The Paper Engine – what fuels YOUR motor?

Rosemary Paper Engine My book, The Paper Engine, was first published by the Hermetic Press in 2002. Now I need your help to describe the book to those who haven’t read it yet.

If you’re one of the thousands of sleight-of-hand performers around the world who have read the book and found it valuable, please take a moment to make your voice heard.

Write a comment below describing what you like about the book and how it helped you with your magic. If you want to talk about your favorite item in the book, do so. Be specific. Why is it your favorite?

By taking a few moments to participate, you’ll help me honestly, accurately describe the book for new readers. Also, and more importantly, you’ll help me develop the proper focus for future projects. If you tell me what you like, I’ll know what to give you.

I’ll read each and every comment and I’ll post a bunch of them as well. A few of you will receive copies of my new, unreleased effect for your efforts…so let the games begin!

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58 Responses to “The Paper Engine – what fuels YOUR motor?”


  1. 1 Corey Harris January 4, 2008 at 2:44 am

    Paper Engine is Absolutely amazing. Aarons work on the Half Pass(Gravity) Makes this book a must have. After learning the technique and practicing, I will never go back to the way I do the Half Pass again. Great Price, and If you are serious about wanting to improve your sleight of Hand and learn some amazing routines, then this is a book that you have to get, You will carry it every where with you.

  2. 2 Brian Morton January 4, 2008 at 2:46 am

    Aaron is the teacher for the next generation of close-up card magicians. His book, “The Paper Engine,” won’t scare you off with threats of “knuckle-busting card sleights” while at the same time, it teaches you the ballsy, devious subtleties you would get if you sat at the feet (and took the abuse) of the old-time card masters in pursuit of the “real work” of the craft. There are a few things in here that I can tell you Aaron explains as well or better than some who have been doing it for decades, with photos matched exactly to where you need to see “the moment” as it happens. This stuff won’t scare you off. But it will take simple principles, and using simple words, make you a far better magician than you were when you started.

    (How’s that for pimpin’ you, bro?)

    b

  3. 3 Allan Hagen January 4, 2008 at 2:54 am

    The Paper Engine was for me, a wonderful treat when I first picked it up some time early last year.

    Having seen a lot of the effects from the book performed by friends, and heard much praise about the book and its contents, I couldn’t resist picking it up.

    As soon as I started reading, I constantly asked myself the same question for every word I read.

    “Why didn’t I get this before?”

    My half pass was struggling. Honestly, struggling. I thought it was good, or, at least, decent. Boy, was I wrong. Luckily, the Paper Engine helped me correct it. I practically forgot everything I knew about the move, and re-learnt it using the Gravity method. I’m rather proud of my half pass now. Thanks to this book.
    This method and the accompanying theory and talk on the half pass is worth the price of the book alone.. but there is so much more.

    I believe Three Kings is my favourite piece from the book. Also one of the rather few pieces that do not involve the sleight I feel the book is dedicated to. In fact, it is a very simple piece – thus also allowing the performer to focus on the presentation, even though he may be very good at sleights. But you get rid of all of the tension that would often be there when having to execute sleights while pattering.

    However, the book also deals with tension. What causes it, how to avoid it and be more relaxed and natural.

    Valuable words. Very much so.

    Three Kings is also constructed in such a brilliant fashion. I believe it is its simple appearance, logical lay-out and presentational suggestion, yet brilliant concept that makes this the perfect piece to blow both “laypeople” and fellow magicians out of the water.

    This book also encouraged me to pick up just about everything that had Aaron’s name on it, and thus leading me to some of my favourite effects that I perform regularly.

    Amongst those, “Hit The Road” from his FISM 2003 lecture notes, and “The King is Gone, but Not Forgotten” published in one of Gordon Bean / William Goodwin’s Penumbra issues.

    Honestly. If you think your regular half pass is good. Read the Paper Engine, and I dare you to make that statement again.
    Honestly. If you want good, PRACTICAL pieces of card magic. Read the Paper Engine.
    Honestly, stop reading this now, and just get back to the book if you already have it. If you don’t, then why are you reading this when you should be ordering it?

    I am really trying to avoid praising this book, but I can’t. I just can’t.
    Thanks, Aaron. Thanks, Hermetic Press. This book is one of my top three prides of my magic book shelf.

    Allan.

  4. 4 Drew Jones January 4, 2008 at 3:01 am

    For me, the best part of the book was reading Aaron’s Thoughts and Commentaries on the sleights and effects. He really inspires you, and it gives you a nice background of not only the sleight or effect he’s teaching in that section, but also of magic in general.

    The Gravity Half Pass lives up to all the expectations I had for it. It is by far my favorite sleight in the book, and probably the most useful. Before reading this book… I often wondered, because I had no former experience with it, what a Half Pass would accomplish. This book gives you so many ideas, it’s unbelievable.

    The only thing I felt like the book was missing was some essays. Aaron, from what I’ve seen, is both a great teacher and a great writer, and I would have loved to have read essays that went really in depth on the things he mentions in the book like tension, focus, and all of that.

    For a while now, I had been buying and performing card magic that was just so easy, it barely even fooled the spectators. Now, easy is not always bad, as it can have its advantages, but it feels nice to be able to pull off this harder stuff.

    A lot of Aaron’s work is based on some sort of a Shift, which, yes, for a lot of magicians, those are hard to pull off, but don’t you think the practice is worth it? To be able to pull off the amazing effects in this book? Buy it, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

    When I first heard about this, I knew that I had to have it. I had been buying this left and right, and half of ’em I still don’t use to this day. I would get so caught up in the newest DVD or trick, I didn’t buy any of the things where the real material is at… books!

    Books in general are worth more than DVDs or single tricks, because they’re cheaper and contain more information, but I feel The Paper Engine is a little too cheap. It’s affordable, but I don’t think this great material should be in the hands of little kids with their parents’ credit cards. I can see them very clearly messing it up, and ruining not only the memory of that effect for the audience, but maybe even of magic in a more general sense.

    When you first purchase this book, you will probably start looking through it, decide it’s too hard for you, and put it away. I hate to admit it, but that is exactly what I did. Then, after thinking about it for a few days, I decided to stop being such a whimp and go back to it.

    Now, I’m so glad I came back to this book. The material is hard-hitting, even the little things after each sleight, and it’s direct and to the point. None of that, “Oh, and look, you also picked the only card that’s not blank in a deck that changed back colors!” Like I said before, they’re effects, not 15 minutes of kicker after kicker boring the audience to death.

    My favorite piece from the book, and it does change from time to time, is Search and Destroy. It’s not an extremely knuckle-busting effect, but it has the added power of having the spectator do the magic.

    So let’s say I’m at your house, right now, performing this effect for a group of people. It would look like this:

    I get tired of performing for a while, so I decide to let a spectator be the magician for a trick. A second volunteer from the audience takes a card, notes it, and places it back in the center of the pack.

    I would explain to your little get-together that it’s often hard for new magicians to find cards, so I’ll ask two of my lady friends to help you out. As saying this, I remove the two red Queens, placing one near the top, and placing one near the bottom. There are about 40 cards in between, give or take a few.

    My “magician-in-training” takes the deck and cuts it, finding that the Queens came closer together… there are now only about 10 cards between them now. I get rid of the remaining cards (the ones from on top of the top Queen and the ones below the bottom Queen), and the newest magician cuts the cards again.

