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Topic: The Cantrip Codex
Message: Posted by: Sid Mayer (Aug 31, 2002 09:34PM)
Has anyone read this book by Tony "Doc" Shiels? If so, I'd appreciate your opinion of it.


Message: Posted by: John Smetana (Sep 1, 2002 04:01PM)
On 2002-08-31 22:34, Sid Mayer wrote:
Has anyone read this book by Tony "Doc" Shiels? If so, I'd appreciate your opinion of it.



Sid, if you like Doc Shiels you'll probably like this book. It's an interesting ramble through Doc's mind with some good and not so good effects. But if you're a Shiels fan, as I am, you'll like it.

Best thoughts,
John Smetana :kewl:
Message: Posted by: Martin Carli (Sep 2, 2002 08:02AM)
I would have to concur. I loved this book very much, not so much for the effects (some good and some not so good), but for the finesses in presentation that Tony includes along the way. I learned a lot and found these applicable to many other effects that I perform currently.

Message: Posted by: Magickman (Oct 26, 2002 02:42PM)
Doc is a master! Although I enjoyed "The Shiels Effect" better I'd never part with either! The one thing Doc has is, a great grip on is atmosphere and mood setting. I believe his books have the power to pull me into the story much like Andruzzi. I truly believe you can become a better bizarrist just reading their work!
Message: Posted by: Zack (Nov 8, 2002 04:44AM)
Absolutly a classic!

Doc Shiels changed my life. I recommend all of his books. Don't look at it as a book of effects. What doc does is take you through his creative process. He takes a theme that fascinates him...electricity for example, expounds on it at length and then procedes to build a trick aorund it. Its a whole new way of looking at magic. I applied the same algorhithm to my work, and I created a whole series of effects.
Message: Posted by: 1908 (Nov 7, 2006 01:28AM)
This thread is already four years old...
Here are a few more details for the book:

Shiels, Tony "Doc": The Cantrip Codex "A Guide for the Advanced Enigmatist"
copyright 1989, Published by Tony Andruzzi
Illustrations: Uncredited, 116pp, hardcover

Comments (Stewart Tame): Tony "Doc" Shiels is one of the better-known practitioners of bizarre magic. Magician, surrealist, mountebank, hoaxer ... he's definitely a character. If your only experience with magic books is with the kind that tell you how to improve your French Drop or build a better Zig-Zag cabinet you'll likely find this a strange book indeed. There are some routines and tricks given within, but a large part of it is given over to Doc simply discussing subjects that can be used to flavor routines. This book is more about atmosphere than effects.


