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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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silbo
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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


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...
Chris K
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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 Truth Fables. 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 Asymptotes 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.

**********************************************************************************************
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.
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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.
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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 Asymptotes 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:

I do not want anybody to buy something based on my review. 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 Asymptotes. Do I share what I think is gold or keep it to myself? I went about 50/50 in my Asymptotes 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 limited number of people.

And one more reason I don't write reviews: it's a lot of gosh-darned work! For Asymptotes, and now Truth Fables, 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 Asymptotes and Truth Fables reviews may encourage me to do more:
-I am finding stuff I missed or forgot about. In doing the Asymptotes 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 Asymptotes and Truth Fables 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 Art of Astonishment 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 specific discussion around effects in Asymptotes and Truth Fables?

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 Asymptotes 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, once they have worked through the effects as written.

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.
Nev Blenk
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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


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

Cheers
Nev
adiabaticman
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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
Watching those electrons dance on the adiabat, from Franck-Condon to the Asymptote.
Ben Blau
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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
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