    When the cards are spread… one facedown card is between the Queens… the selection of the second volunteer!

    This effect isn’t nearly as hard as it sounds like it might be, heck, it’s almost self-working… but that DOESN’T TAKE AWAY FROM THE REACTIONS!!! You will still get great reactions with this effect… well, you’ll have to give them all to your new magician, but it’s all good. 🙂

    This effect is absolutely perfect after a different sandwich effect, such as “A Simple Sandwich”, also found in this book. In “A Simple Sandwich”, a card is selected, noted, and returned to the deck. The two Red Kings are then removed, and one is placed on the top, and one on the bottom. One by one, they disappear and find the selection… sandwiched between them!

    Imagine the power of “A Simple Sandwich” a lone. But imagine how much more powerful it would become when routined with “Search and Destroy”. You perform the first one, then have someone from the audience perform it the second time! It just doesn’t get any better than that.

    So, I’ll stop rambling on, as I’m sure I’ve already bored you to death and you haven’t made it this far, but bottom line… if you want to take your card magic to the next level, buy this book! It is called “The Royal Road to Expert Card Magic” for a reason.

    Have a nice day!

  5. 5 Gus Garcia January 4, 2008 at 3:09 am

    It’s odd that this post would come up as I’ve been carrying this book around with me for the past week. I think Aaron has made the jump to mentalist! As for my favorite item; (as of right now)

    The Outjog Hermann Pass!

    I LOVE this sleight. I think that the move so well though out and well described. Every action is motivated, and the motivations cover the move so beautifully! I also agree with Aaron on the need for the card to be angle jogged, I think it really adds to the illusion of what is happening. I looks like you simply push the card into the center.

    I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve not given this book it’s due diligence. There are too many great things in here. I always seem to come back to it as my skills progress.

    This book could easily keep me busy for many, many months.

  6. 6 Henok Negash January 4, 2008 at 3:18 am

    I really enjoyed Aaron’s book. The thing that I learned from the book is that gravity can be your friend. As magicians, we tend to look at gravity as a negative thing because of the fear of dropping objects. Aaron uses gravity to his advantage with the half pass, cover pass, decking the top and the diminishing lift sequence. My favorite effect is the standing challenge because it involves the spectator.

    Henok Negash

  7. 7 Tyler Wilson January 4, 2008 at 3:25 am

    The Paper Engine is filled with nougat.

    Let me explain. Nougat is in nearly all the great candy bars, yet no one really knows what it is. It’s always listed in the ingredients (usually somewhere next to xanthan gum) but I’ll be damned if I could spot it in a lineup. Whatever it is, it’s essential to making one fine candy bar.

    Aaron Fisher has found the card magic equivalent of nougat and explicitly detailed it throughout The Paper Engine. It’s not so much the wildly original plots as it is the very foundation of competent sleight of hand. The minutia Aaron delves into is scary to the point of enlightenment.

    Hugard and Braue probably thought they were being quite accurate by titling their book, Expert Card Technique, but that’s only because they hadn’t read The Paper Engine.

  8. 8 Stephen Saldanha January 4, 2008 at 3:26 am

    The Paper Engine is one of those books that will be looked upon in 50 years as we look at “The Expert at the Card Table”. This book is not a book that you would buy and be disappointed at the content and let it sit on your desk. Any magician who reads this book can tell the genius and originality of Mr. Fisher’s work. I use the gravity half pass a lot. It has become a regular part of my repertoire. The effects using his ideas are hard-hitting and the sleights can be used in many different effects as controls and other ideas. This is a must have for any magician. Mr. Fisher’s already stunning reputation is further more increased with the release of this historic piece of literature both
    in the world of writing and of course the world of magic. All of us magicians will be forever grateful to Mr. Fisher for this classic piece of artifice: “The Paper Engine”.

  9. 9 David Rysin January 4, 2008 at 3:55 am

    Our Mr. Fisher put a great deal of effort into this book and that is definitely evident when you read just how precise everything is. By that I mean, it is written as Erdnase is…Aaron wrote everything so carefully and precisely that you MUST pay attention to every line in the sentence. Personally I’m a big fan of this writing style, because by paying close attention, you’re learning better. If you loved Erdnase you will love The Paper Engine (I’ll refer to it as TPE to save time/space)- TPE even sits next to Erdnase on my shelf when I’m not reading it because they are so much alike. Every sleight included in TPE by Aaron is useful- he even goes so far as to include practical effects after each and every sleight’s handlings. This is another thing I absolutely love about Aaron’s TPE, even if you have trouble coming up with routines yourself that let you practice the sleights in fun ways, you will ALWAYS have at least one routine to add to your arsenal after practicing to make all that work worthwhile. And ON TOP OF ALL OF THAT, Aaron has graciously added a “thoughts and commentary” section after every description! This is immensely helpful as it keeps you from making stupid mistakes and falling into common pit-falls and contains lots of useful advice. Oh, and there’s photographs galore! That’s what makes this book better than a LOT of others, Aaron has included 160 photos in a 125 page book (and that’s including all of the commentary pages that generally don’t include photos)!

    Aaron, if you’re going to be reading this to help you decide how to structure your next book, here’s what I have to say:

    Just keep doing what you’re doing. TPE itself is perfect with its photos, clear descriptions, comments, practical effects right after every sleight to make learning worthwhile, and it was even printed on great paper. The only thing that I would like to see be added in your next book would be a small CD that contains PERFORMANCES of the sleights described. Perhaps 3 repetitions of each sleight at 3 different angles, not as a description, but to make sure that we are really doing everything the way it should be done.

    Keep up the good work!
    ~David Rysin

  10. 10 harvey siegel January 4, 2008 at 4:05 am

    This book is detailed, exhaustive, and well illustrated. If you REALY want to get an insight into such classic slieghts such as as the half pass, this book will afford you the opportunity to crawl inside and out of the moves described within, It allows the reader to understand the reasons as well as appreciate the actual finesse of the moves themselves. Oh yeah, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg…

  11. 11 David Misner January 4, 2008 at 4:29 am

    The Paper Engine is so much more than a book to teach effects. It is a journey through the mind of a magician, encompassing everything from anxiety and tension, to guts. Being a magician means you are willing to take risks, and trying things outside of your comfort zone. Aaron covers a lot of this in his book.

    Not that this means Paper Engine doesn’t include some fantastic cardwork. Quite the opposite in fact. The main focus of the manuscript is Aaron’s version of the Half Pass called the Gravity Half Pass. I love how he has taken the strengths of this sleight and magnified them tenfold, creating a natural sleight that is virtually invisible when done correctly. Believe me, this is no harder than a normal half pass, but some much more reliable.

    Now I’m not saying that the sleights and effects in this book are easy. Far from it. Many hours of practice will be needed to master everything in the book, and even then you may need more than just the manuscript. What I love is that Paper Engine has opened up a world of new possibilities for other magicians, and it bonds many of us.

    Some of my favorite sections in the Paper Engine are not the tricks or new sleights, but the old ideas that Aaron has taken and added his own personal touch. Take the Herman Outjog Shift. Aaron has taken the Herman Pass and turned it into a convincing way to control a card. It’s clean, natural, and easy to perform. His performance tips offer valuable insights, and they helped me understand more about the theory behind the idea and how it should be used. Another nice portion was his section on the Bluff Pass. I rarely used this sleight because I had little training with it, but with Aaron’s vital subtleties and tips I realized how powerful it really was. His ingenious tips turned a powerful yet bold move into an even more powerful yet bold move. I’m not afraid to perform this anymore in public, because I know I won’t be caught.

