Doing a book test twist; does it sound original? Compelling?

This self-post was originally posted to /r/Magic. See more things from Dan's Reddit account.

I’ve got a twist on a book test that I’m hoping to work into a performance in a couple of weeks time (cabaret-size), and I was wondering if anybody’s got any thoughts about it. Specifically: does it sound compelling?

The effect: I’ll be following on from a couple of other mentalist effects and selling this as a “modern” twist on a traditional idea. I’ll ask for a volunteer who has a familiarity with a certain (popular, contemporary, long-running) series of novels, and hand them a Kindle pre-loaded with the entire series, and ask them to inspect it/read any parts of the books to ensure they’re genuine. Meanwhile, three other audience members will collectively supply single-digit numbers which are joined together in an order chosen by the volunteer, to make a page number. The volunteer will then choose their favourite book in the series, turn to that page (you know – the hardest bit so far has been working out how to make a Kindle show page numbers!), and the first sentence will match a prediction that’s been in an envelope on-show since the start. The ebooks can continue to be inspected (and I’ll thoroughly be encouraging the volunteer to show pages to the audience, of course!).

The format has advantages e.g. (a) there’s no way I can see which book was chosen, unlike many similar illusions, (b) I can use a larger “library” than most, and (c) it fits into a patter I have about modernising traditional magic. But I have a few concerns, too.

My concerns: will people assume the Kindle is gimmicked (because it’s hard to see it’s not: people already don’t trust technology!)? What can I do to help the volunteer/audience see that it’s not?

Thanks for any thoughts!

tl;dr: book test but using a whole series of books on a Kindle, inspected by a fan familiar with the series, book chosen by volunteer, page number chosen by audience, first sentence matches on-show prediction. Is it compelling?


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