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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » ASYMPTOTES. New book coming soon from Ben Blau (23 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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qualysoft
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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.
Ben Blau
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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.


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
saxonia
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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
Ben Blau
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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


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! 😊
Drtriage
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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




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! 😊


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
John C
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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




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! 😊


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


It means you have a "collectors" edition.
The ULTIMATE Routine Series: rebirth soon!
Ben Blau
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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
Drtriage
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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



Thanks - I may well be tempted to buy your new book!
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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



Thanks - I may well be tempted to buy your new book!


If you liked “Asymptotes”, you should definitely like “Truth Fables”. Personally, I think it’s better.
Oscar999
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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
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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


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

Ben
Chris K
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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.
Oscar999
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@Ben - Yes, I have seen Unfazed. And I bought it (under a different name, Oscar is a pseudonym).

That is one fine routine.

Oscar
Chris K
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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
DocBenWiz
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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
"Pay no attention to that strange man behind the curtain" (it's only "Doc Benjamin from the Amazing Wizardelia Wagon")
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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


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
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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
Chris K
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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


I’m working on a similar review for Truth Fables. I’ll try to remember to drop a link here when I post it.
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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. Smile

Love y’all,

-Ben
Ben Blau
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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
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