It's not A Man of His Word. In this one humans are told possible word combinations by a computer and they speak them. The more words the more powerful the spells, but not all word combinations are possible. I think the words are in Jewish and the main character learns one with 7 words long or something. It's either set in modern times or slightly futuristic.

I think they mention the name of a god or GOD to be 36 words long or something.

Edit: In this story its like companies all over the world competing to find the spell words combinations. It starts in some office building with the narrator and main character going over the rules of magic.

I think it may a web story.

  • 3
    When you say "Jewish words" do you mean words in the Yiddish (Jewish) language, a Teutonic language related to German, or do you mean words in Hebrew?
    – user14111
    Feb 4, 2017 at 3:15
  • 2
    Probably not it, but Ted Chiang's "Seventy-Two Letters" deals with an alternate world where the power of inscribing names in things with the Jewish alphabet is a key part of how science works. Feb 4, 2017 at 3:23
  • @user14111 I believe its the hebrew words or alphabet.
    – Jason091
    Feb 4, 2017 at 3:43
  • @starpilotsix close but not quite, I added more detail to the description.
    – Jason091
    Feb 4, 2017 at 3:45
  • Shooting in the dark here : is it "Pi"? m.imdb.com/title/tt0138704
    – Yasskier
    Feb 4, 2017 at 7:40

2 Answers 2


This is Unsong by Scott Alexander.

God created Man in His own image but He created everything else in His own image too. By learning the structure of one entity, like Biblical Israel, we learn facts that carry over to other structures, like the moral law, or the purpose of the universe, or my workday. This is the kabbalah. The rest is just commentary. Very, very difficult commentary, written in Martian, waiting to devour the unwary.

“VIS-LAIGA-RON-TEPHENOR-AST-AST-TELISA-ROK-SUPH-VOD-APANOR-HOV-KEREG-RAI-UM”. My computer shifted to a different part of namespace, and I followed.

Thirty-six letters. A little on the long side. In general, the longer a Name, the harder to discover but the more powerful its effects. The longest known was the Wrathful Name, fifty letters. When spoken it levelled cities. The Sepher Raziel predicted that the Shem haMephorash, the Explicit Name which would capture God’s full essence and bestow near-omnipotence upon the speaker, would be seventy-two letters.


This is possibly Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco. The three main characters program a computer to randomize text, meanwhile inventing a secret society and several conspiracy theories. The computer is named Abulafia.

The novel deals heavily with Kabbalistic and occult themes. There is a wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foucault's_Pendulum article, but it's a bit dense (much like the book).

  • No, in this story its like companies all over the world competing to find the spell words combinations.
    – Jason091
    Feb 4, 2017 at 3:38

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