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Topic: ASYMPTOTES. New book coming soon from Ben Blau
Message: Posted by: wilko7 (Mar 15, 2016 05:21PM)
Hello all. The creative, brilliant Ben Blau has a new book due out soon. For those unfamiliar with Bens work he bought us HOTOAC and polygraph via the Ben Blau project DVD in 2014 and is now back with this new release in the format of a written physical book.
The book, titled ASYMPTOTES - sound thinking on mentalism with playing cards is right at the top of my list of books to buy and I'm really excited to see Bens work within.
I am a big admirer of Bens work. His thinking is very through and if the descriptions in the book are as thoughtful as they were in the previous DVD I am sure it will make a great read.
I have been fortunate enough to have seen Ben perform 2 effects from the book and I was really impressed with them both. If you liked HOTOAC or polygraph, expect more of the same great thinking.
I'm not sure exactly when it will be ready for release but I think we are in for a treat.
For those unfamiliar with his work, search HOTOAC or polygraph to see a sample of what Ben is all about. Great thinking, clever layering and hard hitting Mentalism with cards.
Keep your eyes peeled for the release date.
Message: Posted by: RSchlutz (Mar 15, 2016 07:06PM)
Very excited! Was lucky enough to friend Ben last year and his attention to detail has captured my attention!

Ryan
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Mar 15, 2016 10:45PM)
Murphy's will be taking preorders for this book within the next week or two. The book is around 360 pages, hardcover, with dust jacket.
Message: Posted by: Maxyedid (Mar 16, 2016 12:00AM)
What's the price?
Message: Posted by: Amirá (Mar 16, 2016 05:39AM)
Ben´s new book will introduce you to an interesting place, in which intelligent classic methods are layered in a exquisite manner to let you perform amazing card mentalism for your audiences, with premises that allows the audience to experience moments of deep mystery, far beyond "tricks". Achieving simplicity is not easy (ask Bach in your next seance). The handlings are so well pruned, that they are simple, showing you only the necessary moves and techniques.

Ben is my friend , but this means nothing regarding my opinion. The material is excellent, well thought and structured.
Message: Posted by: tincture (Mar 16, 2016 10:59AM)
This is great news!
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Mar 16, 2016 11:00AM)
[quote]On Mar 16, 2016, Maxyedid wrote:
What's the price? [/quote]

I'm not 100% sure, but I think it will be roughly $80.00 USD.

I also want to mention the wonderful cover and dust jacket artwork of the incredible Martin Korstanje, and brilliant photography and editing by Thomas Baxter.

Here is a sample of one routine from the book. This is a "Tocaton" ("thought-of card at thought-of number) type of routine. It is completely impromptu, and can use any deck of cards.

This is not a professionally shot performance -- it's just me running through the routine with imaginary participants. But if you like the Tocaton genre, this is one you can do any time a deck of cards is handy.

It's called "Ishin-Denshin", and is in the book.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9t_i1......DUlR6WFU

We have received lots of very nice comments from a select few individuals who have read preview copies of the book.

Here's what Sean Waters had to say about ASYMPTOTES:

"With mind of a philosopher, the precision of a surgeon and the lyrical genius of a poet, Ben Blau crafts brilliant mental masterpieces that you will cherish like a classic. He is like Charles Dickens, but with cards (and much more clever). For close-up mental workers, this will only be the best of times."

Sean Waters

-Ben
Message: Posted by: Waters. (Mar 16, 2016 06:58PM)
I did indeed write that and I will also state here that Ben creates wonderful mental effects with cards and this work is a stout tome full of them. This is going to be a very large book, based upon the early look I had. Ben truly has a gifted mind for subtle and diabolical work that is reminiscent of greats like Stewart James and Eddie Fields. This is high praise. If you choose (and you should) to avail yourself, you will be richly rewarded with great card work. When is this book shipping?

Regards,

Sean
Message: Posted by: mattH (Mar 17, 2016 04:23PM)
Hi Ben, can I ask when? And if it's ok, will it be in th UK?
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Mar 17, 2016 05:16PM)
[quote]On Mar 17, 2016, mattH wrote:
Hi Ben, can I ask when? And if it's ok, will it be in th UK? [/quote]

We are still awaiting the foreword (which is being written by someone VERY special). That should be in place by next week. Then, as far as I know, it will take a few weeks to get the first order manufactured and shipped to Murphy's.

Whether you decide to purchase it from Murphy's, your local magic shop, or directly from me, I'm sure it will be available in the U.K.

Thanks so much for your interest!

-Ben
Message: Posted by: John C (Mar 17, 2016 06:20PM)
[quote]On Mar 16, 2016, Ben Blau wrote:
Here is a sample of one routine from the book. This is a "Tocaton" ("thought-of card at thought-of number) type of routine. It is completely impromptu, and can use any deck of cards.

This is not a professionally shot performance -- it's just me running through the routine with imaginary participants. But if you like the Tocaton genre, this is one you can do any time a deck of cards is handy.

It's called "Ishin-Denshin", and is in the book.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9t_i1dzrlalNWZPX2FDUlR6WFU [/quote]


Nice little routine.
Message: Posted by: yachanin (Mar 17, 2016 06:44PM)
Hi All,

I was one of the fortunates to have had the opportunity to read a preview copy of "Asymptotes" and I can wholeheartedly concur with Sean's comments (although I could not say it as eloquently as did he). Ben has the ability to give a unique twist on old methods (and he's included some original ideas as well), combining them in such a way that everything you do is justified and everything seems absolutely fair. Your volunteers and audiences will not be able to resist asking for more.

This is a wonderful collection of mentalism routines that will make you smile as well, when you see the reactions they produce. I have performed one of the routines many times, resulting in looks of utter astonishment on the faces of my volunteers (I don't want to let anything out prematurely, so I'll not say which routine at this time).

Should you get this? Oh yeah.

Regards, Steve
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Mar 19, 2016 10:54AM)
[quote]On Mar 17, 2016, John C wrote:
[quote]On Mar 16, 2016, Ben Blau wrote:
Here is a sample of one routine from the book. This is a "Tocaton" ("thought-of card at thought-of number) type of routine. It is completely impromptu, and can use any deck of cards.

This is not a professionally shot performance -- it's just me running through the routine with imaginary participants. But if you like the Tocaton genre, this is one you can do any time a deck of cards is handy.

It's called "Ishin-Denshin", and is in the book.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9t_i1dzrlalNWZPX2FDUlR6WFU [/quote]


Nice little routine. [/quote]

Thanks, John! I absolutely love performing this one. It's very easy, and totally impromptu!
Message: Posted by: Atlas (Mar 20, 2016 09:33AM)
I've always been impressed by Ben's ideas and am eager to see the finished product. For years now, Ben has emailed me ideas and videos and I can honestly say that there has been something in each and every one of them that has made me pause and think, "That's pretty clever."

I have also noticed that he really cares what a routine looks like for his audience and I think this book could be something special.

Best,

Atlas
Message: Posted by: Patrick Redford (Mar 21, 2016 11:25AM)
This book is really something special. I've been wanting Ben to release a book as long as we've known each other. I'm so happy it's finally happening!

Ben's book is worth reading just to get a peek into the way Ben approaches the construction and execution of an effect. He trades sleights for invisible beautiful subtlety. Asymptotes is, without a doubt, an instant classic.
Message: Posted by: loeld (Mar 21, 2016 01:29PM)
[quote]On Mar 16, 2016, Ben Blau wrote:
Here is a sample of one routine from the book. This is a "Tocaton" ("thought-of card at thought-of number) type of routine. It is completely impromptu, and can use any deck of cards.

This is not a professionally shot performance -- it's just me running through the routine with imaginary participants. But if you like the Tocaton genre, this is one you can do any time a deck of cards is handy.

It's called "Ishin-Denshin", and is in the book.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9t_i1dzrlalNWZPX2FDUlR6WFU [/quote]

Hi Ben!
We don´t know each other, but we have mutuals friends if I look at your testimonials: I am a pro mentalist and when I look at the video I am sorry to say that you lost me after 2 min. I know it is not a live performance, but in my world it is much to complicated. I can´t imagine where I could perform a routine like that. I think that this is a routine that you show some friends or maybe in a situation where you know that you have an audience that can appreciate this kind of routine. I don´t say that it is bad, but I can not use it in the real world. I think though that I hope that you have many ideas in your book that can have a great value for me. Good luck with the sale. My two cents /lp loeld
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Mar 21, 2016 02:04PM)
[quote]On Mar 21, 2016, loeld wrote:
[quote]On Mar 16, 2016, Ben Blau wrote:
Here is a sample of one routine from the book. This is a "Tocaton" ("thought-of card at thought-of number) type of routine. It is completely impromptu, and can use any deck of cards.

This is not a professionally shot performance -- it's just me running through the routine with imaginary participants. But if you like the Tocaton genre, this is one you can do any time a deck of cards is handy.

It's called "Ishin-Denshin", and is in the book.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9t_i1dzrlalNWZPX2FDUlR6WFU [/quote]

Hi Ben!
We don´t know each other, but we have mutuals friends if I look at your testimonials: I am a pro mentalist and when I look at the video I am sorry to say that you lost me after 2 min. I know it is not a live performance, but in my world it is much to complicated. I can´t imagine where I could perform a routine like that. I think that this is a routine that you show some friends or maybe in a situation where you know that you have an audience that can appreciate this kind of routine. I don´t say that it is bad, but I can not use it in the real world. I think though that I hope that you have many ideas in your book that can have a great value for me. Good luck with the sale. My two cents /lp loeld [/quote]


Thanks for your comments. One thing that is made clear at the beginning of the book is that all of the routines require a quality of attention that is often absent in "professional" performances. These routines are meant to thrive in informal, social contexts. That is my primary venue.

Here is an excerpt from the foreword (written by Max Maven) which illustrates this point:

"This is smart material, for smart people. The people to whom I refer are the members of the audiences who will experience these routines. No stunts or quickie s will be found here; these creations are not suitable for a noisy bar environment. Mind you, I’m not suggesting that the appropriate milieu must be a somber classroom. Far from it: These presentations often veer into whimsicality.

But they will thrive best for observers who are alert enough to appreciate the conditions set out in each composition, for Ben has achieved levels of methodological depth that will deceive even well informed spectators—and that includes magicians who haven’t read this."
Message: Posted by: IAIN (Mar 21, 2016 05:20PM)
I'm going to ask a question about that demo that'll sound very awkward, its not meant to be though..just genuinely interested...

you start off with explaining what ishin-denshin is, which is a lovely concept, then you shift to 'seeing through my eyes'... I don't get the connection between that opening gambit and the actual routine...this might well be my fault entirely...probably is...

its starts off about:
ishin-denshin - "Ishin-denshin is a Japanese idiom which denotes a form of interpersonal communication through unspoken mutual understanding"
then its about seeing through your eyes
so I don't really see the connection (pardon the pun)
Message: Posted by: Daren (Mar 23, 2016 03:10PM)
Is there a table of contents available anywhere or maybe list a few of the routines within the pages?
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Mar 23, 2016 04:26PM)
There is a table of contents, but I have no idea how to post it here. I'll try to take some screenshots, and post links to them.
Message: Posted by: Daren (Mar 23, 2016 04:30PM)
Ok thanks Ben, I have just read your routine in John Careys Minimalistica, and love it, if your new book is anything like this, this book will be fab!
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Mar 23, 2016 04:37PM)
Thanks very much!

Yes, there is a lot of really sneaky stuff in this book. Mostly based on layered subtlety, and reliable, solid methods. Most of the material could be classified as "semi-automatic", and none of it relies on gimmicks. Sleight of hand is kept to an absolute minimum (most of the routines don't require any at all), but any of the sleights that ARE used are well within the reach of a novice or intermediate practitioner with cards.
Message: Posted by: Daren (Mar 23, 2016 04:50PM)
Will polygraph and hotoac be in the new book?
Message: Posted by: Patrick Redford (Mar 23, 2016 06:24PM)
Polygraph and Hotoac are not in Ben's new book but were video projects only at this time! The material that is in the book is all new and hasn't been out on the market in any other format.
Message: Posted by: Daren (Mar 24, 2016 02:17AM)
Ok thanks, still would be nice to get a feel for some of the effects in the book, maybe a list could be shown also? Is ur version of out of this world in the book?
Message: Posted by: Patrick Redford (Mar 24, 2016 12:47PM)
His out of this world is in the book! And it's really wonderful. I've watched many of these routines come together over the years Ben and I have known each other. Ben's approach to Out of This World (A Pale Blue) is different, fooling, and direct.
Message: Posted by: Daren (Mar 24, 2016 01:36PM)
Ok great, any other routines you can divulge on here?
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Mar 24, 2016 02:46PM)
There are 18 routines taught, plus a "utilities" section. Was there something in particular that you're looking for? I could type the table of contents here, but you'd only see the titles and page numbers for them.
Message: Posted by: Daren (Mar 24, 2016 02:59PM)
Well Ben I am not familiar with your work, it would be nice to see maybe a demo of a couple of the effects in the book or at least a description of some of the effects, that was all
Message: Posted by: Daren (Mar 24, 2016 03:01PM)
Don't worry if not, I have ordered your book anyway, I just wanted to whet my appetite
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Mar 24, 2016 03:07PM)
Daren,

A couple of years ago, I released a video project ("The Ben Blau Project") that was very well-received. Two of the routines from that project are available for viewing on YouTube. If you watch those, you'll get a feel for my performance style.

1. HOTOAC

http://youtu.be/6Q7xUyy1HD0

2. Polygraph

http://youtu.be/0KhGYsG_u5Y

Neither of these routines are in the new book, but they should give you a feel for the way I approach card mentalism.

On the first page of this thread, I did post a link to a simulated performance of one of the routines that IS in the book.

Hope that helps!

-Ben
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Mar 25, 2016 07:01PM)
I wanted to share the brilliant dust jacket artwork for ASYMPTOTES, done by the amazing Martin Korstanje.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9t_i1dzrlalTlN0STV1UXRPUHc

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9t_i1dzrlalQ3dvWXdGM053TXc
Message: Posted by: BMWGuy (Mar 26, 2016 01:05AM)
Hey guys,

I will be reviewing this book for those that are on the fence about purchasing, or simply want more information.

Since it is a big book, I will be reviewing it in parts.

I hope you enjoy my review, and hopefully it will make you decide whether or not you want to purchase this book.

Stay tuned......

Thanks

Alex Alejandro
Message: Posted by: Your Thinking Cap (Mar 26, 2016 07:59AM)
[quote]On Mar 24, 2016, Daren wrote:
Ok great, any other routines you can divulge on here? [/quote]

I too would love to know a couple of the specific effects or plots contained in the book, as well as a table of contents. I love your work, Ben, but just want to make sure that the book consists of a variety of plots and not just 18 different impossible card locations. :D

Will be preordering soon- thanks!
Message: Posted by: brehaut (Mar 26, 2016 08:03AM)
Where can it be ordered ? Thx
Message: Posted by: yachanin (Mar 26, 2016 09:00AM)
Hi brehaut,

You can pre-order Asymptotes from Penguin: http://www.penguinmagic.com/p/S20861 or from Murphy's https://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=57324

Regards, Steve
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Mar 26, 2016 10:09AM)
[quote]On Mar 26, 2016, Your Thinking Cap wrote:
[quote]On Mar 24, 2016, Daren wrote:
Ok great, any other routines you can divulge on here? [/quote]

I too would love to know a couple of the specific effects or plots contained in the book, as well as a table of contents. I love your work, Ben, but just want to make sure that the book consists of a variety of plots and not just 18 different impossible card locations. :D

Will be preordering soon- thanks! [/quote]

The book spans a wide variety of effects and plots, including thought-of card divinations, impossible coincidences, ACAAN and TOCATON effects, a multi-phase ESP card routine, an OOTW, a multi-phase 10 Card Poker Deal, pseudo lie detection routines, and a lot more. It's not just card location effects. There is also a Utilities section, which supplements the effects.

I hope that helps.

-Ben
Message: Posted by: BMWGuy (Mar 26, 2016 04:55PM)
Hey guys,
s
Alex here.

