Seventh Heaven

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Seventh Heaven

Postby Alan Jackson » Mon Jul 26, 2004 1:50 pm



I bought “Seventh Heaven” by Lewis Jones a little while ago, not long enough to give a detailed review, but long enough to say that it is a genuinely great book and an outstanding bargain. It’s based on improvements to material from seven of his other books (hence the title). As these were good value at £12 each, you can see why I think the new one is such a great bargain: I paid £33 and a chunk of that was postage. The original books were highly recommended by Penn & Teller, Paul Daniels, and others. I don’t think it’s widely available yet: I heard about it because I had bought some of his other books (it may be a pound or two more or less eventually—I don't know). There are 377 pages, beautifully clear illustrations (photographs and drawings), mostly clever original card stuff (no difficult sleights); and some effects with coins, notes, books, ear rings, watches, diaries, pens, etc. Lewis Jones was co-author (with the late Jack Avis) of “Ahead of the Pack”. If you liked that you’ll definitely like this new one. I don’t know how “Seventh Heaven” is going to be distributed, but watch out for it!

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Postby Alan Jackson » Wed Jul 28, 2004 1:32 pm

I've just found out that you can see the contents of Seventh Heaven here:
http://www.hutch.demon.co.uk/lewis/contents.htm
and order it from here:
http://www.hutch.demon.co.uk/lewis/index.htm
Here are my views on the book.

Beautifully produced with very clear descriptions and photographs. I particularly like the conversational style and immaculate use of language (and apostrophes), and the amusingly apposite titles. The thing that struck me most of all was the huge variety of the effects, and I like the way they are grouped into categories. I found it very useful that several of the effects were improvements to existing ones. I can think of four examples (two from back issues of Apocalypse) where I had been attracted to an effect but thought that the original method was sufficiently cumbersome or illogical to make it impracticable: the improvements in Seventh Heaven now mean that they are workable and that I will be able to perform them.

It’s impossible to pick even half-a-dozen favourites. But in no particular order these are few that stick in my mind as being notably ingenious or funny or both. Dialexis (and Types Crypt). It was crazy to imagine that it would be possible to determine a thought-of word from a book you hadn’t seen before and don’t ever touch. It was even crazier to devise a way of doing it. Venus Observed: what a bizarre but happy correspondence of subsets. Graffito: another attraction of Greek e’s. The Fisher King is a worth-the price-of-the-book principle for a mindreader. Curry for Three: wonderful idea. Demolition Derby: great! I have always liked the thinking behind the think-of-a-number stunt in Martin Gardner’s MMM, but found that some people struggled with the arithmetic and that others were so numerate that the fractions and negative numbers did not evoke the requisite level of uncertainty, but the card game where the cards are effectively analogues for numbers is a genuine stoke of genius (I’m still smiling at the red/black faceup/facedown thing at the start: it’s just so cheeky). And Practical Joker, Mint Sauce, Thimble, Philadelphia Hamlet, and Tomb of the Four Kings and so on …

I think that anyone with an interest in close-up magic would find enough material which they could add to their working repertoire to make the book worth several times the purchase price.

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Postby bananafish » Wed Jul 28, 2004 1:47 pm

Thanks for that Alan.

The book looks absolutely immense. to extract some of the information from your first post,

Title: Seventh Heaven
Author: Lewis Jones
Cost: £28 (+£5 pp)

It is a 10” x 7” hardback with full colour glossy casing, 2004.
377 pages. 108 effects and utilities. 60 photographic illustrations.

It is made up of the 7 previous booklets that were published and sold for approxx £12 each.

108 effects at 28 equates to about 26p an effect. Which has got to be one of the best value books around. Especially if just some of the effects are as good as Alan claims.

Thanks again for the great review - I look forward to reading more of them, although (and please don't be offended by this) maybe next time you could have a look at the review template?

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Postby TheBlackBandit » Wed Mar 17, 2010 7:31 pm

Alan Jackson wrote:I've just found out that you can see the contents of Seventh Heaven here:
http://www.hutch.demon.co.uk/lewis/contents.htm
and order it from here:
http://www.hutch.demon.co.uk/lewis/index.htm
Here are my views on the book.
Beautifully produced with very clear descriptions and photographs. I particularly like the conversational style and immaculate use of language (and apostrophes), and the amusingly apposite titles. The thing that struck me most of all was the huge variety of the effects, and I like the way they are grouped into categories. I found it very useful that several of the effects were improvements to existing ones. I can think of four examples (two from back issues of Apocalypse) where I had been attracted to an effect but thought that the original method was sufficiently cumbersome or illogical to make it impracticable: the improvements in Seventh Heaven now mean that they are workable and that I will be able to perform them.

It’s impossible to pick even half-a-dozen favourites. But in no particular order these are few that stick in my mind as being notably ingenious or funny or both. Dialexis (and Types Crypt). It was crazy to imagine that it would be possible to determine a thought-of word from a book you hadn’t seen before and don’t ever touch. It was even crazier to devise a way of doing it. Venus Observed: what a bizarre but happy correspondence of subsets. Graffito: another attraction of Greek e’s. The Fisher King is a worth-the price-of-the-book principle for a mindreader. Curry for Three: wonderful idea. Demolition Derby: great! I have always liked the thinking behind the think-of-a-number stunt in Martin Gardner’s MMM, but found that some people struggled with the arithmetic and that others were so numerate that the fractions and negative numbers did not evoke the requisite level of uncertainty, but the card game where the cards are effectively analogues for numbers is a genuine stoke of genius (I’m still smiling at the red/black faceup/facedown thing at the start: it’s just so cheeky). And Practical Joker, Mint Sauce, Thimble, Philadelphia Hamlet, and Tomb of the Four Kings and so on …

I think that anyone with an interest in close-up magic would find enough material which they could add to their working repertoire to make the book worth several times the purchase price.


I second all of your opinions here - this book is a wonder. He has a truly ingenious style, and as you mentioned, Mint Sauce, DOP, and Dialexis are brilliant.

I'm going to have to sit down and work The Fisher King through. It looks so powerful, but with such depth I almost can't see the wood for the trees.

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