    All in all, the Paper Engine provides new ideas and effects, variations, and amazing glimpses into a magician’s mind and how to turn from a talented magician into a miracle worker.

    Thank you Aaron for this Bible of Cards.

    David Misner

  12. 12 Glenn January 4, 2008 at 4:29 am

    I would just like to thank you, Mr Fisher. The Paper Engine, in particular the thinking behind your Gravity Half Pass, really opened my eyes to a different way of getting things to work.

    Letting things work for you, and learning to work with those things. This way of thinking alone has opened a lot in the way of simply improving my magic, and the general way in which I do things within my magic. In a way it is similar to the thinking of In Transit Actions, but running sort of perpendicular to that thinking, while still being parallel to it. You know what I mean, don’t act like you don’t.

    I other words, it’s kinda like how magic is like a grilled cheese sandwich.

    Thanks Aaron

    Glenn

  13. 13 Steve Reynolds January 4, 2008 at 4:52 am

    What makes a cardman? Attention to technical details, the patience to anylize, to know your roots and remain humble in the wake of your mentors, and to to pass the passion on. There have been a hand full of books devoted to cards that capture these eccences.

    The Paper Engine marked a milestone for true card students. It was a book by a true student (if not one of the truest) and was, for me, the last major book on card finesse.

    As I’ve said, and will continue to say, it ranks with the Major Works of card magic.

    Steve Reynolds
    New Orleans, LA

  14. 14 Matt Tan January 4, 2008 at 5:10 am

    It is funny that Aaron is bringing up The Paper Engine because that’s all I’ve been reading this during my winter break. Before reading this book I was looking to find something that can teach me more card sleights and unique tricks and that are impromptu where I can just do a trick with a normal pack of cards. This book was exactly what I needed, one that teaches card sleights and tricks without any other props other than a pack of playing cards. When I read it I was surprised that I haven’t got to this earlier because this was exactly what I was looking for over 3 months now. Because basically I’ve been learning tricks that either need some kind of gimmick or its just a variation of an original trick. This book has sleights and tricks that I have never even seen or seen anybody perform. One reason for that is because you have to practice hard to perfect these. For example, the gravity half pass is one of the most amazing thing I have ever encountered, but you have to work on it to make it perfect. However, I thought to myself that the half pass is hardly ever used in card effects (or at least for me), but this book showed me otherwise. The tricks that are taught in the book utilizes all these sleights. I haven’t finished reading the book, but so far the tricks that I read are really well thought of and luckily I have the gravity half pass to use in these tricks. I will be performing these when I practice enough. Aaron not only goes over every detail on how to perform these sleights and tricks, but he also explains the psychology of these moves and some important factors one needs to know when performing these moves.

    Truth is, I never buy books. I am more of a person that learns from watching DVDs. However, since this book got so many great reviews and everyone has just been talking about the Gravity Half Pass I decided to go for it and I did not regret it. Plus Aaron seems like a very well respected magician; his last trick that was released, Panic, is just genius.

    On the last note, this book is NOT for beginners. You need to know some basic sleights before you can start learning from this book. However, on the theory11 site in the 1 on 1 section, Aaron teaches the card fundamentals. I haven’t gotten it, but that could get you started.

  15. 15 Brett Taylor January 4, 2008 at 5:19 am

    Well, this is one of the freshest looks at magic I have seen in a long time. Lots of books focus on performance theory, The Paper Engine has that. Books focus on technique, it’s there. Some books focus on how things work psychologically, yeah, that’s here too.

    This books also takes it a step further. The matter of tension in card magic is VERY overlooked. This books opened up my eyes. Lots of people I watch are very tense, and Aaron calls them on it, teaches them proper, and does it in a very well written way.

    His work on the half pass, called the Gravity Half Pass, is a huge step forward to deceptive sleights. It is virtually angle proof and is not overly difficult. He also has some great innovations on the Hermann Pass which he teaches with an outjogged card. I personally love his ideas on the Bluff Pass(which he titled the Nowhere Pass), as the one reason I hated the move was solved after I read the book. The format is great. He teaches a sleight, gives his personal thoughts and background information so it is possbile to research the sources if so desired, than a routine to perform with it to practice. It’s great.

    Another awesome thing about the book is that it is NOT BORING!! Magic books tend to be boring but this is above and beyond the basic magic publication.

    The pros study the philosophy and ideas, the new guys respect the work and study it to become pro, and the amatures grab it because of the hype and never regret it. You will return to it over and over again. It’s the new Erdnase (reincarnated??) for me, I hope it can be for you too.

  16. 16 David Cotelessa January 4, 2008 at 5:39 am

    The Paper Engine has always been a favorite magic book of mine. It is a beautiful looking book, not too big, and was the book that got me to read magic books. When Aaron put this book out, I was still a beginner in the world of magic, still discovering the works of legendary magicians and still green as what to choose and practice in this new obsession. It was this book that forced me to actually try and comprehend the language of a magician. And it starts off with a doozy of a half pass. But as I struggled though the descriptive text and pictures, my mind started to ponder why I wanted to learn this; and my results brought me far more than just a few moves to practice.

    The market is filled with easy-to-master tricks on DVD, and as good a tool as the television can be, many marketed tricks are just simple instructions to follow, and do not create a magician. A magician can make a simple trick become supernatural, but it’s all in the details. Those details are found in this book. Not just the instructions to yet another trick, but theory into why these tricks are meaningful, even tricks that may not suit your tastes or style. A good magician works and practices on many things – technique, acting, performance – to get the response he or she desires, and to make that leap from just “doing the moves” to “thinking like a magician”.

    Why perform flourishes?
    What looks natural?
    What fits your style of magic?
    Is the “difficult” move worth learning?
    Am I working through even the simple moves correctly and throughly?

    The book progresses through difficult and simple techniques to focus on how each layer of detail adds another level of conviction in the mind of the audience and determination in the drive of a magician. It’s that sort of inspiration that brings me back to this book again and again, not just to recall how a trick is performed, but to find guidance in the next step of being magical. As it mentions right on the cover, this book is about tension, focus and design in magic.

    I started off with “Search and Destroy”. Even this simple trick has explanation on how such a simple principle can and does work with lay people. I took the time to understand how the trick fools and performing it, while getting the hang of the Gravity Half Pass, then learned “A Simple Sandwich” and “Golden Nugget” as I gained confidence in the Half Pass, learning the details of the Nowhere Pass, even if I would eventually learn the advanced version of it, or learning the Diminishing Lift, not just for the tricks in the Paper Engine, but using that lift in other tricks that required a lift. A lot of what I “took home” from this book were the Thoughts and Commentary, so by the time I was learning “Revolution No. 9″ and ” A Star is Born”, I felt confident in not just performing the trick, but developing a personality that related to my audience. Details, details, details that makes all the difference.

    So read Aaron’s book. Use what you learn to make a trick your own and perform. Don’t just learn tricks, be a magician.