So my review will be split into multiple parts, since its a big book, and I will try my best to answer any questions within my review as far as the type of effects as we go along.

I first heard of Ben, when he released his HOTOAC and Polygraph, and Patrick was generous enough to send me a review copy of that when it was released.

If you purchased that download, then you know the level of detail that Ben puts into all his effects, and the thinking behind each move, and subtlety.
If you did not purchase that download, and you are barely going to become introduced to Ben´s work, then you chose wisely, and you will learn a lot.

Whether you are a beginner, amateur, or seasoned pro, there is something in this book for everyone that I am 100% sure you will enjoy and perform.
As Ben said above, the book has 18 routines ranging from coincidences, ACAAN, OOTW, ESP, impossible location, and even a business card effect using your business cards.

The book is 356 pages, and not only do you get the 18 effects, but you also get a section on moves, called the Utilities section, which I will go over once I get there within my review in the next couple of days, since this will be the first review of many, until I complete the book.

The book starts out with an Introduction by Patrick Redford and how he and Ben met and became friends, and how he admires the level of thinking that is involved in Ben´s work.

Next, you have the Foreword by Max Maven, and how investing in this book is a smart choice, and how Ben´s magic is portrayed.

Next, we learn what the definition of an ASYMPTOTE is.

Which brings us to the pre-effect, well it is not an effect per se, but rather an interesting mathematical principle, that you can learn, and practice on yourself.

This is really clever, and something that the next routines utilizes in the guise of doing something else.

The principle is called BOOLEAN LOGIC, and is tied to being able to determine whether someone is lying or telling the truth.

The next effect uses BOOLEAN LOGIC very cleverly hidden, and disguised.

CRIMSON CLUPEIDAE

Effect: A spectators thought of card is discerned, by being able to determine whether the spectator lied or told the truth.

Thoughts: This is a very clever first effect to start out the book with. It reminds me somewhat in a way of the which hand effect with a coin but with cards, not exactly the same structure, but something presentationally similar, and something in which you will know whether the person lied or told the truth regarding a thought of card. No forces involved.
There is something else involved but it is very cleverly hidden, and something that most of you will say, Why didn't I think of that.
This routine is very well scripted, and all actions are justified. At the end of the routine, the spectator only answers in his or her mind, and yet you know if they are lying or telling the truth, and you discern their card.
If you are a fan of clever methods, and the which hand plot involving liar/truthteller divinations, then this effect is for you, and you will perform this.

The next effect is called SORT OF THE TRUTH, and it is one of my favorites.

It is an impossible location effect, but with clever hidden mathematical properties. Do not worry, you will not have to memorize anything, or do any math yourself.

Effect: A spectator thinks of any card, then locates it in the deck..........lots more cards are taken out at random by the spectator, and all cards are mixed haphazardly, several times, and believe it or not, you will be able to locate the thought of card with ease.

I already performed this for my wife last night, and the reaction I obtained from her was mere silence, she had no clue how I knew the card, even though the cards had been mixed many times but yet I was able to name her thought of card without ever taking the card out. In addition to this, if you wanted, and this is an idea that I developed, you could locate the card, but I think it defeats the purpose, but for those that want to name the card, then go about and locate it, you can very well do so.

This effect´s method is really well hidden, and not even magicians will have a clue, because there is a lot going on, that even if someone were to know what you were about to do, the effect is layered in a way, that you throw everyone off track, and the method becomes undetectable.

I will also be performing this on Wednesday for a few of my magic buddies during our meetup.

Well, I guess for now that is my first review for the first 2 effects of the book.

The first 2 effects of the book are killer, and Ben sure does know how to layer very deceptively.

I received a review copy of this book, but I believe with the amount of information, clever ideas, principles, moves, you will learn, the $80 price tag is more than justified.

Heck, I will be adding the first 2 effects into my repertoire.

More later.........

Thanks

Alex Alejandro
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Mar 26, 2016 05:24PM)
I'd like to point out that in "Sort Of The Truth", I don't locate their card. I simply name it.

Locating it among the messy pile at the end is a choice you could just as easily make, but I prefer to just name the card they were thinking of all along.

Just a point of clarification. Thanks, Alex, for your throughtful review this far. I know it's a lot to get through!

-Ben
Message: Posted by: BMWGuy (Mar 27, 2016 01:14AM)
Thanks Ben, yes that is correct, the card is named, not located, but if one wanted could go the extra mile to locate it, as well, just an idea.

Continuing on with the review, the 3rd effect is

POCKET SQUARE

This is an impromptu mind-buster.

Effect: The spectator thinks of a number, and you create an instant magic square on your business card.

So this is the first effect that doesn't have cards, but all you need are your business cards.

If you are a fan of magic squares, this little impromptu miracle will have you performing it everywhere now, not just on the big stage.

Plus, the spectator gets to keep your business card, with the magic square solved, using his thought of number.

Great little effect that you can always have on you, and next time someone says, show me something, you can do this.

NOTE: You must already know how to do a magic square. There is one example solved magic square given inside the book, but you must already have the knowledge to solve one.

I have never really done a magic square, and though I appreciate them, I will probably learn how to do a basic one, and try this out in the near future sometime. I guess the fact is that they never really appealed to me as a mentalist, but I can understand how performing this using your business cards on the fly, and handing out your card can be different.

Then there is a technique that you will learn.

The technique you will learn is called

The CABOLO MANEUVER

Allows you to secretly hold back one or more playing cards in the action of doing something else.
Facilitates secret loads, steals, switches, and more.

This maneuver is great, and is used in the book elsewhere on another routine.

Good to know how to do this, and it will get your head spinning with other ideas that you may be able to use this with.

The next effect is called

CREEPFEST

Effect: An ordinary deck of playing cards is examined and then thoroughly
shuffled by the Participants. Both the Performer and one of the
Participants each merely think of a playing card. Each of them removes their card from the pack and, without showing the cards to
anyone, places their card into their pockets.
The remaining cards are shuffled, and, with the Performer’s back
turned, the Participant begins to deal the cards, one at a time, face-up onto the table. The Participant calls aloud the names of the
cards as they are dealt, with one exception: Somewhere along the
way, at a random point, the Participant is to mis-call the name of
the card dealt. In its place he is to call the name of his thought-of
card instead. Showing no outward sign or hesitation that might be
a clue for the Performer, he is to then continue dealing through several more cards, and then stop the deal at a random point of his
own choosing.
Once the deal is finished, the Performer turns to face the
Participants. He concentrates, looking carefully into the
main Participant’s eyes, and finally announces the name of the
Participant’s thought-of card. The Participant removes the card
from his pocket, verifying the Performer’s success.
When asked by the Performer if the Participant recalls the actual
name of the card in the pack that the Participant mis-called, he
says that he does, and the Participant names that card aloud.
Looking bewildered, the Performer asks the Participant to remove
that card from the pack. The Participant looks through the deck,
but the card is not there. The Performer removes the card that he
had thought of and placed into his pocket at the beginning of the
experiment. Eerily, it is the mis-called card.

Thoughts: Wow, what a great routine with multiple things happening, and very cleverly layered as with most of the items from this book.
You will need to learn the above move, titled, THE CABOLO MANEUVER for this routine, as well as it uses 2 utilities that are useful in the execution of the effect.
Upon reading this, it reminded me a lot of Paul Cummins Tap a Lack, Paul Vigils Diplopia, but you don't need to clock a deck to make this work, this is much easier, and is different altogether. This is another favorite routine of mine, due to the fact that at the ends the mis-called card is produced from your pocket.
This is something I will be performing.

More later.......

Thanks

Alex Alejandro
Message: Posted by: oombob (Mar 28, 2016 09:18PM)
Hi guys,

As a graphic designer I always love the opportunity to work on any magic / mentalism related stuff. Thanks Ben for being a great client!

More Asymptote pics here:

http://goo.gl/XlTKPm
Message: Posted by: Waters. (Mar 29, 2016 05:54AM)
Oombob,

Really nice design work. It looks fantastic.

Though I had an early copy, I had to buy this book (and I did). It's just better being able to get away from a device and sit for a while (with the tactile joy of) holding a real book. I am looking forward to this. I have not bought a book with card material in some time.
Message: Posted by: BMWGuy (Mar 29, 2016 08:21AM)
Hey guys,

I will be continuing my review in the next couple of days, but Id thought Id chime in and actually tell you about 2 of the effects within my past review that I have already practiced sufficiently, road-tested, and tried on real spectators.

The first effect is SORT OF THE TRUTH, and it is as I stated above an impossible divination of a card. As Ben stated, you do not locate the card, but rather just name it, after apparently the cards have been messed up.

This is a really fun effect to perform, because the spectator will not have a clue as to how you divine the card.
I have already performed this a dozen times, the first time being with my wife, and it passed the wife test.

The second effect is CREEPFEST.
For this effect, you need to use the CABOLO MANUEVER that Ben teaches you, so before I even performed this for my wife, I practiced this move, and got it down smoothly in about 1 hour or so, then I just kept repeating the same actions, and now I feel very comfortable doing it.
As I stated above, CREEPFEST is great, because you not only name the spectators thought of card, but the card that they merely mis-named, appears in your pocket.
I have also put this through the works, and both routines are now part of my working repertoire.

Like I said, I will post a review of more effects soon, just wanted you all to know my experience with the book, thus far.

Thanks

Alex Alejandro
Message: Posted by: BMWGuy (Mar 31, 2016 02:58PM)
Hey guys,

Continuing on with my review, the next effect is called @
It is an ACAAN, with a twist

Effect:As in the traditional ACAAN format, one Participant (Tom) thinks
of a playing card and a second Participant (Mary) thinks of a
number. When Mary deals to her thought-of number, Tom's card
will be found in that position.
In this version, however, a prediction is incorporated as well. The
prediction is written down by the Performer prior to Mary dealing
to her number, but not revealed until she has done so.

Thoughts: This is a very easy and practical ACAAN that is different than most ACAANs. All that is required is a deck of cards, and one other item that you can find at your local office supply store.
The presentation is well scripted, and at first, upon reading the effect it reminded me of Atlas Brookings and Andrew Browns Crusade, but it is altogether different. It reads similar to that routine but it is very different.
This is something that I will perform at one point or another, since I like collecting ACAAN methods, and this is not hard to do at all.

The next effect is called MANHATTAN

Effect: An audience Participant fairly selects a random card and a number
from one to fifty-two. He removes the card and places it into his
pocket. The cards are thoroughly shuffled.
As the Performer sits with his back turned, the Participant deals
through the cards face-up, dealing the cards onto a pile on the table.
The Participant is asked to mentally count the cards as they are
dealt When he reaches his thought of number, he is to just
imagine the card in his pocket, in place of the actual card that
shows up, and then to continue on with the deal. Otherwise he is
to give no sign or clue as to either the name of the card or the number he has in mind.
Without any questions or further mucking about, the Performer
turns back, take the cards under the table, and removes the mate
to the thought-of card. He places the mate to the thought-of card
at the position in the pack that matches the Participant’s thought of number. He brings the cards up from under the table and hands
them to the Participant.
The Participant deals through the cards himself, and finds the
mate to the thought-of card at the number he has in mind.

Thoughts: This is not impromptu, well I take that back, you can make it impromptu on the fly, requires a partial setup, but you don't need to memorize a deck of cards for this, and also uses another very clever principle that has been used by many performers, like Pit Hartling, Dani DaOrtiz, and more. Also, uses layering, to hide other principles at work. Very clever.
This routine is also not hard to execute, and with enough practice, you will have it down in no time.

The next routine is the one that many of you saw in a demo that Ben shared the link to, called ISHIN DENSHIN

This is a Thought of Card to a Thought of Number.

If you have seen the demo, you will know that this is a whole presentation wrapped up into an impossible type coincidence effect.
All that is required to learn this, is basic memorization skills, don't worry, you wont have to memorize many cards, only very few, under 4.
there is a lot going on presentationally, and everything is bundled up very well here. I have performed this effect 2 times last night for some magician buddies, and they were genuinely fooled, and had no idea. You also learn a really cool false cut, that if you are into cards, you will already know the name of it once you see it.
After the explanation of the effect, you get Tom Baxters take on this effect, and his way of doing it, which I think is a great bonus, that way you can pick and choose which variation you want to learn and perform.

So that's it for this review, I will try to post more tomorrow, but for now, out of these 3 routines, I have already performed 1 of them, and will be trying out the other 2 in due time.

Thanks

Alex Alejandro
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Apr 2, 2016 02:16PM)
Thanks for your continued work on reviewing this book, Alex.

One other point of clarification, though: "Ishin-Denshin" is NOT an "impossible coincidence" effect. The performer first intuits the thought-of card, and then deliberately places it at the thought-of number prior to the reveal.

Tom Baxter's addition to that effect is FABULOUS, and not shown in the demo video. I think people are really going to love what he came up with.

-Ben
Message: Posted by: Dapperdan (Apr 3, 2016 08:31PM)
Hi all... I have to add to this forum that I had the pleasure of meeting Ben for the first time last week at an informal gathering of Detroit area magicians. I am personally not a fan of mentalism and had actually not heard of Ben before meeting him that evening. This (apparently) made me (in Ben's eyes) the perfect subject for a number of his effects. What I learned was that Ben is a very natural performer. More importantly, I realized that you don't have to be a "mentalist", or even perform mentalism, to benefit from any one of the effects that he is including in this book. I focus my work on cards and coins manipulation, but will be picking up a copy of this book in order to add some very different effects to my magic.

One other thing about Ben himself... I have been around the "magic seen" for over 30 years and have met many magicians over that time. Many of them (my Detroit Area Magicians group excepted) have had big egos and tend to think very highly of themselves. (I guess it's a hazard of the trade.) Ben is one of the most down-to-earth, modest, and talented magicians I've met! I'm looking forward to learning more from him!
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Apr 4, 2016 04:05PM)
I have created a Facebook group for ASYMPTOTES, which is open to anyone who is interested. I will post updates, host discussions, and throw in occasional freebies once in a while.

If you're interested in ASYMPTOTES, please join us!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1699986893616975/
Message: Posted by: BMWGuy (Apr 5, 2016 09:02PM)
Hey guys,

Alex here.

Continuing on with the review of the book...

A PALE BLUE

this is Ben´s version of OOTW.

This reminded me a lot of other versions out there, but Ben has added a great presentation, and plus he uses a clever principle that almost all experienced card handlers know that is well hidden. Everything is justified within the routine.

As an extra, with the discard pile, another effect is possible at the end as well

This version will not replace my current version that I use which is that of Jon Armstrongs 2 phases Oil and Water from his DVDs, so I will not be putting work in this one, but if you are a fan of OOTW, or want to learn one, this is a great learning effect to do so.

CON-CENTRATION

EFFECT
You explain that you will play a modified game of Concentration
with an audience Participant. You show two sets of cards, each set
consisting of ten cards. Each card of the first set has a hand-drawn
picture of an object. Each card of the second set of ten has a single
word printed on the card. Each card’s word corresponds to a
drawing in the other set of cards. In other words one set would
have a drawing of a plane, and the other set would contain a card
with the word “plane” printed on it, etc.
Each set is thoroughly mixed to start. One set is placed in a pile
and given to the Participant to hold in his shirt pocket. With the
other set, the audience Participant is allowed to switch cards
around in a very fair and open manner. The goal is for them to use
their intuition to try to duplicate the hidden, unknown order of
the first set of cards.
Once the Participant is satisfied with the random order of this set
of cards, the first set is retrieved from the Participant’s shirt pocket,
and the two piles of cards are set side by side on the table, facedown.
The cards are openly and fairly turned over, simultaneously showing the faces of the top cards of each pile and then continuing on,
dealing through the entire packets. Miraculously, in every instance
the Name Card that is turned up matches the Picture Card that is
turned up at the same time.

Thoughts: This is great and Ben was inspired by something within Worlds Beyond. Everything is clearly explained, and Ben notes that if you don't wish to use drawings you can use playing cards instead. He teaches you the necessary technique you need to know in order for you to do this, some of you might have already learned it before, but, and there is a but, Bens move is called FUTILITY, and it is a variation on the old move explained in Worlds Beyond.
He then goes over THE CONVINCER DEAL, and how to properly represent it during the effect, it is a way to technically and fairly switch cards while dealing.

