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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Mentally Speaking » » What Lies Inside - Florian Severin - FULL REVIEW (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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ParaMarkus
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I wrote this review for a friend of mine who wasn't sure if this was the right kind of book for him. (It wasn't.) Then I noticed that I couldn't find a thorough review on the Magic Café and I decided to post mine.


[Rating: My impression is that how much you will like the book will pretty much depend on whether you are a magician or a mentalist. Both will get lots of tricks and ideas out of the book; but they will like different chapters. This is why I decided to give a separate score for each kind of performer.]



#############################################################################
## THE FACTS
############################################################################

WHAT LIES INSIDE - by Florian Severin - Publisher: Vanishing Inc Magic
340 pages, 43 black and white illustration
16 chapters; comprising 11 tricks and 5 essays
A foreword by Ken Weber

Url: [https://www.vanishingincmagic.com/magic/mentalism/what-lies-inside]


#############################################################################
## THE ROUTINES
############################################################################


### CHAPTER 1 - Imagination is a Lemon ##

The performer uses a well-known suggestion (the taste of lemon in one's mouth by only thinking of biting into one). At the end there is a twist: the involved lemon and knife were never real.

-MY IMPRESSION
I don't think that this particular trick is of great value to a "regular" magician. Luckily the theory behind the trick (how to slowly increase the participation of the audience) is helpful to any performance of magic and mentalism.
(I believe that this routine might be useful for keynote speakers doing a talk on suggestions.)

-THE VERDICT - FOR MAGICIANS
Trick: 1 of 10
Theory: 7 of 10

-THE VERDICT - FOR MENTALISTS
Trick: 8 of 10
Theory: 8 of 10



### CHAPTER 2 - Verdoux Voodoo ##

A spectator freely(?) selects a picture of woman out of a catalog and the performer displays a matching prediction.

-MY IMPRESSION
Wait...a picture gets selected out of a catalog.....Seriously? The folder just screams: "I am gaffed!" Sorry, but this no mentalism, but pure and straight magic! Honestly, I don't feel that any serious mentalist will ever use this trick in his or her show. Only the "Brad Pitt"-part is of interest to these performers.

The theory behind the trick, on the other hand, is great: Severin's suggestions on how to make a simple revelation more visual are pure gold. Mentalists and magicians will both benefit from his ideas. (Though not every idea is new, but Severin gives proper credit, and it's to see these approaches compiled.)

-THE VERDICT - FOR MAGICIANS
Trick: 9 of 10
Theory: 8 of 10

-THE VERDICT - FOR MENTALISTS
Trick: 1 of 10
Theory: 8 of 10



### CHAPTER 3 - Knock Knock ##

(ESSAY)
Interesting thoughts on how to get feedback one can work with. For "real" psychics the questions need to be slightly modified, but still very useful.

- THE VERDICT - FOR MAGICIANS
Theory: 7 of 10

- THE VERDICT - FOR MENTALISTS
Theory: 7 of 10



### CHAPTER 4 - When a Stranger calls ##

A book test with an add-a-number pad (from the free sample chapter).

-MY IMPRESSION
Nothing really new, but some nice touches and twists. A solid piece of (mental) magic.
Regarding the theory part, I am not sure whether I agree with Severin's thoughts on the "Diary Trick", but they made me think a lot.

-THE VERDICT - FOR MAGICIANS
Trick: 7 of 10
Theory: 7 of 10

-THE VERDICT - FOR MENTALISTS
Trick: 8 of 10
Theory: 8 of 10



### CHAPTER 5 - Fly Into Your Head ##

The performer pretends to offer a "view inside his head". He sticks a zipper to his head and removes the prediction "out of" his head.

-MY IMPRESSION
If you want to be perceived as a "real psychic" you might argue that this presentation won't suit your style. Severin offers an interested argument that "one joke won't hurt your credibility". While this standpoint surely is debatable, it made me question my own attitude.

