The Zero Blessing Snippet

7 Aug

This will not be out for a while, if at all, but it’s something that’s been going through my head recently.  It started out as a SIM spin-off, but it really has its own world.


If you want to understand magical talents, you might as well consider musical talents.

There are people who can tap out a couple of basic tunes on the piano. And there are people who have memorised a number of tunes. And there are people who can play a number of really complex tunes …

… And there are people who have such a strong musical talent that they can not only play any tune in the world, they can make up their own tunes and teach them to others. They are so good at it that they make playing their instruments look easy.

That is how magic works in my world. On the top of the scale, we have magicians who have such a strong talent for magic that they can invent, duplicate or improve spells without much apparent effort. Just below them, we have the magicians who have studied so hard that their learning more than makes up for their lack of genuine instinctive talent. And below them, we have people who know a number of spells and people who can work a couple of spells, but can rarely get any further up the scale. The average fishwife knows a spell to clean her knives, after a day’s hard work, but she doesn’t know how to improve the spell. For people like her, magic is rarely worth bothering to learn. They don’t have the talent to master magic.

The thing is, the average magician needs training as well as talent. One could have a very strong natural talent for magic – or music – but without training the talent can wither away into nothingness. On the other hand, a talentless magician – at best – can never develop spells of his own; at worst, he is merely wasting his time trying to learn. It will come as no surprise that most of the great magicians in my city come from the families with a long-standing tradition of using magic. They’re the ones with the desire and ability to start their children learning magic almost as soon as they can walk and talk. It takes a very strong talent to overcome the lack of basic training in early life.

Magicians call people without a strong magical talent zeros. They don’t know why. The term – the insult – comes from the days before the Sorcerous Wars, before the End of Empire, the days when magic was stronger and well-understood. Being a zero isn’t bad …

… Unless you happen to be born into a strongly-magical family.

Someone like me, in other words.

14 Responses to “The Zero Blessing Snippet”

  1. Sven-Eric QW Matthes August 7, 2016 at 1:05 pm #

    Sounds very interesting.
    I would definitely read it if it happens to come out 🙂

  2. Jack Hudler August 7, 2016 at 2:48 pm #

    So what the talent that makes him/her rise? Or is that the whole point of the book.

    No doubt, whatever you do, you’ll come up with something interesting.

  3. Jas P August 7, 2016 at 2:49 pm #

    Definitely an interesting concept, so many possibilities when you link it to music like that, very clever. Have kids going to ‘music/magic’ lessons at school like learning an instrument if they have talent, maybe even different instruments, or streams of magic like the kids do? My daughter plays clarinet, but her friend plays violin, so they could have different streams of magic? Sorry my brain got excited by your concept…I’ll shut up now… *Grin*
    Yeh I would definitely be interested, look forward to it 🙂

    • chrishanger August 8, 2016 at 11:09 am #

      Yep – generally, talent at one kind of magic doesn’t lead to the others.


      • Jas P August 8, 2016 at 4:07 pm #

        It sounds really interesting Chris, with all these different people who are capable of playing ‘music’, and especially in your one house where it sounds like it’s almost a legacy, that your character is in a magical sense tone deaf. It reminds me of the Darksword series a bit, but this is such a cool.and unique twist on it, intrigued by it 🙂

  4. Gazza August 7, 2016 at 5:14 pm #

    This sounds very good. Hope if can come to light

  5. Andrew Crossman August 7, 2016 at 5:59 pm #

    Kinda like in Bookworm. I enjoyed that.

  6. Don Yu August 8, 2016 at 3:08 am #

    It seem this is story about haves and haves-not. From before when asking about ideas making it possible for non-magical able to keep the secret of been non-magical in a magic school. If this is the that story I am all for it.

    • chrishanger August 8, 2016 at 11:11 am #

      Something like that. But perhaps moving in a different direction too.


  7. Jacqueline Harris August 8, 2016 at 6:31 pm #

    This seems very interesting. I wonder if this one will be a boy?

  8. Tony Costo August 8, 2016 at 7:43 pm #

    Sounds interesting. I’d read it. You should consider doing it, when and if you can find the time…

    • chrishanger August 9, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

      Well, my current plan would let me write it around september


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