I like this effect, and have used the technique described before, so I will be practicing this at one point or another.

ESPILON

EFFECT
Phase 1
From a shuffled group of two sets of ESP symbol cards (10 in
total), a Participant thinks of one while the Performer's back is
turned. He also thinks of a number, between 1 and 10. Without
ever looking at the fronts or backs of any of the cards, the
Performer is able to unfailingly read the Participant's mind,
naming both the symbol as well as the number merely thought of.

Phase 2

You offer to repeat the feat again but under different conditions

Phase 3

Spectator as the Mind Reader

Thoughts: If you are a fan of ESP effects, you will want to add this to your repertoire. As you can see there are 3 phases each getting stronger and stronger, and plus, at the end you make them the star.

I think from the whole book, this routine is my favorite. There is a lot, and I mean a lot going on.

Nobody will be able to figure this out, not matter how they see it.

There are many hidden principles at play here, as well as very clever mathematics. don't worry you wont have to do a lot, but I just wanted to advise that math in this effect works, and its very cleverly hidden.

This was inspired by a Martin Gardner effect, and I believe this was one of the routines that took up the most pages to explain, since Ben wanted you to know all the ins and outs of this.

That is the end of this review for now, I will write more at a later time, but I will say that so far, most if not all the routines are ones that you will want to at least try out in practice, and some you will be adding to your repertoire.

Thanks

Alex Alejandro
Message: Posted by: yachanin (Apr 5, 2016 10:12PM)
Hi All,

Since Alex has described "Con-Centration," I have to jump in here and say that I've had the opportunity to perform this for more than a year now (I use "Old Maid" playing cards rather than the picture/word cards). It is a KILLER routine (and my personal favorite). It always gets shouts of "No ******* way!" and other such outbursts (or the look of sheer disbelief in my volunteer's eyes). The volunteer makes all the decisions, yet all the pairs match... it just doesn't seem possible.

Regards, Steve
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Apr 5, 2016 11:40PM)
Regarding the "Futility Switch" referenced by Alex, let me point out that while it indeed was inspired by a Paul Curry technique, it takes it to an entirely different level. To paraphrase Bruce Bernstein's assessment of the technique:

"Really freaking clever... I didn't think that the original ******* ****** cloud be improved upon, but yours is a real addition to the technique."

Bruce told me that I should have sold that technique alone as a separate product.

Also, regarding the OOTW, I'm not aware of ANY other routines that are similar, with one exception ("Couples", again by Bruce Bernstein, recently republished in UNREAL).

My version allows the participant to choose which pile each card goes into from a shuffled, normal deck. At the end, the piles are simply turned over to reveal that the participant has successfully separated the reds and the blacks, with no discrepancy, no cleanup, and no misdirection. There is also no odd change of procedure mid-way through the routine. More importantly, however, are the logical justifications I provide for the steps involved, which lend intellectual credibility to the routine (despite the cleanliness of the method).

Myke Phillips (author of "Olivia", and creator of numerous other mentalism products) told me that it's his favorite handling of OOTW, and that he was "blown away" when I showed it to him.

Bruce thought highly enough of it to give me his blessings to publish it, despite its relationship to "Couples" (which, by the way, is also absolutely amazing).


-Ben
Message: Posted by: BMWGuy (Apr 5, 2016 11:59PM)
Thanks Ben

Yeah I was referring to Couples but everything in your OOTW is so fair. No wonder Myke liked it

I like Jon Armstrongs version which I have used for years

Thanks
Message: Posted by: DrewBstoss (Apr 6, 2016 10:11AM)
First off - congrats on the release Ben! It looks like some fantastic work! Based on the feedback from SEVERAL people whose opinions I value it looks like this will be a must read.

Second off - thanks for your in depth review Alex! We ALL appreciate the time you've taken to write up your thoughts.

I've looked through the thread but couldn't find any mention of the anticipated release date (apologies if I've simply missed it!) - but I'm just wondering when this will reach the various dealers.

Best,

Drew
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Apr 6, 2016 04:28PM)
It should be ready to ship by around April 25.
Message: Posted by: DrewBstoss (Apr 6, 2016 06:03PM)
Sounds great Ben - thanks for the response!
Message: Posted by: BMWGuy (Apr 7, 2016 04:18PM)
Hey guys,

There will be no more reviews for awhile, but rather than keep reviewing the book, I wanted to really understand and take time to grasp the effects, presentation, concepts, etc, etc.

So I thought I would start by giving my thoughts on my favorite effect from the book, on what the audience sees, and my thoughts on it.

I believe this one effect could be inserted into anyone's repertoire, and you don't need special ESP cards to do it.

I have been performing it with my business cards, and it works great.

The routine is called ESPILON.

There are 3 phases to the routine, and in each phase the moments of magic just get stronger and stronger.
There are also multiple reveals that are made, not just the thought of symbol, for example.

I have been performing this constantly on a daily basis, and is always in my wallet.

This is one of the non-card routines in the book that uses regular ESP cards, and I feel for this one routine, if you take away anything from this book, is the way Ben structures and really develops his routining and actions that fit the patter and effect.

I wish I lived in Detroit, so I could pick Ben's brains and I could see some of these great routines performed live, or just to witness first hand Ben performing the routine to a spectator would be great.

This I believe will be one routine that is apt for being labeled "Worth the price" as are others in the book as well, but this is my favorite routine from the book. You will always have it on you, and if you happen to forget your business cards, you can make this up on the fly.

10/10

There will be more reviews like this one, on specific effects soon.

Thanks

Alex Alejandro
Message: Posted by: Sean Giles (Apr 8, 2016 01:16AM)
Have you ever been sent a book for review that you didn't like? :)
Message: Posted by: BMWGuy (Apr 8, 2016 10:14AM)
Hi Sean

Good question

And the answer to that is yes

I try to find value in everything that is sent to me

If I cannot or do not like something I will say something like the idea behind it seems good but I will not be using it
For various reasons

If you get one good piece of solid advice from a DVD lecture or book then to me it has been worth it even if you paid for it or didn't
Time is of the essence and I feel that if I get one thing out of something it has been worth my time

Take the OOTW from this book I wasn't necessarily fond of it but many will swear by it

Different opinions about different effects

What works for me might not for you or vice versa
Message: Posted by: Hudson892 (Apr 8, 2016 12:15PM)
Hey Ben, just a couple of questions, will the price of the book go up after the pre-order finishes and is it a limited run? I only as because I'm not able to buy at the minute and I don't want it to get sold out! Thanks :-)
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Apr 8, 2016 12:37PM)
[quote]On Apr 8, 2016, Hudson892 wrote:
Hey Ben, just a couple of questions, will the price of the book go up after the pre-order finishes and is it a limited run? I only as because I'm not able to buy at the minute and I don't want it to get sold out! Thanks :-) [/quote]

There is no price change being planned, and the book should be available on an ongoing basis.

Today I posted a "freebie" on the ASYMPTOTES Facebook group. It's a system for memorizing a deck, in approximately 30 minutes. (This is NOT in the book, and has not been published elsewhere.)

If you're not already in the group, please join us!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1699986893616975/

Thanks!

-Ben
Message: Posted by: BMWGuy (Apr 9, 2016 04:37PM)
Hey guys,

Wanted to say that I performed one of the routines from this book last night at a gig, at every table, and it went down a storm.

The effect has now become part of my repertoire, and I will continue to work it more.

the effect is my favorite from the book and is called ESPILON.

The thing I like about it is, it is different than playing cards, you get to use ESP Cards, or in my case my own business cards, and at the end, I give them out to the group.

doesn't get any better than that. Multiple moments of magic, and 3 phases that just get stronger and stronger.

Thanks Ben

Alex
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Apr 9, 2016 07:51PM)
You're welcome! Hope you enjoy it for years to come!
Message: Posted by: TRI6KED (Apr 10, 2016 07:11AM)
Can be pre ordered at Alakazam UK also:

http://www.alakazam.co.uk/product-Asymptotes-by-Ben-Blau-.html
Message: Posted by: BMWGuy (Apr 11, 2016 09:55PM)
Hey guys,

Alex here.

Thought I would chime in and recant my statement about the OOTW.

At first read, it didn't do it for me as I stated above.

But after Skyping with Ben, and having him perform it on me, even though I knew the method, I could see all the potential this OOTW has, making it the easiest OOTW, with no awkward moves.

After Skyping, I practiced it on myself, and it worked out very well, I then showed my wife the effect, and it passed the wife test. She says it was probably one of her favorite effects she has seen me do.

So with that said, I will continue to work this, but for now it will remain as part of my repertoire. Very easy, very fooling, especially for someone who hasnt seen OOTW.

Everything makes sense, patter and structure.

Thanks again Ben for Skyping with me and showing me this.

Myke was right, this routine is good, and baffling if you think back at how fair everything really is.

Alex Alejandro
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Apr 12, 2016 05:23AM)
Thanks, Alex. I totally understand how sometimes it's difficult to really see how a routine will play out in the real world just by reading it for the first time, and I very much appreciate you posting this.

Here's a quote from Myke Phillips regarding the OOTW:

"Ben Blau has the most baffling OOTW routine I have ever seen and it's the only one I use. If it's in the book, you're in for a treat, if not, you're in for a treat anyway."
Message: Posted by: Craig Logan (Apr 13, 2016 08:19AM)
So, I finally got a chance to see Ben perform a few selections from Asymptotes (his OOTW and Ishin Denshin among others). I must say they were all wonderful. They were layered, fooling, and most importantly entertaining. Great effects from a genuinely nice fellow. I cannot speak highly enough of his thinking in regards to mentalism. He seamlessly layers methods into the presentations in a way that is quite disarming. If you have the coin, I recommend you pick this up. When I have the coin, I most certainly will.

Cheers,
Craig
Message: Posted by: pnerd (Apr 15, 2016 08:57AM)
[quote]A couple of years ago, I released a video project ("The Ben Blau Project") that was very well-received. Two of the routines from that project are available for viewing on YouTube.[/quote]
Where can I get this video project from?
.
Message: Posted by: Dapperdan (Apr 15, 2016 09:17AM)
[quote]On Apr 15, 2016, pnerd wrote:
[quote]A couple of years ago, I released a video project ("The Ben Blau Project") that was very well-received. Two of the routines from that project are available for viewing on YouTube.[/quote]
Where can I get this video project from?
. [/quote]

pnerd... If I were a forum "troll", I'd say "Google it!" or "Search the forum!". But, I'm not... so here is where you can find Ben's work:
http://www.patrickredford.com/benblauproject.html
Message: Posted by: Craig Logan (Apr 15, 2016 10:02AM)
I would also add that this download is great. Well worth the 30 bucks for a packed 3 hour download. You won't be disappointed.
Message: Posted by: pnerd (Apr 15, 2016 10:28AM)
[quote]On Apr 15, 2016, Dapperdan wrote:
pnerd... If I were a forum "troll", I'd say "Google it!" or "Search the forum!". But, I'm not... so here is where you can find Ben's work:
http://www.patrickredford.com/benblauproject.html [/quote]
Thanks a lot.
.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Apr 15, 2016 03:45PM)
I've received a shipment of books today. If you'd like to order one, please visit:

http://www.benblaumentalism.com/

I'm currently taking orders for the continental U.S. only.

Thanks!

-Ben
Message: Posted by: wilko7 (Apr 18, 2016 09:29AM)
Hello all. I just wanted to chip in here. Since my original post a few weeks ago I have been working through the book. I was fortunate enough to have been sent a copy to read through prior to the release. All I can say is, you are in for a treat. It is full of workable, cleverly layered mentalism with cards. I have a few favourites from the book but I'm not going to go into too much detail. I'll leave it for you to all find your own favourites.
Sorry for this non review but I just wanted to document my praise for this great book.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Apr 18, 2016 08:50PM)
Thanks, Wilko!


FYI folks, I'm almost sold out on my first three crates of books. More will be on the way soon, but if you want your copy early, please contact me
ASAP at the website in my signature.

-Ben
Message: Posted by: gillesA4 (Apr 19, 2016 03:34AM)
Puliiize don't forget us, miserable overseas creatures...
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Apr 19, 2016 05:24AM)
[quote]On Apr 19, 2016, gillesA4 wrote:
Puliiize don't forget us, miserable overseas creatures... [/quote]

We have a printer in the UK who can ship to Belgium. In fact, we did this yesterday. Just PM me, and I'll give you the details.

-Ben
Message: Posted by: Daren (Apr 19, 2016 06:35AM)
Wish I would of known sooner about the UK printer, looks like I now need to wait until Murphys get them and then shipped across the pond, I'm sure it will be worth the wait though
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Apr 19, 2016 07:36AM)
Murphy's should have them any day now.
Message: Posted by: pancho247 (Apr 20, 2016 03:04PM)
[quote]On Apr 10, 2016, TazBo wrote:
Can be pre ordered at Alakazam UK also:

http://www.alakazam.co.uk/product-Asymptotes-by-Ben-Blau-.html [/quote]
When do you think they will have them in stock?
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Apr 22, 2016 06:06PM)
Many of the online vendors have sold out of their first stock of ASYMPTOTES during the preorder phase. They plan to have more stock available by May 4.

I have exactly two copies left in my personal inventory, although I have placed an order for another two crates of books (which should arrive any day now).

If you'd like to get a copy as quickly as possible, please place your order by visiting the website in my signature.

Thanks!

-Ben
Message: Posted by: Mike Ince (Apr 23, 2016 01:09PM)
“We are what we read,” said author David McCullough, as surely millions recognized before him. What we take into our eyes and ears shapes us, and we reflect the sum total of our experiences until we are reshaped by new ones. As a fan of Martin Gardner, Phil Goldstein, Paul Curry, and Eddie Joseph, Ben Blau features variations and perhaps a few improvements on published effects of those greats in his new book, ASYMPTOTES. If you aren’t familiar with those names yet (you probably ought to be), this book might compel you to read the magic books Ben’s been reading.

Ben clearly loves logic and hidden mathematics, appreciates self-working effects, and has a different skill set than an average sleight-of-hand guy might have. I don’t believe there’s a double-lift called for anywhere in this work. That’s not to say no sleights are required. The moves Ben teaches, which are conveniently described in the “Utilities” section located in the back pages, are easily within the reach of beginners. I learned new handlings of old sleights that I expect to use for years to come. There are plenty of helpful pictures provided along with the descriptions. For mysterious reasons I’ve developed a tremor in my left hand in the past year and I can’t even pinky count anymore, yet I had no trouble performing the necessary actions while reading these effects. Many of these routines required little more than an easy false cut and a motivated glimpse.

I received a review copy of ASYMPTOTES from the editor almost two weeks ago. I wanted to jump to a particular effect description immediately. Out of This World is my favorite card effect. I collect variations. When I read positive online comments about Ben’s routine called “A Pale Blue”, I wanted to see it.

There are compromises in all magic and mental effects – the key is to minimize them or make them invisible. “A Pale Blue” has the performer holding the deck. The handling is fair; there are no switches or suspicious movements, but it’s easier for the performer to follow the participant’s commands yet still maintain a degree of control. Perhaps it’s not quite as strong for that reason, as many of the best OOTW performances leave an impression that the performer didn’t handle the deck, but “A Pale Blue” has advantages over most other OOTW procedures. The deck is normal. At the outset, the cards can be legitimately shuffled by the participant then shown face-up to be mixed. There are no switches halfway through the dealing procedure, and there’s no “clean up” needed at the end. As great as all that is, the pace of the procedure can be a bit slower than, say, Eugene Burger’s handling of Grant’s “Nu-Way Out of This World”, so you’ll need to experiment until you find the right pace. I do like Ben’s work here.

Ben Blau’s card creations are mysteries crafted for the right moment. These effects weren't designed for strolling gigs. While I consider a few to be workers (“Con-Centration”, parts of “ESPilon”, maybe “Send it Down”, and an up-close magic square handling I’ll use called “Pocket Square”), others will fare better across the table in a coffee shop, after dinner, or in a time and place where your participants can slow down and savor the experience.

