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A Look Back Before Going Forward by Unknown

Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii September, 1998)


In June of 1993, thanks to an introduction by builder Tabby Crabb to then- Genii editor Dante Larsen, I began to contribute a twelve-part series of essays, entitled Shattering Illusions, to the pages of this magazine. Midway during the course of that series, Erika Larsen assumed the role of editor, which she concludes with this issue. At the completion of the essay series with my May, 1994 cover issue, Erika asked if I might be willing to continue to write for the magazine in some capacity. Following several conversations she surprised me by offering me the book review column, Light From the Lamp. After consideration and further discussion I accepted the position, and wrote my first column, devoted entirely to Steel & Silver by Paul Gertner, for the June, 1994 issue.

At the time Erika took over Genii she explained to me that while she had been around magic since her early childhood, it was a subject that dominated her parents' lives and interest, not hers; it was ubiquitous but peripheral, and certainly not an area of her personal passion or expertise. Nevertheless, she was determined to try to save the dignity of her family's magazine, if not the magazine itself. Genii had been on shaky ground. She hoped it could be rescued and brought into the future, but if not, at least it would go out with some style and impact.

Those goals turned out to be far too modest. Genii has had a long history of strong women at its helm, and Erika wore that tradition well—even when running the magazine single-handedly. Thanks to her skills, energy and passion, Genii thrived under her guidance.

It is not by accident that talented colleagues like Danny Orleans, Eugene Burger, Gordon Bean, Max Maven, Kirk Charles and so many others managed to come together under one masthead. That is the achievement of Erika Larsen's editorial leadership and vision, the direct reflection of an individual who knows how to recognize the best in people, and then how to encourage and get that best from them. I would like to publicly thank her here not only for the opportunity to try my hand at this column, but for the determination and courage she has exhibited in supporting my particular approach, at times, especially early on, in the face of strident opposition. Today I am pleased to call her a friend.

With this issue, Erika Larsen steps down as editor and turns over the publishing reins of this venerable and truly independent journal to Richard Kaufman & Co., leaving sixty years of stewardship by the Larsen family behind. It has been my privilege to be part of that history and tradition, but no privilege has been greater than that of working with this departing editor and friend. I hope readers will be glad to learn that the new publisher and editor has asked me to continue to write this column for Genii , and I am pleased to be able to agree to do so. I would like to thank my friend, Vic Sussman, who has generously served as an editorial advisor and guiding hand since I began writing this column, and to Carol Krol, my companion, editorial consultant, proofreader, and all-around supporter; both of these people occupy special places in my life and have contributed a great deal to my becoming a better writer or, when all else fails, to at least making it seem that way. Finally, and yet most importantly, I sincerely thank my readership for your loyalty and continuing interest in my work. I thank you for every letter, every email, every passing comment at a convention or a magic shop. Believe me when I say that they always mean a great deal to me. When I began this column I wrote that it was "the beginning of an exciting new dialogue for me; I hope that my partners in it—you, the readers—find it equally so." Nothing about this task is more rewarding than that dialogue, and I look forward to continuing it with you, as together we all accompany Genii into the future.