I was over on worldbuilding.se and found two intriguing comments on this question.

I read one short story where an Earth programmer ended up pulled into a universe with Magic. He sucked at it on the macro scale everyone else used, but figured out the mechanics of it and started to hack with it. First thing he did, of course, was port his favorite text editor to it. :-) – T.E.D.

Wish I remembered. I read it out of the Baen Free Library many years ago. – T.E.D.

What story does this describe?

  • 2
    Sounds like The Matrix (which I know it obviously isn't).
    – Möoz
    May 27, 2016 at 3:58
  • Sidenote, if this sounds interesting to you, I suspect that you'd enjoy Jim C. Hines Libriomancer series. Not a lot of actual computers involved, but the main character is a magic researcher who, in my opinion, tends to think like a programmer, and the series features an interesting style of magic with well-defined (and well-explained) rules.
    – Tin Wizard
    May 27, 2016 at 17:17
  • Another book series with a somewhat similar premise is the Magic 2.0 series by Scott Meyer, starting with Off to Be the Wizard. In it, a geek discovers he can do a kind of magic by editing a file that is like the data file for the universe.
    – stannius
    May 27, 2016 at 18:06
  • Amadeus9 and stannius, thanks for the suggestions. What worries me here is that the various authors will get the tech side wrong enough that I'll just end up ragequitting. May 31, 2016 at 2:58
  • @Amadeus9 - I picked the first one up in the library (seems to be a theme of mine here. I DO buy books too. Honest!). I did indeed enoy it a lot. It was clearly intended as first of a series, but I didn't see any more there, so I was afraid they didn't get published.
    – T.E.D.
    Jun 1, 2016 at 4:22

1 Answer 1


This appears to be Wizard's Bane, by Rick Cook. It seems that neither it nor any other novel of Cook's are currently available in the Baen Free Library, but Baen still sells ebooks of the novel, as well as its four sequels, and you can read sample chapters on the Baen website.

As noted in the comments, Cook has been unable to continue the series due to his health. The sixth book, The Wizardry Capitalized, remains unfinished , but Cook released it freely to read online.

...one of their most powerful members cast a spell to bring forth a mighty wizard to aid their cause. What the spell delivered was master hacker Walter "Wiz" Zumwalt. The wizard who cast the spell was dead and nobody— not the elves, not the dwarves, not even the dragons—could figure out what the shanghaied computer nerd was good for.

But spells are a lot like computer programs, and, in spite of the Wiz's unprepossessing appearance, he was going to defeat the all-powerful Black League, win the love of a beautiful red-haired witch, and prove that when it comes to spells and sorcery, nobody but nobody can beat a Silicon Valley computer geek!

  • 15
    I will mention the caveat that the series end abruptly after the fifth book. Rick Cook had emergency heart surgery while writing the sixth book, and learned that he'd lost his ability to write fiction in the aftermath. Also, sample chapters are available at baen.com/Chapters/0671698567/0671698567.htm
    – FuzzyBoots
    May 27, 2016 at 4:42
  • 2
    @JoelHarmon That's it alright.
    – T.E.D.
    May 27, 2016 at 5:43
  • 1
    I know I shouldn't accept an answer too early, Just In Case. However, this is really @T.E.D.'s question and he indicated it's right. I'm taking him at his word. May 27, 2016 at 11:17
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    All of the books except for 6 are available on Baen Books, and the unfinished 6th novel is available here: sites.google.com/site/thewizardrycapitalized/Home May 27, 2016 at 14:22
  • 1
    I've added in the info from the comments, thanks everyone.
    – recognizer
    May 27, 2016 at 14:53

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