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Book Review: “Up in Smoke” - Larry Jennings

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Book Review: “Up in Smoke” - Larry Jennings
Offering a treasure trove of powerful card effects, Bill Goodwin’s “Up in Smoke” resurrects Larry Jennings’ earlier book of the same name. Goodwin has completely rewritten the book’s 12 effects, added photos where none existed before and includes two new effects. The title offers excellent instruction and some great card routines.

The original “Up in Smoke” was written by Robert Parker and released in 1990. It was a set of lecture notes that featured no pictures or illustrations. Bill Goodwin has effectively rewritten the original 12 effects from scratch by studying Jennings’ videos and hand-written notes. In addition, he has added 181 photos. As it stands, the book offers a strong collection of teleportations, transformations, card changes and combinations there of, all with a real deck and lots of sleight of hand.

The text is well written and easy to understand and the photos are helpful. While I can’t compare Goodwin’s book to the original, I can tell you that Goodwin’s book offers clear and thorough instruction.

As you would expect, “Up in Smoke” is written for established card workers. While Goodwin takes time to explain every move, he sometimes recommends that viewers review other text for additional details. As an example, one Triumph effect relies on a Zarrow shuffle that is briefly and adequately explained, but also refers readers to the source material. Throughout, Goodwin takes pains to carefully attribute and offer credit.

Many of the card effects are familiar: Oil & Water, Triumph and more. According to Goodwin, some of Jennings favorite effects are in this book and include “K.J.V. Oil And Water,” “Estimated Toss,” “New Outstanding Triumph” and “Flawed Transposition.” After studying the book, I was most intrigued with “Estimated Toss” and “New Outstanding Triumph.”

“These tricks were developed around the time the original was printed,” says Goodwin. “Larry was one of those magicians who would constantly invent new things. Every week he had a new batch of stuff and if you didn't see the tricks then, there was a good chance you'd never see them, because next week he was working on new stuff. I think the tricks were selected because that's what he was working on at the time.”

The Effects

The stunning “A Handy Transformation” has a spectator select a card and return it to the deck. Four cards are then shown and placed between the spectator’s hands. The magician explains that he will cause the selected card to appear between the cards that the spectator is holding. But when the spectator separates his hands, he finds not five cards, but only one—the selection.

In “Magician Makes Good,” a card is selected and noted. After three failed attempts to find a card of matching value, the magician spreads the deck on the table to show that the three mates have magically reversed. The surprising “Estimated Toss” has the magician offering a demonstration on card estimation. After a card is selected and returned to the deck, the top card is removed and slid by the magician into the deck, next to the lost selection. But when this fails, the tossed card is turned over to reveal that it is the selection.

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