A Clockwork Apple (Book) by Chris Mayhew $25.00 (Postage paid)
8.5 x 5.5, soft-bound, stapled, 50 pages, 58 photos
Paypal orders to firstname.lastname@example.org
When Mr. Mayhew contacted me about reviewing his book, I was intrigued by the title because A Clockwork Orange is my favorite book and movie of all time. I dont know why he chose that title, given that his work bears no resemblance to the dystopian world created by Anthony Burgess and brought to the big screen by Stanley Kubrick. I guess hes a fan too. Real horrorshow, droog.
A Clockwork Apple is Mr. Mayhews first, self-published book. He gets my highest commendation for choosing to write a book, instead of taking the cheaper, quicker, cheesier route of adding yet another damned DVD to the deluge. Thank you, Chris.
There are several typos in the book and some improper phrasing, but these errors dont compromise the readers understanding of the explanations, which are well written. Mr. Mayhew does a fine job of providing attribution to those whose work inspired him. The photos are clear and nicely complement the writing.
The requisite sleights require an intermediate level of skill.
I dont know Mr. Mayhew, so I was eager to learn something about him. Mr. Mayhews writing style suggests that he is a young man with a sense of humor befitting his age. His whimsy doesnt appear in his sparse presentational patter. Instead, it occasionally surfaces while he is teaching us the methods. Some may find this practice irritating. I found these intrusions to be mildly amusing.
From his introductory remarks, we learn that he is a fan of Super Nintendo gaming and Coca-Cola. He emphasizes his passion for gaming by using the entire last page of the book to list his collection of Super Nintendo games. The author also reveals that he is Canadian.
Here are Mr. Mayhews offerings.
The Schwartz - This is a card force based upon Gary Ouellets Touch Force, and Stewart Judahs A Card Force. The author acknowledges that his handling is quite similar to Judahs. Mr. Mayhews contribution is in the application. While Mr. Judahs handling was used as a card stab to force a card, Chris eliminates the card stab and makes it a straightforward card force. There is nothing Earth-shattering here. I feel indifferent about it.
Lazy Rise - While outjogged, a selected card rises incrementally from near the bottom of the deck to the top. This is Mr. Mayhews take on Ray Kosbys Raise Rise. The effect is terrific and the handling is not nearly as formidable as Kosbys. The principle move is similar to Jason Alfords Angled After-Burner. The move can also be used as a one-handed card switch or a color change. This is a very cool trick. It will take a bit of work to make it look beautiful, but its worth it.
Cardsexchange - This move is similar to Ernest Earicks Proteus, Bill Goodwins Ambitious Sandwich, Josh Jays Swing Force and Aaron Fishers Illusion Control. Whereas those gentlemen used their similar moves as a force or a control, Mr. Mayhews handling is used as a color change of a card outjogged from the center of the deck. I like it.
Dairy Queens - What ostensibly begins as a Queen assembly abruptly shifts gears as the Queens vanish and are found inside the card case. Four common gaffed cards are required. I dont like this effect because I believe that the handling telegraphs the use of gaffed cards, and because the effect is Too Perfect.
Face Down Syndrome - This effect was inspired by Hofzinsers Ace Problem. A card is selected and held by the participant. The performer removes the Queens in hopes of using them to identify the selection. A Twisting the Queens segment ensues, culminating with one face-down card whose suit matches that of the selection. The face-down card is revealed to be the selection, and the card held by the participant turns out to be the Queen.
Mr. Mayhew suggests preceding the effect by magically producing each Queen individually. This is a good idea, as it adds another layer of magic to the proceedings. While the effect is just fine, there are numerous other versions out there that are just as good, and some are better. So, I feel indifferent about the trick.
Royale Without the Cheese - This is a gaff-free version of Luke Dancys Royale with Cheese. The effect consists of a sandwich effect, followed by a two-for-one transposition climax. I like this effect.
Making the Hole Gimmick - Mr. Mayhew teaches how to make the gimmicked cards for the next two effects.
Tainted POD - This effect was inspired by the Krenzel/Dingle/Kaufman trick, Holy POD. The performer displays two Jokers with a hole in their centers. A participant selects two cards. One card is placed between the Jokers, and the second card is reversed in the center of the deck. The selection vanishes from between the Jokers and is found reversed in the deck. Suddenly, a card appears between the Jokers. Its the participants second selection that was reversed in the deck at the beginning.
To reveal the second selection, you must bring the cards in contact with the deck and execute the Bilis Switch, while the crowd is burning your hands. I dont like this potentially suspicious moment, and thus I dont like the trick.
Whole Warp - This trick is based upon Roy Waltons Card Warp, but it does not employ folded cards. The performer asks the participant to name any card. The participant names, say, the Five of Hearts. The performer disregards the participants named card and states that he will use the Ten of Spades.
The face-down Ten of Spades is inserted between two Jokers. As it is pushed through them, it turns face-up. The face-up Ten is pushed through the Jokers and it turns face-down. The face-up Ten is pushed through the Jokers one last time, whereupon it visually changes into the participants selected Five of Hearts. I really like this trick.
So there you have A Clockwork Apple. While its not chock full of ground-breaking magic, I do like four of the eight tricks. Thats more than I can say about most of the material that is currently littering the magical landscape. I liked the booklet and I look forward to Mr. Mayhews future offerings.
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Thanks for the Review Tom, I appreciate your honesty and your input. This booklet was something I put together in a short notice for my first lecture, a friend of mine suggested that I start selling them to people who might be interested, but the booklet is still not up to the standards that I would like it to be. So I am now currently working with a friend, and getting them remade, and redesigned to look much more professional and worthy of your interest. Once they are done I will let you know, and anyone who has purchased the original booklet from me already I will send you a new one free of charge (excluding the shipping cost). Cheers!