An old proverb says “As many heads, as many opinions.” It’s an apt proverb to apply to the many different types of card tricks. For every magician that likes one type of card trick, another magician will dislike that type. Nevertheless, almost every category of card trick survives over time because of the magicians who do like them and part of that survival is the improvements and innovations created by them.
Al Smith’s two books are mostly, note the word mostly is used and not exclusively, about spelling tricks. As a writer who seems to never miss a good opportunity to employ double meanings, Al’s use of the word ‘spell’ in the titles refer to time spent with cards as much as the main type of card effects explained. So be assured that not every card effect in the books is a spelling one.
Just as with his book, Round the Square, these two books lead the reader through the principles behind the various kinds of spelling tricks in order to provide the reader with the ability to create his or her own card effects. Also, just as in Round the Square, Al puts in plenty of thought regarding the performance of each effect and not simply explaining how the effect works. And once again, where appropriate, Al provides the genealogy of an effect giving deserved credit to other magicians.
For anyone wondering about the worth of spelling tricks, you should give pause to the thought that very few of the classic tomes on card magic don’t include such card effects and The Encyclopaedia of Card Magic devotes a whole chapter to the subject. In the latest issue of The LaBaL, professional card magician and author Paul Gordon contributed a humdinger of a spelling effect called Standard Bikes and a variation on it called Standard Bikes With Aces.
For details on how to purchase copies of A Spell of Cards or Another Spell of Cards please contact Al Smith by emailing email@example.com