The world was described as a fantasy setting with the usual warriors, mages and thieves present. The mages had the instinctive ability to control the world's remaining nanobots. Level of control was determined by the accidental placement of nanobots at birth. If a mage had a cluster of bots in the knee he or she had rudimentary control of magic, if they happened to have the cluster in the brain, one would have a much more fine grained control.

I distinctly remember one of the main characters being a female mage, who tried to be a lot more inept in control. Always gathering a lot of static electricity and showing a lot more effort than actually needed. There was a incident where the mage was surprised by an attack and forgot to do all of the static building, effort imitating preamble while defusing the situation.

Publication time or format of the book is regretfully unknown to me as it was consumed in Ebook format.

  • This is a nice start but can you take a look at this guide to see if there is anything else you can edit in? For example, when did you read this? Was it new at the time? Was this a full length novel or more of a short story? Can you remember any of the story lines? If you can remember any of this remember to edit it into the question! – TheLethalCarrot Mar 11 '19 at 11:07
  • Not quite fitting the description (unless it's badly remembered), but in the interests of serving people who might stumble on this question by a google search, Ventus by Karl Schroeder has 'magic' that is enabled by nanotech, mostly operating on its own agenda but with some humans having rudimentary control/contact (and the main character developing even more than most). – starpilotsix Mar 11 '19 at 13:27

I believe Trapped by James Alan Gardner matches this description. It's unfortunately not mentioned in the blurb, but the special powers were definitely nanotech-based, although I don't recall whether they were referred to as psionics or magic.


This is a long shot but could it be Prophet Without Honour (Anarchy Online Book One) (2001) by Ragnar Tørnquist or even the game it sets the world building up for Anarchy Online if you've somehow confused a book with a video game.

In the series there are nanomages, mages whose magic is enabled by nano technology. The book's story line mainly seems to follow the backstory of the developments of the nano tech (though I haven't read it to be sure).

“Even better,” Roland said. “We have already begun treatment on five test subjects. Our eminent and reliable Dr. Miller and his handpicked team have worked closely with New Jersey to facilitate for realtime alteration of chromosomes, using the new series of nanobots working on a molecular scale.” He paused. “And we seem to be making excellent progress. The combination of Miller’s miraculous little machines and my research into the aging process and the human genome has paid off. We can alter nature, my friends, and we can do so with confidence in the expected results.” He spread his hands and smiled. “In a short few years, you will all find yourself decidedly…reinvigorated.”

Prophet Without Honour, New York, March 30th 2017 AD

Later on in the story they discuss how the air contains what could be used as the basis for a natural nano bot and this seems to lead into the nanomages in the game.

“Fact is, Min, after looking over the readings I did, I’ve come to realise that this planet’s already got a microscopic substance resembling nanobots in the air. That’s simply amazing, and it means there’s a good reason why Omni-Tek has chosen to colonise Rubi-Ka. If this power, whatever it is, can be harvested…”

Prophet Without Honour, Rubi-Ka, 28702 AD

I found this through quite a wild chase so bear with me here, I initially Googled Book world magic enabled by nano tech which led me to the Wikipedia article Nanotechnology in fiction. From there I searched the page for magic which led me to the Wikiepdia page for Anarchy Online. Reading how the nano technology works in the game made me think it was plausible but as you mentioned it was a book I Googled anarchy online book which led me to the book.

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