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Life, Death, and Other Card Tricks Review

June 7th, 2004 2:04pm
Reviewed by KimSilverman
I agree with everything in Sergeant's review. I want to focus on one specific routine: "Thirteen at Table". This book was recommended to me because I like to tell stories with my magic, and want to do more of this rather than performing tricks in the style of "hey, look at what I can do!".

I read most of the book: there is so much material to digest that I decided to stop reading and start working. I chose the "Thirteen at Table" routine because the story has some depth and drama. Eugene Burger has published good further thoughts on the routine. [Editor's note: See this link for Mr. Burger's thoughts.]

But I am finding the basic move difficult. It requires a Hammon count with a larger stack than Brother Hamman used to use, and it has taken me some months to get it to a stage where I can perform it confidently. Even so, I still rely largely on some misdirection during the move, rather than being confident that I can be burned while doing it.

Not all of the stories in this book resonate with me, but more than enough do. Most of the other pieces from his book that are on my learning list will be easier than "Thirteen at Table" because either the slieghts are simpler or because I already know them.

I am very glad I invested in this book. I purchase few books, but this was worth it.
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Product info for Life, Death, and Other Card Tricks

Author: Neale, Robert E.
Publisher: Hermetic Press
Average Rating:  (2)
Retail Price: $37.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

Over 60 new presentations with normal playing cards. In Robert E Neale's world, playing cards appear, vanish, turn over, multiply, change and identify themselves to the magician, all in very mysterious ways. But if that were all they did, this book would be little different from hundreds of others on card tricks. What is unique in Robert E Neale's world is that, while the cards do all these things, they also tell stories, arouse emotions, explore the mysteries of life and death, and leave their viewers feeling just a bit altered by the experience. These are card tricks that entertain in ways that are rare and fascinating. In Robert E. Neale's world, Twisting the Aces isn't just a demonstration of cards turning magically face up. It's a humorous contest between Samurai warriors and flies. When cards are eliminated and chosen, the result isn't just a successful prediction. It's a game of life and death. When the cards of a poker hand multiply, vanish and change, they do so not in a magician's hands, but in those of W C. Fields. When a card vanishes and reappears, it isn't just a display of skill - it's a quick trip between dream and reality. And when a spectator's selection disappears from the deck, he isn't just surprised, he's made immortal. Hardcover, 164 illustrations, 414 pages.

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