Designing Miracles: Creating the Illusion of Impossibility

by Darwin Ortiz.
Reviewed by Graham Nichols

It's time to ask your local cathedral to commence a peal of the bells, for Darwin Ortiz has written a new book and a mere church can't do it justice.

While Mr Ortiz may be a superb card manipulator, I feel that his intellect is his most powerful asset, especially when applied to the craft (I shall refrain from saying 'art' - read the book to find out why) of deception.

Although I already own a first edition of Strong Magic; his latest tome is the book I'd always hoped that someone would write. How to consider assembling the various ingredients of effect, misdirection, showmanship, performance persona, audience engagement, attitude and the many other nuances which make such an experience MAGICAL for a lay audience.. That for which we all strive. The emphasis here is on the actual design.

He is, as always, man enough to tackle the thorny areas which we tend to conveniently forget. Such as the many cliches we all use, and dissect them for our liberation. I found myself feeling increasingly guilty as I mentally ticked all the bad points pertaining to my own magic. Managing to achieve a perfect score for how not to do it. But, be of good cheer, for many remedies are proffered and I found myself newly inspired by the time the last page was turned.

Of course, he does not have all the answers, and is upfront about that. Nobody does. What he does have is years of successful experience to impart, and the generosity to share such insight. Many popular effects and routines are discussed, so you don't have to be a Jedi Master of the pasteboards to participate.

It's the sort of book which gets under your skin, because it's so close to home. A literary 'In case of emergency break glass'. If you want to be a true magician - buy it! There are many effects books in our libraries, but precious few which tackle the core subject of being a magician. This does it in spades.

Now away to your internet forums and begin to slag it off. You know you want to.

Published by A1 MagicalMedia 2006.

200 pages hardbound from all good magic dealers.

Graham Nichols, February 2007