The Pages Are Blank

Book by Michael Feldman
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The Pages Are Blank

49.95 usd

Book by Michael Feldman (49.95)

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Nearly 200 pages of powerful, practical card magic exploring how we can create “real” magic for modern audiences.

As magicians, it is our job to make audiences question reality. A difficult task when you realize centuries of magic tricks have told us that vague gestures like “waving a wand” or “snapping our fingers” are good enough reasoning for why magic happens.

Michael Feldman has spent his career actively working against beliefs held by generations of magicians. He doesn’t hide the fact he’s using special skills. Instead, he invites his audience into a compelling world where they’re not asked to believe magic is “real”, but rather challenged to prove it isn’t. Every audience is left with a genuine feeling of astonishment, including Penn and Teller when he appeared on Fool Us a couple of years ago.

In The Pages Are Blank, Michael shares 19 of his most cherished pieces. Each one breaks the typical structure of magic, using devious, off-beat methods to leave every audience rethinking their idea of the impossible. Ideas that have garnered support from an impressive list of magicians like Asi Wind, Denis Behr, Tony Chang, Garrett Thomas, Caleb Wiles, Harrison Greenbaum, Erik Tait, Carisa Hendrix, and many others.

Broken into two main sections, the first part of The Pages Are Blank features Michael’s go-to material. The routines he performs when someone asks to see a trick. There’s something for everyone from quirky effects like “False Dichotomy”—a brain-bending routine in which two people's different realities both end up being true—to unique and fun takes on classics like Triumph and Card Under Glass.

Throughout this section, you’ll also find a variety of original techniques. Versatile moves like a devious two-card peek and a deck switch that is undoubtedly going to be the highlight of the book for most magicians. It is genuinely the most incredible deck switch we’ve ever seen. (Check out the trailer to see for yourself!)

In the second part of The Pages are Blank, Michael shares the results of his 25-year exploration of duplicate signed cards. Join him as he unlocks a whole new world of impossibilities from an Anniversary Waltz variation in which the faces of both cards can be seen to an impossible transpo where a signed card swaps with a card under someone’s finger in the fairest way.

Everything in this incredible hardcover book is a bona fide worker, honed and refined in front of live audiences over 1,000s of performances. The material touches all skill levels and, while some of it might require a bit of practice, there is nothing particularly knuckle-busting. The effect and method are explained in detail and are accompanied by beautiful photographs, the choreography, and an easy-reference summary featuring all the key details.

While The Pages Are Blank is a beautiful addition to any shelf. It is not written to collect dust. It is instead crying out to be read and studied carefully. This is destined to become a modern classic book for any lover of card magic.

Get your copy of The Pages Are Blank by Michael Feldman today!

“It’s really good. There are some really offbeat effects and very original plots. The really incredible deck switch fooled me the first two times I saw it.” Pit Hartling

“Michael Feldman is one of the greatest card magicians I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.” Kyle Purnell

“A must for any card magic aficionado” Jon Armstrong

“You should get this.” Tony Chang

“Very original, incredibly smart, and well thought out.” Harapan Ong

“I’m a HUGE fan of Michael Feldman and all the material inside this book.” Kyle Littleton

“You will not find a better book out there when it comes to unique methods and maximum impact.” David Corsaro

“I’m so proud of Michael for putting this out. He’s one of the most clever magicians I know. Don’t worry, the pages are not blank. It’s a beautifully written and illustrated book. There’s everything in this book including techniques for how to palm a card while shuffling and peek cards, as well as a great deck switch. It’s also got great routines with clever and innovative presentations.” Karl Hein

**See More Reviews of The Pages Are Blank

Contents of The Pages are Blank by Michael Feldman*

Foreword by Garrett Thomas

Aesthetics

Everyday Carry

  • False Dichotomy
  • Victory
  • Don’t Skip This
    • Double Book Peek
    • Gin Pick
    • Out With the Wash
    • Two Cards, One Palm
    • Shuffle Palm
    • Plain Sight
    • Multiplexing
  • Time One at a
  • Change Blind
  • The Trick that Cannot be Spellchecked
  • Not Again
  • Overcoming the Signature
  • Forgery

The Merely Impossible Suite

  • Merely Impossible
  • Impromptu Merely Impossible
  • One Up
  • Phusion

Outro

186 Pages | Hardcover | Photographs | Smyth-Sewn

 

Customer reviews for The Pages Are Blank

Reviewer

William

Whew. Can’t say how much I love this book. It is challenging in the best way. Take that card magic to new heights, buy the book!

