Review: Blomberg Laboratories by Tomas Blomberg & Andi Gladwin and Vanishing Inc.

Reviewer: John Teo

“Blomberg Laboratories” is an oversized hardcover tome containing the magic of the Swedish magician Tomas Blomberg.

As the name of the book implies, Tomas is a scientist as well as an engineer.  In his present work, he produces an industrial scanner that can detect and classify cracks and other defects in wooden boards.  It is difficult to believe that all the fine illustrations in the book are computer generated by Tomas himself.

The huge book contains some 65 effects and moves categorized into 10 chapters.  I will only described the main chapters and the effects that most appeal to me.

The book starts with “Non-Card Tricks”.  Effects worthwhile mentioning are Tomas’ impromptu handling of “Grandma’s Necklace”, and his sequel to “Crazy Man’s Handcuff” where one rubber band mysteriously vanishes.  He has a convincing “Ring On-And-Off Rubber Band” routine in 6 phases, and a visual spoon bend in a cup of coffee.  His bill switch is clever with a “swinging gimmick” that allows him to show the bill quite freely on both sides, both before and after the change.

Tomas is no slough when he comes to sleight-of-hand with playing cards.  His “double-lift from a spread” move is used by many card magicians.  He explains this utility move in his “TB Spread Double” and applies it to many effects.  Among these tricks are John Bannon’s “Tattoo You” without using a gimmick card where a signature is transferred from one card to another, an “anniversary waltz” effect, a double deck brainwave effect, and an open prediction.

Of the many sleights described by Tomas in “Moves”, the interesting ones are his 2 takes on the double turnover, and an inconspicuous switch of a sandwiched card with the top card of the deck.

In “Interlock”, an interesting application is Tomas’ use in a hindu shuffle to force a card, secretly switching it for another, and then controlling the selection to a desired position in the deck.

Tomas’ interest in puzzles and mathematics is best reflected in the chapter “Paradoxes”.  Among the many novel, weird and surreal effects described is “Freakish Miracle”, an unusual coincidence using 3 full decks of cards where the backs of each card are written different names of a playing card.  The Gilbreath Principle is the most popular mathematical principle used in magic tricks.  Tomas discusses the “Interlocked Gilbreath” that involves 3 attributes and apply it to an effect using photographs of people’s faces.  He has designed a dangerous monte-type trick involving real snakes for Uri Geller to perform on stage in Swedish TV.  Here he uses the same mathematical principles and offers a close-up version using sharp thumb-tacks.  His marketed trick “Mind Stress” is actually a prediction effect, but he turns it into a believable scientific experiment, which raises the entertainment value to a new level.

Another chapter which features Tomas’ clever use of mathematics is found towards the end of the book – it is called “Con/Science”.  There is an interesting 5-hand poker game where the magician wins despite random choices made by the other players.  Tomas also creates an incredible 7-phase variation of the con-game NIM where he wins every-time even though his opponent is aware of the strategy for winning the game.

The remainder of the book consists of card tricks.  Many of them are Tomas’ variation handlings of classical card tricks.  They do not require the use of any gimmick cards, but do need intermediate card handling skills.

There are, however, a couple of tricks utilising gimmicked cards.  “Cardpool” is an “Open Travellers” effect requiring 2 gimmicked cards.  “Svensk Voodoo” is a double ACAAN effect using identical cards.  It has an interesting premise, and has inspired an entire book written on its variations called “CAAN Craft” by JK Hartman and Gordon Bean.

Among the many “Packet Tricks”, ‘Three-Card Monster” is an entertaining homing card effect while “Marlo Might Have Liked This” is an impressive sympathetic card trick using 2 packets of different colour back cards running from Ace to King.

