Self-working magic, if you won't hold the pun against me, is a tricky thing.
Some will tell you, as I will, that there is no such thing as truly self-working magic. That is true. Every trick, regardless of method, requires a presentation, a character, a flow of action to become more than a trick, to become an effect. With the proper method, it may become an effect worth doing. But in the beginning, it's just a trick.

And tricks, well, tricks can truly be self-working.

But do we really need another book of self-working tricks? Hasn't all the good stuff been done already?

Call me biased, but I have to answer "Yes" and "No", otherwise I wouldn't have written this book.

In the bodies of work referred to as "self-working" magic, too often this gimmick or that gaff is required. It's that gimmick or gaff that does all the work so your self doesn't have to. Now, there's nothing wrong with that, of course, but the best self-working magic doesn't require anything but the props necessary to pull off the trick and let the performer work the effect.

I speak of course of what I think is the ultimate gimmick and the ultimate gaff: math and your mind.

Put those together and you have a self-working trick. Throw in a presentation that's more than a simple narrative and you've got an effect.

And that's what is in this book: mathematical principles that work magic.

But, being slightly unhinged myself, the principles you'll find here go way beyond the typical "spell this" or "count that" or "reverse that number and subtract it". That's what makes Automata different: we'll go way beyond the more popular methods and straight into the lesser known (and arguably more powerful and playful) tactics that converts algebra and calculus and equations of this, that, and the other thing into magical pieces well worth your time.

Uh-oh. I mentioned the math thing, didn't I?

Fear not, gentle reader. Yes, the principles are rigidly mathematical in nature, but you'll not see a formula or equation in sight. You'll need to learn just enough to pull off these things, but an in-depth understanding of differential equations is not.

"Self-working" ain't self-working if you need an advanced study of mathematics under your belt to get the gist of them.

So, in a nutshell, Automata is self-working, mathematical, and unusual magic I've picked up over the years and which I'll share with you along with other tidbits along the way.

[Note: Several of the effects included here can be found in the other ebooks by Shane.]