-THE VERDICT - FOR MAGICIANS
Trick: 8 of 10
Theory: 4 of 10

-THE VERDICT - FOR MENTALISTS
Trick: 0 or 8 of 10 (It depends on whether you agree to Severin's reasoning or not)
Theory: 7 of 10



### CHAPTER 6 - Effect Overkill ##
(ESSAY)
Why you should only use one effect (either mind reading or prediction) in the same routine.

-MY IMPRESSION
I don't know if you will agree with Severin (in this case, I did), but this essay will make you think. And this is the most important part.
Alas, if you are a magician this essay is of no relevance to you.

-THE VERDICT - FOR MAGICIANS
Theory: 0 of 10

-THE VERDICT - FOR MENTALISTS
Theory: 8 of 10



### CHAPTER 7 - Psycho ##

Severin's version of the "Gold Medallion": A freely selected number is engraved on a key. - The presentation is based on Alfred Hitchcock's movie "Psycho" (hence the title).

-MY IMPRESSION
A strong trick with a great plot. Alas, because the script is so good you will feel tempted to use it exactly the way it is described by Florian Severin.

-THE VERDICT - FOR MAGICIANS
Trick: 9 of 10
Theory: 8 of 10

-THE VERDICT - FOR MENTALISTS
Trick: 9 of 10
Theory: 8 of 10



### CHAPTER 8 - Lottery Limbo ##

A two-phased prediction routine. Phase 1: numbers are written on lottery balls. The performer decides on a number and this ball will be chosen by a spectator. Phase 2: a member of the audience decides on a number and again the spectators takes this very ball.

-MY IMPRESSION
(I just have to mention that the book is a fantastic read! I have so laughed many times while reading it. This chapter is no exception. Even if you won't use this trick in your shows you will have a great time studying it.)

As Severin points out in his opening remarks the method employs a technique some performers may have an aversion to. So chances are that you don't like the trick at all.

-THE VERDICT - FOR MAGICIANS
Trick: 8 of 10
Theory: 8 of 10

-THE VERDICT - FOR MENTALISTS
Trick: 9 of 10 (if you like the method!)
Theory: 8 of 10



### CHAPTER 9 - Shroompleday ##

Another routine with the spectator doing the mind reading: the member of the audience glances into a crystal ball and divines what celebrity a second spectator thinks of.

-MY IMPRESSION
A lengthy, in depth explanation. The method seems risky at first, but every potential soft spot gets covered. (I am tempted to say that the explanation is a bit too detailed. On the other hand, every aspect is dealt with.)
The "backstage part" also discusses radio magic.
For a magician the performance could be to "pure" and "naked", but Severin gives many suggestions on how to come up with new ideas for the presentation.

-THE VERDICT - FOR MAGICIANS
Trick: 8 of 10
Theory: 9 of 10

-THE VERDICT - FOR MENTALISTS
Trick: 10 of 10
Theory: 9 of 10



### CHAPTER 10 - I know what you did ##
(ESSAY)
Severin's idea on preshow work.

-MY IMPRESSION
If plan to use pre-show work in your show then this chapter is 40 pages of gold for you. Even if you are already relying on pre-show work this chapter will give you many ideas.
What I like best is that Florian talks about all the stupid (occasionally, very stupid!) mistakes he already has made and how to avoid them.
And again the author proves that even dry theory can be written in an entertaining way.

-THE VERDICT - FOR MAGICIANS
Theory: 10 of 10

-THE VERDICT - FOR MENTALISTS
Theory: 10 of 10


### CHAPTER 11 - The Time Traveller's Wife ##

The performer predicts the phone number and name of spectator.

-MY IMPRESSION
Though I knew the basic concept behind this trick it did fool me. A classic methodology with nice subtleties. The routines relies on a switch and all the necessary sleights are described very clearly with all the underlying psychology.

