Penn & Teller & Sock

I really like Penn & Teller.

I’ve seen them perform many times (mostly with my son). I suggest that if you ever get a chance to do so, you should take advantage of it.

Their magic shows are cool. The tricks are great, and their irreverence is fun. They’re willing to defy conventions by explaining and demonstrating how many tricks are done, while preserving the awe of amazing illusions. One interesting gimmick they do is an “honor system” trick in which you can choose whether or not to watch and see how the trick is done. They also play with many other ideas in their shows like animal rights, miracles, symbolism, mysticism, etc.

I also really like their Showtime show: Bullshit!, in which they debunk lots of popular hoaxes.

They are both very talented and amazing entertainers; but Penn is my favorite. I love to listen to his patter. He’s smart and fun to behold. I was also impressed by this interview he did for Reason magazine.

So, I started to read Sock with high expectations…and they were met and exceeded.

It’s not a conventional murder mystery. It’s really an artfully presented set of philosophical observations with a murder mystery going on in the background. It’s quite unconventional. I should say that the gimmick of including lots of pop-culture references (mostly lyrics) in most paragraphs was weird at first, but I began to appreciate it. I don’t want to say too much about the content (it ranges all over the board), but I should note that Penn eloquently expresses his passion for reality, and imagination, and keeping those categories straight.

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