Welcome to my Magic Squares Book blog – it’s been a long time in coming, and I just hope that with all of my other commitments, I will find the time to seek out and post items of interest, not just about magic squares, but about mathemagic and anything else vaguely related to magic or mathematics.
I’m also twisting the arm of a friend of mine to write some guest posts, so I’m sure, between us, we’ll find a few things that will entertain and amaze you.
So, a bit of history then.
Back in 1994, or thereabouts, I eventually got around to applying for Membership of The Magic Circle, arguably the most famous magic club in the world, having already been an amateur magician for 18 years.
Now, although they prefer people to audition for membership in front of an audience and judges, I was never the performing type, and this scared me witless, so I asked if I could write a thesis instead, which they will accept, not that many people take this route.
That replaced one problem with another – what on earth could I write about?
Well, shortly after first becoming interested in magic, my mentor, the late, great and unfortunately largely-unknown Joe Riding, introduced me to a small pamphlet called “The Amazing Magic Square And Master Memory Demonstration”, by Orville Meyer.
Having long been a fan of mnemonics (I started using these techniques when I was just eight years old), I found this really easy, and this combination magic squares and memory demonstration became my “party piece” of choice for many years.
So, why not write a thesis on magic squares, as I really didn’t know what else I could really cover with any degree of expertise?
Luckily, this topic was accepted, and I then had six months to write and submit my work – I seem to recall they only required about 2,500 words.
I got to work – with more enthusiasm and focus than I think I’d ever demonstrated in my life, did tons of research, bought, read and borrowed loads of books, and with too little time to spare, submitted my finished thesis (which had grown to a massive 100 pages or so!).
On tenterhooks, I waited for it to be reviewed by the appropriate members (one of whom was Professor Eddie Dawes, one of magic’s most knowledgeable historians), and, after what seemed like an eternity, was accepted as a Member of The Magic Circle.
Over the coming months, I received all sorts of compliments about my book, and one person even commented that I should have applied for Associate of The Inner Magic Circle instead.
I’d not known (nor had anybody told me) that this was even an option, so I made a few changes, added a bit more material, and re-submitted it to see if they would accept it again, but this time, for the next level of membership.
It was coming up to our annual President’s Dinner in Northampton, where I was (and still am) a member, and another of my magical mentors, the late Richard Stupple, managed to get this re-review processed through The Magic Circle’s Council really quickly so that our Guest of Honour at the dinner, the then President of The Magic Circle, world-renowned David Berglas, could present me with my AIMC certificate in person.
I finally breathed a sigh of relief, having finally accomplished what I’d first thought about when I was just 17 – it just took me about 20 years to get around to it.
Not to mention that very few magicians reach AIMC on the strength of written submissions.
Since then, I thought that there was no point in letting my thesis gather dust in The Magic Circle library, so I decided to offer it for sale, to interested magicians and mathematicians the world over – why not let them benefit from those months of research.
Initially, I fulfilled orders myself, which was far from onerous, given it’s not exactly on everybody’s list of must-have books, and I managed to sell just over 100 copies over the next ten years or so.
Not a blockbuster, but a moderate success, as magic squares is a minority specialty within a fairly narrow hobby/profession.
I would have continued to sell copies myself, but on moving to the USA, to a very remote location with almost zero mail services, I decided to make Magic Squares available via Amazon.com instead, so the burden of fulfillment has finally been removed.
I do have plans for a second book about magic squares, but I cannot make any promises about when it might be available – I just have too many balls to juggle these days, including running an online organic pet health business, with my wife, for which we provide 24 x 7 support to our customers, and that gets to be very time-consuming and tiring, believe me!
Anyway, if you’ve made it this far, congratulations, the history lesson is over, and I hope you enjoy this blog.