-THE VERDICT - FOR MAGICIANS
Trick: 8 of 10
(no theory this time)

-THE VERDICT - FOR MENTALISTS
Trick: 8 of 10
(no theory this time)



### CHAPTER 12 - Conflict Resolution ##
(ESSAY)
Severin studied script writing. In this chapter he discusses how the use of dramatic conflicts can be used to make your show more exciting.

- MY IMPRESSION
Until now I never thought about conflicts; I am very grateful that this got changed. For me this essay could have been much longer!

-THE VERDICT - FOR MAGICIANS
Theory: 9 of 10

-THE VERDICT - FOR MENTALISTS
Theory: 9 of 10



### CHAPTER 13 - I Hear White Lies ##

A spectator is the only one who can hear music.

-MY IMPRESSION
A very complex routine that offers endless possibilities. Instead of hearing sounds the spectator could be the only one who sees, smells or tastes things. Due to the methods involved I doubt that it will fit into a regular magic show, but for a mentalist this is a very interesting concept.
(Warning: the explanation is even longer than the one of "Shroompleday".)

-THE VERDICT - FOR MAGICIANS
Trick: 1 of 10
Theory: 2 of 10

-THE VERDICT - FOR MENTALISTS
Trick: 9 of 10
Theory: 9 of 10



### CHAPTER 14 - Size Does Matter ##
(ESSAY)
Why you should make your show look as expensive as possible - and how to achieve this.

-MY IMPRESSION
I am not yet sure whether I agree with all points, but this essay made me think about my entire show. It is a short chapter, but very thought-provoking.

-THE VERDICT - FOR MAGICIANS
Theory: 9 of 10

-THE VERDICT - FOR MENTALISTS
Theory: 9 of 10



### CHAPTER 15 - Fenwick Experience ##
The performers makes a near death experience and this helps him to "see" what numbers a spectator thinks of.

-MY IMPRESSION
The plot is very inspiring, but I have my doubts that the majority of the readers can perform the routine exactly as described. This might be the reason why the explanation is very(!) short and not as extensive as previous ones. It feels like the chapter is more an illustration of the preceding essay than an actual routine.

On the bright side: again the chapter was a great read!


-THE VERDICT - FOR MAGICIANS
Trick: 3 of 10
(no theory this time)

-THE VERDICT - FOR MENTALISTS
Trick: 5 of 10
(no theory this time)



### CHAPTER 15 - Avada Kedavra ##

Bizarre magick.
The performer makes a person vanish from the face of the earth.


-MY IMPRESSION
This chapter is another example of Severin's strength to create a captivating plot. The routine illustrates his kind of humour and character. This is good, but also very bad, because if you are not Severin than you will not be able to perform this routine. But the author offers lots of ideas how to adept the trick to your personality and gives you some suggestions on how to come up with your own patter.
So even thought the trick is useless as such, he helps you to create your own original routine. Plus: there is also a nice handling for the nail writer that I didn't know beforehand.

-THE VERDICT - FOR MAGICIANS
Trick: 7 of 10
Theory: 8 of 10

-THE VERDICT - FOR MENTALISTS
Trick: 8 of 10
Theory: 8 of 10

-THE VERDICT - FOR BIZARRISTS
Trick: 10 of 10
Theory: 8 of 10



#############################################################################
## Overall impression - Writing
############################################################################

The author spends a great deal on his thoughts behind the tricks. In many cases he offered a new point of view to me. This got me questioning my opinions.
For me, this made this book special. It made me think! Lots of times!
The book offers interesting routines for the mentalist and the magician alike.
Severin's plots are intriguing.
The theory "behind" each trick is very extensive and full of details.
The book will make you laugh out loud while reading it!
You might not use every trick, but you will get a lot out of each chapter.

There are many "side quests" like encrypted messages and a search for movie titles. Also a short computer program is included.



#############################################################################
## Overall impression - Appeareance
############################################################################

The book itself looks great - at first sight. Beautiful design, great cover, nicely drawn illustrations. What I like best is that some of the illustrations have no further use than making you laugh. This shows how much work and devotion Severin put into his book.