For example, “Sort of the Truth” is an alternate handling of Phil Goldstein’s “Out of Sorts”. During the routine, a card is thought of and removed by the participant under test conditions, then she adds it into a shuffled packet of fifteen or so cards. The cards are dealt, and she guesses which of four piles contains her card. This phase is repeated twice, and then she deals and the performer guesses its location correctly in the third and final phase, culminating with a surprise. (Mr. Blau wisely doesn’t explain how the effect works. If you really want to know, try it face-up and you’ll figure it out.) I showed this routine to my friend Julie, who's seen plenty of card effects, and she enjoyed guessing which pile held her card, maybe because she did well twice in a row and it confirmed what we already suspected: she's a psychic rock star. The next day my magician friend John guessed wrong many times during that phase, leaving him discouraged. He didn’t enjoy the routine as much. He complained that the procedure was just a bit too long, something I don’t think he would have said had he guessed right. As a reader, I enjoyed this self-working effect and I think you’ll enjoy performing it for yourself first, and then for others. Though based on Phil Goldstein’s effect, this morphed into something substantially different from the original in theme and handling. Judging by Max Maven’s brief but glowing forward of this book, I believe Mr. Goldstein would approve.

I want this to be a fair review, and I do have one or two complaints. Magic, mentalism, and mental card magic are best when they’re straightforward. Add procedure, especially unjustified procedure, and you risk killing wonder. For example, “ESPilon” is a three-phase Zener card routine. The procedure involved in Phase 3 of this effect is burdensome to the participant. I don’t care that Martin Gardner published it or that it’s self-working. It is not efficient. It requires the participant to do a quick counting process of seven cards, but repeated SIX TIMES. Maybe it’s just me, but it made me groan. It was like watching the 21-card-trick in Magician's Purgatory with my eyelids stapled open. I won’t use it. But Phases 1 and 2? Brilliant. I love them! It’s outstanding work, and those phases stand on their own. I don’t understand how the man who created the first two solid phases thought the third phase was worthy to follow them as written? I don't know about his audiences, but mine detest unnecessary labor almost as much as I do. I'll treat Phase 3 like the Star Wars prequels and pretend it never happened. If you own ASYMPTOTES, you might consider using equivoque in Phase 3 to help the participant find that one card out of seven in a fair and faster way. Again, maybe it really is just me. Whether you agree about the last phase, the author writes that you may conclude at the end of Phase 2, probably because it's so strong. There's no need to follow it.

At times the editor, Thomas Baxter, gives input for simplified, more straightforward handlings. Tom’s ending for “Creepfest” makes more sense to me. Simplify, simplify. Mr. Baxter’s handling of “Ishin-Denshin” helps avoid an anti-climactic ending. Ben made a great choice of editor in Tom Baxter, a seasoned, professional performer with a knack for problem-solving and technical writing.

Let's talk about tone. Sometimes it's relaxed and playful, sometimes it sounds a bit puffy (to me). In “Sort of the Truth”, the performer “asks a volunteer if he is familiar with the term, "double-blind" as it is used in scientific testing. He elaborates that for an experiment to be truly double-blind, even the experimenter himself must not be aware of the variable being tested.” I think one has to tread carefully explaining what double blind means without being patronizing. Explaining too little might be safer than presuming the need to explain a lot. Asking, “are you familiar with the term, 'double-blind'?", might come across as, “are you uneducated? Let me enlighten your simple mind.” I’d prefer the performer not to ask that question, but to embed his statement with a reminder. “This is a double-blind test, so neither of us should know the location of your card...”.

Don't be put off... there's strong material in this book. This isn't a perfect collection and I've never found one, but my few qualms aside, if you like mental card magic or mentalism with cards, this book contains strong examples of both. There are impossible locations (see “The Jackal”), ACAAN variations, including thought-of-card-to-thought-of-number demonstrations that would fool even you, a Ten Card Poker Deal worthy of your attention, predictions (I like “@” very much), as well as playful pieces like “Con-Centration” that will take you back to childhood games and dangle you upside down by your ankles. In the often heavy universe of mentalism, gravity can crush. A playful mindset is a good thing. Mr. Blau understands this.

There’s so much material in this book, and I’ve already written a lot. Trying to read this book over the last two weeks has been a challenge; there’s too much here, and I promised to post a review by the weekend. This review is not exhaustive. I can’t imagine your buying this book, reading it, and not getting your money’s worth. For me, “Pocket Square”, “@”, “A Pale Blue”, “Con-Centration”, “ESPilon”, and “Josephine” scratch the surface of the fine material I can see myself using. Even with my new (and hopefully temporary) physical disabilities in my left arm and hand, I’m confident I can do these. There are several effects I haven't addressed that I want to study more closely, as time permits.

ASYMPTOTES is a clearly written and unique collection of mental card effects from a creative mind with an appreciation for the arcane – Ben values subtlety over skill, and I enjoyed peering into this book to read his thoughts. If you’re into mental effects with cards, I think there’s something in this book for you.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Apr 23, 2016 03:29PM)
Thanks, Mike, for taking the time to post your initial impressions of ASYMPTOTES.

It's a LOT to read and ingest in just two weeks. Undoubtedly, some of the material will initially "speak" to you and your own performance sensibilities more than others.

It's very difficult to convey in writing the aspects of how I use my character and personality to overcome certain issues faced in performance, such as those you encountered when you performed "Sort Of The Truth" for your magician friend. The solution to the problem you faced is not in the instructions for the trick, and must be provided by the performer him/herself.

It is my hope that readers come to this book with that understanding.

I really appreciate your thoughtful feedback. On a personal note, I'd like to urge you to keep working on SOTT. Don't perform it for magicians (they view tricks with their own preconceptions and impose their own performance values on them). And the "wrong" guesses can be handled in such a way as to strengthen the premise, and make it not only fun for the audience, but all the more astonishing when the performer merely names the thought-of card at the end.

Thanks again, Mike!
Message: Posted by: BMWGuy (Apr 24, 2016 01:29AM)
Hey guys,

I agree with Mike.

At first read, A Pale Blue to me didn't read as good as I thought it was.

Then I Skyped with Ben, he showed it to me, it made sense, it was well structured, and logical.

I can now say that I have performed this OOTW about a dozen or so times since learning it, and it is now my go to OOTW.

I even showed some of my magic buddies, and totally floored them, secret is safe with me.

I believe the book on its own is worth it for A Pale Blue, but you will get a lot more than the asking price.

I vouch that every single person will learn at least two to three effects or moves that they will perform at one point or another.

I know I have.

Thanks Ben.

Alex Alejandro
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Apr 24, 2016 09:33AM)
Thanks so much, Alex.

It's interesting that the effect you've named as being "worth the price of the book" is the very one you DIDN'T like when you first read it (!).

My advice? Don't be in too big a hurry to perform any of this material. If you're interested in one of the routines, take the time to study it, and understand it not only in a technical sense, but in a logical and theatrical sense. It may not be obvious at first.

;)

-Ben
Message: Posted by: Dapperdan (Apr 26, 2016 04:58PM)
Great to see Asymptotes as a banner ad on the Café! :)

I've had my book now for a week and have not had the time to do it justice. Hopefully soon!
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Apr 29, 2016 11:41AM)
Just wanted to let everyone know that I've just received another shipment of books, so they are once again available from me directly.

If interested, please visit the website in my signature.

Thanks!
Message: Posted by: King14 (May 1, 2016 08:54AM)
Where can this book be purchased in the UK??
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (May 1, 2016 09:14AM)
I think that pretty much all of the UK online dealers are selling it.

-Ben
Message: Posted by: pancho247 (May 1, 2016 02:50PM)
[quote]On May 1, 2016, Ben Blau wrote:
I think that pretty much all of the UK online dealers are selling it.

-Ben [/quote]

I think they have all sold out. From where I've looked anyway. Alakazam, magic books online, Saturn magic.,
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (May 1, 2016 03:47PM)
They should be resupplied by the first week of May. Keep checking back. I appreciate your patience!
Message: Posted by: King14 (May 2, 2016 07:50AM)
The book was never in stock at any off these dealers to be out off stock???
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (May 2, 2016 10:24AM)
My guess is that they all sold out during the preorder phase. I do know that the wholesaler has placed additional orders since then, which were intended to resupply all of the vendors.
Message: Posted by: tincture (May 5, 2016 08:43AM)
I'm hoping to pick this up!
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (May 5, 2016 11:12AM)
If you want to get the book sooner, I have some in stock. Go to the website in my signature to order.

-Ben
Message: Posted by: King14 (May 5, 2016 03:15PM)
UK online magic shops don't have a re-stock date. I think this is going to be the best book off the year.
Message: Posted by: magicianphiltay (May 6, 2016 07:37AM)
Got my copy delivered form Alakazam yesterday. I've read the first four tricks and already fell in love with CRIMSON CLUPEIDAE & SORT OF THE TRUTH, both impossible and both I will be working.

I can image this book getting book of the year 2016 and it becoming a classic, you know when you read a book how its going to pan out. My only hope is Ben doesn't release to many copies as I would like to fool a few magicians with the material within. But as they say not to many people read any-more and secretes are better kept in print.

I look forward to reading more...........

Thanks Ben for the realise.
Message: Posted by: King14 (May 6, 2016 10:04AM)
Do you know when Alakazam will be getting more stock? They are a great shop to deal with.
Message: Posted by: magicianphiltay (May 6, 2016 10:18AM)
Sorry I don't work for them. I just call the shop after placing my order.
Message: Posted by: Magical Dimensions (May 14, 2016 10:09AM)
I just was wondering........ After watching the video on the first page.......... Why would a mentalist SHUFFLE sooooooooooooo many times? This is what a magic trick looks like. Yes?


I know that my little picture over on the left shows me floating, and yes I was a magician for around 30 years. I've been in mentalism for the last ten and don't do any more magic. But at first glacé of the video, all I saw was a magician trying to make a card trick FIT into what he thinks mentalism is.

Just by using little phases with the words mind, influence, project your thoughts,, doesn't make card tricks mentalism. I am sorry but where is the mentalism? I couldn't watch all of the first video because the mentalist KEPT shuffling the cards...... Who does that other than a magician?

I understand that the key thing these days is mentalism and many magicians think that adding what they think is mentalism into their act (if they have one) makes them a mentalist. Uhhhhh it doesn't. Mentalism to me looks nothing like this? Now if I was still a card magician. I might be all over this book. It sounds like great card magic.



Ray
Message: Posted by: Jacob Smith (May 14, 2016 10:45AM)
Just got my copy yesterday! It's kind of nostalgic because I'm having memories come back to me about some of the early versions of the work in this book that Ben was developing when we first started chatting with one another. I remember getting a video or two a week of an effect demoed and being completely fooled literally 99% of the time!

I say all this because this isn't some half baked book of material from someone looking to make a quick buck, this is a tome of astounding mentalism they had been highly thought out by a very different mind!

I'll have a review up as soon as I make my way through it's jam packed 339 pages...

XX ,
-Jakob
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (May 14, 2016 11:04AM)
[quote]On May 14, 2016, Magical Dimensions wrote:
I just was wondering........ After watching the video on the first page.......... Why would a mentalist SHUFFLE sooooooooooooo many times? This is what a magic trick looks like. Yes?

Ray [/quote]

If you're referring to "Ishin-Denshin", the performer doesn't need to shuffle the cards at all. In the video, I shuffled them twice as the performer. The others were to mime the actions of the participant (since I was just demonstrating the effect).

If casual shuffles are not congruent with your character, you could skip them. If you just don't like the material, you won't hurt my feelings.

:)

-Ben
Message: Posted by: Robb (May 14, 2016 01:51PM)
[quote]On May 14, 2016, Magical Dimensions wrote:
I just was wondering........ After watching the video on the first page.......... Why would a mentalist SHUFFLE sooooooooooooo many times? This is what a magic trick looks like. Yes?


I know that my little picture over on the left shows me floating, and yes I was a magician for around 30 years. I've been in mentalism for the last ten and don't do any more magic. But at first glacé of the video, all I saw was a magician trying to make a card trick FIT into what he thinks mentalism is.

Just by using little phases with the words mind, influence, project your thoughts,, doesn't make card tricks mentalism. I am sorry but where is the mentalism? I couldn't watch all of the first video because the mentalist KEPT shuffling the cards...... Who does that other than a magician?

I understand that the key thing these days is mentalism and many magicians think that adding what they think is mentalism into their act (if they have one) makes them a mentalist. Uhhhhh it doesn't. Mentalism to me looks nothing like this? Now if I was still a card magician. I might be all over this book. It sounds like great card magic.

Ray [/quote]

Agree completely, Ray.

It's card magic, not mentalism. I don't think that a lot of guys can recognize the difference which is a problem in my eyes.

It's like saying country music is suddenly jazz because you include a diminshed 7th chord. Not the way it works.

I've been discussing this with Ben and others on various places. They want to know WHY it isn't mentalism.

My answer is because it lacks the emotional and dramatic impact of mentalism. There is no feeling that the choices being made (or any of the actions for that matter, including the cuts and shuffles) have any real process behind them. Procedure, yes, process, no. It FEELS like the spectator could have just said anything and the outcome would have been the same, which is of course the case.

Now, Ben says that the reactions have been amazing. Well, maybe from magicians, and maybe there is some element from lay people of, "Wow, how did that happen?", but that is not what makes a presentation mentalism. Mentalism isn't just a happy accident.

Just my opinion, as always.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (May 14, 2016 03:08PM)
[quote]On May 14, 2016, Robb wrote:
[quote]On May 14, 2016, Magical Dimensions wrote:
I just was wondering........ After watching the video on the first page.......... Why would a mentalist SHUFFLE sooooooooooooo many times? This is what a magic trick looks like. Yes?


I know that my little picture over on the left shows me floating, and yes I was a magician for around 30 years. I've been in mentalism for the last ten and don't do any more magic. But at first glacé of the video, all I saw was a magician trying to make a card trick FIT into what he thinks mentalism is.

Just by using little phases with the words mind, influence, project your thoughts,, doesn't make card tricks mentalism. I am sorry but where is the mentalism? I couldn't watch all of the first video because the mentalist KEPT shuffling the cards...... Who does that other than a magician?

I understand that the key thing these days is mentalism and many magicians think that adding what they think is mentalism into their act (if they have one) makes them a mentalist. Uhhhhh it doesn't. Mentalism to me looks nothing like this? Now if I was still a card magician. I might be all over this book. It sounds like great card magic.

Ray [/quote]

Agree completely, Ray.

It's card magic, not mentalism. I don't think that a lot of guys can recognize the difference which is a problem in my eyes.

It's like saying country music is suddenly jazz because you include a diminshed 7th chord. Not the way it works.

I've been discussing this with Ben and others on various places. They want to know WHY it isn't mentalism.

My answer is because it lacks the emotional and dramatic impact of mentalism. There is no feeling that the choices being made (or any of the actions for that matter, including the cuts and shuffles) have any real process behind them. Procedure, yes, process, no. It FEELS like the spectator could have just said anything and the outcome would have been the same, which is of course the case.

Now, Ben says that the reactions have been amazing. Well, maybe from magicians, and maybe there is some element from lay people of, "Wow, how did that happen?", but that is not what makes a presentation mentalism. Mentalism isn't just a happy accident.

Just my opinion, as always. [/quote]

As I've stated, I'm fine with you having this opinion. However, just for the record, you are not the final authority on defining what is or is not mentalism. You have a certain philosophy, and that's great. But I really doubt that Max Maven would have written the foreword to ASYMPTOTES if he felt that it wasn't mentalism.

I could do a whole bunch more name-dropping at this point of famous mentalists (far more well-known than you) who have contacted me to praise my work, but I will refrain.

You have made your point. But in my view, you're too entrenched in a dogmatic way of thinking. You have no idea what my general narrative is as a performer, and (understandably) lack the context in which to consider my material. Obviously, you don't see it as being suitable for you. Great! Fine!

But others DO, and to them this IS mentalism.

It certainly is to me. I could explain my reasoning within the context of my narrative and personal performance philosophy, but I can see that devolving into an uglier debate in this thread. I don't want to see that happen.

I have reached out to you privately, offered to let you watch other videos of mine, and to talk about what I believe is important in mentalism. You've ignored me.