 
Reviewer

Lucas

Like all vanishing inc's book, the production value is immaculate. The book is well structured and easy to read. There are a few ideas that Michael goes through in the book, like the deck switch and his approach to duplicating signatures. The routines are killer as well. But this is not a beginner friendly book, be prepared to put in time to learn the moves taught.

 
Reviewer

Oliver

The quality of the book is superb, as for all the books that Vanishing Inc produce. About the content, I must say is great content for value but not suitable for everybody. You will need a table for most of the tricks explained, but if you already have a close-up magic show, this book will increase the quality of your show and you may consider to add some of the effects explained.

 
Reviewer

Graham

At the time I got into magic, books were inscrutable to me. I’d be drawn in by the Effect but stopped by the Description because they all seemed to include the phrase “by the usual method” and leave me on my own to figure out whose method it was and where to find it.

What is revelatory about this book is it focus on a clear aesthetic. It grounds how the presentation should be made and enables the even the sausage-fingered to know where they’re going. Bravo!

 
Reviewer
VI Monthly
Member

Jonathan

This is a terrific book. I would buy it again in a heartbeat. The material is mostly difficult. Some of it could be tackled by someone of moderate skill, which is where I am currently. I found it impressive and aspirational. There are miracle level pieces in here that it will be well worth putting in the work to master. This is the kind of book that gives you a reason to be a bit more of a move monkey. The theory points are thoughtful and valuable for all.

 
Reviewer

Morris

I managed to purchase an early copy of this book from Magic Live and have been immersed myself in it ever since. I absolutely adore this book. At its core, this book presents a neo-approach, attitude, and a new philosophy towards the magic that we perform. Most importantly, it delves into how we magicians should conduct ourselves in the 21st century. The introductory essay explains the reasoning behind the book's title, shedding light on Michael's disillusionment and discontent with the prevailing approach to magic. Throughout the entire book, Michael shares with us a fresh perspective on presenting our magic and respecting our modern audience. This resonates deeply with me, as I've been following a similar approach. If you take away something valuable from the opening essay and Michael's insights on presentation (which scatter through the entire book), this book is already worth its price. How about the tricks? It's important to note that this book is not intended for beginners. Michael assumes that the reader has a solid foundation in sleight of hand. Some moves, such as the Cull or Side Steal, are mentioned but not explained; they are treated more as afterthoughts in the book. I won't divulge the specific contents of the book, as they cater to individual tastes. What I can say is that these are classic routines that have been rework, tried and tested in front of real-life audiences. The book provides detailed explanations of the structure, routining, alternatives, and the underlying reasons (Why) for each routine. Reading between the lines is key to fully grasping the material. If you're a fan of Derren Brown, Derek Delgaudio, Jerx, Gabi Parera, Jared Kopf, Garret Thomas, and others who has been carving the similar path, you absolutely need to get your hands on this book. One thing to keep in mind is that I strongly recommend getting a book cover for this one. The cover material and color are prone to dirt and fingerprint marks. I realize this right after I got my fingerprint on the back of the book.

 
Reviewer

Michael

Michael Feldman deeply loves card magic. He also deeply loves creating an agreement with his audiences that magic isn't real, and that everything he does requires raw skill, sleight of hand, and psychology. If these descriptors resonate with you, The Pages are Blank - Feldman's first major solo book release - might be right up your alley. Card effects, techniques, and some fascinating performance theory make up the near-200 pages of this new volume published by the always outstanding Vanishing Inc. But let's get into the details!

DESIGN
As is to be expected from Vanishing Inc, the book is beautiful: a sturdy white hardcover with thoughtful, minimalist design and thick, glossy pages with black & white photographs. I showed this book to my sister, a designer herself, and she gave it a 10/10 on aesthetics. That's high praise, and I agree. My one concern is that the pale white cover is likely more prone to stains, scuffs, and visible wear, so it's advisable to be careful with it.