An additional nice touch is the a coloured bookmark ribbon.

So, at first sight the book appears to be beautiful, but if you take a closer look you will notice that the drawing style of the illustrations varies. They are all black and white and hand drawn, but you can easily distinguish which images are the older ones. Apparently Florian Severin changed his drawing skills since he published the German edition in 2004. The newer illustrations are more three-dimensional, there are more shadows and these are softer, whereas the pictures that can be found in "13 Steps to Vandalism" are more abstract.
Don't get me wrong! The "old" and the "new" drawings are both very clear and to the point, but to give a full score I would have loved to see them more homogeneous.


Next you realise that the layout isn't as perfect, either.

The pages are just too "full". For the most times the text is "crammed" into the page. There is almost no space between the last line and the bottom of the page. It just looks like a desperate attempt to save some pages and thereby to reduce the printing costs. What a shame.

Typography: the kerning is plainly bad! Occasionally you have no space at all between the full stop and the first letter of the next sentence. It just adds to the overall "crammed" feeling of the layout. No other book by Vanishing Inc Magic has this flaw, and I cannot understand how this could have happened, because it is so obvious.

I know this is complaining at a very high level and you might call me picky, but these are details that spoil the great impression the book makes; and these are details that could have easily been avoided! They make wonder if the final production of the book was maybe a bit rushed.


The cover of the book is a bit unusual with its Flash/vector graphics style, but I like it. (It is by far better than the low resolution image of the eye on the cover of "Experience: The Magic of Jon Allen".)


Editing: I noticed some minor spelling mistakes, but this is something I can easily forgive.


- THE VERDICT [in detail]
Cover: 9 of 10
Illustration: 9 of 10
Layout: 6 of 10
Editing: 9 of 10
------------------------------
Appearance: 8 of 10




#############################################################################
## THE FINAL SCORE
############################################################################

### FINAL VERDICT ##

-AVERAGE VERDICT - FOR MAGICIANS
Trick: 7 of 10 & Theory: 7.5 of 10
----------------
TOTAL: 7 of 10

-AVERAGE VERDICT - FOR MENTALISTS
Trick: 8 of 10 & Theory: 8 of 10
----------------
TOTAL: 8 of 10


If I did my math correctly then the book is slightly more suitable for the mentalist than for the magician, but even magicians will find this book useful.

My closing words are: without a shadow of a doubt I can recommend this book to you.





Best
- Markus
John Raff M
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Now that's what I call a review. Well done Markus!

John.
ParaMarkus
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Thank you Smile
parmenion
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8/10? man! lol
Of course, it's you point of view...;-)
“I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about.”
<BR>Oscar Wilde experimentaliste <br>
<BR>Artist pickpocket Professional
<BR>
<BR>Looking for the best book test in French? send me a PM!
ParaMarkus
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Quite a high rating, I know, but since I had a rather pleasant time with the book I feel that the 8 (or 7 if you were a magician) points are well deserved.
Nevertheless, there are better books out there, so a higher score would be inappropriate.

How much would you give and why would you rate it lower?

- Markus
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Lower?
The Mati Envelope
A brandnew peek device for the working mentalist!

Chance's Token
Tarot cards in a scenic piece of mystery.....
tenchu
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I'm glad you liked the cover, Markus Smile

Mike
ParaMarkus
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Oh, I beg your pardon! I forgot that this is the Magic Café. You guys are not used to reviews, but only praise. Smile

That's okay. Let me adjust: My "real world" rating of 8/10 translated into the Magic Café language would be: 13 of 10.

As I said, I really liked the book and I certainly recommend it; to magicians and mentalists alike. Still, it has some issues and there are better books out there. Maybe just a few, but for example I consider Corinda's "13 Steps to Mentalism" to be a more important publication. I would give it 9 points of 10. (I rarely give 10 points, because there almost always is something complain about.) Naturally, the Café-ish score for Corinda would be 15 of 10.

