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M.I.N.T. Volume II by Edward Marlo

Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii October, 2005)


The late Edward Marlo possessed one of the most fertile minds in all of card magic, and his name will no doubt live on as a guiding light of cardicians throughout the cosmos at least until the day the earth falls back into the sun and the universe collapses on itself— at which point, one hopes, Color Monte will not be reinvented. Marlo had true greatness: the flow of his creativity seemed boundless, his patience for and interest in minutia was without equal. Marlo had his idiosyncrasies, too: his copious note-taking on matters great and small presented the student with an ocean of possibilities but could drown you in a sea of options. And Marlo had his flaws: undercurrents of avarice in the gathering of credits occasionally spilled beyond the brim of his own legitimately bountiful output. Perhaps these contradictions of a complex personality will never be quite fully fathomed, but even the most zealous critic would be hard-pressed to ignore the wealth of ideas, sleights, effects, methods, and plots that Marlo bestowed upon us all, and the sea-changes in cardicians' thinking that were caught in Marlo's wake.

The great tide of Marlo's output has yet to ebb, what with the continuing release of previously unpublished material, along with that of compilations of isolated and limited releases now being cast upon greater waters for wider consumption. The latest such collection is the second volume of "Marlo In the New Tops," or M.I.N.T. Marlo's faucet never completely shut off, it seems, and the New Tops Magazine, itself recently dried up after a long run, was a tributary that continued to drip Marlo output from 1963 right up until his death. The more important contributions would eventually find their way into use, regardless of whether or not students had access to the original source, or would see revisitation in later Marlo publications in the course of his relentless explorations. But collecting this material for completeness and ease of access is an important task, and so the M.I.N.T. series began with Volume One, containing material from 1963 through mid-1968, and now picks up with Volume Two from mid-1968 through mid-1979. A planned third volume will complete the intended trilogy.

In Volume II, you will find the original descriptions of well-known Marlo plots like Think Touch Turn, now standard Marlo sleights including the Bottom Deal Exchange, an entire entry on Wrist Turn Passes, and a few of Marlo's inexhaustible well of methods for the Spectator Cuts Aces. Of course, this is only a fragment of the contents, which includes 49 entries in all. As with the previous volume, new illustrations have been drawn or re-drawn by Amade Narvaez to complement the text, consistently improving on the original magazine illustrations, which at times resembled murky images of the alleged Loch Ness Monster. For the historian and researcher plumbing the depths, for the budding cardician wading in the shallows, for card aficionados from all points near and far, this is an important and invaluable text, an accessible ford by which to slip into the Marlo stream.

10" x 7-1/4" hardcover w/laminated dustjacket; 416 pages on acid-free paper; over line drawings; 1995; Published by L&L Publishing