Wizardry Compiled

Rick Cook

This is a compilation of sayings that preceed each chapter of _Wizardry_Compiled_, the sequel to _Wizard's_Bane_, by Rick Cook. The novel recounts the adventures of a Silicon Valley hacker in a land where "Magic is real, unless declared integer."

The following exchange (which takes place in a tent at a tournament of the Society of Chronogical Anachronisms) is memorable:

"We need people with experience."

"I've got experience," he [Thorkil du Libre Dragonwatcher, a teenage hacker looking to fill a job] protested. "I've worked in TOS 1.4, AmigaDOS and ProDOS."

Jerry, who didn't consider a computer a computer unless it ran at least BSD Unix, winced. "Those are game machines."

As is the existence of Emac, a gnome-line creature (daemon) used to edit spells, with a voice-input interface & mid-air output of glowing green letters...

The novel is interesting, but I wouldn`t say "Run out and get it" but rather "If you come across it, give it a read". Some of the sayings won't mean much here because they're out of context.

So, enjoy!


You can always tell a good idea by the enemies it makes.
- programmer's axiom

Everything always takes twice as long and costs four times as much as you planned.
- programmer's axiom

It's never the technical stuff that gets you in trouble. It's the personalities and the politics.
- programmer's sayings

Those who can't do, teach.
- article of faith among students

And vice-versa.
- programmer's addendum to students' article of faith

Living with a programmer is easy. All you need is the patience of a saint.
- programmer's wives' saying

Applications programming is a race between software engineers, who strive to produce idiot-proof programs, and the Universe which strives to produce bigger idiots.
- software engineers' saying

So far, the Universe is winning.
- applications programmers' saying

The three most dangerous things in the world are a programmer with a soldering iron, a hardware type with a program patch and a user with an idea.
- computer saying

You can't do just one thing.
- Campbell's Law of everything

Friends come an go, but enemies accumulate.
- Murphy's Law #1024

and sometimes the the real trick is telling the difference.
- Murphy's Law #1024a

Whenever you use a jump, be sure of your destination address.
- programmer's saying


Always secure your files. You never know who's lurking about.
- programmer's saying

Never argue with a redhaired witch. It wastes your breath and only delays the inevitable.
- the collected sayings of Wiz Zumwalt

If you eat a live toad first thing in the morning, nothing worse will happen all day long.
- California saying

To you or the toad.
- Niven's restatement of California saying

--well, most of the time, anyway...
- programmer's caveat to Niven's restatement of California saying


You never find out the whole story until after you've signed the contract.
- programmer's saying

A jump gone awry is one of the hardest bugs to locate.
- programmer's saying

You can't unscramble an egg.
- old saying

You can if you're powerful enough.
- the collected sayings of Wiz Zumwalt

Magic is real, unless declared integer.
- the collected sayings of Wiz Zumwalt

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
- Clarke's law

Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from technology.
- Murphy's reformulation of Clarke's law

Any sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from a rigged demostration.
- programmer's restatement of Murphy's reformulation of Clarke's law

Putting twice as many programmers on a project that is late will make it twice as late.
- Brooks' law of programming projects

Never give a sucker an even break.
- W. C. Fields

Especially not if he's a big mean sucker.
- the collected sayings of Wiz Zumwalt


Sleep? Isn't that a completely inadequate substitute for caffine?
- programmer's saying

Good client relations are the key to a successful project.
- consultants' saying

At some time in the project you're going to have to break down and finally define the problem.
- programmer's saying

Customer support is an art, not a science.
- marketing saying

So are most other forms of torture.
- programmers' response

Programming is like pinball. The reward for doing it is the opportunity of doing it again.
- programmers' saying

Hacker's Wisdom/ Wizardry Compiled Last modified: Wed May 1 15:10:51 EDT 1996