  17. 17 Ran Mapes January 4, 2008 at 6:48 am

    “Paper Engine” is comparable with Erdnase and Hugard’s works (plus many of their predecessors). It’s such a seminal work, a classic in its own right. I usually let anything I perceive to be “important”, “fun”, or “enjoyable” literature to “age” for a while in my anticipation of digesting it, and stretch the experience out as long as possible (it’s a tantric thing). This especially applies to “Paper Engine”. I enjoyed it in small bites, contemplating its salient nuggets extremely slowly, both to extend the experience as long as possible and to relate it to as many other personal and performance experiences as I could. Of course, the gravity half pass is a miracle for me, as it accomplishes what my neuropathic hands are unable to do (and almost invisibly), but even more it’s what’s between the lines that I find so truly magical. Aaron holds nothing back on the creative and performance processes. Also – as a side note – if anyone reading this ever has the opportunity to attend any of Aaron’s lectures and is lucky enough to enroll for a learning session with him, they will discover one of the most gracious and patient mentors they could ever be blessed with meeting.
    ‘Nuff said – buy it, read it and then read it two more times!

  18. 18 Mike T January 4, 2008 at 7:40 am

    I would pay hundreds, if not thousands, to have known the simplicity and innocence of the bluff pass, as well as the elegance and subtlety of the gravity half pass a few years earlier. It would have changed my life, seriously. Plus, the effects described in this book work. I mean, they work. People simply love them. I was not really looking for new effects, but popular demand brought ‘three kings’, ‘revolution number nine’, ‘search and destroy’ (a great sandwich effect done in the spectator’s hands!), and a few others into my regular reportoir. Plus, there is at least one effect for most any setting, or audience – young folks, old folks, street, restaurant, parlor, etc. Everyone loves the effects described in this book. It may sound corny, but this book actually allowed me to shift my card magic into a new gear.

    Another added bonus to this is that after someone watches you pull off a masterpiece from this book, they add an equal or even greater awe and wonder to the other stuff you do, really no matter how basic it may be. They believe you are truly something special. I like that.

  19. 19 Wayne C. January 4, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Aaron,

    I know that this short message of mine will probably get overlooked by others among these long speeches, but it’s okay as long as you read it. Aaron, your book was important to me because of one thing. It taught me how vital it was to eliminate tension from my sleights and to execute them with a soft yet consistent touch on those elusive pressure points. By showing me how to do so, the Paper Engine has improved my card work immeasurably. Thank you Aaron, for sharing your work with the rest of us. You’ve truly made a difference.

    Sincerely,
    Wayne C.

  20. 20 Daniel Chard January 4, 2008 at 9:11 am

    Have you ever wanted to perform sleight of hand and visual magic that kills?
    Aaron Fisher’s ‘The Paper Engine’ is the book for you.

    At first I was very narrow minded when it came to sleight of hand card magic, I would just learn as many effect as I can.

    This book changed my view…it taught my why they work, not just how they work.
    The misdirection and psychology is built into each effect, which sets it apart from your usual recipe style magic book.

    The pure highlight of the book for me is Aaron’s ‘Groundbreaking’ work on the ‘Halfpass’, he has created a very angle efficient sleight.
    I’ve seen a video performance of it, you just cant see it.

    Quite a few of the effects in the book use the move, so its well worth learning and a healthy addition to any cardmens repitoire.

    My favorite effect that uses it from the book is ‘Revolution No9’, Basically an ‘Inversion’ with two jaw dropping phases, something which I started using daily almost automatically.

    Their is also a lot of novel shift applications which are well worth looking into.
    Such as his approach to the ‘Bluff Pass’ which is my favorite item from the book.

    There are so many bad magic books out there filled with impractical rubbish.
    This book is filled with practical moves, effects which have been tested for real audiences through thousands of performances.

    For people who want to step their sleight of hand up to the next level, make ‘The Paper Engine’ your next purchase right away!
    It elevated my magic to heights I didn’t think previously possible, why not do the same!

  21. 21 Stan Twigge January 4, 2008 at 11:04 am

    I bought the book at the Blackpool Convention, it is an easy book to read and study, but there is nothing easy about the effects there-in,
    but with plenty of practise you can eliminate the way you have done things in the past. The gravity half pass is a must, I found this difficult owing to having small hands, but ‘if at first you dont succeed try again’.

    This a is a book that every-one should have in their arsenal.

  22. 22 Christian König January 4, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Mr. Fisher published with “The Paper Engine” a book that at first you have to fall in love with. It is beautifully produced. The contents is best described by taking the by now super famous Gravity Half-Pass as an example of the thinking behind Mr. Fisher’s approach to technique: Very precise movements, theatrically choreographed. BUT the real secret seems to be not to do too much but just guide the cards the way you want them to behave. Force will just end up in a “rebellion of the cards”.

    Christian König
    Germany

  23. 23 BJ Bueno January 4, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    The heros journey normally lays enfolded within our selves. Here is a book that allows you to unfold your adventure.

  24. 24 Jerry Sigman January 4, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    I have had a 25 year love affair with the pasteboards. Growing up in the Chicago area, I was fortunate enough to meet Ed Marlo on a few occasions, and spent many happy hours at Magic Inc. on Lincoln Ave. listening to Jay Marshall spin tales about great magicians of the past. I think I have read just about every book on card magic. What I admire most about THE PAPER ENGINE is that it reminds me of the great classic texts of the past; EXPERT CARD TECHNIQUE;THE CARD MAGIC OF LEPAUL;THE CARDICIAN etc. in that Mr. Fisher clearly views card magic as an art worthy of a lifetime of study, and not just as a “cute” hobby or a temporary passing fad.
    His work on the Gravity Half Pass is brilliant in conception and in its many applications so clearly and expertly explained in the book. His literary technique is on par with the great teachers in the field; Hugard; Richard Kauffman; Stephen Minch.
    The effects are clever, clearly thought out, and pack a punch. What more can you ask for?
    THE PAPER ENGINE does what all the great books on card magic do…it inspires you to roll up your sleeves, get down to work, and continue on the journey in this art of ours that can never be mastered.
    Bravo!

  25. 25 Al Grose January 4, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    The Paper Engine is just about my favourite book. It reminds me of a book I love that many have passed by. It’s called the Card Magic of LePaul. Aaron’s book is presented in a similar style, but the content is totally different. I also like the book’s size physically. I can carry it with me wherever I go. What I like about the Paper Engine is it discusses the why’s not just the how’s. Those are the real secrets to good sleight of hand. Highlights for me? The Gravity Half Pass, the one handed popover, the omen, three kings and of course The Tax Man. Many bypass some of the interesting themes sprinkled through out the book. For example…how many Beatles titles can you find? Read the section on developing the ability to adjust your presentation on the fly. I won’t tell you where that is because that’s half the fun…..finding it. If you don’t perform any of the effects (which would be a shame) read the book just the same. It will make you a better magician.

  26. 26 Jim Canaday January 4, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Like a lot of people who attend lectures, I get fired up and buy the performer’s book. Unfortunately, as most of you know, the majority of these end up gathering dust on the shelf. “The gravity half pass is cool to watch”, I thought, “but I could never do that.” I had read about it and knew that it was a pipe dream. Then I watched Aaron lecture (twice!) and actually sat down to read his tome. This is some really incredible work. Not only is Aaron a great card mechanic but he has the talent to put his genius into words that are easy to understand.

