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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The November 2005 entrée: Al Schneider » » Please provide a list of books on theory » » TOPIC IS LOCKED (1 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Al Schneider
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Gentle Readers

I am interested in getting a list of books on Magic theory.

Back when I started my quest for theory there were none. I have built up my ideas over the years. Since then I have heard of books emerging on the subject. I am curious what others have to say.

I would appreciate such a list and also a few lines of what the author has to say.

Perhaps others might find this interesting. I think someone did this once on the café. I am not sure where it is. But that list did not contain a quick summary of what the main point of each book was.

Al Schneider
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
ithomson
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Al

This is along post.

Re (in “The Theory and Practice of Magic Deception”):

>> …. I say, do you think that is really necessary?...

Is this meant to be an English accent in email? In any event, I wonder what Ali’s comments would be about your current request? Actually, I can imagine them ….

I can only speak of the books I’ve purchased and those I’ve read, and some of these are given below (though I’m sure I’ve forgotten some). My comments are my own opinions – feel free to disagree.

I’ll be very interested to see other people’s lists and comments.

Ortiz, Darwin: “Strong Magic” – a large book covering structure, presentation, misdirection and the presentation of Close-Up magic. I’ve found a large proportion of this work to be practical and useful.

Weber, Ken: “Maximum Entertainment” – a book on presentation and theatrical techniques. Although it’s often stated that this is mostly aimed at mentalists (because Weber’s one), I find that the advice is applicable to my sort of magic too. The advice can be very practical (from the choice of microphones to wearing glasses on stage).

Tamariz, Juan: “The Five Points Of Magic” – five points on audience management, presentation, and direction of attention. An expensive, but very useful book. Crossing The Gaze is in here, with a pretty application.

The Fitzkee Trilogy: - I can only comment on “Magic By Misdirection”. A general treatise on misdirection. Although this is a classic, I don’t really find it that useful. It’s been a while since I studied it, but most of the theory seems to be presented as examples – a good idea in itself, but only if the examples are relevant and well explained. I’m afraid I found the language a little “quaint” (oh dear, I’ve become English again …).

Nelms, Henning: “Magic and Showmanship” – Another classic. One of the few books that deals with dramatic structure, presentation, increasing suspense, and all that. I found it a fun read, though some of the ideas didn’t seem that practical.

Kurtz, Gary: “Leading With Your Head” – A booklet on presentation and misdirection, concentrating on psychology and dramatic techniques to lead your customers down the entertainment path. Although filled with interesting English constructions and typographical errors, I think this book is invaluable. “Corporal Staging” is worth the price of the book alone, never mind the psychological techniques that Kurtz employs.

Knepper, Kenton: “Indirection” – Another booklet on psychological techniques. And very powerful they are, relying on the customer’s own judgement to mislead them.

Edmundson, Gerald: “The Ostrich Factor” – A book on how to practise and rehearse. This is a very valuable study of how to get the most out of rehearsal, and drifts usefully into how to structure your act, and into misdirection techniques.

Schneider, Al: “The Theory and Practice of Magic Deception” – Now out of print.

Leirpol, Jarle: http://www.leirpoll.com/misdirection/misdirection.htm - not a book, but links to other sites and a few articles on misdirection. “Choreographic Misdirection” is very useful.

Wonder, Tommy: “The Books Of Wonder” – Not theory books as such, but the essays scattered through these two works cover a lot of magic theory. From constructing a dramatic act to misdirection and timing, these articles are worth reading.

Close, Michael “Workers” and others - I think it’s Workers #3 that has a lot of Close’s essays on magic theory. His ideas on “Points Of Conviction” were very useful to me, as well as his theories on practise and learning.

Kaye, Michael: “The Complete Magician” – Again not a book on theory per se, but articles scattered through it. I found the stagecraft essay very handy.

Bailey, Michael: “The Magic Business” – Although mainly a book on marketing and PR for corporate magicians (and as such an excellent work), there are sections on setting the stage, solving problems when performing in a corporate arena, timing and presentation, and so on.


…. And that’s all I can think of for now. Though I’m missing out some of the obvious ones (the essays in Tarbell, “Expert Card Magic”, Burger’s works, and so on).