As you've done on Facebook, you seem to be on a mission to dissuade others from appreciating this work.

My advice to them is to follow their own instincts, and decide for themselves whether or not my material is suitable for their character.

-Ben
Message: Posted by: brehaut (May 14, 2016 03:35PM)
If using playing cards is not for you when performing mentalism---fine. I don't understand the bashing of this book. I'm not a fan of readings. I have my reasons and I know some love using readings in their performances. Just because they are not for me I don't go around bashing any effects or material using readings.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (May 14, 2016 03:44PM)
[quote]On May 14, 2016, brehaut wrote:
If using playing cards is not for you when performing mentalism---fine. I don't understand the bashing of this book. I'm not a fan of readings. I have my reasons and I know some love using readings in their performances. Just because they are not for me I don't go around bashing any effects or material using readings. [/quote]

Same here. There are plenty of mentalists out there (some of whom are high-profile) whose acts and material I just don't "get". But going out of my way to bash them would be the height of hubris. Just because I don't get it, it certainly doesn't mean I'm right.
Message: Posted by: The_March_Hare (May 14, 2016 03:50PM)
[quote]On May 14, 2016, Robb wrote:
[quote]On May 14, 2016, Magical Dimensions wrote:
I just was wondering........ After watching the video on the first page.......... Why would a mentalist SHUFFLE sooooooooooooo many times? This is what a magic trick looks like. Yes?


I know that my little picture over on the left shows me floating, and yes I was a magician for around 30 years. I've been in mentalism for the last ten and don't do any more magic. But at first glacé of the video, all I saw was a magician trying to make a card trick FIT into what he thinks mentalism is.

Just by using little phases with the words mind, influence, project your thoughts,, doesn't make card tricks mentalism. I am sorry but where is the mentalism? I couldn't watch all of the first video because the mentalist KEPT shuffling the cards...... Who does that other than a magician?

I understand that the key thing these days is mentalism and many magicians think that adding what they think is mentalism into their act (if they have one) makes them a mentalist. Uhhhhh it doesn't. Mentalism to me looks nothing like this? Now if I was still a card magician. I might be all over this book. It sounds like great card magic.

Ray [/quote]

Agree completely, Ray.

It's card magic, not mentalism. I don't think that a lot of guys can recognize the difference which is a problem in my eyes.

It's like saying country music is suddenly jazz because you include a diminshed 7th chord. Not the way it works.

I've been discussing this with Ben and others on various places. They want to know WHY it isn't mentalism.

My answer is because it lacks the emotional and dramatic impact of mentalism. There is no feeling that the choices being made (or any of the actions for that matter, including the cuts and shuffles) have any real process behind them. Procedure, yes, process, no. It FEELS like the spectator could have just said anything and the outcome would have been the same, which is of course the case.

Now, Ben says that the reactions have been amazing. Well, maybe from magicians, and maybe there is some element from lay people of, "Wow, how did that happen?", but that is not what makes a presentation mentalism. Mentalism isn't just a happy accident.

Just my opinion, as always. [/quote]

The problem with your "opinion" is that it seems to have not been written from the perspective of a mentalist but rather a magician. I'm glad that you, single handed get to define what is and is not mentalism. Max Maven, Sean Waters, Mark Elsdon, Marc Salem, etc. must not have gotten the memo that you wrote out to everyone putting such a strict definition upon what is and is not mentalism because your strict guidelines would exclude they work too (not to mention their endorsements of this book). Why would a mentalist "shuffle the cards so much", gee I don't know. Why would someone testing for ESP use ESP cards and shuffle so much. You seriously need to read or watch Persi Diaconis work on randomness or perhaps take an academically valid statistics course.

Furthermore your comments about this have had nothing to do with Ben's current book, but rather a half finished routine that he made the mistake of ever sharing publicly where someone like you would take it and use it to cast doubt on his entire body of work. He made it clear when he posted it, that it was a half finished routine that he posted in order to get feedback. Another major mistake that he must have made, was accepting anyone into the private facebook group that he created in order to encourage people to discuss his routines when many of these supposed "critics" have admitted to never having ever purchased, nor read his book. So yes, lets debate a book that we haven't read, that Max Maven has written a forward of and rather just burn it in a pile of books like many other fascists have done in years past - all because it doesn't fit some definition of mentalism that we made up in our minds.

When you discuss things like "emotional and dramatic impact", you are truly discussing your abilities or lack thereof, to create original scripts. It isn't Ben's responsibility to write your scripts for you. If you want different creative twists and turns than you need to write them into the script. It shouldn't be about the method (at least if you were a true mentalist it shouldn't be). If you don't think that it's dramatic enough, that's because of your lack of knowledge with scripting and presentation. However your original criticism on facebook wasn't that it lacked emotional and dramatic impact, so please lets be honest. Your original criticism was that it was "too long" and you wanted it to be more direct. You wanted it to be like "think of this... boom this is what you are thinking of" and that is not what a mentalist is, nor what a mentalist does. I can cite you Derren Brown, Caleb Strange, and many other great performers who disagree with you and specifically point to mentalism as being specifically longer and that is what makes it mentalism, NOT MAGIC. If you want these short, hit and run 'tricks' rather than read mentalism then please see the $5 section on whatever your favorite magic trick website is but that's not mentalism.

Ben performs for real world people, not magicians. He has performed for magicians at a local magic shop but mostly he performs for real people in the real world. His material is tried and tested. To cite the Great Max Maven (someone who we are all in debt to), "This is smart material, for smart people... Clearly, when it comes to theatrical mystery, Ben Blau aspires to perfection."

Yours,
RM

PS: This has nothing to do with you not liking the book. Many of the routines are not for me either but I think that it's rather rude to around, take time out of your day, to trash the book on numerous places across the internet. If you wanted to say that it wasn't for you and give reasons for such, fine. Nobody has a problem with that, not even Ben but trashing someone else's work with vague comments and ill informed categorization is discourteous. It makes great creators to not want to publish their work and put themselves out there.
Message: Posted by: Robb (May 14, 2016 05:45PM)
Wow, so touchy! In any case, I was not referring to the book but the single video that Ray was referencing. Chill out man. The book may very well be chock full of great mentalism routines. Don't know, haven't read it. But the video in question, in my eyes, is not a mentalism presentation.

You really are mischaracterizing my criticism. You should learn to separate what a person is actually saying from your knee jerk reactions.
Message: Posted by: IAIN (May 14, 2016 05:50PM)
...on the naughty step NOW! all three of you!...

:wow:
Message: Posted by: Robb (May 14, 2016 05:57PM)
RM: "The problem with your "opinion" is that it seems to have not been written from the perspective of a mentalist but rather a magician. I'm glad that you, single handed get to define what is and is not mentalism."

Nope, I'm a mentalist only. Never performed magic except as a kid. And yes, we ALL get to define what mentalism is. Naturally, the definitions will vary. Mine requires what I said... Emotion, drama, mystery, direct, etc. If your idea of mentalism doesn't include these things, that's ok with me. If you believe the routine being discussed (as demonstrated in the video) includes those elements, that is also a matter of perception, isn't it?

I will agree with you on one point: it was probably unnecessary and rude to comment yet again on my feelings about this demonstration, so I apologize to Ben for that. I'm certain he's written a great book and I hope he sells a boat load.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (May 14, 2016 06:07PM)
Still not clear on which video you were referencing. The one on the first page of this thread was a demonstration of "Ishin-Denshin". Is that the one? Or were you referring to the ESP match-up I posted elsewhere?
Message: Posted by: Robb (May 14, 2016 06:43PM)
Wow, yeah, it was the ESP match up routine. Sorry, confused them. I actually like the one you shared on the first page, that is much more interesting to me. Still a little on the procedural side for me. I tend to see things through the lens of performing for a group, not one on one, so I'm a little skewed in that way as well.

But yeah, this one strikes me much more as a true mentalism piece. Ironic, given it uses playing cards whereas the other one uses ESP cards. This one feels it's much more about the participant and what is going on between your minds and that is not lost or diluted by an overly long and complicated procedure as I felt it was in the ESP matchup routine.

Sorry, Ben, I should have checked to confirm that Ray was referencing the same video.
Message: Posted by: Robb (May 15, 2016 10:34AM)
I don't know that your material overall isn't for me. I was only discussing two specific videos... And like I said, I think I was overly opinionated in my critique. I am always hesitant to evaluate others performances because I know how important confidence in what we're doing is and I don't want to be the guy to throw doubts into someone's head. That said, you did say that the routine was a work in progress so I was coming from that angle as well, trying to offer something constructive but it failed to come off that way.
Message: Posted by: The_March_Hare (May 15, 2016 04:39PM)
:-)
Message: Posted by: John C (May 15, 2016 06:34PM)
I am liking ishin-denshin. Nice stuff Ben. Real nice.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (May 16, 2016 10:40PM)
[quote]On May 15, 2016, John C wrote:
I am liking ishin-denshin. Nice stuff Ben. Real nice. [/quote]

Absolutely one of my favorites. Knowing this routine is infinite power. Since it's completely
impromptu and relies only on subtlety, you can pull off a miracle any time a deck of cards happens to be handy!

Thanks, John!
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (May 16, 2016 10:43PM)
This evening, I received an email from Eugene Burger (in regard to the ESP match-up routine, "UNFAZED"). Here is what he wrote:

"Hi Ben

Thanks so much for sending this to me. It is a wonderful routine and very deceptive. In fact, it fooled me completely the first time around -- and bewildered me the second viewing...

...I am a bit awed that you figured this all out!

I love your work. It is so clever and deceptive. Do send me anything else you think I might enjoy. You are very creative!

Best always, Eugene"

To be fair, he did indicate that he believes the routine is currently too long, which is something I was already aware of from the beginning. Nevertheless, tightening it up is my task to accomplish, and it WILL be accomplished. Now that I've had the opportunity to perform this a couple dozen times, I'm convinced of its effectiveness. There's just denying the reactions it's been getting.

"UNFAZED" is not in ASYMPTOTES, and I'm not yet sure if or how it will be published. I am releasing a custom symbol deck soon, so it will perhaps be released as part of that project.

-Ben
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (May 16, 2016 10:48PM)
[quote]On May 16, 2016, Ben Blau wrote:
[quote]On May 15, 2016, John C wrote:
I am liking ishin-denshin. Nice stuff Ben. Real nice. [/quote]

Absolutely one of my favorites. Knowing this routine is infinite power. Since it's completely
impromptu and relies only on subtlety, you can pull off a miracle any time a deck of cards happens to be handy!

Thanks, John! [/quote]

I meant to type "intimate power", not "infinite". Although infinite power would be nice!
:rotf: :rotf:
Message: Posted by: Dapperdan (May 17, 2016 07:43AM)
[quote]On May 16, 2016, Ben Blau wrote:
This evening, I received an email from Eugene Burger (in regard to the ESP match-up routine, "UNFAZED"). Here is what he wrote:

"Hi Ben

Thanks so much for sending this to me. It is a wonderful routine and very deceptive. In fact, it fooled me completely the first time around -- and bewildered me the second viewing...

...I am a bit awed that you figured this all out!

I love your work. It is so clever and deceptive. Do send me anything else you think I might enjoy. You are very creative!

Best always, Eugene"

To be fair, he did indicate that he believes the routine is currently too long, which is something I was already aware of from the beginning. Nevertheless, tightening it up is my task to accomplish, and it WILL be accomplished. Now that I've had the opportunity to perform this a couple dozen times, I'm convinced of its effectiveness. There's just denying the reactions it's been getting.

"UNFAZED" is not in ASYMPTOTES, and I'm not yet sure if or how it will be published. I am releasing a custom symbol deck soon, so it will perhaps be released as part of that project.

-Ben [/quote]

I have to agree, Ben! Very fun and straightforward routine! Brilliant in its simplicity! I have no doubt people will be chomping at the bit if and when you release it! Cheers!
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (May 17, 2016 02:28PM)
After sending Eugene the method to "UNFAZED", he wrote back:

"Hi Ben

Thanks for sending this. Watching the explanation cleared up some confusion I had in trying to reconstruct it. I must say that this is a truly wonderful routine that I just may begin performing. I really like it. So deceptive and a terrific ending. I am so impressed! Thanks again, Eugene"

I'm basically speechless!
Message: Posted by: mattH (May 21, 2016 01:46AM)
Hi Ben
I was wondering if you had any news on UK supplies. I suspect there are a few magicians waiting for the restock? Can you have a word with the wholesaler. I for one am looking every day but the whole of the UK is out of stock! Got to get those sales coming In?
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (May 21, 2016 09:06AM)
[quote]On May 21, 2016, mattH wrote:
Hi Ben
I was wondering if you had any news on UK supplies. I suspect there are a few magicians waiting for the restock? Can you have a word with the wholesaler. I for one am looking every day but the whole of the UK is out of stock! Got to get those sales coming In? [/quote]

I do know that the wholesaler has placed several orders. My only guess is that the preorder demand was underestimated, and that they are fulfilling all of the back orders.

I am not happy about the situation, but I can arrange to have the book shipped anywhere in the world. My publisher has a plant in the UK, and we can have a book sent directly to you. Send me a PM and we can arrange this right away.

Thanks!!!
Message: Posted by: John C (May 21, 2016 01:05PM)
[quote]On May 14, 2016, Robb wrote:
[quote]On May 14, 2016, Magical Dimensions wrote:
I just was wondering........ After watching the video on the first page.......... Why would a mentalist SHUFFLE sooooooooooooo many times? This is what a magic trick looks like. Yes?


I know that my little picture over on the left shows me floating, and yes I was a magician for around 30 years. I've been in mentalism for the last ten and don't do any more magic. But at first glacé of the video, all I saw was a magician trying to make a card trick FIT into what he thinks mentalism is.

Just by using little phases with the words mind, influence, project your thoughts,, doesn't make card tricks mentalism. I am sorry but where is the mentalism? I couldn't watch all of the first video because the mentalist KEPT shuffling the cards...... Who does that other than a magician?

I understand that the key thing these days is mentalism and many magicians think that adding what they think is mentalism into their act (if they have one) makes them a mentalist. Uhhhhh it doesn't. Mentalism to me looks nothing like this? Now if I was still a card magician. I might be all over this book. It sounds like great card magic.

Ray [/quote]

Agree completely, Ray.

It's card magic, not mentalism. I don't think that a lot of guys can recognize the difference which is a problem in my eyes.

It's like saying country music is suddenly jazz because you include a diminshed 7th chord. Not the way it works.

I've been discussing this with Ben and others on various places. They want to know WHY it isn't mentalism.

My answer is because it lacks the emotional and dramatic impact of mentalism. There is no feeling that the choices being made (or any of the actions for that matter, including the cuts and shuffles) have any real process behind them. Procedure, yes, process, no. It FEELS like the spectator could have just said anything and the outcome would have been the same, which is of course the case.

Now, Ben says that the reactions have been amazing. Well, maybe from magicians, and maybe there is some element from lay people of, "Wow, how did that happen?", but that is not what makes a presentation mentalism. Mentalism isn't just a happy accident.

Just my opinion, as always. [/quote]


Just your opinion certainly. I hope others understand this is your opinion and from that form their own opinion.

"most" any card trick can be performed as mentalism. This isn't my opinion it's more of a fact. If I have to explain this here then whomever needs to read the explanation won't get it anyway.

So, that's all I have to say on that.

Ben's stuff is a blueprint in my mind. Lots of ideas and methods put together in various ways that most of us haven't thought of or are too busy to think of.

I like his thinking a lot. What he offers isn't CEMENT. it's more like porous gravel or like a rubber cement that can be moved around until it's positioned correctly for a more permanent working, yet not permanent for eternity.

Why do some posts begin as grievances or jealousy then end with "just my opinion!" I mean why not start off with saying, "I respect Ben's work and the fact that he put in the time and discipline to publish his work for the rest of us. I haven't read it yet but geez it could be good."

Or at least, "My work is much better, here's a FREE sample download ... MYWORK.PDF

Instead of "IT'S CARD MAGIC, NOT MENTALISM!" sounds like a definite statement of fact to me.

And I'm a musician too and the analogy to country and jazz is pretty lame. (my opinion of course!)hahaha

Like a master mentalist - who does use PLAYING cards BTW - always says.....