In ”General Card Magic”, “Multiplex Re+Set” smacks of difficult sleight-of-hand as 4 fives (can be signed) change places one card at a time with the 4 queens (can also be signed) placed into 4 different pockets of the performer.  Then the 4 queens change back all at once into the 4 fives, the queens having returned back to their individual pockets.  Finally, the 4 fives vanish and reappear in the 4 different pockets.  “Defect Gatherer” is a clean hole (made with a hole punch on a playing card) moving effect.

“The Schrodinger’s Tie” is a card trick that should be in the chapter “Paradox” rather than in “General Card Magic” because it is a novel trick both in effect as well as in its method!  It is an ACAAN effect in which a spectator freely names any number.  A deck that is wrapped with a ribbon to prevent the performer from manipulation it, is taken out from the ribbon and counted to the spectator’s number.  The card at this location matches the performer’s prediction card placed inside an envelope displayed at the start of the trick.  The method depends on an ingenious way of wrapping the ribbon around the deck.  The act of pulling the ribbon out of the deck automatically cuts the deck to a special location to put the prediction card at the number called out by the spectator.

Tomas’ takes on the Christ Force in “Twists On Christ” show a double force, a revelation of 3 selections, and a prediction effect using Post-It notes.

This 360 pages tome is well-written by Andi Gladwin and has well-researched credits.  There is an adage that if you can get at least one trick that you can use in your act out of a book, then it is worth many times your investment.  In this case, this book would be worthless (in the correct sense of the word!)

10 Stars (10 / 10)

Reviewer: Madame Curator

Okay, please don’t laugh but this was pretty much me when I was waiting for my book to arrive in the mail… Seriously UPS, give your couriers rocket launchers already!!

Monty-Python

…And once I finally got my hands on it, I was pretty much doing my happy dance of joy while ripping the packaging off…

30-Rock

Right… If you haven’t guessed it yet, as an unapologetic book nerd and huge fan of the overachieving, multi-talented Swedish magician/ mathematician who is Tomas Blomberg, I was super duper stoked when his long-awaited book Blomberg Laboratories was finally a reality.

Awesome 10′ x 10′ hardcover book that gave me hours and hours of quiet satisfaction, of the happy magic nerd variety…

 

The large oversized hardback book is truly is a work of art just by itself …and to be totally honest, I don’t know why Blomberg Laboratories is retailed at just US$55 when it could be priced for so much higher. With well over 420 illustrations in its 328 pages, the tome is a valuable gem for every magician serious about their craft.

Well written and illustrated, I really appreciated the book’s professional layout; this is a read meant to be slowly savoured over weeks and months. It’s not quite newbie beginner material IMHO, but definitely a colossal joy for all magic connoisseurs out there since Blomberg shares much of his brilliant ideas spanning through the various genres of legerdemain.

There are true jewels within the pages of Blomberg Laboratories… clever mentalism for those of us lovers of sleight of mind, challenging sleight of hand material for the self-professed purists; plus devious contemporary twists on magic classics like the bill switch, rubber band and ring tricks, plastic spoon bending effects, rope through neck routines and more for non-cardicians.

There’s one section called “Paradoxes” which I found completely delightful. Blomberg’s Torn Uncut Card Sheet was my favourite trick in there. It’s a little piece of genius that will surely puzzle your audience so I imagine it will play quite nicely on stage.

There are many awfully good effects taught in the book, some interesting ones that come to mind are (Vernon + Sadowitz)^2 to be performed at the card table, a cute packet trick called Marlo Might Have Liked This, and something for the science geek/ trickster named Simplex Non-Transitive Poker Die.

I cannot recommend Blomberg’s book enough. It’s right up there next to another truly brilliant read, Japan Ingenious, which any magician worth their salt should also own in their library. As you know, NingThing.com does not retail magic so our reviews are as objective as it gets, with no intention of manipulating the truth for profit. So trust me when I say this:

Well done Tomas Blomberg & Andi Gladden and Vanishing Inc! This is completely deserving of a full TEN STARS!

10 Stars (10 / 10)

Please support intellectual property. Only buy original. Available from all reputable Murphy’s Magic dealers.

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