Perspectives on Magic: A book about the science of conjuring

Perspectives on Magic is a book about the relationship between science and magic. When watching a magician, the question that is most pressing on people’s minds is “how did he do it”? This question is not the only one that can be asked of a magic performance. A psychologist might ask why it is possible that the mind can be deceived, occupational therapists are interested in how performing magic tricks can help people with physical disabilities, and sociologists research the subculture of magicians.

This book explores some of the answers to the questions that scholars from different fields of science have asked about the performances of magicians. For magicians, this book provides new perspectives on their art. For people with a passive interest in magic, this book offers an insight into this quaint performance art, which is usually surrounded by secrecy and cliches.

Perspectives on Magic discusses the following questions:

  • Introduction: How can we define theatrical magic?
  • The Science of Magic: How does magic relate to science?
  • The Art of Magic: Is magic a performance art?
  • Magic Networks: What is it like to be a magician?
  • The History of Magic: What role did magicians play in history?
  • The Power of Magic: What is the practical use of conjuring?
  • The Magic of Teaching: What can we learn from magic tricks?
  • The Deception of Magic: How can a magician deceive us?
  • The Future of Magic: Will magic eventually become obsolete?
  • Epilogue: What is the science of magic?

The book contains a comprehensive bibliography of the science of magic from the various perspectives. This bibliography kept current, and you can view the latest version on this website.


“The book can be compared to a museum guide. Prevos guides the reader pleasantly through many aspects of theatrical magic … The extensive bibliography alone is worth the purchase … the book is a great starting point, but also provides advanced students with a starting point for further study.”—George Parker.

“I like the bibliography. I have read some of these, but you highlight so many other great resources. Many thanks!”—Dr Todd Landman.

“There’s another dimension of depth in this book. It’s the type of depth you may get from poetry, inspirational writings and Zen koans.”—Bryce Kuhlman, My Lovely Assistant.

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