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Apocalypse 11-15 (January 1988 through December 1992) by Harry Lorayne

Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii May, 2002)


When I reviewed the first bound volume of the collected Apocalypse, years 1 through 5, I mentioned that as an original subscriber and early fan of the journal, I eventually allowed my subscription to lapse after about seven or eight years. Now with this third collected volume we are definitely into territory of which I have seen very little until now. I also mentioned in that previous review that such a collected volume might well have been titled, "Buried in Print." I suppose the question is buried treasure, or dead and buried?

Well, probably some of both. At 720 pages and over 500 items, it would be hard to go through these pages and not find something of interest. The names alone are a remarkable list, including stalwarts like Ed Mario, Karrell Fox, Phil Goldstein, J.K. Hartman, Sol Stone, Gene Maze, Alan Slaight, Howard Schwarzman, Ken Krenzel, Juan Tamariz, and countless more, not to mention the pleasant surprises that are likely to be found among the less recognizable contributors (like Ori Ashkenazi's "Do It Right And," a terrific opening sequence for a cut-and-restored rope routine that fooled me badly when I saw him do it in his native Israel about two years ago). By the same token, I do believe the magazine was getting tired by this time, and the publisher/author's sense of taste, so sharply honed that in the 1960s he deeply influenced an entire generation of magicians, had clearly if mysteriously slackened.

I suppose that increasingly the journal became something of a "noodler's" package, in which some of the material by no means all but some of the material fell to the caliber of stuff you might show at the weekly magic meeting: worth noodling over at the table, but not always worthy of publication. Then again, like any collected journal, the book is a snapshot of what at least some magic circles were thinking about at the time; you can tell they must have been enamored of coin acquitments for a while.

With that caveat considered (and the thereby implied and inclusive notion that at least some of the heavily repeated names so adored in these pages and so utterly ignored outside the local con-fines of New York City were represented more due to their presence and proximity at those weekly noodling sessions than anything else), one can't deny that the sheer volume of material renders this a reasonable value for the price asked (notwithstanding the minimal production values and the unfortunate cartoons on the first page of many issues). Grab a hunk of magic like this, set it bedside and page through it a bit nightly with some basic props in reach, and you're bound to be rewarded with some discovery with which to entertain yourself, your fellow magi, and perhaps even a real audience now and again. Oh, and did you know that Mr. Lorayne's best friend is Mel Brooks? Well, as if any of us could forget, don't worry we are dutifully reminded in the first sentence of the new foreword.

Apocalypse 11-15 (January 1988 through December 1992) • by Harry Lorayne • 8 “ x 11" laminated hardcover • 720 pages • Illustrated • 2001