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When Words Turn into Magic in Novel ‘Ninth City Burning’

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Ninth City Burning

In Ninth City Burning there is a close and very special relationship between language and magic. Words are semi-magical things in themselves—intangible, weightless, and yet capable of real and drastic effect. Words have the power to wound, to uplift, to alter opinions and perceptions, and, when spoken by the right people under the right circumstances, change the world. Phrases like “I now pronounce you husband and wife” (or, if we’re being grim, “I hereby sentence you to death”) alter the state of reality simply by their utterance. It’s like—well, magic. And so it should come as no surprise that, with a little extra effort, language can be made to perform magic of the true, supernatural variety. The simplest example is…

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