EFFECTS
There are 19 items in Feldman's book, each explained pretty well with a serviceable amount of accompanying photographs. The material is all sleight-of-hand card magic, and be forewarned: this stuff isn't easy. There are a handful of pieces that are within grasp for an intermediate card technician, but there's also a solid chunk I'd more readily categorize as advanced; closer to Ernest Earick than John Bannon. If you're not already adept at things like palming and bottom dealing, or may struggle with performing tricky sleights in non-dominant hands, this might not be the book for you. I consider myself someone who operates in the intermediate-to-advanced category, but there's no shortage of challenging work in these pages that it'll take me quite a while to get a handle on. Feldman also frequently references rather obscure moves with cited sources, but doesn't teach said moves or even go over them in brief. If you're not well-read in card magic literature, this will be a barrier for you if you'd like to perform the methods as described. Also, while I appreciated Feldman's attempts to keep his explanations economical, that sometimes - but not always - comes at the sacrifice of some clarity.

That said, it strikes me that some effects could be rendered a little more user friendly with some slight personal modifications to the handlings. For instance, one early effect makes use of a bottom palm; since I'm not great with bottom palms, I'd much rather control the necessary card to the top instead and palm it from there. These variations might slightly betray Feldman's careful structure, but they won't sacrifice effect.

The pieces in this book are all well structured and very practical, but don't take practical to mean organic or suitable for any situation. For example, most people who buy this book were likely tantalized by Out With the Wash, Michael's extremely clever deck switch performed in the book's trailer. The switch looks like a deck is washed around the table, gathered, and straightened out; but in the process, the entire deck is switched in full view. This looks gorgeous and is one of the few instances I've seen a deck switch that is genuinely burnable. You don't need misdirection or cover or a relaxed offbeat for this thing; the work is near-invisible on its own. However, there's a big caveat: the switch requires a multifaceted rig to be constructed and added to the rear of a table, making this a deck switch that is literally only useable in formalized performance scenarios like a parlour show. It is the furthest possible thing from organic, but I can see magicians making amazing use out of this in the appropriate setting. Whether or not you decide to adopt it yourself will depends on your intended performance aesthetics and you willingness to construct and implement a not-insignificant piece of apparatus.

But don't worry: there are also plenty of pieces here that you can readily perform from a shuffled deck in use. One of my personal favourites is False Dichotomy, a thoughtful and surprising 'magician in trouble' style of effect in which the magician creates a scenario wherein two spectators end up arguing about which suit their selection truly was; but, nonetheless, the magician resolves the effect in satisfying and surprising fashion. Compared to other effects in the book, this is one of the more attainable ones from a technical standpoint and would be well suited to a casual performance environment like walk-around.

If you're a student of the Triumph plot the way I am, you'll find some interesting and fresh ideas in Victory, Feldman's in-the-hands interpretation of the effect that has some lovely visual convincers and displays. This is not going to replace any of my top go-to Triumph methods, but I still very much admire Feldman's clever thinking here.

Feldman also has some exciting techniques and sleights on offer here, including a clever variant on the book peek that allows for multiple selections to be peeked at once; his touches on the Gin Pick; a lovely Dorian Rhodell technique for top-palming two cards at once; an elegant replacement of a palmed card that avoids many of the usual tells that Feldman hilariously lays out in his introduction to the handling; and a wicked difficult - but very cool - top palm that occurs during a standard riffle shuffle and bridge. Again, this is hard sh!t, but I can see a lot of magicians having fun putting in the work. I know I will!

Many will have a field day with Feldman's work on signature duplication, to which he dedicates a large chunk of the latter part of the book. The thinking here is clever, deeply practical, and opens up a wide variety of exciting possibilities for those who want to perform miracles with signed cards; including an incredible take on Anniversary Waltz that allows you to cleanly show both signed cards in isolation before they fuse together.

I was less taken by The Trick That Cannot Be Spellchecked, which to me has a more interesting dramaturgy than method. While Feldman presents some intriguing ideas on how to script and frame a spelling trick, his handling is wildly technical. To achieve what is ultimately an impossible location of a selection and its three mates, you'll be palming, holding out, adding on, and executing multiple consecutive bottom deals. This handling is not for the faint of heart and, ultimately, Feldman has taken an effect that has numerous excellent semi-automatic interpretations in the canon already and turned it into a hefty sleight-of-hand workhorse. Some people will vibe with it, others may not.

