Devious Standards is the second essay collection from Jamy Ian Swiss, and it contains twenty of the most acclaimed essays from one of magic’s most distinguished and celebrated authors. When it was first published, Devious Standards received rave reviews in Magic, Genii, and Linking Ring, and it continues to garner praise from magic’s brightest lights. Vanishing Inc. Magic is proud to offer Devious Standards in a new edition, with brand-new typeset, layout, and cover design. This volume now matches Shattering Illusions and the brand-new Preserving Mystery in size and style.
Upon its release, Eric Mead praised Devious Standards in Genii magazine, declaring that, “The finished book is as beautiful as it is challenging, informative, stimulating and a genuine pleasure to read.”
Some highlights from Devious Standards include:
“The Method Is Not the Trick,” “Discovering Importance,” and “Empathy,” as well as tributes to Billy McComb, Bob Read, and Martin Nash. The book also includes “A Dissertation on the Double Lift,” Jamy’s thoughtful approach to this essential move, and a roadmap to improving your own double lift. “The JS Rules of Magic” is a satire on the rules we follow in magic, and how to break them. And “The Last Layman,” one of Jamy’s most beautiful essays, is a cautionary, artistic parable about the future of magic.
Praise for Devious Standards:
“Calling Devious Standards a book on magical performance theory is hard, because what Jamy Ian Swiss writes in its pages is based on real, tested, workable concepts and strategies. Great books on the subject have been written by Dariel Fitzkee, Henning Nelms, Darwin Ortiz, and Ken Weber, all of which fail to impact a performance the way Devious Standards is bound to… The title is perfect, because if you take what Swiss lays out for you in its pages and make his suggestions standard operating procedure every time you are building a new routine or show, your magic will be better, stronger, and more enjoyable for your audiences… Books like Devious Standards are, to coin a phrase, ‘six month books.’ Every six months they are worth revisiting-not because you’ve forgotten the information inside, but as a personal reminder of the things you should be doing with your magic but never quite get around to… Whether you are a strolling performer or a stage illusionist, reading Devious Standards will help raise your magic and performance to a new level, a huge bargain. Highly recommended.”
– Farrell Dillon, MAGIC
“I regard Swiss as a cross between Tom Bowyer, the witty, insightful but often acerbic critic in the early days of The Linking Ring, and S.H. Sharpe, the British magic essayist and polemicist. Swiss surpasses Bowyer and Sharpe, however, with the quality of his ideas, his ability as a performer and his gift as a writer… collectors and magic historians should consider reading this work to learn about four modern masters who are no longer with us… [in] profiles and appreciations of the post-Houdini, post-Cardini, post-Vernon world of magic. They reminded me of Maurice Zolotow’s profile of Cardini that appeared originally in The Saturday Evening Post. The difference is that Swiss’s are more insightful because he had a better understanding of the work involved than Zolotow did of Cardini, and he knew his subjects on a more personal level.”
– David Ben, Magicol
“Will set you on a road to ponder your own magic, and the way in which you perform it, and make you a better magician because of it. I highly recommend it.”
– Matthew Field, The Magic Circular
“Jamy Ian Swiss takes himself seriously, and I am sure he wants us to take him seriously. But for all the serious work that he put into Devious Standards, his latest book of opinion, scholarship, and reminiscences, the main thing that I take away from it is that this book is just plain fun to read. It’s hard to wipe the smile off my face… ‘The Last Layman’ is a satire worthy of Jonathan Swift in which only one layman is left on the planet.”
– Steve Bryant, Little Egypt Gazette
“Mr. Swiss is an astute observer of character, a passionate lover of good magic, and the kind of friend that good people value… The finished book is as beautiful as it is challenging, informative, stimulating and a genuine pleasure to read.”
– Eric Mead, Genii