There's coin magic in AMERICAN GODS, of the conjuring kind. And just as I ran the medical parts (and the post mortem parts) past a doctor, I ran the coin magic past a top coin magician -- Jamy Ian Swiss, better known as a card magician. (I met him some years ago, at a Penn and Teller gig in Las Vegas I attended -- P&T had just guest-starred in the Babylon 5 episode I'd written, 'The Day of the Dead').
Jamy sent me a terrific professional's-eye critique of the coin magic, and I can make some subtle changes in the copy-editing (which I think will start tomorrow, Wednesday, at least on the US version -- I've been told I'll get the copy-edited manuscript by lunchtime). (And there's always a little nervousness in receiving a copy-edited mss. One never knows what kind of copy editor one will have got. On STARDUST I had a lovely one, who even made sure that the UK spelling grey rather than gray held throughout, because she thought it more appropriate. On the book before that I had a copy editor who, it seemed at the time, repunctuated practically every sentence for no good reason, leaving me muttering "Look, if I'd wanted a comma there I would have bloody well put a comma there" too often for comfort.)
But I was talking about coin magic, not copy editing. Sorry.
This is from my last e-mail to Jamy Ian Swiss, who was grumbling about the depiction of stage magic in most forms of fiction. And I thought it might be interesting for you, hypothetical journal reader.
One reason I wanted the coin magic in American Gods to be good magic, was to ground the whole thing in reality, and to introduce a world in which nothing you are being told is necessarily reliable or true, while still playing fair with the readers.
I know what you mean about stage magic in fiction though: too often it seems to read as if the writer hasn't done anything magical since getting the magic set aged 11 -- [example removed]
I think part of the reason that fiction has problems with stage magic is that the compact the magician makes with the audience is twofold: "I will lie to you" and "I will show you miracles", and fiction tends only to grasp the second half of that.