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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » Book Club: 'Carter Beats the Devil.' (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Caleb Strange
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Now would probably be a good time to start our discussions. I'm pushed for time, so I'll make only one comment, for now, about this book.

When I 'chose' this book, I hadn't read it, so it didn't feel like my choice (I was just being uncharacteristically pro-active and trying to get things moving). However, having read the book (in one sitting) I am more than happy for it to count as my choice Smile.

Regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
Beetroot
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One sitting!!!!!

I only get to read a few pages a night! I was just over a hundred pages in when we started. I'm only half way through now. I've just worked a 13 hour day so it shows the problem I'm having keeping up.

Let the discussions begin (while I frantically try to catch up - and I think I've got another long day at work tomorrow). Smile
Caleb Strange
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SIGH!!!

Looks like I'm going to have to start this one after all Smile.

This might take a day or two, as I'm metaphorically snowed under at the moment. If anyone one wants to chip in while I'm shovelling, please feel free.

Regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
Chrystal
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Hi Caleb,

Just wanted you to know I hadn't forgotten about our "Book Club". Due to time restraints as well, I've been unable to get hold of the book..Grumble, grumble.

Both stores that I checked so far were out of stock and I even asked friends if they happen to have it in their libraries. No luck so far!

I too can read a book in one sitting (on a rare day off) so hopefully I can join in the discussion.

PS ..Would have offered to start..while you are busy but alas no book yet. Smile
I know there were plenty that said they would read it so perhaps someone can help out?
GlenD
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Alright, I read it and I guess I get to go first.
It was great and I had no idea what to expect. I admit I am weak on magic and magician history so I have no idea just how much of the story and the character are totally fictitious. But regardless of my ignorance, the book was a very enjoyable read. The Carter character was really cool and I was wondering just how well anybody will be able to portray him on the big screen (assuming they make a movie out of it).
I will also admit to not being sure exactly what DID happen the night of Harding's appearance on Carter's stage. I just didn't get it and felt a little disappointment at that. Maybe I am dense and missed something there.
So, all of you's guys got to finish the book, so you can offer some feedback here.
Did anyone else read it yet ???
Smile

GlenD
"A miracle is something that seems impossible but happens anyway" - Griffin

"Any future where you succeed, is one where you tell the truth." - Griffin (Griffin rocks!)
Ellen Kotzin
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I'm in guys--working my way through it....
I'll be contributing very soon.

Ellen
Payne
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I gave up on this turkey half-way through. I found the authors interpretation of many of the characters too unbelieveable to waste my time by finishing this book.

The conflict between the thinly veiled Lafyette (Mysterioso) and Houdini was completely perposterous as in real life they were friends. Lafyette cherished his dog so because it had been a gift from Houdini.

The last straw though came when Houdini offered to help the career of the up and coming Carter. This uncharacteristic kindness made me remember the Harry Blackstone Sr. quote: when asked who Houdini's favorite magicians were Blackstone replied "Dead Ones".

Houdini abhored his competitors and it is extremely unlikely that he would have gone out of his way to help an up and coming one out. That's where I stopped reading.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Beetroot
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I didn't want to comment until I had finished reading it but (and feel free to berate me as you wish)...

One of the problems I'm having with the book is the line between fact and fiction. Perhaps I shouldn't care but because (I believe) no indication is given to the difference between the two. I wonder what the point of writing the book is.

For example, I lead a pretty average but content life. If someone wrote about me, they could embelish the story and make it interesting and (should miracles happen) exciting! But then, why bother to base it on me?

I'm really not clear who the audience is supposed to be for this book. Non-magician's probably won't know who Carter is so, again, why go to the effort of basing it somewhere around fact?

Anyway, I'll try to judge the book on its merits as a work of fiction. My current feeling is that it is a vaguely interesting stroll through a story but given I'm only half way through I don't feel especially compelled to turn the next page. Shame, given the very positive comments quoted on the sleeve.

I haven't given up yet.
GlenD
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I hear what you guys are saying. As for me it wasn't that much of a problem. I just enjoyed the story for what it was as a work of fiction.

Maybe me not knowing very much about the history aspect, allowed me to enjoy it as a very entertaining romp through a world of magic and illusion in a nearly 100 year old era.

GlenD
"A miracle is something that seems impossible but happens anyway" - Griffin

"Any future where you succeed, is one where you tell the truth." - Griffin (Griffin rocks!)
Jonathan Townsend
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I'm about on page 310 and have gotten the feeling the book was written from index cards that had been selected, signed, shuffled, switched and some lost.

I did okay on the Houdin business card bit, and just a few of the ellipses. Anyone else getting them?

I'll have some comment on the work after the weekend.
...to all the coins I've dropped here
Caleb Strange
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I enjoyed this book. One or two things rankled me about it, but, generally, I felt it was pretty good. It is rare for me (these days) to read a book in one sitting (it was a 'midnight oil' job in case anybody has a picture of me on a chaise longue, eating grapes, a man of obscene leisure Smile) so it certainly must have held my attention.

Some characters seemed to be little more than sketches (e.g. Houdini, and, more seriously, Mysterioso), and one or two scenes seemed overly contrived. But that aside, I thought the writing was generally pretty good. I particularly enjoyed the early part of the snowbound scene, when Carter discovers magic.

Payne and Beetroot draw out an interesting point from the book - namely, to what extent can artists reasonably manipulate actual events for artistic (and other) purposes?

I'll give you an example, an idea that crossed my bizarrist's mind recently. In another thread, people have been discussing the sad details of Theo Annemann's suicide, and I found myself wondering what other stories could one tell to explain this tragic event besides 'Poor Ted was depressed'? Lots of conspiracy theories suggested themselves to me (all of them, no doubt, fictitious). But several had the potential for being intriguing and interesting stories.

Yet out of respect to the man (and also to manic-depressives - it's a terrible disease), I decided not to develop these ideas further.

However, my belief is that actuality and reality are sometimes very different things. And on occasion I have told stories that were purportedly 'true', which had only a nodding acquaintance with historical veracity. I'm sure I'm not the only bizarrist who's done this Smile. But where do YOU draw the line?

Regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
Jonathan Townsend
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I've never seen an Asrah form that could catch people like a spider web or bounce them like a trampoline.

Just finished the book, and the end notes and the thank-you notes where the author wrote in his own tone.

Filo Farnsworth T-Shirts anyone?

A winter's day ends in NY with a foot of snow on the driveway.

So any thoughs on using the new 3d laptop? Smile
...to all the coins I've dropped here
marko
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Haven't read this book, but unless it is intended as a biography (and even biographies are rarely all true) I don't see how anyone could criticize it (or any book) based on it's factuality, as Payne did. The only question can be: Was it well-written or not?
Thought: Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
Payne
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Quote:
On 2003-12-07 00:53, marko wrote:
Haven't read this book, but unless it is intended as a biography (and even biographies are rarely all true) I don't see how anyone could critize it (or any book) based on it's factuality, as Payne did. The only question can be: Was it well-written or not?


Then in that case the book for me was poorly written as the author failed to suspend my disbelief enough to accept what his (well really not his as they were suppose to be
real people) characters were doing.
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Jonathan Townsend
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I got the feeling of old EC comics lurid violence that just barely stayed away from the eyes.

Any thoughts on HOW the author presented the content?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
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