Help me find a book of Daemon's
January 17, 2008 11:29 PM   Subscribe

I was told of a book of Daemon's, where the protagonist is a C coder who gets transported to a magical world where his code can do magic.

I was told this by a co-worker during an internship. He was a big fan of all the things I thought was passe in my childhood. So we're talking about the 80's here when he read the book. And the book must've been pretty modern considering how hip and modern coding was at the time.

From what he told me the magical world our hero comes to is inhabited by people and magical creators (hence Daemon's). Magic is complicated and dangerous - a la Basic before C - and thus isn't practiced very much. I got the sense the setting was fairly feudal in governance. Our hero arrives and figures out that he can do magic, by whipping up some code to do things. He despise the feudalistic nature of the world he's come to live in and sets out to create new and safe code segments that people can copy and paste to do things. He creates libraries to make magic accessible.

Thus he goes on to save the day by creating a better world with the power of his code.

Thanks for your help. I'd truly love the title and author of this book so I can remind my friend of it; As he's since forgotten everything about it.
posted by Pontifex to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I wonder if you might be talking about the Wizardry series by Rick Cook. You can read the first two books, Wizard's Bane and Wizardry Compiled, online for free at this link. Just lick on The authors on the left and then Rick Cook. Looking now, you can also download the books in a variety of formats. If you want to find out (very little) about Rick Cook, just click.

I've read both of those and they are pretty good if you like programming and fantasy.
posted by CuJoe at 11:58 PM on January 17, 2008 [1 favorite]

(Thanks, CuJoe -- I just put Wizard's Bane on my kindle.)
posted by hjo3 at 1:07 AM on January 18, 2008

I can think of two with that general theme and I don't even read the genre, so it may be fairly common.

Here, the heroine is a programmer and the bad guy is a wizard trying to do Bad Things by combining technology and magic.

And here "magic" is performed by manipulating generative grammar.

Neither of them has the protagonist improving society.

Over in SF, the Nam Shubs in Snow Crash are actually closer to your description, IMO.
posted by Leon at 1:28 AM on January 18, 2008

(BTW, C's the complicated and dangerous one, not Basic).

(And when did we stop upper-casing Basic?)
posted by Leon at 1:30 AM on January 18, 2008

Second Rick cooks Wizardry series. And thanks for asking this I didn't realise he'd got past the third book.
posted by Mitheral at 1:36 AM on January 18, 2008

Thus he goes on to save the day by creating a better world with the power of his code.

Wow, if that's not masturbatory geek porn...

I have to agree with Leon that it's probably a common theme, given the market and such. In a similar vein (but substitute "physics" for "programming") would be David Brin's "The Practice Effect", about a man stuck in a world where entropy works in reverse.
posted by rokusan at 4:04 AM on January 18, 2008

Dance of the Gods series by Mayer Alan Brenner? I can't find the summaries but I seem to remember marking these on my wish list when they were described the way you described your looked for books.
posted by lyam at 5:44 AM on January 18, 2008

And the whole notion of working out the magical "source code" of a fantasy universe and logically manipulating it goes back to L. Sprauge de Camp's Compleat Enchanter series, starting in 1940.
posted by ormondsacker at 9:17 AM on January 18, 2008

thanks CuJoe, it's almost 1AM now :)

posted by spacefire at 9:39 PM on January 18, 2008

Response by poster: Excellent answers all, thank you.

I'll have to ask my colleague about which of these best matches his recollection.

I'll reply with the final decision after I get a response.
posted by Pontifex at 11:52 PM on January 19, 2008

Response by poster: (BTW, C's the complicated and dangerous one, not Basic).

(And when did we stop upper-casing Basic?)

I was actually thinking of the bad programming practices that Basic has the reputation of. E.g. GoTo's and unreadable code.
posted by Pontifex at 11:53 PM on January 19, 2008

Response by poster: I just heard back from my friend and he confirms that Cujoe's answer is correct.
posted by Pontifex at 3:05 PM on January 21, 2008

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