In magic, especially card magic, there are names of tricks that become not only the name of a specific trick, but the icon for an effect
. Triumph is one such example. It is no longer just the name of a card trick, but the moniker of the effect; such as the Triumph effect. The Collectors is another. There are hundreds of versions, but just the word immediately tells you the effect.
The multiple selection plot has had many names connected to it in print. From Anneman to Wakeman and every name in between, including Racherbaumer, Fechter, Marlo and Ortiz, each version has been labeled with some snappy (and not-so-snappy) title. However, there's never been a single name that transcends the trick
and describes the effect
(or series of effects put together; much like the Ambitious Card); Until now that is.
When I originally reviewed this book for another website, I wrote; I believe that Fusillade
by Paul W. Cummins and Doc Eason will become as much a part of magic's iconography as The Ambitious Card or Cannibal Cards. When future magicians say the word Fusillade, I believe they will be speaking about the multiple selection and discovery of cards. That hasnt happened yet. But I still hold out hope and Im doing my part, in case anyone has paid attention over the years.
While we can thank Jon Racherbaumer for the fitting title (the word is defined as the discharge of a number of firearms, fired simultaneously or in rapid succession), the work itself is a collaborative effort between Messrs. Cummins and Eason. Between them, these two men have several decades of experience performing this effect for lay audiences. When they released this book, they were generously sharing this experience with us in what is not just a good book, but an important
A good book on Fusillade would include one performer's complete routine including the selection/control process and a generous sampling of individual discoveries. Don't forget, of course, to toss in a little theory.
An important book about Fusillade would include the complete (but quite different) routines of more than one performer. It would include complete descriptions of both performers selection/control process; the thinking that is behind them including any problems that may arise. There would be full descriptions of individual discoveries and how they can lead into one another and how they can be used in trouble situations. There would be references to performance conditions and when not to use a particular discovery. The discoveries would be categorized as "initial, "middle" or a "closer" based on the strength of the revelation. There would be valuable performance enhancing insights, gained only through years of performance experience. And it all would be wrapped up with a list of every known source for each move (although all of the moves are thoroughly described in the book) and other routines. Cummins' and Eason's Fusillade
meets each and everyone of these criteria and then some.
After a foreword by Bill Herz and an introduction by Cummins and Eason, the book kicks off with The Cavalcade of Cards by Doc Eason. After a few introductory remarks, he goes into his process for the selection and control of the cards. He uses a variation of Steve Spill's Bogus Multiple Selection from The Spill Bar and Grill
. Eason's version is a deceptive, but relatively easy, control. Not only does he detail the moves, but also the thinking behind it, and bits and pieces that can be added, such as a force of a known card.
In the revelations section of Eason's routine, he goes into detail on audience participation, and how to keep things moving and interesting for the audience. Believe me, this is more important than just finding a card in some nifty manner. He then describes how he goes about revealing 17 selected cards, in order, culminating with his card in hat finale. While some of the revelations are later described in Cummins section, Eason does an excellent job describing the others that are not common with Cummins' routine.
The highlight of Eason's section, and one of the sections that, I feel, place this book in the "important" category, is Doc's section on memory work. Not only does Doc Eason find all of the selected cards, but also he remembers the first name of each selector! This is killer work that will probably be passed over by the vast majority of readers. This is only unfortunate for those who choose to ignore this short, but valuable section. Doc is the first to agree that further memory study is necessary, including the work of Harry Lorayne and others, but this little section goes along way toward motivating the serious student toward more in depth sources.
The second part of the book is dedicated to Paul W. Cummins' Multiple Selection Routine. After his introductory comments, he describes his process for selection and control. Cummins' version is based on the side steal. It would have been a very simple matter to describe it in one paragraph. But instead, Cummins uses a full three and a half pages to detail not just the moves, but the thinking, the whys
of the process. It is this sort of completeness, this attention to detail, that sets this book apart from the mere ordinary.
This attention to detail compliments the revelation section. The discoveries are sorted into three distinct sections: The Initial Discoveries; The Flexible Middle and The Closers. In all there are 26 revelations described.
The Initial Discoveries (three revelations) are just as they sound: they comprise the first, and fixed, part of Cummins' routine. It's during the Flexible Middle (21 revelations) that Cummins' jazz magic approach to this plot comes into play. Some of the revelations in this section are described as doublets and triplets because, due to smart, one ahead thinking during the routine, one revelation leads directly into another. This kind of thinking only comes from experience, and Cummins generously shares it with the readers.
The Closers section (two discoveries) covers two different endings dependent upon the performance situation. Cummins shares his closer for an impromptu performance and for a formal show. Throughout these sections, Cummins also shares valuable performance advice, again, garnered through thousands of performances.
The third section of the book is called Outs, Opportunities and Challenges. This is seven pages of priceless ideas on what to do when things go wrong and
when good luck opens up opportunities for performing miracles. This section is also a collaboration between Eason and Cummins, each giving his thoughts for specific situations. The book closes with complete (as I believe possible) lists of sources and references for the multiple selection plot. A source for every move is given and many other routines (by some of the great names in magic) that can be found in print are listed. Such research is a daunting task for an author, and that's why so very few bother with it. However, when it is included, such appendices separate the good from the great.
Though the book is modest in size, only about 80 pages, Fusillade
is as complete a work on the subject, on any
subject, that has ever been written. Cummins and Eason's writing styles are clear easy to read. In my original review, this book received my vote as the best book of that year (2000). I cannot think of any reason to change my mind. I believe that it belongs in the library of every card magician who even thinks
about performing Fusillade.
PS: Im pretty certain that this book is still in print and available from both authors; and at $20, it remains one of the
best bargains in magic.
Paul Cummins: http://www.fasdiu.com/
Doc Eason: http://www.doceason.com/