I hope this is what you had in mind.

Ian
perlimpinpin
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I would add the Slydini and Ramsay books, which have a lot of excellent theory elements as well.
ithomson
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Quote:
On 2005-11-25 06:40, perlimpinpin wrote:
I would add the Slydini and Ramsay books, which have a lot of excellent theory elements as well.


As far as I'm aware, Ramsay didn't write any books on his own. I believe his works to have been written up by Fratelli and Galloway (including the "new" DVDs). And although there are bits on Ramsay's attempts to throw magicians off the track, I think most of the rest of the theory is distilled into his now famous; "If you want them to look at it ..." quote (expanded upon brilliantly by Kurtz). Am I mistaken?

I'm afraid I agree with Ortiz on Ramsay's work. And I imagine I'm about to be shot for saying that ....

Similarly, I thought most of Slydini's theoretical stuff was written up by Ganson? I don't have the annotated version, but I'd love to hear opinions on it.

Cheers

Ian
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Tamariz: 'The Magic Way'. On the theory of false solutions.

Ascanio: 'The Magic of Ascanio: The Structural Conception of Magic'.

Jason Randal: 'The Psychology of Deception (Why Magic Works)'.

Darren Brown: 'Absolute Magic'.

Darren Brown: 'Pure Effect'.

S.H. Sharpe: 'Neo Magic'.

Maskelyne & Devant: 'Our Magic'.
Okami
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John Carney`s The Book of Secrets

A wonderfull book with 25 lessons and theory on presentation, misdirection, timing and management.
Al Schneider
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Ian

' "I say, do you think that is really necessary?.." '

If my memory serves me correctly, that is exactly what he said.
Al Schneider
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
Al Schneider
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To all
Thanks for the list.
I hope people don't stop on this however, I would like to hear more about the content of these items. And, I feel I must acquire all of these eventually to consider myself well read and knowledge of this subject.
Al Schneider
Magic Al. Say it fast and it is magical.
Stuart Hooper
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Always a good idea to read before writing, indeed Smile.
Patrick Differ
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Hi, Al

I'll throw one more onto the list. Maybe you've already read it...

Close Up Illusions by Gary Ouellet.
Although it contains more than 90 effects, it isn't just a book of effects. He threw in close-up hints, comments, and wonderfull expositories on performance and theory, opinions on technique and approach, recommendations for beginners and advanced alike, and a wonderfully scathing criticism of those that believe that lapping should be purged from close-up magic because it is so limiting.(page 33) I still chuckle when I read it.

He credited you with a remarkable bit of advice on one way how to eliminate the "challenge" factor of magic. Right there on page 227, about half-way down: "Don't look at your spectator at the precise moment of fooling him." Bloody brilliant, if you ask me. I also read this in Tommy Wonder's Books of Wonder. Great minds thinking alike.
Will you walk into my parlour? said the Spider to the Fly,
Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to show when you are there.

Oh no, no, said the little Fly, to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair
-can ne'er come down again.
saxmangeoff
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I'll add Principles of Magic by Richard Osterlind. Great book with a lot of thought-provoking material on the presentation of magic.

Geoff
"You must practice your material until it becomes boring, then practice it until it becomes beautiful." -- Bill Palmer
Chris "linkster" Watson
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Arthur Buckley - Principles and Deceptions - An overview of the techniques employed through out magic.
perlimpinpin
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Ian,

Here is the list of Slydini sources I have :

Books
- Two series of books by Ganson
- Slydini Encores (Supreme)
- Annotated Magic of Slydini (LL Pub)
- Stars of Magic book
- Coin Magic includes several descriptions of Slydini sleights
- Apocalypse also includes several such descriptions

Video
- Tony Clark products (Timing is everything and PBOTH)
- Magic you can perform anywhere (Cellini/Tedb)
- "As I recall", new DVD that just came out, produced by Tedb, including participation by several Slydini students (Cellini included)

I am sure there are other sources as well, please anyone do mention them.

Patrick I agree with you the Ouellet book is absolutely great. I refer back to it all the time. I love the crossover lapping move that he describes. It works every time all the time. In his other work he includes several variations on this move by the way.

Best regards,
Daniel
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