Keep the change,

j
Message: Posted by: IAIN (May 21, 2016 04:30PM)
[quote]On May 21, 2016, John C wrote:

"most" any card trick can be performed as mentalism. This isn't my opinion it's more of a fact. If I have to explain this here then whomever needs to read the explanation won't get it anyway.
[/quote]

you might have to explain it to me, cos I certainly don't think that its more of a fact...its an opinion...and its mine that too many people would agree with you John
:cry: :)
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (May 21, 2016 10:52PM)
Some people just can't get past the idea that playing cards can be used effectively in mentalism. Obviously, I don't share this opinion. The cards, in and of themselves, are just things. Some of the most impressive mentalism I've ever seen uses playing cards. And most of the least impressive mentalism I've ever seen uses the ubiquitous staples of the typical mentalist's toolset. Cards are NOT the problem.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (May 23, 2016 11:46PM)
FYI -

Some of the online vendors are have now been resupplied with copies of ASYMPTOTES.

For those of you who have been waiting, it appears that they are now avialable.

-Ben
Message: Posted by: Zedd (Jun 5, 2016 04:01AM)
I've worked my way nearly through - WOW, what a great book!!!!!! I give it a 11 out of 10!!!!!!

Please keep going, Ben!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Best regards,

Zedd
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jun 5, 2016 09:28AM)
[quote]On Jun 5, 2016, Zedd wrote:
I've worked my way nearly through - WOW, what a great book!!!!!! I give it a 11 out of 10!!!!!!

Please keep going, Ben!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Best regards,

Zedd [/quote]

Thank you, Zedd! I've got some things in the works that I think you'll really enjoy!

-Ben
Message: Posted by: John C (Jun 5, 2016 09:36AM)
[quote]On May 21, 2016, IAIN wrote:
[quote]On May 21, 2016, John C wrote:

"most" any card trick can be performed as mentalism. This isn't my opinion it's more of a fact. If I have to explain this here then whomever needs to read the explanation won't get it anyway.
[/quote]

you might have to explain it to me, cos I certainly don't think that its more of a fact...its an opinion...

and its mine that too many people would agree with you John
:cry: :) [/quote]

I guess you wouldn't get it anyway. ;)
Message: Posted by: John C (Jun 5, 2016 09:36AM)
[quote]On May 21, 2016, Ben Blau wrote:
Some people just can't get past the idea that playing cards can be used effectively in mentalism. Obviously, I don't share this opinion. The cards, in and of themselves, are just things. Some of the most impressive mentalism I've ever seen uses playing cards. And most of the least impressive mentalism I've ever seen uses the ubiquitous staples of the typical mentalist's toolset. Cards are NOT the problem. [/quote]

I agree 100%
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Jun 5, 2016 09:49AM)
It's not the playing cards. It's the tedious process. And yes, tedious process is not limited to playing cards but it's use with them fascinates magicians.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jun 5, 2016 08:48PM)
[quote]On Jun 5, 2016, Tom Cutts wrote:
It's not the playing cards. It's the tedious process. And yes, tedious process is not limited to playing cards but it's use with them fascinates magicians. [/quote]

I'm not against there being a "process", unless it's illogical or unmotivated. It's quite possible for a process to be engaging, and fun for the participant. A process that seems to exist for no apparent reason is obviously problematic. Assuming that an effect has a technical requirement for a process doesn't make it bad. The performer needs to apply his/her talent and creativity to make the process congruent with the theatrical intentions of the performance.

-Ben
Message: Posted by: Robb (Jun 6, 2016 02:32PM)
Well fellas, just wanted to mention "process" is different from procedure. What I don't like is overly complicated *procedures* with a ton of shuffling, dealing, etc. Anything that focuses attention to long on the cards (or any prop in play). The *process* is the act of the participants doing the thing they're doing: reading minds, predicting the future, etc. The process is what we often overlook and leaves a routine feeling flat... nothing seems to be happening in the minds of either the mentalist, the participant or both. The process might be subtle or overt, but it needs to be there. Otherwise, no drama, no emotion, no hook.

Procedure should almost always be kept to a minimum as it's not what the routine is about, but sometimes it's unavoidable due to method constraints or the necessary setup for the process to unfold.

Ben, I'm curious, do you do *other* types of mentalism routines, that don't involve cards (playing cards or otherwise)?
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jun 6, 2016 02:44PM)
[quote]On Jun 6, 2016, Robb wrote:

Ben, I'm curious, do you do *other* types of mentalism routines, that don't involve cards (playing cards or otherwise)? [/quote]

Yes. But why do you care?
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jun 6, 2016 02:51PM)
[quote]On Jun 6, 2016, Robb wrote:
Well fellas, just wanted to mention "process" is different from procedure. What I don't like is overly complicated *procedures* with a ton of shuffling, dealing, etc. Anything that focuses attention to long on the cards (or any prop in play). The *process* is the act of the participants doing the thing they're doing: reading minds, predicting the future, etc. The process is what we often overlook and leaves a routine feeling flat... nothing seems to be happening in the minds of either the mentalist, the participant or both. The process might be subtle or overt, but it needs to be there. Otherwise, no drama, no emotion, no hook.

Procedure should almost always be kept to a minimum as it's not what the routine is about, but sometimes it's unavoidable due to method constraints or the necessary setup for the process to unfold.

[/quote]

"Procedures" such as shuffling and dealing are congruent with establishing conditions, and providing clarity with regard to a participant's choices. Again, if something is illogical or unmotivated, it's a problem. But shuffling and dealing, in and of themselves, are not. Some of the most spectacular mentalism I've ever seen involves decks of cards being shuffled and dealt. Besides, you're leaving out the most important detail, which is how the performer ties all these actions together. It can be done well, and it can be done poorly.

-Ben
Message: Posted by: Robb (Jun 6, 2016 04:06PM)
[quote]On Jun 6, 2016, Ben Blau wrote:
[quote]On Jun 6, 2016, Robb wrote:

Ben, I'm curious, do you do *other* types of mentalism routines, that don't involve cards (playing cards or otherwise)? [/quote]

Yes. But why do you care? [/quote]

Just curious. Nothing good or bad about it either way.
Message: Posted by: Robb (Jun 6, 2016 04:11PM)
[quote]On Jun 6, 2016, Ben Blau wrote:
[quote]On Jun 6, 2016, Robb wrote:
Well fellas, just wanted to mention "process" is different from procedure. What I don't like is overly complicated *procedures* with a ton of shuffling, dealing, etc. Anything that focuses attention to long on the cards (or any prop in play). The *process* is the act of the participants doing the thing they're doing: reading minds, predicting the future, etc. The process is what we often overlook and leaves a routine feeling flat... nothing seems to be happening in the minds of either the mentalist, the participant or both. The process might be subtle or overt, but it needs to be there. Otherwise, no drama, no emotion, no hook.

Procedure should almost always be kept to a minimum as it's not what the routine is about, but sometimes it's unavoidable due to method constraints or the necessary setup for the process to unfold.

[/quote]

"Procedures" such as shuffling and dealing are congruent with establishing conditions, and providing clarity with regard to a participant's choices. Again, if something is illogical or unmotivated, it's a problem. But shuffling and dealing, in and of themselves, are not. Some of the most spectacular mentalism I've ever seen involves decks of cards being shuffled and dealt. Besides, you're leaving out the most important detail, which is how the performer ties all these actions together. It can be done well, and it can be done poorly.

-Ben [/quote]

Hey man, I did say a TON of shuffling, dealing, etc. Obviously some amount is necessary for card work. Though, heck, half the time I could just skip the shuffling and it wouldn't affect the routine impact in the least. Sometimes it's even psycholgically advantageous to make virtually zero effort at establishing conditions. I find that if my internal state is one of a complete lack of concern for "fairness" the participant senses that and it's more convincing than physically establishing anything... *** Sometimes! ***
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Jun 6, 2016 06:54PM)
FYI, "process" and "procedure" are synonymous and I use them as such. The actions taken by a participant to arrive at a selection, thought, etc. shuffle the cards... Cut the cards... Shuffle the cards... Now cut them this way.... Deal them out on the table... Let me peek at them... Pick one... I will pair up some cards but not matching... Now cut them again how I showed you... And so forth.
Message: Posted by: Robb (Jun 6, 2016 07:17PM)
[quote]On Jun 6, 2016, Tom Cutts wrote:
FYI, "process" and "procedure" are synonymous and I use them as such. The actions taken by a participant to arrive at a selection, thought, etc. [/quote]

Well, that's your prerogative. Most guys I know regard the terms of specific to two different aspects of performance. Ross Johnson did reference the fact that many are not aware of the usage of the terms in his Penguin lecture. I think it's important to differentiate them.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jun 6, 2016 07:53PM)
In the context of a mentalism performance, these terms are most definitely not used in the same sense. "Procedure" refers to physical actions and steps carried out. "Process" is the apparent means by which the claimed ability is achieved (e.g., pseudo-telepathy, muscle reading, clairvoyance, NLP, what have you).
Message: Posted by: Robb (Jun 6, 2016 08:38PM)
[quote]On Jun 6, 2016, Ben Blau wrote:
In the context of a mentalism performance, these terms are most definitely not used in the same sense. "Procedure" refers to physical actions and steps carried out. "Process" is the apparent means by which the claimed ability is achieved (e.g., pseudo-telepathy, muscle reading, clairvoyance, NLP, what have you). [/quote]

Correct.
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Jun 6, 2016 11:47PM)
I simply don't buy into that schism. But as you say "to each their own". Or better yet, ask your audience what "the process" was. Then ask them what the ability displayed was. In the end it's a matter of clearly communicating and I choose to not reassign the definition of synonyms which can easily be confused.
Message: Posted by: Tom Cutts (Jun 6, 2016 11:57PM)
[quote]On Jun 6, 2016, Ben Blau wrote:
In the context of a mentalism performance, these terms are most definitely not used in the same sense. "Procedure" refers to physical actions and steps carried out. "Process" is the apparent means by which the claimed ability is achieved (e.g., pseudo-telepathy, muscle reading, clairvoyance, NLP, what have you). [/quote]

Thank you for proving the confusion. Telepathy, clairvoyance, etc are abilities, and that is precisely why I choose much more precise language, but feel free to do as you like.
Message: Posted by: casinoboss (Jun 7, 2016 03:05AM)
I'm about half way through the book and agree that it's fantastic. Ben has definitely put a lot of thinking and refinement into every aspect of the effects in this book. Ishin-Denshin is a great example. I can imagine the method being described in one short paragraph in Hugard's Encyclopedia of Card Tricks. In Asymptotes, Ben takes several pages to fully describe the motivation behind every single action and line of patter. Great stuff.

One small annoyance is that there are a LOT of minor typographical errors in the book (e.g. extra spaces between words) that I found rather distracting. Somewhat surprised this hasn't been mentioned by anyone yet.
Message: Posted by: casinoboss (Sep 13, 2016 01:01AM)
Finally finished the book. In addition to Ishin-Denshin, I'm really liking The Caussand Effect. It takes an old effect that I always found somewhat problematic and adds several improvements that solve many of the issues I had with the original. It's not going to full magicians but I can see this fitting nicely between OOTW and Triumph. Additionally, the scripting gives a nice excuse to use a different deck which provides a great opportunity to switch back in a stacked deck afterwards.
Message: Posted by: Maestro (Oct 30, 2016 11:56PM)
I haven't read the book, but I do not think it will be for me if the demo for Ishin-Denshin is any indication.

I felt like the effect is so unclear. Is it an ACAAN, a divination? Is it one spectator reading the other spectator's mind, is the magician reading the spectators mind? There is so much handling and it takes so long.

Just my opinion,
Maestro
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Oct 31, 2016 01:10PM)
[quote]On Oct 30, 2016, Maestro wrote:
I haven't read the book, but I do not think it will be for me if the demo for Ishin-Denshin is any indication.

I felt like the effect is so unclear. Is it an ACAAN, a divination? Is it one spectator reading the other spectator's mind, is the magician reading the spectators mind? There is so much handling and it takes so long.

Just my opinion,
Maestro [/quote]

A lot of people don't "get" my material. That's fine. ASYMPTOTES probably isn't for you.

Thanks for considering it, though.

-Ben Blau
Message: Posted by: brainman (Nov 3, 2016 04:45PM)
Great book, great thinking..it is a treasure for people who REALLY dig into it.
EVERYTHING can be beaten to death with words on this planet. I need workers for my real life set. I found maaany goodies there!
Thanks Ben!!!! Keep up the good work!
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Nov 4, 2016 07:16AM)
I'm very impressed by the attention to detail in Ben Blau's work. He also has a very engaging performance persona. Odd and intriguing.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Nov 4, 2016 09:04AM)
[quote]On Nov 4, 2016, Martin Pulman wrote:
I'm very impressed by the attention to detail in Ben Blau's work. He also has a very engaging performance persona. Odd and intriguing. [/quote]

Thanks, Martin! I do my best!
Message: Posted by: Martin Pulman (Nov 4, 2016 09:20AM)
I always admire an artist who ploughs his own furrow.
Message: Posted by: rockbrunnen (Nov 4, 2016 09:15PM)
This book ASYMPTOTES has been kept in my Penguin wishlist for a long time, but I finally decided to purchase.
UNFAZED was soooo good and the bonus video came with it made me want to study more.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Nov 4, 2016 10:30PM)
[quote]On Nov 4, 2016, rockbrunnen wrote:
This book ASYMPTOTES has been kept in my Penguin wishlist for a long time, but I finally decided to purchase.
UNFAZED was soooo good and the bonus video came with it made me want to study more. [/quote]

Thank you, Rock! I really hope you enjoy it.

-Ben
Message: Posted by: magic11ryan (Mar 7, 2017 12:28AM)
Just ordered - can't wait to read Ben's work
Message: Posted by: Patrick Redford (Mar 7, 2017 12:35PM)
Such an enjoyable book!
Message: Posted by: qualysoft (Jul 19, 2017 03:42PM)
Ben, just for curiosity. What is your (or more, if there is more than one) favorite routine in the book? Which one you most perform and/or are you most proud to have created?

Congratulations for the excellent book!
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 19, 2017 11:19PM)
I have a special sentimental attachment to "Sort Of The Truth", because it was the very first mental card effect I ever invented. I still love it, and perform it a lot. I also perform Sophisthree quite a bit, as well as Manhattan and Ishin-Denshin (both of which are TOCATON effects).

Those are just my favorites. The people I've heard from have all kinds of favorites. Creepiest seems to be popular, although I admit I don't perform it much.

Not enough people have worked hard enough to present "A Pale Blue", in my opinion. It's another one of my favorites that hits HARD.

I don't think I've heard back from anyone who has learned Quicksand. That's a shame. I think it's a really novel way to do the classic 10 Card Poker Deal. Also, Con-Centration has some features that I'm proud of. Particularly the Futility Switch.

What are you using from the book?

Ben
Message: Posted by: qualysoft (Jul 20, 2017 12:46PM)
Hello Ben! Thank you for your comments!

For me, it's very interesting to read about the particularities and preferences of the writer.

Currently my favorites are "Crimson Clupeidae" and "Sort of The Truth", but I will give it a try and start practicing "Manhattan" and "Ishin-Denshin".

Would anyone else like to comment your favorites?

Hugs!
Message: Posted by: dr_catman (Jul 21, 2017 05:46AM)
About to click the buy it now for this test great book.
Wanted to check with you Ben about what level of card art is required for these effects to go well?
I know this is very subjective, just trying to get a feel.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 21, 2017 11:48AM)
[quote]On Jul 21, 2017, dr_catman wrote:
About to click the buy it now for this test great book.
Wanted to check with you Ben about what level of card art is required for these effects to go well?
I know this is very subjective, just trying to get a feel. [/quote]

Not sure what you mean by "card art", but if you mean sleight of hand, I would say that almost none of the effects require manual dexterity with cards in that sense. You need to be comfortable with simple things like holding a deck of cards, cutting, overhand shufflng, riffle shuffling, etc. Most of the effects rely on subtlety and semi-automatic principles rather than sleight of hand.