7 Introduction
11 Chapter One: Shamanifesto -- "Bizarrism should authentically scare people." Shiels explains his performing philosophy.
22 The Twilight Zonula--Jack The Ripper themed seance effect in which a swatch of petticoat, a fragment of bone, and a hank of white hair are wrapped in cloth and placed in the center of the table, after a brief seance, the cloth is unwrapped to show that the hair is black, a bit of meat clings to the bone, and the petticoat fragment is stained with blood.
30 Chapter Two: Paranormalcy--Ideas for using the paranormal to flavor one's presentation.
39 Bioelectricks--General heading for the two effects that follow.
40 Flashback--Magician borrows four small objects: comb, lighter, watch, penlight, places on table, after a moment, some of them move very slightly, magician offers to levitate penlight, takes it several feet from table, with a flash of light and sparks it vanishes from his hand, person who donated light gives startled yell as penlight (lit) appears in their hands.
43 Jumping Jack Flash--Immediate segue from the previous routine in which the penlight leaps from the spectators hands in a flash of blue flame.
46 Chapter Three: Every Witch Way--A background in modern witchcraft.
53 Cait Sidhe--Interview with modern Wiccan, one of Shiels' daughters.
59 Alison Horne--Interview with another modern pagan, also credited as the creator of the following two effects.
64 Grimalkin--Performer discusses witches' familiars and introduces small ceramic statue of white cat, draws magical diagram on paper with circle in center, spectator given paper and pen and asked to write a name for the cat, paper torn up and burned by performer, cat held to ear to whisper name, performer writes name on piece of paper and hands it to spectator, who confirms it's correct, paper burned, cat given to spectator to hold in closed hand, asked to name card, deck brought out to show that card reversed in deck and has contrasting back color, spectator opens hand to see that cat is now black.
68 Sabbatical--Instant camera borrowed from spectator, pictures taken of three spectators holding mysterious "Sabbat stone", pictures turn out very different from reality.
73 Chapter Four: Persona--Developing and maintaining a bizarre stage persona.
88 Chapter Five: Oneiromancy--Surrealism and dreams combined with bizarre magick.
96 Nnidnidream--Spectator writes down object to be subject of dream, chooses tarot card, magician doodles on paper while rambling aloud, ramblings close in on imagery of selected tarot card, magician slams down hand on table and names object chosen, lifts hand to reveal something connected with tarot card (in the example in the book, Shiels uses a crawfish, which is depicted on The Moon card that was chosen.)
101 Chapter Six: Terra Incognita--UFOs, lake monsters, etc.
108 Proximo--Seance effect, room with potted plant, bowl of fruit and cassette player on table, magician and spectators join hands and urged not to let go, lights out, cassette plays story of alchemist summoning creature from another world, ends horribly, lights up, "The plant was missing...ripped from its pot; and the fruitbowl now contained shrivelled rotting oranges, apples and bananas. The table was besmeared with dollops of green slime, in which some curious seed-pods were seen to be floating."
Message: Posted by: The Curator (Nov 7, 2006 01:52AM)
Like Punx, Baba, Robert Neale and Borodin, Tony "Doc" Shiels is one of my favourite author.
Highly recommended.
Message: Posted by: 1908 (Nov 7, 2006 02:19AM)
Some of the titles from Punx and Shiels are hard to find these days...
I am thinking to put my Shiels collection for sale.
Message: Posted by: Mark Rough (Nov 7, 2006 04:29AM)
Most of Doc's stuff isn't too hard to find these days: http://www.theshielseffect.com

Message: Posted by: 1908 (Nov 7, 2006 12:04PM)
There are many other rare titles,in the above website is not "most" of his stuff...just 2-3 and those come in ebook version not original.
Message: Posted by: Mark Rough (Nov 7, 2006 01:31PM)
Yes, there are other titles. I own everything the man wrote. With the exceptions Jaberwocky and the C&B book, the books on the site I gave are the honest to goodness books from Supreme Magic (or they used to be) and the recent reprint of the Shiels Effect. Quentin's had most of Doc's other stuff in the past.

Also, you can still get "Bizarre" new from Martin Breese (last time I looked was about three months ago). So yeah, "most" of Doc's stuff is still relatively easy to find (not as easy as breathing or sleeping, but close). Magic Books by Post has also carried almost all of Doc Shiels stuff from time to time.

Really the only things that aren't available from a "dealer" somewhere, and are sometimes more difficult to find than say, going on ebay, are the Codex and his non-magic stuff. Even then, when I started looking for a copy of the Codex for sale, I didn't have to look far. All I did was spend about ten minutes asking here. Good Master Smetana (above) responded almost immediately with a FAIR priced copy (autographed by the way). This was five or six years ago, sure, but there are still plenty of copies around if you just look.

Message: Posted by: John Nesbit (Nov 7, 2006 03:03PM)
I bought the Codex when it first came out. I read it through many times and enjoyed it very much. I sold it to a good friend, who has repaid me a hundredfold for doing so since. Again, thank you James. ;)

Message: Posted by: Prof. Pabodie (Nov 7, 2006 09:25PM)
I was lucky to find an audio cassette recently at a swap meet: Doc talking for an hour about all sorts of things magickal. For a single dollar, it was a terrific value. A wonderful voice, as commanding as Orson Welles'.
Message: Posted by: 1908 (Nov 17, 2006 07:30PM)
For anyone interested to buy this rare book I put one for sale: