Random Walk (by Tom Stone) - - A Review - -

Talk about what is being written in other magic publications.

Postby Evan Shuster » 01/09/08 11:41 PM

Random Walk
by Tom Stone
2007 - 20 pages

Tom Stone has graced his fans with an exceptionally prolific year, offering eight beautifully designed e-books filled with some of the most creative and varied material to be released to the magic community in quite some time. These works offer us access to the notebooks of a creative genius who, I believe, will one day command a legacy and legend equal to that of the incomparable Tommy Wonder.

Random Walk comes at the end of a relatively long line of concurrent releases, but the caliber of material that it contains shows that Mr. Stone is far from running out of fresh ideas. Even the smaller, single-paragraph bits and pieces offered in-between the more fully fleshed out items are of greater value than many of the one-item releases that are gradually taking a sickening foothold on the current magic market.

This book focuses on card magic, with multiple digressions into performance theory and thoughts regarding the processes of creativity. It is absolutely not for the beginner and, in addition to assuming an intermediate skill level, the reader should be well read, or at least have access to a fairly substantial library. In some cases the necessary sleights are briefly outlined, and in other cases they are merely referenced.

Here are a few notes on the contents:

Momentum Color Change:
This is a beautiful and virtually effortless change. After describing Tim Stars original method, Tom offers his preferred method; an adaptation which, though subtle, greatly enhances the visual impact of the change. This is the nature of Tom Stones magic. It is the subtleties and small details, the things that others might casually and carelessly overlook, that enhance the magic and elevate it to a level of performance beyond mere tricks.

Voice of the Public:
This is a gag, not a trick, and its a great one (especially for the card worker, who will immediately relate to it). I actually found the necessary items (mini laser pointers) locally for just $5.00 each. Im not sure if I can actually construct the gaff but I laughed out loud at the idea, so its probably worth trying.

Maven Daryl Combo:
Okay to begin with, if you are unfamiliar with Daryls Elevator Repair (from Paul Harriss Close-Up Fantasies II) and Max Mavens Brimstone Elevator (from Prism) then this item will be lost on you. I really like this one. Toms combination of the two routines requires only half of the Daryl set-up and, like the original Maven piece, makes this more of a packet trick. This would make a great finale phase for an ACR.

A Prediction Ajar:
Certainly not a prediction, but an absolutely terrific use for Tommy Wonders Wondereverse (be aware, however, that the sleight is not explained here so, one more reason to buy the Books of Wonder [as if you needed another reason]). This is a piece geared specifically toward an audience of 7+ people, and touts the advantages of a group dynamic to further the impact of performance. This trick is a true sleeper, and should not be overlooked.

White Lies (bits & pieces):
A very clever idea combining the one ahead principle with Ashes on Arm. This reads like the bizarrists Invisible Deck. Although it is identified by the author as an unfinished piece there is enough direction provided to turn this into a standout performance piece.

While any of the items offered throughout the book are, alone, invaluable, this is one of two items that are worth so much more than the price of the entire collection. The tricks handling was passed around between Tom, Erik Jansson and Peter Rosegren, resulting in a wonderfully well finished routine. There are so many exceptional details and subtleties (including a remarkably clever idea for constructing a home-made close-up table perfectly suited for walk-around, and a wonderfully rich series of 35 accompanying illustrations. Toms thoughts regarding Dramatic Structure are positively eye-opening. The reader would benefit greatly from having some knowledge of a variety of less than common sleights (i.e. Hollingsworths GWR Alignment Move, The Downs Change, Germains Flash Card Change, and Dave Rumfelds Fake Extraction), but basic explanations of each are generously provided.

Snap Snap:
An instant, visual, card vanish (or color change). Tom states that. I see no applications for it myself and I dont consider it a useful move. Though it feels nice in the hands when watching TV. This item is followed by a very clever triumph idea (Snappy Triumph), dependant upon the Snap Snap move. Toms humility throughout the book borders on self-deprecation. Is it actually possible that he does not recognize his own genius?

Snappy Triumph (see Snap Snap, above)

The Forbidden Palm:
Here is the second piece that I think stands out, and is worth far more than the price of the book. It is, in fact, my favorite item in the book. Tom states that the routine was developed in order to illustrate his points in a conversation regarding the Invisible Palm. Again, we benefit from reading Toms thoughts on the essential aspects of performance as a means to enhance the magic. This is an exceptionally detailed routine which I wont even begin to explain, other than to say that it is an excellent example of the material that leads me to the conclusion that Tom Stone is a creative genius.

Each and every new Tom Stone e-book release leaves me wanting more. I continue to hope for the release of the rumored, and much anticipated, book from Hermetic Press, but I am happily content, for now, with the recent parade of e-books, acting as appetizers while I patiently await the main course.

I offer my thanks
Evan Shuster
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Postby Guest » 01/10/08 05:04 PM

I to am a great Tom Stone fan. But I cant help wondering how much of the recent e-book material is in the Hermetic press book.

Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/10/08 06:33 PM

There is no Hermetic Press book yet, I don't think. Tom and Stephen Minch have a deal, but the book is not near finished.

Part of the way in which Tom is making his living is by selling ebooks directly--when you buy them, you are directly helping to support his creativity. There's no middle man. You buy an eBook, Tom pays his rent. That's something to consider.
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Postby Guest » 01/10/08 10:10 PM

I knows all that Richard! I was just wondrin iffin the Minch book was gonna be new shtuff or the collected ebooks. I will buy it either way. I already have most of Toms ebooks anyway. Ebooks bother me. I have always been an habitual book giver and buyer. With ebooks, there aint no second hand is all. One of my favorite things to do is find an old book that I have hungered after for a long time in a used bookstore. There are no used ebook stores. But as far as Tom goes, I don't mind buying his... Like I said, the whole ebook thing ... It just bothers me.

Postby Richard Kaufman » 01/10/08 10:22 PM

We're in a transitional period when the acceptance of eBooks is still far from universal. That will pass.
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Postby Guest » 01/11/08 01:00 AM

I continue to buy hard-cover books at the rate of about 4-5 weekly, but I also buy and (ahem) produce e-books. My foray into e-books is experimental and driven to solve cost factors, passing them onto content-conscious consumers for a fraction of the standard costs. I also bought into Amazon's KINDLE, which I use and it too offsets or defrays my excessive consumerism. KINDLE is also great for travel and, alas, it may be one of the waves of the future.

Speculating about how the future will be is fun, but technology not only has accelerated everything, our immersion in this dynamically changing world effects and affects us in ways we have yet to FULLY understand.

Onward...into this matrix...

Postby Tom Stone » 01/11/08 01:02 AM

Originally posted by Doomo:
I to am a great Tom Stone fan. But I cant help wondering how much of the recent e-book material is in the Hermetic press book.
Very little from the last seven ebooks will be in the Minch book. Slightly more from the older ones. As well as material not published elsewhere.
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