The Erdnase Journal by John Bodine and Theron Schaub
Reviewed by Jamy Ian Swiss (originally published in Genii September, 2010)
Earlier this year, I took part in the first Magic-Con gathering in San Diego, produced by the Buck Twins and Syd Segal. A fine time was had by all, but I mention it because in the center of a room devoted to selling presenter items,there was a fabulous little exhibit. It was a glass case containing a collection, the property of the cardician Jason England, of various editions of Erdnase's Expert at the Card Table. I have a small shelf of such editions myself,featuring my treasured first edition, and I have handled many if not most editions extant, but I had never seen such a glorious array in one place, and I returned to look at it a number of times in the course of the conference.
Magic-Con also saw the release of this clever and elegant item now at hand, The Erdnase Journal. This is a facsimile of a first edition of Erdnase's Expert, hard bounding green cloth and gilt inlay, similar (if not identical) to the lovely facsimile Erdnase editions that were produced a few years ago by an anonymous publisher (reviewed in Genii, May 2003). Except that in this case, following the title and copyright page, one finds only the original illustrations, all in the right places, surrounded by blank pages, lacking any further text other than the figure numbering.
Although I came across a few people who found this confection pointless and even offensive, I confess I am completely charmed by it. It can be used for numerous purposes most obviously as a companion journal to Erdnase; for example, a place for one's notes on the study of the original.But it could also serve as a magic journal in general, and for that matter, any sort of blank-paged journal. You can write around the small illustrations or right over them if you so choose. In fact, you can do any damned thing you like with it, including just adding it to your Erdnase shelf as you dream of building toward an Englandish collection, and no matter what, I for one appreciate the art and whimsy of it. Go get yourself one.