    I recently went to my 40th high school reunion and took a deck of cards with me. I had put together a routine using two of the effects from the Paper Engine. All I can say is, they might not have known who I was back in high school (the shy kid) but after watching the routine everyone went home knowing who I had become. I am getting so much email now that I sometimes don’t have time to read it all.

    A lot of us learned from Harry Lorayne’s books. I have a couple on my shelf. But TPE is much more readable. Like a good novel, put your feet up, lean back and just enjoy the experience.

    Once last thing is the quality of the production from Hermetic. There is a huge difference in quality between American and European books. This is really obvious when you see the quality of Pit Hartling’s book. I believe that Hermetic has set a new standard for American books with TPE. It is beautiful and belongs on your shelf.

    Don’t wait. GO OUT AND BUY IT TODAY!

    Jim Canaday

  27. 27 Erik Jansson January 4, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    I am trying to remember how I was introduced to this book in the first place, but I can’t remember exactly.
    I know though that I had heard many good things regarding Aaron Fisher’s Half Pass. I bought the book, and from looking at the pictures, I couldn’t see anything special.
    I was stupid not to go ahead and read the whole book immediately. As soon as I started reading, with cards in hand, everything was so very much easier. It all made sense to me. Not only does Aaron go in deep details on the technical aspects of a move or effect. He also motivate WHY and WHEN to execute something. It’s a rather thin book, yes, but compared to many thick books on the market, this one is pure quality.

    My favorite item in this book is Aaron Fisher’s work on the Bluff Shift. This is a move I have been exploring for while, and I currently use Fisher’s small subtleties for it. The reason I like his applications so much, is because I have always found a flaw in Bluff Shift work. Aaron Fisher found an excellent solution to this flaw.

    Aaron has chosen quality over quantity, and that’s what makes the book stand out on the market.

    Not only would I say people make themselves a favor when buying this book; but I also think they make themselves a disfavor not buying it.

    Thanks, and I hope to see more of Mr. Fisher’s work in a near future.

    Erik Jansson
    Sweden

  28. 28 Dennis van den Hove January 4, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    Boy, where to start?

    Most magic books feature a collection of the author’s favourite effects using wellknown, often other people’s, techniques. While these books may explain those techniques, they don’t actually TEACH them.
    Enter The Paper Engine. Aaron teaches personal effects, using original techniques or his approach to old things. When I say teach, I mean: photographs from multiple angles, finger positions, pointing out mistakes, movement of hand, wrist and arm, misdirection, EVERYTHING.

    Take the praised Gravity Half Pass, for one. No, it’s not an easy sleight, but Aaron’s clear and concise way of discussing it makes life a lot easier than it could be. And how about the pay-off: imagine ONE technique which allows you to perform sandwiches, full deck reversals, colour changing deck routines, switches… The possibillities are limited only by your imagination. That doesn’t mean you’ll have to think up those uses yourself; Aaron once again meets expectations, and exceeds them.

    Did I mention the book is SO easy to carry around? Somehow, Aaron has managed to cramm all this stuff in just over a 100 pages, making the book light and thin. Its size will allow you to slip it in nearly every kind of bag. The Paper Engine and a deck of cards: a magician’s ideal travelling companions.

  29. 29 Geoff Weber January 4, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    There are a lot of things I like about this book, but I want to give a special mention to my favorite item (which I didn’t see discussion of in the comments above mine): Revolution No. 9. The first time I saw Aaron performing this routine it looked like trick photography. It is a great way to present a beautiful looking color change as a parlour effect.

  30. 30 Jason January 4, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    I enjoyed the book due to it’s emphasis on new and innovative sleights. The book is sleight heavy, so what you are getting are not common variations on a theme, but new and dynamic methods for achieving classic effects. This book is not only good as an exercise in learning Aaron’s creations, but also a lession in taking the road less traveled in methodology. I enjoyed the book immensely. Good Luck Aaron!

  31. 31 Yves Tourigny January 4, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    Paper Engine is a book of sophisticated sleight of hand. I particularly enjoyed your work on the half pass and the Waltonesque uses you have for it. I also very much enjoyed your thoughts after each tricks or moves where you shared your analysis of the strenght and weakness of the piece. Those really shined for me and I learned much there.

    I now use your half pass every time a half pass is needed and it has cleaned my work pretty much. I also performed The Omen which for some reasons I like very much. It’s my kind of humour I think! I also learned a way to think about creating moves and bettering those I already know. There is much to ponder in this book! It is enthusiastically one of my favorite and one which I return often.

  32. 32 Michael Kras January 4, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    The Paper Engine is a true work of magic art. Young card master Aaron Fisher has done the world of card magic a ton of good with his fantastic book, and has enhanced the work of card students everywhere.

    Inside the beautiful book cover is almost 150 pages of pure card work, from sleights, to controls, to effects. Each sleight, many of which are passes and half passes, are nothing less than beautiful, each one with the potential to be a beautifully flowing addition to your repertoire. Many things are offered within this book, and one of the main things is confidence. With such challenging sleights, students cannot help but try to learn them. After really studying and polishing the move or effect, the only thing left is to take it live. Upon doing thing, confidence is definitely needed but with the addictive nature of each effect, it’s near impossible not to give them a whirl at least once. Also, it just feels so great once you can comfortably perform the material in The Paper Engine.

    Speaking of the material, may I say the work on Aaron’s famous Gravity Half Pass has been described in an indepth explanation that really helps while learning the sleight. You will be using a decent Gravity Half Pass before you know it. The sleights and controls are excellent and they have a really elegant quality to them. The Outjog Pass and One Handed Pop-Over are truly beautiful, flowing pieces of card work. I added these to my repertoire instantly.

    The effects are elegant pieces of magic that will also get audiences to react. This is something I truly appreciate… these effects get reactions without being “freak-out, oh my god” effects. I must admit, I doubted the effectiveness of the work in here. I thought it would be too elegant for audiences to appreciate. However, they merited a wonderful reaction, and since then The Paper Engine has quickly become my favourite book on the subject of card magic. Highest recommendations toward the serious card student.

  33. 33 Juan Martinez January 4, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    The Paper Engine has some of the best advice on one of the subjects people often do not think about in card magic: tension. Tension can make or break a card man, and only by controlling it can a card magician become natural and truly mystifying. Aaron talks about the importance of practice, hand strength, focus on the audience, where your eyes should be and how to avoid tension at all times.
    The Paper Engine teaches excellent sleights, and Aaron goes into detail about when the sleights are useful, when not to use them, how to cover every angle, and of course, some very astonishing tricks from his own repertoire that use the sleights in a natural manner.
    Many of the items in the Paper Engine are not easy. They will take practice to understand and perform with confidence and skill. But once they are learned, these tricks and techniques will enhance any cardman’s ability to entertain and bewilder audiences.

  34. 34 Sean Rafael January 4, 2008 at 6:43 pm

    The Paper Engine, where to start! It’s too much of a book to comment about in a short comment box but I’ll do my best. For those of you looking for a more in depth review of EVERYTHING in the book go here: http://forums.theory11.com/showthread.php?t=3274 (cut and paste if not clickable)

    The book is divided into two sections – Technique and Magic

    The Sleights of the Book will show you how direct routes can still give you powerful magic. The sleights found in The Paper Engine you’ll love and re-read over and over again just to get the nuances of everything down.

