There are obviously two ways of answering the question “What is magic?” If magic is some form of force, then you can literally ask the question about magic itself; what is it? How does it exist? What does it do?
In the Thaumatology universe, magic is a force, like gravity or electromagnetism. In modern models of the universe, forces are often transmitted by a particle called a Gauge Boson, and magic is no exception. The visible aspect of magic, the thing that creates “thaumic fields” and other active magical effects, the thing which powers spells and lets succubi make people want them, consists of two particles called positive and negative thaumitons. Physicists and quantum thaumatologists call them T-Plus and T-Minus. These particles are limited to a specific “p-brane” (what mystics call a Realm, or Plane), and they have mass, so there are limitations on how fast they can move. On the other hand, you can actually make them do useful things.
The problem thaumatologists had was that they just could not figure out where these thaumitons came from. In 1997, the Quantum Thaumatology Team at Cambridge thought they had the answer in the form of a closed-loop Gauge Boson they called a T-Null, or Null Thaumiton. T-Nulls were not bound to a single p-brane, they could flow between them at will. They could also, under the right circumstances, collapse their form and create two open-loop particules: the T-Plus and T-Minus.
Of course, just as discovering the Graviton (a proposed closed-loop boson which is responsible for gravity) would be a massive scientific discovery in our world, so finding proof of the T-Null boson would shake the scientific world of the Thaumatology Series. And that is the background story for the first book.
Coming soon: How do people work magic? The other side of the “what is magic?” question.