By Whit Haydn

"This detail, I believe, makes the trick appear more impossible (the main goal of our art),"

Juan Tamariz, Mnemonica

"If the magic isn't baffling, it isn't magic."

T.A. Waters

Designing Miracles. That is what wc try to do whenever we create, adapt, or fix a magic effect. Just as there are certain artistic principles that underlie the arts of music or painting, there are elements of design that apply to magic as well. Knowing these principles, and understanding them, is what enables us to improve our art.

Here we have an outstanding new book by one of the modern day-mas-cers of card magic, Darwin Ortiz.

Darwin's breadth of knowledge and vast performing experience make any work of his important, but this book focuses on the theory of magic as it applies to the construction of a magic effect, something that is essential to both creating and improving our magic.

Where Darwin's previous work on theory, Strong Magic dealt with the principles of performance that help create memorable and exciting magic, this book deals with the principles of design that go into the construction of a magic effect—what are the basic principles that make magic seem impossible and unassailable from the spectator's point of view. Books like these are even more rare and important today than ever before.

Young magicians today, for the most part, absorb their knowledge of magic from DVDs and other video sources such as the Internet, rather than from books and manuscripts. The availability of great magic performances on video, and the teaching of magic by video, presents a lot of advantages. It allows a tremendous and unprecedented access to the best magicians and their work, a kind of access that in prior times was only available to a handful of the most dedicated. But, with this new mode of learning, often the more abstract concepts and theoretical underpinnings of magic are neglected.

In the great old books of magic, there are usually several chapters devoted to performance, acting, misdirection, and theory—things that are often neglected in video. The great books on magic theory by Maskelyne and Devant, Fitzkee, Sharpe, Nelms, Wonder, Ascanio, Tamariz and others are not easily translatable into sound bites for video. Such topics can be rather dry for video, and they really require the sort of thought and attention that best comes from the process of reading and thinking; and yet, without studying these things no magical education can be complete.

an event. How close in time was the actual cause to the perceived ff How much contaccwith the actual cause did the perceived effect h- ^

These tools of common sense can be frustrated by seeking ouc v^-' methods for preventing the spectator from making causal connectio^'01"5 tween what he sees the magician actually do and the effect of the Hlu^'" The tools for this include creating both spatial and temporal displace between the actual cause and the perceived effect, as well as co CCments and framing techniques. " Ua'

This book is an ingeniously new way to look at old problems Tk principles are sound and useful, and very exciting. Darwin lays out way of looking at how the mind is fooled, and gives the tools and met^T for both analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of an effect, as well a f ^

improving and "fixing" those effects that need it, as well ferent approaches to the same problem.

as to evaluate dif-

I have found this book to be both exciting and helpful. I know that v will look at magic effects differently after you have finished, and will fi d your thinking about magic stimulated and challenged.

-Whit Haydn

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