Nevertheless, no one is stopping you from posting your own, more accurate Smile reviews.


- Markus
JanForster
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Quote:
On 2013-04-06 04:58, ParaMarkus wrote:
...
Let me adjust: My "real world" rating of 8/10 translated into the Magic Café language would be: 13 of 10.
...


:lol:
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ravi
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Quote:
On 2013-04-06 04:58, ParaMarkus wrote:
Oh, I beg your pardon! I forgot that this is the Magic Café. You guys are not used to reviews, but only praise. Smile

That's okay. Let me adjust: My "real world" rating of 8/10 translated into the Magic Café language would be: 13 of 10.

As I said, I really liked the book and I certainly recommend it; to magicians and mentalists alike. Still, it has some issues and there are better books out there. Maybe just a few, but for example I consider Corinda's "13 Steps to Mentalism" to be a more important publication. I would give it 9 points of 10. (I rarely give 10 points, because there almost always is something complain about.) Naturally, the Café-ish score for Corinda would be 15 of 10.

Nevertheless, no one is stopping you from posting your own, more accurate Smile reviews.


- Markus


COOOOOOL

:)

...and true!

Ravi
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M. H. Goodman
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Thank you for providing such a thorough review, Markus.
Coinucopia available now at http://coinucopia.blogspot.com.
parmenion
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Good question, as there's nothing new or ground breaking, but interesting thought and thinking.
6/10 will be my note, but I don't give note because we are not at school and in this matters, it depends of you level of knowledge ( opposite at the school where everybody has the same level).
I don't do any difference between magician and mentalist as is more mental magic and not mentalism.
“I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about.”
<BR>Oscar Wilde experimentaliste <br>
<BR>Artist pickpocket Professional
<BR>
<BR>Looking for the best book test in French? send me a PM!
ParaMarkus
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Catch-22: the more knowledge one gains, the less suprising ground-breaking material one will come across.

As the old saying goes: "Nihil novi sub sole." (Nothing new under the sun.)
parmenion
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Quote:
On 2013-04-08 10:03, ParaMarkus wrote:
Catch-22: the more knowledge one gains, the less suprising ground-breaking material one will come across.

As the old saying goes: "Nihil novi sub sole." (Nothing new under the sun.)

Not true about some book I read recently But about this book ;-)
“I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about.”
<BR>Oscar Wilde experimentaliste <br>
<BR>Artist pickpocket Professional
<BR>
<BR>Looking for the best book test in French? send me a PM!
ParaMarkus
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Then you have been luckier than I. Smile

You definitely enticed my curiousity! I would appreciate some reading suggestions. What books that you've recently read contained ground-breaking material?

- Markus
parmenion
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I can't tell you, you need 50 posts for that ;-)
If I tell you Jan Forster will kill me.
“I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about.”
<BR>Oscar Wilde experimentaliste <br>
<BR>Artist pickpocket Professional
<BR>
<BR>Looking for the best book test in French? send me a PM!
JanForster
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No, I would never kill you - I love to laugh Smile. What would I do without you? Jan
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John C
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Quote:
On 2013-04-08 14:00, parmenion wrote:
I can't tell you, you need 50 posts for that ;-)
If I tell you Jan Forster will kill me.



he would HAVE to kill you. He'd have no choice. I give Jan .... 7 out of 10 that he would.
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Florian Severin
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@ Markus: thanks a lot for taking your time to write such an in-depth review! I am pretty sure that your review will help people to evaluate whether they might like my little book. I wish there were so detailed reviews for all the books I intend to purchase. Should I ever write a second one I will send you a review copy....so try not to get killed by Jan "Hitman" Forster first Smile

@ Everyone else Smile if you are looking for two further reviews you can find them here http://www.marketplaceofthemind.com/whatlies.html and here http://www.littleegyptmagic.com/magic_january2013.html

Florian
John Locke
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I am just returning to read this book again. It is one of the most helpful books on magic and mentalism I have found.
John
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