Note ye ed's new email address:

The Little Egypt Book of Numbers is now available from H&R Magic Books! See glowing self-serving review in the July 2004 issue.

Memories are made of this.

Take a card, any card.

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU -- Lewis Jones's hardbound Encyclopedia of Impromptu Card Forces (subtitle: 500 Forces with a Borrowed Deck), weighing in at a whopping 294 oversized pages, is all its title and subtitle claim it to be. And to repeat that number, it's five hundred practical forces. For this second edition Lewis Jones has rewritten, reshuffled, and expanded his prior compilation of practical card forces into the following categories: Blind forces, Combination forces, Comedy forces, Count forces, Cut forces, Equivocation forces, Forcing formulas, The glide, The hold out, Locators, Multiple forces, Probability forces, Spelling forces, Stop forces, and Switches. The list includes old favorites as well as those that will be new to you. I particularly enjoyed variations on the business card force and the mental gymnastics of "Mnemonia." Some will recognize a Jack Avis ungaffed Brainwave plot as a much stronger presentation for something they are already doing as an opening effect. This is a grand resource, and my understanding is that only 300 copies have been printed. Woe to he who waits until this is on eBay. It's 35 pounds plus 6 pounds p&h, or about $70 U.S. Visa, Mastercard, Eurocard accepted. Order directly from Lewis Jones, 23 Woodbastwick Road, London SE26 5LG, U.K. Inquiries via

STICKER SHOCK -- One of my favorite pieces of apparatus left over from childhood is my Nelson Ultra Perfect Clip Board. I still have visions of doing pre-show work as a theater full of society types fills for my full-evening mentalism show. (I of course have grown up to look like one of those handsome entertainers that Nelson Hahne drew.) It's nice to see that this prop is back on the market. A bit of a shock though to see it selling at $145. Mine cost a mere five bucks, back in the good old days.

September 2004

It's officially fall, and thoughts of Halloween are in the air. Before turning to those annual delights, we take a look at two important new reference books, a brief look back at my "impressionable" youth, and some intriguing new fiction.

WELL STACKED -- Juan Tamariz's Mnemonica is simply a thrill to read. Whether or not you intend to learn Tamariz's vaunted and multiply-useful stack itself (though temptations to use the stack abound, you can benefit from the book using stacks you already know and use), it is simply a joy to encounter so much original and in-depth thinking on a single subject in magic, all delivered in Tamariz's friendly, fraternal, and often very funny style. I'll first describe the Mneomonica stack in his words, which includes "the possibility of converting the stack to stay-stack order ,... of starting with a brand new deck, many spelling tricks, poker and rummy demonstrations, as well as ones for blackjack and bridge, a production of all the cards of any suit, many specific mental tricks, and stories told by the cards. There are nearly 30 specific tricks for this stack, without counting those using the stay-stack arrangement. On top of that, there is a blockbuster closing effect in which the whole deck ends up arranged by suit and value, from Ace to King, that provides an absolutely marvelous climax to any magic performance." Whew. Okay, let's look at some of my favorite items. From stay-stack, you can do an excellent four-ace poker deal and an amazing conversion of the deck to new deck order (no memorization for either). From the Mnemonica stack, you can deal "Any Poker Hand Called For" as well as doing a nice double prediction based on the Kruskal Principle (again, no memorizing). With the whole stack, there is a fine "Divination" that could also be done with a Si Stebbins deck. "Mnemonicus" applies the stack to Vernon's "Trick Without a Name." (Okay, that one was for the big boys.) Tamariz applies Ray Grismer's excellent shuffle to a "Cards to Pocket" plot. "Control in Chaos" is an extraordinary jumbled shuffle revelation using any mnemonic stack. "Memory Jumble" is a great way to create a half-stack (half the book is devoted to routines with a half stack!) from scratch. "A Card and a Number" could be done with a simpler calculated stack, such as Lewis Jones's "Memory Deck" stack. "T.N.T" is an impossible location: spek shuffles the deck twice before and twice after selecting a card. Only then does the magi touch the deck, and he locates the card. (Okay, this is a reason to learn this stack!) "Jumbled Divination" is another miracle routine with the half stack (somewhat similar to "Control in Chaos"). Tamariz applies the stack's utility to two fine Jacob Daley routines, "Card in Wallet" (the wallet is in the spek's hands before he selects his card) and "Some Time Ago" (a destroyed card returns to its location in the deck). Above and beyond the tricks are fascinating sections on how to memorize a stack, how to create the impression of disorder with a stacked deck, useful sleights (some very nice ones on deck switches), and a 36-page bibliography that traces the wonderous history of stacked decks. As I've tried to indicate, this is a book for everyone, not just memdeck junkies. Much in the book can be done with simpler stacks or alternates to stacks altogether, much can be done with the Mnemonica stack that does not require you to memorize it, and some absolutely killer things can be done by those who take the trouble (only three hours, Tamariz claims!) to commit it to memory. Hardbound, 408 pages, beautifully produced by Hermetic Press. $71 pp from Hermetic Press (

HARRY POTTER FOR ADULTS -- I haven't read the novel yet, but this tease from Publishers Weekly re Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is intriguing: "The drawing room social comedies of early 19th-century Britain are infused with the powerful forces of English folklore and fantasy in this extraordinary novel of two magicians who attempt to restore English magic in the age of Napoleon. In Clarke's world, gentlemen scholars pore over the magical history of England, which is dominated by the Raven King, a human who mastered magic from the lands of faerie. The study is purely theoretical until Mr. Norrell, a reclusive, mistrustful bookworm, reveals that he is capable of producing magic and becomes the toast of London society, while an impetuous young aristocrat named Jonathan Strange tumbles into the practice, too, and finds himself quickly mastering it." Order or purchase soon while the stores are still offering discounts.


Little Egypt Magic is the erratically updated web site of Steve Bryant, spawned (the site, not Steve) by a former internet magazine known as The Little Egypt Gazette/for magicians only.

Steve Bryant is an obscure magician and writer who generates this site from a computer in Bloomington, Indiana. He frequently journeys to and performs magic in Little Egypt, the local name for extreme southern Illinois, where the towns bear such names as Cairo, Thebes, and Karnak.

Past issues of this web site: Index to Past Issues

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Copyright© 2004 by Steve Bryant