Thanks for your interest,

Ben
Message: Posted by: dr_catman (Jul 21, 2017 09:05PM)
[quote]On Jul 21, 2017, Ben Blau wrote:
[quote]On Jul 21, 2017, dr_catman wrote:
About to click the buy it now for this test great book.
Wanted to check with you Ben about what level of card art is required for these effects to go well?
I know this is very subjective, just trying to get a feel. [/quote]

Not sure what you mean by "card art", but if you mean sleight of hand, I would say that almost none of the effects require manual dexterity with cards in that sense. You need to be comfortable with simple things like holding a deck of cards, cutting, overhand shufflng, riffle shuffling, etc. Most of the effects rely on subtlety and semi-automatic principles rather than sleight of hand.

Thanks for your interest,

Ben [/quote]

Thanks heaps Ben, yes I was referring to sleight of hand. Perfectly answered my question. Will be in my order cart on Monday, payday :) 👍
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 21, 2017 09:36PM)
I'm grateful for your interest in my work! You can see performance videos of some of the effects on my website (in my signature).

Thank you!
Message: Posted by: dr_catman (Jul 22, 2017 07:13AM)
[quote]On Jul 21, 2017, Ben Blau wrote:
I'm grateful for your interest in my work! You can see performance videos of some of the effects on my website (in my signature).

Thank you! [/quote]

Those videos sealed it for me! Thanks Ben
Message: Posted by: qualysoft (Jul 22, 2017 10:02AM)
In case you have not yet seen, these performances are awesome:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Q7xUyy1HD0&t=14s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KhGYsG_u5Y

These routines are not in the book, but it is worth watching them.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Jul 22, 2017 03:53PM)
[quote]On Jul 22, 2017, qualysoft wrote:
In case you have not yet seen, these performances are awesome:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Q7xUyy1HD0&t=14s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KhGYsG_u5Y

These routines are not in the book, but it is worth watching them. [/quote]

Very nice of you to share those links. That video project is still available, along with other one-off tricks and other goodies at my website.

Ben
Message: Posted by: saxonia (Sep 18, 2018 09:29AM)
Hello,

The reason for posting in this old thread:
Alkazaam Magic (and most likely others as well) offers a "Revised First Edition" of the book. Being a proud owner of the original book, I wonder whether it would be possible to get some information about the nature of these "revisions".

Thanks,
Ralf
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Sep 29, 2018 11:27PM)
[quote]On Sep 18, 2018, saxonia wrote:
Hello,

The reason for posting in this old thread:
Alkazaam Magic (and most likely others as well) offers a "Revised First Edition" of the book. Being a proud owner of the original book, I wonder whether it would be possible to get some information about the nature of these "revisions".

Thanks,
Ralf [/quote]

Hi, Ralf.

My apologies, I just saw this. It’s too bad the Café doesn’t have a way for us to “tag” each other. As far as I know, the revised printing addressed typographical issues only. I didn’t revise any of the material.

Thank you for your kind words about Asymptotes. Your next book is very close to ready! 😊
Message: Posted by: Drtriage (Feb 25, 2019 06:16AM)
[quote]On Sep 29, 2018, Ben Blau wrote:
[quote]On Sep 18, 2018, saxonia wrote:
Hello,

The reason for posting in this old thread:
Alkazaam Magic (and most likely others as well) offers a "Revised First Edition" of the book. Being a proud owner of the original book, I wonder whether it would be possible to get some information about the nature of these "revisions".

Thanks,
Ralf [/quote]



Hi, Ralf.

My apologies, I just saw this. It’s too bad the Café doesn’t have a way for us to “tag” each other. As far as I know, the revised printing addressed typographical issues only. I didn’t revise any of the material.

Thank you for your kind words about Asymptotes. Your next book is very close to ready! 😊 [/quote]

Hi - just to clarify by 'typographical' does that mean there are errors / misprints owners of the first edition should be made aware of or is it just font/layout/spacing etc?

Thanks
Message: Posted by: John C (Feb 25, 2019 08:09AM)
[quote]On Feb 25, 2019, Drtriage wrote:
[quote]On Sep 29, 2018, Ben Blau wrote:
[quote]On Sep 18, 2018, saxonia wrote:
Hello,

The reason for posting in this old thread:
Alkazaam Magic (and most likely others as well) offers a "Revised First Edition" of the book. Being a proud owner of the original book, I wonder whether it would be possible to get some information about the nature of these "revisions".

Thanks,
Ralf [/quote]



Hi, Ralf.

My apologies, I just saw this. It’s too bad the Café doesn’t have a way for us to “tag” each other. As far as I know, the revised printing addressed typographical issues only. I didn’t revise any of the material.

Thank you for your kind words about Asymptotes. Your next book is very close to ready! 😊 [/quote]

Hi - just to clarify by 'typographical' does that mean there are errors / misprints owners of the first edition should be made aware of or is it just font/layout/spacing etc?

Thanks [/quote]

It means you have a "collectors" edition.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Feb 25, 2019 01:39PM)
No, just tidying up occasional punctuation and capitalization errors, mostly. Nothing that would affect a person’s ability to learn the material.

By the way, “Asymptotes” (though still available) is no longer my “new book”. It’s my old one. My actual new book (“Truth Fables — The Mental Mysteries of Ben Blau”) is available now internationally from most major dealers and also directly from me using the website in my signature.

“Truth Fables” is 500 pages, hardcover with a gorgeous dust jacket designed by Martin Korstanje. The foreword was written by Jeff McBride. Thomas Baxter and my wife Alison worked their butts off proofreading and editing. I sold out of my first six shipments very quickly when I was taking preorders privately (prior to the books being in stores), and the only people who even knew about it were members of my private Facebook group.

I don’t think that a lot of my previous customers even know about this new book yet. Also, it’s not my style to bombard people with promotional mailing list emails.

I just hope that there is some other reliable mechanism for getting the word out. Thanks!

-Ben
Message: Posted by: Drtriage (Feb 25, 2019 03:40PM)
[quote]On Feb 25, 2019, Ben Blau wrote:
No, just tidying up occasional punctuation and capitalization errors, mostly. Nothing that would affect a person’s ability to learn the material.

By the way, “Asymptotes” (though still available) is no longer my “new book”. It’s my old one. My actual new book (“Truth Fables — The Mental Mysteries of Ben Blau”) is available now internationally from most major dealers and also directly from me using the website in my signature.

“Truth Fables” is 500 pages, hardcover with a gorgeous dust jacket designed by Martin Korstanje. The foreword was written by Jeff McBride. Thomas Baxter and my wife Alison worked their butts off proofreading and editing. I sold out of my first six shipments very quickly when I was taking preorders privately (prior to the books being in stores), and the only people who even knew about it were members of my private Facebook group.

I don’t think that a lot of my previous customers even know about this new book yet. Also, it’s not my style to bombard people with promotional mailing list emails.

I just hope that there is some other reliable mechanism for getting the word out. Thanks!

-Ben [/quote]


Thanks - I may well be tempted to buy your new book!
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Feb 28, 2019 08:27AM)
[quote]On Feb 25, 2019, Drtriage wrote:
[quote]On Feb 25, 2019, Ben Blau wrote:
No, just tidying up occasional punctuation and capitalization errors, mostly. Nothing that would affect a person’s ability to learn the material.

By the way, “Asymptotes” (though still available) is no longer my “new book”. It’s my old one. My actual new book (“Truth Fables — The Mental Mysteries of Ben Blau”) is available now internationally from most major dealers and also directly from me using the website in my signature.

“Truth Fables” is 500 pages, hardcover with a gorgeous dust jacket designed by Martin Korstanje. The foreword was written by Jeff McBride. Thomas Baxter and my wife Alison worked their butts off proofreading and editing. I sold out of my first six shipments very quickly when I was taking preorders privately (prior to the books being in stores), and the only people who even knew about it were members of my private Facebook group.

I don’t think that a lot of my previous customers even know about this new book yet. Also, it’s not my style to bombard people with promotional mailing list emails.

I just hope that there is some other reliable mechanism for getting the word out. Thanks!

-Ben [/quote]


Thanks - I may well be tempted to buy your new book! [/quote]

If you liked “Asymptotes”, you should definitely like “Truth Fables”. Personally, I think it’s better.
Message: Posted by: Oscar999 (Feb 28, 2019 01:29PM)
Overall I think Truth Fables is better too - but the ESP test (with ESP cards) in Asymptotes has found it's way to my shirt pocket and is one of the magical demonstrations I carry on my person.

Very strong and easily adaptable for stand-up or walk-around.

So far, my favorite in the new book (Truth Fables) is the poker test, but I read something last night I want to spend time on this evening. Looks really good. Starts on page 317.

Back to Asymptotes. Super great book. The ESP test is excellent and Ben's take on the 21 Card trick is amazing.

Oscar
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Mar 1, 2019 03:05PM)
[quote]On Feb 28, 2019, Oscar999 wrote:
Overall I think Truth Fables is better too - but the ESP test (with ESP cards) in Asymptotes has found it's way to my shirt pocket and is one of the magical demonstrations I carry on my person.

Very strong and easily adaptable for stand-up or walk-around.

So far, my favorite in the new book (Truth Fables) is the poker test, but I read something last night I want to spend time on this evening. Looks really good. Starts on page 317.

Back to Asymptotes. Super great book. The ESP test is excellent and Ben's take on the 21 Card trick is amazing.

Oscar [/quote]

If you liked “Espilon” from Asymptotes, you ought to really like “Unfazed”. Have you seen it?

Ben
Message: Posted by: Chris K (Mar 1, 2019 03:09PM)
I'm waiting for my copy of Asymptotes in the mail but Unfazed (sold separately) is great! Can't wait to dig into the book and see what else from Ben I particularly like.
Message: Posted by: Oscar999 (Mar 1, 2019 10:16PM)
@Ben - Yes, I have seen Unfazed. And I bought it (under a different name, Oscar is a pseudonym).

That is one fine routine.

Oscar
Message: Posted by: Chris K (Oct 23, 2019 03:07PM)
Below is my casual review of Asymptotes by Ben Blau. I don’t usually post reviews so if I miss anything or you have additional questions, please post and I’ll try to answer.

Product: Asymptotes
Authors/Editors: Ben Blau, Thomas Baxter
Product type: Book
Topic: Mentalism. Specifically, mentalism using playing cards.
I would further characterize the effects, as presented in the text, as “Intimate Mentalism”. By which I mean, effects, often done in small groups, usually in a seated environment, where everybody is close to, and interested by, the performer. Effects like the coin spin/flip effect from Scryer’s 13 would fit this type of category, as would the card cutting/dealing effect from the same (sorry, I do not have that book easily accessible right now to give specific names).

Brief written review: Ben has shared some of his personal effects, often along with explicit patter and in-depth discussions of each step of an effect. Thomas Baxter sometimes offers his thoughts and alternative handlings. If you use playing cards (or photographs or business cards), there are some wonderful methods and subtleties in this book. I recommend it for intermediate mentalists. A fuller review follows the description the effects.

I’ll give my thoughts on the individual effects. In some cases, I am going strictly based on my notes, in others (usually for effects I really like and/or use), I’ll have more insights. As such, I may have mixed things up, if you notice an error (like I switched tricks, etc.), let me know.

Effects, etc.:
Boolean Logic: Not an effect per se, but Ben opens the book up by discussing the use of this concept as a method in mentalism. This definitely piqued my interest to open off the book.

Crimson Clupeidae: Lie detector card reveal. Very interesting leveraging of the method/concept he had just introduced. Nice discussion about the “garden path” and tip on p. 19. The name cracks me up (after I looked up Clupeidae, I knew what crimson meant…).

Sort of the Truth: Test conditions reveal of thought of card. My impression was a supercharged “Out of Sorts” (P. Goldstein) effect. Good discussion on participant management. This trick is not for me.

Pocket Square: As the name suggests, a magic square approach. Great little move discussed on p. 42.

Cabolo Maneuver: “First rule of fight club…” With that said, this is like Boolean Logic, not an effect but instead a method. I think this will be novel to some and a step backwards for those who maybe got into mentalism from a card magic background. Not going to use it.

Creepfest: Double reveal of a thought of card, with a card disappearing from the deck. Weird description but accurate I think. Following the Cabolo Maneuver section, you might guess, and be correct, that this uses that move. Fun little effect that I personally won’t do.

@: ACAAN with a borrowed deck. This is outlined in “excruciating detail” (according to my personal notes). Even after reading the description, this was done differently than I thought. The details I think would be needed for many people trying to perform this. This could be fun if you don’t have a favorite ACAAN.

Manhattan: Mate to Any Thought of Card at Any Thought of Number. Reminded me of a Scott Creasey release when I thought of that description. I apparently liked this effect enough that I have notes for a personal version of this effect (which I had forgotten about, whoops).

Ishin Denshin: TOCATON (Thought Of Card At Thought Of Number). This is pretty fun. If I didn’t like my version of Atlas Brookings’ “The Crusade” so much, I might consider this. It has a vastly different methodology, and you can name the card (actually show it to someone). This is an interesting effect. This is a good example of an effect where the explanation is a little uneven, especially following so closely after “@” and the detail therein. In this effect, one portion has directions that read: “engage in whatever alleged process of mind reading that suits your character.” I do think many would like this effect.

A Pale Blue: Out of This World Type effect. I have in my notes that this is a great example of Ben’s thinking and how he layers methods and subtlety. Briefly, it is very reminiscent of an effect by Bruce Bernstein. I was also reminded of effects by Mick Ayres and John Kennedy. But with a real riffle shuffle, by performer or participant. Good tip on p. 145 and I have, in my notes, that ideas from Paul Harris (Galaxy) or Rick Lax (Binary Code) could be applied. I apparently haven’t followed up according to my notebook. This is an outstanding piece of mentalism and shows Ben’s approach to constructing a routine, including what to follow it up with (ah, Stewart James is a personal favorite, as is John Bannon, who has work on the follow-up Ben recommends). If I didn’t have my own version of OOTW, I would probably be taking a lot out of this. Very enjoyable reading.

Con-centration: Sort of a matching game. Reminded me of effects from Mick Ayres, Doug Dyment, and Bruce Bernstein. These are along the lines of: A prediction is written down. A volunteer arranges cards in a random order. The prediction matches the order of the cards. Ben’s approach (the BBFS) is listed in my notes as: “Brilliant!” Again, this is an effect where a significant amount of detail is added, and I think it is worthwhile, whether you use that approach or not. This is really nice and elements will be adapted for effects I do. In my notes, I have “Great tip on p. 167. Think about a segue into a psychological reading where dogs and trees both have ‘bark.” I wrote that on my first reading and currently have no idea what that means but I figured I’d share anyway. Maybe it’s clever even though a good 80% of my notes end up being unworkable or downright silly.

Espilon: ESP card matching routine. 3 phases. I like phases 1 and 2. Also there apparently is a typo on p. 183 according to my notes. I prefer Jazz Mentalism and/or Tattle Tailed from Michael Murray. Doug Dyment’s “Bob’s Your Uncle” was something I used a lot too.

Out From Under: Test conditions card divination. In my notes, I have “use a mem deck, I like this”.

Quicksand: 3 phase 10 card poker deal. I have one I already would use but the method is interesting. The detail into allowing the participants choice (down to them choosing to exchange entire hands) is pretty nice. I might take some of these approaches for other effects.

Jackal: Card revelation with an intriguing method. I’ve used this as it is as well as trying to tweak and combine with other effects. I also like the way that Ben came up with the name.

Sending It Down: This is a fun little effect. Sort of a game for couples. Another great example of the layering of methods. Reminded me of a Sudo Nimh effect for reasons that might be obvious when you read it.

Causaand Effect / Sophisthree / Josephine: I’m grouping all three of these effects together. Caussand Effect was the initial approach, Sophisthree was an evolution of that, and Josephine is sort of a single person version. The framing for this effect can have it vary from card matching to thought of card at thought at number sort of approaches. I have performed Sophisthree several times. If I am not mistaken, I believe it was in the lecture that Ben used to provide to anybody who bought his Unfazed routine (which I really like, by the way). I loved the way Ben used this principle and currently use it in applications with alphabet cards. I hope I have the pages correct, but the sequence that Ben outlines in pages 286-290 is a thing of brilliance. I absolutely love it in that it accomplishes something similar to the Ose-D cut but even more controlled (if you read it, I hope you get my meaning). I thought about that sequence alone for a whole day, and how to apply it to both this effect and any other effect.