    Simply put, Aaron gives you some really strong sleights to add to your utility belt. Not only this but at the end of each description Aaron gives you the history behind how he came up with his handling. These thoughts and comments have to be my favourite thing about the book, they are a really interesting read and give you the historical knowledge for later referencing PLUS they can direct you to other sources of reading to get more descriptions.

    The Magic, WOW… You can’t get more direct than Aaron’s magic. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into the process of devising these effects. They are all simple, direct, clever and oh-so visual.

    Out of all the material covered in the book, regarding sleights, I have to say that ‘The Illusion Control’ is my favourite. It’s super easy to learn from the book and I love controls anyway. Combined with the fact that it’s such a flexible control. Not only allowing you to control to the top, second from top etc. BUT it allows you to control it to any position in the top half of the deck.

    My favourite effect in the book has to be without a doubt ‘The Taxman’. As the name might suggest it’s a collectors routine, but it’s SO direct it’s unreal. That’s why I love The Paper Engine, simple direct and hard hitting material. AND it’s practical and flexible, each effect allows for your own personal tweaking with regards to patter and even technique in some places. If you’re not happy performing a pass or bluff pass, there’s breathing room; No worries.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again The Paper Engine is possibly my best purchase in magic thus far. The material and thoughts in the book have helped me develop my own personal view on how magic should be. I’ve come to develop my own style of performing, something a lot of other products simply can’t offer. After reading The Paper Engine I’ve also found that I’ve become more relaxed when performing magic and I’m no longer tightening up around the shoulders everytime I know in my head a sleight is going on.

    To sum everything up, The Paper Engine is an invaluable book to any sleight of hand artist or performer for that matter. Aaron’s thoughts on technique and magic are truly eye-opening and you’d be forgiven for thinking the man was a deity of some kind, haha.

    On a serious note, I personally think this book should be on every performer/card-worker’s shelf. It’s an absolute gem in the magic world and I think it’ll be one of the few books to go down as a ‘great’ in the magic world. If you don’t already own this, you’re missing out.

  35. 35 Heinz Thielen January 4, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    The Paper Engine was for me the very first beginning of performing Card Tricks. It was a very hard work for me to beginn but it was worth to do it.
    I started with the Gravity Half Pass i first saw Aaron performing during a lecture in Hamburg (MZ Hamburg) few years ago.
    The Paper Engine offers many aspects to think about technik performing a trick because this book is written and pictured in a different art than many others. To learn needs time but (as I mentioned before) it is worth to spend this time with the right basics.

    Heinz Thielen
    (Member of MZ Hamburg, Germany)

  36. 36 Kevin Krahn January 4, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    “The Paper Engine”….. Why do I like this book so much? Could it be because of the original sleights, the extremely detailed instructions, a ton of sharp and clear photos and the fact that it’s written from a true magician’s perspective? Or is it because this modern classic has helped to advance my performances to a new level of understanding of what is possible with a deck of cards? Aaron gets inside the heart of magic and then turns it inside out for you to examine, contemplate and then apply. This book will definitely expand your understanding of what magic should and can be. You will never find a more deceptive method for turning over half the deck than the Gravity Half Pass – used in conjunction with the very first trick, “A Simple Sandwich”, I have fooled several magicians and countless laymen. And that’s only the first chapter! As you read on you will find that deep thinking about the art of magic and clever application permeates this entire treatise. Oh, and did I forget to mention that my hardbound copy is beautifully constructed with the very highest-grade paper and binding materials – reflecting the same care and attention to detail on the outside as was taken with the contents inside. Yes, yes, there is much to be appreciated here… the only question now is “When is Aaron going to bless us with another volume?”

  37. 37 kéli January 4, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    After i saw AARON FISHER lecture at the last Blackpool convention, i thought wowwwwwwwwwww, i have to know more about this magician so i got his book a few months after and well, this book is a pure jewelry!!

    Th only bad thing i can say on this is how come it didn’t land on my hands before 2006, if i could have started magic with this book i would have won a lot of time, believe me!!

    The outside of this book is as beautiful and well made as the inside of it, it’s very rare for a magic book so that gives you a clue of perfectionist and clever AARON FISHER is !!!!

    Thanks again for sharing your stuff !!
    The book is so well written that it can be understood by a young french man whow knows a little bit the english language!!

    Kéli, PARIS FRANCE.

  38. 38 Pj Pinsonnault January 4, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    The Paper Engine has been a favorite of mine for several years and for several reasons. First is the complexity of the book. I was told that “it teaches the half pass,” which is far too limited a blurb to describe the education in these pages.

    There is plenty to learn about the half-pass, yes, but there’s also shift variations, a color change, plenty of magic to put these mechanics to good use, and lots in between.

    My favorite piece in the book is Revolution #9, mostly because it works as well for laypeople as it does for magicians. The effect is clean, visual, and shocking, and people will swear at you a lot if you perform it at the right bar. I like it when you get them to swear at you.

    Finally, I admire the respect Aaron shows for card magic in this book. He treats it well and asks you to do the same. He critiques his own work, which is admirable, and he asks you to take his creativity and make it dance for you in your own way. If you take his advice, you’ll have people swearing at you soon enough.

  39. 39 Josh Medeski January 4, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    This book helped me on many levels. One, to help me learn new skills and tricks. Two, to help me become a better performer.
    Everything inch of that book has advice about performance practice and helped me learn about Aaron as a person as he told me about his life experiences.

    I have three favorite tricks from this book that I perform regularly.
    The tax man
    This trick is a instant miracle that involves some great slight of hand with a heckeless (if that is even a word) method, i also love it because it involves three people rather than just one or two, so i can get more people into the magic.

    Helter Shelter
    This trick is a wonderful color changing deck routine that is totally visual and direct, for me i use it for a double color changing deck routine (this trick being the second change), this trick fits perfectly for my routine and i love Aaron for that (thanks!) the method is so easy (skill wise) and it look beautiful.

    Revolution No. 9.
    This trick is simply the greatest close-up trick you will ever learn and that i perform more than any other trick in his book period! I love it because it is so direct and powerful. There is almost no set-up and can be done in, before, or after any routine. It is the most visual miracle card trick with no gaffs, strings, nothing, just pure slight of hand.

    If you are a professional or if magic is just a hobby, this book is a must for everyone that is serious about card magic. I can promise you will use these tricks and slights as i have. Everything Aaron teaches doesn’t not stop at the last page, with the slights and advice he gives, you can adapt all of these things to your own style and individuality.

  40. 40 Kevin O'Donnell January 4, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    The Paper Engine is a real find if you are looking to take your card magic to the next level. The information about tension was very helpful to me to better connect with my audience and to seem more natural and relaxed. Definitely a worthwhile read…you will not be disappointed! I hope to meet Aaron in person next time he is in Chicago. Cheers. Kevin

  41. 41 Steven Leung January 5, 2008 at 3:22 am

    ‘The Paper Engine’ is praised by big names in the magic community since it’s first release years ago. I am fortunate to witness effects live when Aaron Fisher in Hong Kong during 2007 AMA convention.

    Every effects, sleights and theory taught in the book are worthwhile for you to contribute effort to master.

    I congratulate to anyone who own this book and you have one of the best book in card magic. Looking forward to see more serious card magic student will benefit from this book like I do.

    Sincerely from Hong Kong.

