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Now that volume twelve of Steve Beam's delightful series Semi-Automatic Card Tricks has been published, the books form – stacked one on top of the other – an impressive pile. All the books come in a sturdy binding and an eye–catching jacket. The paper, which is of the best quality, the printing which is easy on the eyes, and oceans of first class illustrations all make for a lovely series. But there is more than just that!  

The twelve volumes encompass more than 3.000 large pages on which Mr. Beam, ever in fine form, describes more than 1.000 card tricks with a clarity that is no less than amazing and with all the essential details. Still, there is more than just that.

Mr. Beam's style is extremely entertaining, even witty, and yet without the author giving in to the puerility that we so often meet in books intended to be 'funny'. You get the tricks and, most importantly, also his accompanying 'patter' with all the wonderful remarks and lines. But there is still more.

When all is said and done, the most important question is, "What are the tricks like?" Well, there are all imaginable kinds of effects: Topological effects, mind–reading tricks, gambling routines etc. and, with a modicum of effort, any reader should be able to build one or, in fact, many entertaining and varied programs which will lead his audiences to consider him the manipulative master of the century.

The tricks are grouped thematically, but apart from those chapters you will also find about twenty others, each one highlighting the magic of people like Ramón Riobóo, Lewis Jones, R. Paul Wilson and others. Still other chapters by Mr. Beam himself explain lucidly whatever sleights – make that: strategies and maneuvers – that are deemed necessary. At the end of each book, you will find a 'routine builder' which may be of considerable help.

But there is more – and this rather an exciting feature: The contributors! They are, after all, the core or the spine of book on magic. So let me mention these highly respected card men – in random order: Thomas Blomberg, Pit Hartling, Max Maven, Dave Solomon, Ken Krenzel, Peter Duffie, Gordon Bean, Tony Griffith and on and on it goes in one long blessed eternity.

Let's round off this text by explaining what is meant by 'semi–automatic tricks'. The tricks are not 100% self–working, they are 'semi–automatic' which indicates that the performer has to do umm, well, something underhanded, albeit always something very easy! This means that the routines are never just a game of patience. And remember that if a few false shuffles or cuttings of the deck are interspersed in the routine, the effects acquire the look of a sleight–of–hand masterpiece.

The contents of the books is so varied, so encompassing and so immense that one is almost tempted to think that at a certain point quantity turns into quality. The books constitute a goldmine for the beginner, the average card–man and even the expert. They are great fun just to read and will furnish you with countless tricks for many years.

The Index 1-12:
The Semi-Automatic Card Tricks series is 3000 pages long with almost 1300 effects and almost 200 contributors. The best way to access this gigantic resource is with the 60-page index. There are 5162 indexed entries in the twelve volumes. Now, if you look up any person, trick, move, book, etc. that was mentioned in the series, you will find a list of all references by volume number and page number.


”It’s not often that a single volume is appealing in both form and content, but it’s downright rare when this applies to an entire series of books. Each of the Semi-Automatic Card Tricks books is full of thought-provoking ideas, and I’m constantly stimulated by the neat principles, stacks, subtleties and plots. But even apart from the material, these books are simply fun to read! The presentations are clever, the patter is witty , and Steve Beam’s humor is off the charts!” – Simon Aronson

“I still remember the big smile on my face when I first came across this series. At that moment, I instantly transferred my allegiance from Hand Magic to Head Magic. Deceiving people’s eyes Is not nearly as much fun as deceiving their minds. Gone are the days of trying to show that I can defeat spectators. Now I have learned to use their strength against themselves. That’s why Semi-Automatic Card Tricks, are for me, the Judo of card magic.” – Lewis Jones


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