Ben concludes the book with a great section on Utilities. Stuff like cuts and shuffles, how to prepare certain cards, etc. Great resource for a lot of people I think.

Overall thoughts: As I mentioned earlier, I characterize this book as Intimate Mentalism. Sitting down, in a place where everyone can hear each other, with a focus on the performer. Any of the clips you can see of Ben performing give you an idea of that sort of format. I think Sudo Nimh’s effects would be in the same sort of category, as an example.

In terms of writing, Ben (& Thomas Baxter) error on the side of being verbose but, in my opinion, much of that is to add context and not for the reader to take on exactly. In terms of descriptions, on one end you might have Bruce Bernstein, who can cram something like Pseudo-Telepathy into 1-2 pages (plus multiple variations), and you might have a 40 page description of an effect in Ben’s book. Somewhere in the middle you would have Patrick Redford and, say, John Bannon. Again, I like Ben’s style, I can always skip ahead in a book but if something is missing or inadequately explained, then it is always that way.
Speaking of Patrick Redford, a lot of the way Ben puts together material reminded me of some of Patrick Redford’s (aka GT’s) work. The layering of effects, the application of math in sneaky ways, the multiple ways to approach the card at a number effect through relaxing one of more constraints. And I like Patrick Redford’s work, so that’s a big compliment coming from me.

Finally, the fact that I took whole effects (Sophisthree / Josephine), which is something I almost never do these days, and performed them as written is reason to give pretty high marks. My patter tends to be shorter with my own character and emphasis but to take whole effects… dang, they must be strong.

This gets a very high recommendation from me. To put it in perspective, I was just thinking which I got more out of, Unreal by Bruce Bernstein or this book by Ben Blau. It took some thinking. I think, for me personally, Unreal provided slightly more approaches but Asymptotes was more in line with my kind of performance and the materials I generally like. Again, this should be taken as high praise for this book.
If I had to rank it, keeping in mind I am a heartless jerk and the average book would get a 5/10, I would give this… easily an 8/10. I’m having a hard time thinking of too many books I would rank at 10/10, to be honest, so maybe just ignore that rating.

If you have any questions, or if I mangled something in my descriptions above, let me know.

Best of luck,
Chris
Message: Posted by: DocBenWiz (Oct 25, 2019 02:45PM)
Thanks Chris K for the review, and I know Ben's books are worth buying "sight unseen", but has anyone here a brief review of Truth Fables"?
Would much appreciate as I have really very, very much limited my purchase of any mentalism books (any topic really) these days.
Thanks
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Oct 26, 2019 02:52PM)
[quote]On Oct 25, 2019, DocBenWiz wrote:
Thanks Chris K for the review, and I know Ben's books are worth buying "sight unseen", but has anyone here a brief review of Truth Fables"?
Would much appreciate as I have really very, very much limited my purchase of any mentalism books (any topic really) these days.
Thanks [/quote]

There are some partial reviews of Truth Fables on the Café somewhere. Nothing as comprehensive as the above. It’s awesome to know that some people are still thinking about my first book. I hope you’ll also consider giving Truth Fables a chance. Thank you both for the discussion.

-Ben
Message: Posted by: Nev Blenk (Oct 27, 2019 04:00AM)
I'm on my 3rd read through of Truth Fables and as I have posted before I love Ben's work (I have worn the ink off Asymptotes).
I have recently started performing the effect 'Denim' from Truth Fables. There is footage of Ben performing it on youtube and I recommend checking it out to get a brilliant example of Ben's work. No muss no fuss and no knucklebusting. The 'dirty work' is done casually towards the beginning allowing you to enjoy the rest of the routine along with your spectator.

Cheers
Nev
Message: Posted by: Chris K (Oct 27, 2019 03:52PM)
[quote]On Oct 25, 2019, DocBenWiz wrote:
Thanks Chris K for the review, and I know Ben's books are worth buying "sight unseen", but has anyone here a brief review of Truth Fables"?
Would much appreciate as I have really very, very much limited my purchase of any mentalism books (any topic really) these days.
Thanks [/quote]

I’m working on a similar review for Truth Fables. I’ll try to remember to drop a link here when I post it.
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Oct 31, 2019 06:19PM)
Wow! Thanks folks! That’s no small task! And, it would be most helpful to me personally. Nobody would want to read a review written by me (obviously), and you just can’t fully trust most book reviews in the first place, because authors are usually eager to give away free copies in exchange for favorable comments. To “review” a book of mine, I’d recommend learning and performing the routines. Learn them well enough to understand the thing that makes them distinctive or worthwhile, and feel free to either use the tricks “as is”, or as inspiration for something else. Remember, you don’t have to perform them exactly the same way that I do. Eugene Burger’s performance of “UNFAZED” is about half as long as mine, and absolutely terrific. By the way, look for a little surprise in regard to that in Eugene’s posthumous and forthcoming “From Beyond”.

You have no idea how much it means to me that some of you are out there really studying and applying the stuff from my books. We are few — but we have powers no one else has. ;)

Love y’all,

-Ben
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Nov 7, 2019 08:42AM)
Asymptotes has been out for three years, and this thread is still fairly active in “Penny”. In case anyone missed it, I wrote a whole other (even larger) book in the meantime. It’s also a book of mentalism, and I think it’s even better than Asymptotes. It’s called “Truth Fables” (500 pages, hardcover with dust jacket). It’s expensive, but it’s big and cost a lot to manufacture. You can get it directly from me using the link in my signature, or from your favorite retailer if you’re interested.

Thanks for your continued interest, and for helping to keep Asymptotes in our collective awareness. It means a lot to me.

I have been debating with myself as to whether or not I should publish any more mentalism. Does anyone want more of what I have to offer? Please let me know. I don’t want to publish just for the sake of publishing.

Thanks in advance,

Ben
Message: Posted by: silbo (Nov 7, 2019 09:02AM)
[quote]On Nov 7, 2019, Ben Blau wrote:
Asymptotes has been out for three years, and this thread is still fairly active in “Penny”. In case anyone missed it, I wrote a whole other (even larger) book in the meantime. It’s also a book of mentalism, and I think it’s even better than Asymptotes. It’s called “Truth Fables” (500 pages, hardcover with dust jacket). It’s expensive, but it’s big and cost a lot to manufacture. You can get it directly from me using the link in my signature, or from your favorite retailer if you’re interested.

Thanks for your continued interest, and for helping to keep Asymptotes in our collective awareness. It means a lot to me.

I have been debating with myself as to whether or not I should publish any more mentalism. Does anyone want more of what I have to offer? Please let me know. I don’t want to publish just for the sake of publishing.

Thanks in advance,

Ben [/quote]

Well, I have both books because your material is a no-brainer 'must-have' Ben.
So... please continue to share your work, I for one will support it...
Message: Posted by: Chris K (Nov 7, 2019 03:37PM)
I can imagine this might be a long post, so I'll put all the important stuff first:

First off, I think it's obvious I'm a fan of Ben's work, so add my vote to him sharing more of his releases.

Next, I am somewhere around page 150 in my 3rd read of [i]Truth Fables[/i]. This read-through is, ostensibly, so I can write up a review of it. I almost never write reviews, and certainly never to the extent that I wrote the one for [i] Asymptotes [/i] so I'm feeling my way through this process. More on this below.

Regarding this thread, there are lots of people touting this book highly but significantly fewer specific examples of what people are liking or doing. I think there are certain things that may be preventing people from sharing their experiences with Ben's work, and that has to do with what I have been calling "Intimate Mentalism." I don't think it's a knock on the work, just a reflection of how many/some of the effects are, as written, more applicable to certain situations. More on this below as well.

Finally (for this thread), I'm going to share some of what I've done with the principles from Ben's book, some of which will seem obvious and some maybe less so. I'll do that in a separate post as the other topics in this post have already made it WAY TOO LONG.

Ok, so that's the main part of this post, please feel free to stop reading. I expect the rest would be boring to pretty much everyone else but me.

[b]**********************************************************************************************
Seriously, as the author of this, I have had second thoughts posting all of it, but since I wrote it, I think I'll post it. I highly recommend nobody continue reading after this point.
**********************************************************************************************[/b]

**********************************************************************************************
This might be a good time for a disclaimer. I do not personally know Ben, nor have I ever seen him in person. I think we had one email exchange, where I enquired about purchasing his books. I have not, and would not, mention to him that I am writing a review nor would I send him a review to read prior to posting it here. I DO belong to his Mentalism Facebook group and we are ''Facebook Friends'', just like I am with many people (e.g., Peter Nardi, Marc Paul, so on and so forth). Also, I do not support myself by performing, I am a cell biologist. I specifically mention that as somebody felt the need to send me a PM saying I'm not ''some great full time performer.'' The irony is that same person also sent me one of his works to review almost exactly 10 years ago.
**********************************************************************************************

**********************************************************************************************
Should Ben continue to share his work?

My answer here is (obviously) yes.
Why do I want Ben to share his work? So I can steal all of his approaches, methods, and/or concepts and use them in my own effects. I have exactly ZERO interest in performing an effect just like someone else. Having said that, I think it behooves me to go through the trick just as an author wrote it. They have performed the effect multiple times and have more than likely gone through several iterations of it. However, once I've gone through the effect a few times, exactly as written, it's time to start experimenting. I like my process at that point but maybe I'll share that separately one day.

The bottom line is that Ben Blau tends to share concepts and approaches that I like to leverage in other effects. I'll offer a specific example with the ''BBFS'' from [i]Asymptotes[/i] in the section below where I share some of my personal approaches.

**********************************************************************************************
Writing Reviews:

I think there are a few main reasons that I don't write reviews:

[b]I do not want anybody to buy something based on my review.[/b] If they buy it and hate it, I'd feel bad. I've bought several things based on glowing reviews here on the Café that have been total crap. Others are things I feel are hyped up by friends. And still others might be relevant for beginners, or people who love propless (oh, there's a whole other topic), or things that are reviewed by people who have literally never read Annemann, or Corinda, or Cassidy, etc. And I'll be honest, when somebody hypes something up and it's crap (which happens so, so often), I think less of anything they say after that.

I don't want to share what I think are the little gold nuggets. This is something I wrestled with in writing my review for [i]Asymptotes[/i]. Do I share what I think is gold or keep it to myself? I went about 50/50 in my [i]Asymptotes[/i] review. I shared some of what I thought were great ideas, and kept quiet about others. This actually goes not just here but in the Ben Blau Mentalism Facebook group too. I just feel it's too wide open to share what I think are some of the best ideas. I guess I'm selfish and I'm working on that: I'm going to post sometime in the next several days, offering to share my version of one of Scott Creasey's effects with a [b]limited[/b] number of people.

And one more reason I don't write reviews: it's a lot of gosh-darned work! For [i]Asymptotes[/i], and now [i]Truth Fables[/i], I am literally re-reading the books, performing each trick at least one time for myself, and for most, a few times with a run-through with the partner at home. It can literally take DAYS to go through one effect. And this is my third read-through of the book! Could I have read the book and pumped out a review? Yes, of course, but see my first point above regarding all the crap reviews on the Café.

Here is one reason doing the [i]Asymptotes[/i] and [i]Truth Fables[/i] reviews may encourage me to do more:
-I am finding stuff I missed or forgot about. In doing the [i]Asymptotes[/i] review, I realized that there were things in my notes that I totally forgot about, and then there were things in the book that I either missed, or came back with a different viewpoint based on other things later in the book. It was a really nice surprise. Do I actually think I will start writing more reviews now though? Chances are slim to none.
**********************************************************************************************
Why are there so few reviews of Ben's work?

This is relatively simple. There are so few reviews because it's not really possible to read through [i]Asymptotes[/i] and [i]Truth Fables[/i] and pump out a review. One needs to put some thought into it, practice the effects as written, and then, since none of us is Ben Blau, adapt the performance/effect/method to something more in line with what we do.

A prime example here is Ben's CaBoLo Maneuver. Coming from a card magic background, I have multiple other methods of something that might accomplish something similar (Paul Harris' approach in his Reset-Limo Service effects from [i]Art of Astonishment[/i] could be adapted with some ideas from Card College for example).

So, a real review of Ben's work would be hard. And would be hard to fake. Hence the paucity of reviews.

**********************************************************************************************
Why does there seem to be a lack of [i][b]specific[/i][/b] discussion around effects in [i]Asymptotes[/i] and [i]Truth Fables[/i]?

A good deal of what I've said above applies here: big books, effects require going through the process to actually understand what's going on, ''It can literally take DAYS to go through one effect'' to understand the nuances. So there's that but also the ''Intimate Mentalism'' idea.

To review, I characterize most of the effects from [i]Asymptotes[/i] as ''Intimate Mentalism.'' By this I mean that it is generally the type of mentalism you would perform close-up, often at a table, in a quiet and relaxed atmosphere. The idea here is that there is a conversation going on between the performer and spectator(s). Some of the public videos from Ben Blau can give you an idea of that environment.

So… that is often an environment in which I find myself. While I have been doing paid shows again recently, I do not perform full time. Many of my ''performances'' are these intimate pieces with a few people at work, or on the train, just trying to bring in some wonder and astonishment (and to practice new moves). As such, I've had the opportunity to try some of these exactly as written (patter may have been modified, to be clear). I've also adapted many of the effects to be a bit more… I hate to use it but ''commercial''... by which I mean, shorter, more punchy, and with a bit more drama in the reveals. As these are personal touches, I think they could easily be applied by others, [b][i]once they have worked through the effects as written.[/i][/b]

That last point is why there is so little discussion. Many people (myself included) cannibalize all the parts we like and the end result often looks totally different than what Ben has wrote. That isn't a knock on the work at all, which is odd, because it does mean there are few specifics that people will share.

Ok, that was way longer than I anticipated so I will just shut up now.
Message: Posted by: Nev Blenk (Nov 9, 2019 05:43AM)
[quote]On Nov 7, 2019, Ben Blau wrote:

I have been debating with myself as to whether or not I should publish any more mentalism. Does anyone want more of what I have to offer? Please let me know. I don’t want to publish just for the sake of publishing.

Thanks in advance,

Ben [/quote]

Yes please Ben.... maybe in bite size chunks ? or a pdf download with a video of the performance only ?

Cheers
Nev
Message: Posted by: adiabaticman (Nov 9, 2019 05:50PM)
Ben,
Please continue to publish your creations. I'm sure there many many people like me who are really interested. You may not see a lot of discussion or reviews of your books now but I'm sure they will appear over time. Your work is dense, takes time for people to digest.

[quote]On Nov 7, 2019, Ben Blau wrote:
Asymptotes has been out for three years, and this thread is still fairly active in “Penny”. In case anyone missed it, I wrote a whole other (even larger) book in the meantime. It’s also a book of mentalism, and I think it’s even better than Asymptotes. It’s called “Truth Fables” (500 pages, hardcover with dust jacket). It’s expensive, but it’s big and cost a lot to manufacture. You can get it directly from me using the link in my signature, or from your favorite retailer if you’re interested.

Thanks for your continued interest, and for helping to keep Asymptotes in our collective awareness. It means a lot to me.

I have been debating with myself as to whether or not I should publish any more mentalism. Does anyone want more of what I have to offer? Please let me know. I don’t want to publish just for the sake of publishing.

Thanks in advance,

Ben [/quote]
Message: Posted by: Ben Blau (Nov 16, 2019 12:44PM)
Thank you, folks. I know that Truth Fables is selling, but I very rarely get to hear or read what people actually think about it. Perhaps the Café is slowing down a bit. In the past, new book announcements seemed to generate a lot of discussion. I agree that my material is dense. My hope is that some of you will relate to why I choose to do certain things certain ways, and that it will make a positive and lasting difference for anyone who cares enough to study it.

Chris K — You are so kind to have composed the above. It means a great deal to me.

If you’re performing anything from Truth Fables, I’d love to hear of your experiences in the Truth Fables thread!

Thanks again everyone. This has boosted my morale.

-Ben