    Your friend,

    Steven Leung

  42. 42 Garrison January 5, 2008 at 3:27 am

    I really love the Paper Engine. When I first got it I was like, “Wow! This book looks soo cool!” The information inside is great, but the cover looks amazingly magical as well. I wouldn’t recommend it for you if you are a beginner, as I was when I got it, but once you get to a more intermediate level, this book is for you. The one-handed popover has to be my favorite move. It is very hard to master, but once you get it fast and snappy, you can really amaze people with that simple move alone. I haven’t learned all of the sleights in the book, but I use it as a constant reference guide whenever I need something creative and new. It gave me some basic moves to start creating my own effects, and in the end, made me a better magician.

  43. 43 aaronfishermagic January 5, 2008 at 4:04 am

    Hey Tim,

    It was great to see you and Sue-Anne in Hong Kong. For anyone paying attention, these kids were so busy working, that we didn’t even get a picture together during the convention. If you’ve got one Tim, let me post it!

    You guys were awesome!

    Aaron

  44. 44 Lance Ruggles January 5, 2008 at 6:02 am

    I carry the paper engine everywhere i go.I put it in my backpack where i carry my most valuable stuff. I think the teaching method used in it is awesome. He describes everything in detail…its like its on dvd. My favorite trick in it is the very first trick…a simple sandwich.It gets great responses. I recommened it to every magician who hasnt heard of it. The gravity half pass is my move to pull on laymen…they never see it coming. All around it is a great book.

  45. 45 DAVE HARVEY January 5, 2008 at 7:59 am

    What strikes me the most is the way the book is presented. The pictures are detailed, leaving no unaswered questions. The front and back covers are really nice. But what’s inside those two covers deserves all your attention. The detailed explainations of the “gravity half pass” will make you add this wonderful weapon in your arsenal. Personally, this is one of my favorite books on cards.

  46. 46 Stein V. Halvorsen January 5, 2008 at 11:31 am

    Thanks. Nothing else but a big thanks to Aaron for writing this book. It was a great read. And I have had many great times with spectators while performing this entertaining, fun and practical magic which is inside these few pages.

    The book is full of natural looking, fun to practise, and…. great sleights. I had heard lots of good stuff about this book, and decided to get it. It was very well spent money. The thing I really like with this book is also it’s construction, and the way he teaches and talks about the tricks, patterns, and techniques. First of he gives you a rough effect description, and then goes over the techniques and pattern, and at the end, he gives you a good handful of something to think about, *Thoughts and comments*…

    The best magic related book I have. Nuff said. Go buy it, and read it.

    Stein V. Halvorsen

    Norway

  47. 47 Ben Long January 5, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    Aaron Fisher’s “The Paper Engine” displays a wealth of information within its well-crafted exterior. What makes it different from other books of card magic is that it is concise and focused. While other books feel the need to coddle the reader and explain every prerequisite to learning card magic, “The Paper Engine” expects that the reader is already well-versed in sleight of hand. It assumes that the reader wants to bring his or her skill to the next level. This is not a book for beginners. One might even go as far to say that this is not a book for intermediates.

    “The Paper Engine” knows what seperates a good sleight-of-hand artist from a great sleight-of-hand artist and it indulges from page one. In other words, it is explicit in its descriptions of each sleight and trick. It explicates each and every subtlety that will convince an audince of one thing, even as something else is done.

    For example, the first sleight taught in the book, the gravity half-pass, is granted six pages of detailed instruction, accompanied by very clear photographs. Fisher details finger position, weight distribution, areas of pressure, the direction one’s arms move, what moves cover the sleight. All of this for such a simple move. Fisher then gives a simple example of a trick for which the sleight may be applied. There are more effects that use the technique: powerful visual effects. These are effects that I regularly perform. They are practical, they are fun to do, the slay audiences.

    It may be said that simplicity is powerful. This is absolutely true. While the slieghts and tricks can be very complex, the way they are presented to the audience appears simple and direct. Therein lies the magnitude. The effects and sleights are challening to the magician and devestating to the audience.

    In addition to the sleights taught, Fisher provides expert advice on the performing of and application of each sleight. He covers everything. He talks about tension and relaxation, he compares sleights to lines that actors say, he discusses the place of flourishes and how they, in effect, can become magic. Anybody can learn something from this book. The advice transcends just the sleight in discussion. Fisher will make the reader a better performer.

    Again it should be noted that this is not a book for beginners. While a beginner can greatly benefit from the advice provided, it is suggested that he or she begin somewhere else and get a good strong basis before moving onto “The Paper Engine.” One must learn to properly hold a hammer and chisel before carving David out of marble.

  48. 48 Michael "SIX" Muldoon January 5, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    The Paper Engine is a horrible book. Dont get it. Let me enjoy every effect in there for myself. Then I will fool you with some of it and look like God!

    The Paper Engine truly is a fantastic book. You will find some difficult sleights to some of the simplest effects that will amaze magicians and laymen!

    I actually created my first effect from that book, combining ideas from Aaron including : The Revolution change and a reversal from the routine Revolver. That effect is my first EVER published item and was in Magic Magazine. I can only thank Aaron for the great ideas he has and being kind enough to share them with us all.

    This should tell you how great the book is. You will find new ways to visually change cards, visually reverse a deck of cards in the most magical manner, and many other routines that will fool your buddies and you will quickly add to your reportoire.

    Some of my favorite items from the book include:

    Revolver
    The Nowhere pass
    Bluff Replacement subtlety
    The Illusion Control
    Three Kings
    Revolution No.9
    and Search and Destroy

    That is just some of my favorites and Im sure they will soon be yours.

    Michael MUldoon

  49. 49 Cody Fisher January 6, 2008 at 3:26 am

    While every sleight and trick in the Paper Engine is practical, magical, and effective, Aaron Fisher’s offering to the literature is special in that it presents a larger, more important message.

    Throughout the work, Fisher gives valuable insight on how to strengthen one’s magic, whatever it may be, by making it more effecient and reducing the tension inherent in many moves. The best example of this may be his pivotal work on the half pass, a move which many have presented covers for and tips on, yet none have turned into a truly natural, motionless action, until the Gravity Half Pass.

    Fisher’s work on this and other moves gives a wonderful and inspirational example to any aspiring magician, in that it demonstrates that we as magicians have the ability to recognize problems in our magic, and provide elegant, natural solutions.

    Additionally, Fisher, following in the mantra of Vernon, has found ways in his tricks to eliminate unnecessary moves and actions, which cloud the overall effect. One example of this is “Search and Destroy”, where he has removed literally every move from a plot which previously had consistently been filled with unnecessary actions. Thus, he succeeds in making his magic more practical, entertaining, and strong.

    As a 16-year-old aspiring close-up magician, I consider Fisher’s book extremely refreshing, in that it has provided me not only with useable material and sleights, which I can add to my repertoire, but also with a message which continues to inspire me to critically look at my own magic, and realize that the use of unnatural, tension-filled magic is not inescapable.

    With respect and thanks,

    Cody Fisher

  50. 50 Matt January 6, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    With literally hundreds of books and manuals on the market right now it is easy to fall prey to buying cheap quality material from unprofessional magicians rather than high-quality material from real world working magicians.

    I can say with full honesty that Aaron Fisher’s tretise on card magic does not fall into the former category.

