Katherine Perdue’s story “The Seer at Sunset Hills Shopping Plaza” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 5 January 2018. Metaphorosis

The idea for this story came to me while working at the library reference desk. An undergraduate asked me a simple question. I looked up the answer. The student thanked me a thousand times and was in awe as though I’d performed some sophisticated magic. I thought about it for a while and realized, it’s not that different from magic. It follows the same rules. If you know the true name of something—the correct subject heading for library materials, a good keyword for a search engine—that’s all you need to summon it forth.

I was also doing a lot of programming at the time and there the connection is even clearer. With words alone, with code, you can compose a spell that has some physical effect on the world, whether that’s changing the color of pixels on a screen or animating a robot.

We all use this kind of “magic” day in and day out. We don’t notice the miracles in front of us. I wanted to tell a story about characters who do notice them and who afford them the same awe as that undergraduate at the reference desk.


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