles in the book, both small close-up tricks and large platform presentations. Much of it is quite devilish in how clever -- yet simple -- it is to perform.

I thought the layout and composition of the book (courtesy of Andrew Pinard and company) were pretty good. They arranged things in such a way that made the book easy and pleasant to read and study from.

I don't know what kind of magic you're interested in, so I can't say that this book is absolutely for you. However, if you're interested in some pretty clean routines and ideas from a man who consistently makes you ask, "How in the world did he think of THAT?" then perhaps you'll enjoy this book very much.

Hope this helps a little better (since I was of absolutely NO help last time),

Message: Posted by: ASW (Nov 4, 2002 11:34PM)
What's this? I look for a review of the Cornelius book only to find that Lance has come out of the closet!

George "rhymes with Wimhurst" Devol
Message: Posted by: Jeff S. (Nov 5, 2002 03:08AM)
I have two of his videos and can say his magic is very creative. He comes up with a lot of very unique gimmicks and principles that make many effects pretty simple to accomplish yet will leave people guessing. I like his cigarette magic the most. I never had any intention on doing magic with cigarettes until I saw John perform some of his routines. It looks like there is a lot of material in the book. I believe it would be worth getting.
Message: Posted by: Scott F. Guinn (Nov 5, 2002 04:53AM)
IMO, this book is a must-have. Lance has done a wonderful job of writing the material--clear, concise, with just enough details without making the reader feel swamped. The material itself is VERY strong--although the tricks are the least important part of the book. You get a glimpse into the mind of one of magic's best thinkers--how he comes up with stuff, why he routines it as he does, etc. A post-graduate course in routining and construction for maximum impact! Absolutely required reading for the serious student of magic.
Message: Posted by: Lance Pierce (Nov 5, 2002 07:31AM)
Wow, thanks Scott! Very kind words from a very thoughtful man. I'm glad you liked the book!

And "George" (who occasionally puts one toe over the closet threshold but then quickly shuts the door again), we all know that there's nothing in your name that rhymes with "Wimhurst." If fact, I can't think of [i]anything[/i] that rhymes with "Wimhurst."

When are you outing yourself? ;)

Message: Posted by: stevenamills (Nov 5, 2002 12:24PM)
I must agree with the previous posts about the quality of writing and the analysis of John's routining and thought processes.

I've been wondering why there hasn't been more of a buzz since it was released. My speculation is that most of us tend to view the tricks as things only John can do (or get away with).

It seems that books on theory, presentation etc. just don't create the excitement books of "tricks" do. Case in point - Jamy Swiss' new book - I've hardly heard it mentioned.

Just some thoughts.

Message: Posted by: Lance Pierce (Nov 5, 2002 02:05PM)
Well, it's probably a confluence of several reasons and not just one…the book took a while to actually get produced and on the shelves, Mr. Cornelius isn't as actively "on the front line" as he used to be, several other books came out at almost exactly the same time (most notably, [i]The Paper Engine,[/i] which received its quite-justified share of acclaim), the market moving away from books in general and toward DVD's, and the glut of products that usually hit the market around September and onward in hopes of taking advantage of Christmas sales. Then there's also the fact that for those who get around quite a bit, some of the material in John's book has been around for a while.

However, he put some excellent magic in there. Jawbreakers, for instance, which is the routine with the balls in the box, is excellent, and Frank Price does an absolutely wonderful job with it over and over again at the Magic Island Restaurant in Houston (with different-colored balls, no less). I also think his routine "My Lady's Ring," which is a huge bluff to achieve a transposition of two borrowed rings, is clever as all get out.

Message: Posted by: Seth (Nov 5, 2002 02:14PM)
Lance...that bit with a shiner in the book is as sweet as it gets... :righton:
Message: Posted by: Lance Pierce (Nov 5, 2002 02:20PM)
Those MoonShine Locations are some of the best around. If I remember right, that's the one that he also combines with the idea of turning his head away and closing his eyes so he can't possibly see the card, right? (You'll have to forgive me if I don't remember correctly; it's been a while since I've [i]read[/i] the book. :) )


Message: Posted by: ASW (Nov 5, 2002 03:52PM)
I'm ordering the Cornelius book. Although I have some of his material on tapes and in old mags - it's always better to get the book...

...besides I'm an unrepentant bibliophile.

Someone mentioned that theory books don't sell as well as trick books. This isn't true. Eugene Burger's and Mike Close's books have sold well and although there are tricks in the books - they are known for their theory. Ortiz's Strong Magic has sold out on every print run (and would have sold out on many more if Kaufman had been in a position to actually print them).

Having said that, I think the disinterest in Swiss's book has a lot to do with his reputation as a curmudgeon. As an example, here's a direct quote from Charlie Ellis' catalog that went out last week:


I Hate to be Shattering Your Illusions, But...

A number of you have written asking when and how much for the new book by Jamy Ian Swiss, Shattering Illusions.

You should know that Jamy hates you.

He despises amateurs, hobbyists and part-timers and and seems to feel that you should all quit magic and leave it to pros like him.

I won't go so far as some have who say he is a little #### who grew up to be a big ####, nor can I attest that, as some contend, he is one of the biggest ******** in magic.

Rather, let me just have my own little protest that I won't be handling that book.

[end quote]

Not sure how long that will last with the moderators, but it is a direct quote from Charlie's flier, and he is one of the biggest internet dealers operating today, so I just thought it was interesting.

Mind you, I'll pick up a copy because I'm a book nut, and I enjoy reading Swiss's venomous reviews. Besides if every critic was 'nice' it'd be a boring world.

Message: Posted by: Jeffrey Cowan (Jun 5, 2003 07:31PM)
The Cornelius book has some extraordinary magic in it. Some will take effort to learn (or acquire the props), but then you'll be the only person other than Mr. Cornelius to be doing it. I myself am surprised that this puppy didn't get more buzz. Ah well, more evidence that the "buried in print" rule continues to flourish in the world of magic.. . .
Message: Posted by: martyk (Jun 5, 2003 08:29PM)
Talk about "low profile" Thises postings are the FIRST I hve ever heard of the book. More credit to the value of the FORUM. Wher can I purchase it?
Message: Posted by: jhostler (Jun 6, 2003 05:14AM)
On 2003-06-05 21:29, martyk wrote:

Talk about "low profile" Thises postings are the FIRST I hve ever heard of the book. More credit to the value of the FORUM. Wher can I purchase it?

Denny & Lee has it for $45 PP.
Message: Posted by: Jeffrey Cowan (Jun 6, 2003 05:55PM)
I'm fairly certain that H&R magic books also has it.