    Aaron wrote a marvelous book on magic and he wrote it in a way that won’t make you feel like your learning from a book, it’s the complete opposite, you actually feel like Aaron is right beside you teaching you all the moves, the psychological subtleties, and the theory on why it works.

    It’s one thing to learn an effect or a move and a completely other thing to learn the theory behind the move. That is what Aaron teaches and that is why by reading, understanding, and practicing the book’s material will make you a better magician.

    Many magicians throw their variation of a few tricks on paper and call it a book with the hopes of making a quick buck. Most, if not all of the time a magician will notice this and be disapointed and feel buyer’s remorse. If you spend even 5 minutes with the book you will notice that the book and it’s material is extremely high-quality and you’ll probably learn something in that short 5 minutes. You can tell that Aaron saw many magicians doing things wrongs and worked hard to find solutions to those problems. Aaron did not set out to make another run-of-the-mill magic book, he set out to build a train that runs on magic. This trains grows with every magician who jumps on and helps edge magic out of the tunnel it’s been in since it’s conception. Aaron has created a masterpiece.

    I do not buy every single magic book or effect that comes out, I only own 5 books on magic, the rest I borrow. I set out to only buy the best books on magic and this book is one of my five.

    Now, I’m aware the century has just begun but I believe that Aaron Fisher’s ‘The Paper Engine’ will be the ‘Expert at the Card Table’ of the 21st century.

    If you’ve never read it, do yourself a favor, do your spectators a favor, and heck, if you are one of those kids who does magic on youtube then do magic a favor and be one of the first youtubers in the world to upload a respectable magic video.

  51. 51 Tony Noice January 7, 2008 at 1:51 am

    The central thesis of THE PAPER ENGINE is that tension should be eliminated wherever possible in the performance of card magic. This concept is exemplified by his seminal sleight, the Gravity Half Pass, as well as by many other wonderful items like the Outjog Herrmann Pass and Decking the Top. If the book offered nothing else but this concept of not “doing” a move but letting it happen, it would still be a huge contribution – but Aaron gives us dozens of other goodies as lagniappe. I would like to propose one additional advantage. When tension is removed from card magic, as Aaron promotes throughout the book, slights become a genuine pleasure to practice. Because the goal is the complete removal of effort – the performer just arranges the proper position or positions and gravity, momentum, or other natural forces take over. I believe that moves based on this premise are a joy to learn. They are also the most effortless to execute, and the most reliable under the pressure of performance. Unfortunately not all good card magic can take advantage of this notion. A pass that is used for the purpose of performing a completely overt, visual appearance or disappearance of the card at the face of the deck must involve properly applied tension between the two halves of the deck so that, when the tension is released, the halves reverse faster that the eye can see. Too much tension and the cards will bind or even fly out of the hands; too little and the spectator will see a blur or “ghost” of the top half. Tension is also necessary in Vic Sendax’s superb interlocked production. In writing it up, Harry Lorayne quoted Vic as saying that the cards must be gripped so tightly that it would impossible for someone to pull them out no matter how hard he tried. But these are special moves to be used only when the performer needs an effect that no other method would supply. Bottom line: In 95% of the cases, the tension free concept that permeates THE PAPER ENGINE is the most effective and liberating approach to the performance of elegant card magic for both magician and spectator.

  52. 52 Shiv Duggal January 7, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    The paper engine is a fascinating book, it makes you realise that the force of nature is greater that the force of magic. However when you work with nature it makes all you do look magical and you can create miracles

  53. 53 Simon Southerin January 7, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    i think that the paper engine is quite simply a brilliant book. i’d say that the only coment that i could make about the book is making the effect of some of the moves more apparent, such as the nowhere pass.

    the tricks themselves are quite unique, and are based around the moves learnt in the book; if you can’t do the moves, you can’t do the trick, making it a secret to any lay person that might get hold of the book.

    the pictures in the book show what needs to happen and where your fingers need to be quite effectively.

    even though i purchased the book last year, i am stilllgoing back to it for helpful tips and tricks, and advice on how to perform some of the tricks.

    all together, the book is one of a kind, and it should be cherished and looked after rathe than just thrown on the shelf.

    i think that a big well done should go out to Aaron Fisher, for creating such a memorable piece of magic.

  54. 54 ryan bliss January 8, 2008 at 12:48 am

    The paper engine is one of those resources that is critical to anyone starting out in magic. Or even if you have been into the magnificant art for years it is still incredible. the book contains several unique and highly effective sleights that can immediately applied to your repetoire. for example the gravity half pass and the illusion control are prime examples of effecivness and deception. the half pass alone changed my view on card magic and i think you will find that also as it is very useful and deceptive. aside from the sleights, Aaron teaches a trick after each one and also includes personal comentary on each aspect of how he came up with them.
    Toward the end of the book are the tricks. These tricks are practicle and extremely visual. Revolution #9 is a trick that i know do on a regular basis. Helter Skelter is and even more visual verson of it. There seems to be something to everyone. All the members of my magic ring see this book as an exelent piece of material for any magician.
    If you are looking for some of the best moves and tricks for an unbeatable price the the Paper Engine is for you. You will not be dissapointed

  55. 55 Matt January 8, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    (i forgot to add this, i thought of it after I posted)

    Aaron, in case you ever feel like writing another book. Please write one completely on magic theory. There are so many books explaining moves and tricks and I’d like to see you release a book solely on magic theory, heck I don’t care if there isn’t even one trick in it. The reason is that I truly feel that you have a great understanding on what magic is and why it is important and well as great suggestions to performing better.

    Also, I am also writing a book. It won’t be published or sold or anything but I’m writing a book about my magical experiences and some of my reputation building effects as well as techniques and to top it off my philosophy on magic. Sort of a magical diary, except for replace ‘diary’ with a less fruity word.

    I suggest that every magician do it, have a magic diary or log because I’m looking back on it day by day and learning a lot about myself and how to improve my magic. As well as help me remember all the people I’ve touched with magic. Just a thought. Cheers.

    Matt. G

  56. 56 James Teitsworth January 15, 2008 at 4:28 am

    The thing that makes the Paper Engine really worth it is the way it is written. It shares experiences and mistakes in a very intimate and conversational way. It helped me realize how much tension there was in my magic and how I could fix it. The sleights and tricks in the book are all top notch and are very comfortable to perform after the needed practice. It’s a must have for anyone who REALLY wants to take their card magic to the next level.

  57. 57 Thomas February 10, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    I’ve got to say, even with all the glowing reviews I read, I was still dubious when I picked up The Paper Engine for the first time (a gift from a friend who also does magic). As a visual person, I had a hellish time with The Royal Road to Card Magic (which reads like a Dicken’s novel) and had basicly come to the conclusion that you can’t learn magic from a book.

    I was really, Really, REALLY wrong.

    With something like 160 photos in the boook, for almost every sleight and image, it was not as hard as I thought it would be to master the material that Aaron presented. It wasn’t easy, and took me multiple weeks to get a feel for every sleight, and I’m by no means a master yet.

    The writing style was clear and easy to read, not at all like the verbose (and kind of self indulgent) style of other books on Magic.

    I thought that The Paper Engine was about as close to perfect as possible, and will definately recomend it to other struggling magicians.

    (That said, Aaron, you could make a killing if you releaese all this material in a video-format)


  1. 1 Watch The Gravity Half Pass Video! « Trackback on June 16, 2008 at 10:17 pm

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