Pasteboard Adventures by David Gemmell

Ebook, 47 pages.

18 effects and routines photo-illustrated. Introduction by Jon Racherbaumer.

Author publication.

Reviewed by Al Smith

Available from select dealers, at $20-00 or direct from David at: UK price about £12-00. Check with David.

As the title suggests (warns?!) this is a collection of card material. And it’s a very interesting collection, inasmuch as it includes all manner of principles applied to a variety of effects.

Although the material is not self-working, or even semi-automatic, none of it is particularly knuckle-busting. Intermediate handling skills are required. False shuffles and cuts, riffle force Elmsley Count and so on. Possibly the nearest thing to a semi-selfer is Spell Searchers, a nifty application of an automatic placement and card spelling. The cardician’s brain rather than digits needs to be in gear, but nothing too taxing is required. The effect is procedural and requires attention to, well, procedure. Miscount or misdeal and you’re up card creek without an out. But it;s nothing to be overly concerned about.

As well as spelling and the automatic placement, David offers applications of The Karl Fulves Riffle Shuffle Control, breather crimp, the Paul Curry Swindle Switch, the 10-20 or Countback Force and more. These are applied to variations of such themes as Roy Walton’s Collectors, the venerable Four Burglars, Sandwich effects, spelling tricks (as already mentioned ), the production of 13 cards of one suit from a shuffled deck. Or as David puts it, an apparently shuffled deck.

In an age when anybody with a spare five minutes can knock up anything and nothing and call it an ebook, it’s nice to see something of substance; considered work that has evolved out of study and thought. That David Gemmell has put a lot of thought into the material is very clear. From creation and realisation through to presentation in the book. I’m not a particular fan of ebooks in the raw and tend to print them so I can tackle the material in comfort. Comfort to me, that is. Others don’t mind starring at a screen and that’s as it should be.


In his introduction, Jon Racherbaumer has this (and more) to say:
“Those who memorialize their personal “antics” realize the nature of their acts. They take notes. They experiment. They produce books that entail these activities. In David Gemmell’s case, his creative foray into the intricacies and subtleties of card magic is an adventure. He believes such books should be filled with “unexpected excitement,” sudden turns, unforeseen outcomes, and intriguing discoveries. And he writes for card guys that share this enthused and discursive approach. Rest assured, David took the time to record—as diarists are wont to do—to preserve the findings of his personal journey. Therefore, consider this book his latest diary.”

That’s just about what I’ve been struggling to articulate. This is not the only ebook David has written and produced. If you like an intelligent and considered approach to card conundrums, dip your toe in here and you might that find you like the taste. I did.


© A E Smith, November 2009