I'm also not the hugest fan of Time One At A, which is Feldman's ace-cutting sequence anchored to a deliberately befuddling, time-bending presentational hook. I really like the method here and there are some nice surprises, but if you don't intend to perform this as-written - and you may not, because it's so personal to Feldman and his style - you might prefer to stick with your other existing methods.

THEORY
Some of my favourite elements of the book are Feldman's philosophies on contemporary magic performance. These are philosophies I've already adopted myself: in a nutshell, approaching the audience's experience of your magic in a way that doesn't just ignore sleight of hand and underlying techniques, but actively acknowledges them. Magic isn't real, and Feldman wants you to remember that at every turn; even while he's fooling you badly. Feldman makes a strong case for the artistic value of such an approach, and I agree with all of it. I believe this is an approach that not only more readily makes our magic more innately honest, it's also far more respectful of an audience's intelligence. People who seek out the chance to see magic know what they're buying into, and Feldman doesn't believe in selling his work as anything beyond the practical limitations of what it is. Many magicians could learn a lot from this approach.

OVERALL
If you love knuckle-busting card magic and appreciate subversive philosophical arguments on magic as an art form, I think you'll find a lot to love about The Pages are Blank. Michael Feldman's approach to magic and sleight of hand is well captured, and even those who don't come away performing the material in these pages will at least come away with plenty of stimulating food for thought. Recommended.

 
Reviewer

Mark

Quick read with useable material and insights. I love the idea in False Dichotomy and the deck switch is killer.

 
Reviewer

Gerhard

First off let me say the production values of the books is outstanding. I prefer larger dimensions though as the smaller books don't stay open and you need a book stand. Not a biggie. I do find that the effects are pretty advanced but my biggest challenge is that many of the sleights in the book is not described. Merely referencing other books, which in most cases don't seem to be available or expensive.

The book is fairly well written but the explanations are sparse and not sufficient.

That said the effects seem to be very good and and I really enjoyed the essays. I think this book will receive mixed reviews. If you are serious about the book read all of the reviews.

 
Reviewer

Matthew

The essay on aesthetics is superb and had me hooked. The value of meta-magic is something I've been thinking about for a while so it's really rewarding to read the thoughts of someone putting this stuff into practice night after night. Acknowledging that "magic isn't real" feels like the only sensible way of dealing with the psychological impasses that conjuring present modern audiences. Where I had more of an issue is in the description of some of the tricks. Many of these are intermediate-to-difficult. There is much less "entry level" material . Which is fine, in and of itself, but I think the description of methods should equip a reader with the tools to perform a trick where the sleights required are anything but standard. Too often this doesn't happen and you are instead left with a footnote direction to another source. Take the first effect. At one point you're called upon to perform a simple-sounding manoeuvre, The Lazy Man's Ultra Moved, which is referenced to an out-of-print Harry Lorayne book. The author seems to assume knowledge of this but I'd argue it's less than a "standard" sleight. His description is therefore very scant, with no reference to finger positions or really how the sleight is actually achieved. Two accompanying photos show a "before and after" so you are left to piece it together (or spend £200 on the aforementioned out-of-print text). The informed reader will, but there is a lack of precision here that I found infuriating. Photographs, too, are very selective and many times I hoped for a visual for clarification on something at a key moment that wasn't provided. You could argue the above will keep the volume trim and slender. Unfortunately I fear it will have the same effect on this text's audience.

 

Community questions about The Pages Are Blank

Have a question about this product? It's possible others do too. Ask here and other Vanishing Inc. Magic customers will be able to respond with assistance! Alternatively, email us and we can help too.

  • Christopher asks: How much of this material involves needing to be sitting at a table?

    • 1. David answers: Well, everything you saw in the trailer requires it. While that deck change was very pretty, it was not at all invisible. Clever and devious, yes. But I only watched the trailer once and saw it happen.
    • 2. Matthew answers: Over 50 percent
    Post an answer to this question
  • Richard asks: Do any of these routines require a “gimmick” ?

    • 1. Vanishing Inc. Magic responds: Some of the routines require gimmicks but they are ones that you'll already have in your magic drawer.
  • Steven asks: Hey, does the book also includes video performances/links of the routines?

    • 1. Vanishing Inc. Magic responds: There are no performance videos. However, Michael has a few of them on his Instagram account.
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