I like Mondays. On Monday, I am refreshed from the weekend and exhilarated by the possibilities of the week ahead. I also like magic. I like its history, its intersection with technology, and its crafty use of human nature. I figured I’d combine the two and make a Monday feature that is truly me: a little bit of magic and a look at the week ahead.
Some illusions are so popular that they feel like they’ve been around forever. One such is Zig-Zag Girl. If you’ve watched a few TV magic specials in the past 50 years, you’ve seen it. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if television is a major contributor to its popularity. It is a very visual trick. Smaller magic gets lost on television, even in the age of high-def. Zig-Zag Girl allows for a visual prop that is isn’t overwhelmingly complex and is still interesting when shot uncut with one camera angle.
The trick was innovated by Robert Harbin in the mid-1960s. To “protect” his invention, Harbin published it in a special edition book and only sold it to fellow magicians willing to sign a sort of non-disclosure agreement. The document stated that the purchaser would not reveal the secret to anyone else and only build the apparatus for personal use. Regardless, the illusion is in the Guinness Book of World Records as one of the most copied. (via MagicPedia)
Below is Zig-Zag Girl performed by its creator, Robert Harbin, and a more modern rendition by Piff the Magic Dragon.
What Am I Reading?
The Hound of the Baskervilles is going much slower than I expected, especially for a reread. I don’t remember the story being this long. Maybe it just seems that way since I’m reading on my Kindle from a “complete works” collection. The percentage finished number rarely moves. Next up The Magician’s Daughter by Judith Janeway and probably The Writing Dead by Thomas Fahy. Both are ARCs, the only two I have from NetGalley at the moment.
What Am I Writing?
Last week, Eric took a look at the first 43K of In Need of Luck. We’ve nailed down a few plot points which require a little rewriting in a few earlier scenes. Our process isn’t to write a fast first draft beginning to end. Instead, we continually re-evaluate what’s going on and what needs improvement. Eric’s also been writing a scientific guide to Andy Wier’s book, The Martian, and we’ll do the editing and formatting on that this week.
On the Blog
- Review of The Castle of Otranto for the Gothic Reading Challenge. If I finish it by then, I might include a gothic look at The Hound of the Baskervilles.
- This weekend is the Book Vixen’s monthly Review-a-thon and I have a few things that need getting done.
- And, I finally get to dip into Thrilling Tales for Deal Me In.