Jlepet to SMext fund

This could go on for ever. Because of the lack of remuneration for the job, the magic book reviewer cannot be a full-time expert at the job. Because of the small world in which magicians revolve, the author and publisher of most books are known personally to the reviewer. If, then, the latter is a friend of either of the former, and wishes to remain so, he can hardly " slam " the book reviewed. Hence the vague platitudes, Which should be, to the seasoned book-buyer, a danger signal. If, on the other hand, the reviewer has some quarrel with the author or publisher, he feels, in most cases, that fair play demands that he s>hali not allow this to bias his opinion of the value of the book. He therefore falls back again on the vague platitudes. So you got them anyway!

I doubt if this is necessarily a bad thing. The only way to get really unbiassed reviews is to find a reviewer who has nothing whatever to do with magic or magicians and Who cares, in consequence, nothing for their feelings. But such a man would be totally unqualified to pass judgment on a magic book, so his opinions would be worth less than those of the men who do the job now. Of Bob Lund's criticism of these poor fellows, conscientiously trying to fall between two stools in a neat fashion, I can say only that he misjudges most. The majority have certainly not less than a quarter of a century of experience of magic behind them, and you do learn something in that time—even if it's only that a book critic's job is pretty thankless.

Perhaps I may put a period to this discussion by congratulating the " Pentagram " on having secured the attention of Robert Lund, who is—a rarity amongst magical writers—a professional journalist and a delightful companion, as I discovered in Detroit earlier this year. His weakness is a disconcerting habit of quoting Chinese maxims which may be taken two ways . . .

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