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506 pages, ebook
First published December 13, 2014
The first magic spell is spoken by a 90-year-old retired Indian physicist named Suravaram Vidyasagar on 1st June 1972. It is one hundred and seventy-nine syllables long, comprising equal parts Upanishadic mantra and partial differential equation.
The effect of Vidyasagar's spell is nothing at all. He has discovered what will later be called "uum", the empty spell, which expends no mana and fails to rearrange the universe in any externally detectable way, but which then - crucially - returns to the dispatching mind and tells it so.
"So you believed the lie because you wanted to," (...) "You wanted to believe you were special."
"I..." - Laura watches her language, then thinks again - "fucking am."