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Read All of 'Silence Like Diamonds,' Our Original Sci-Fi Story

Mitch Wagner
8/28/2015

"Silence Like Diamonds" is an unusual science fiction story in an unusual format and place.

"Silence Like Diamonds" is a near-future thriller about a security consultant who just wants to be left alone to her gardening, cats and her work -- following the money through digital networks to solve computer crimes. But when her family business is hired by the world's largest cloud service provider, NameItCorp., to solve a security breach, she's drawn into a worldwide conspiracy. What's worse, evidence points to her own family being at the center of the conspiracy.

"Silence Like Diamonds" is a fast-paced, lunch-hour read, with three things that make it unusual.

The first unusual element is the place where the story runs: Right here on Light Reading. Although the story is set in the future, we published it as a means of illustrating the issues that our readers are facing today, and extrapolating those issues into tomorrow -- the latest developments in cryptography, drones, AI and security.

The second quality that makes the story unusual is the format: We ran it in ten parts, just a thousand words each, over the course of five weeks. It wrapped up this week, and now you can read the whole thing. Just start with Episode One, and click through the pages until you reach the end. It won't take long -- and you won't be able to stop once you start. (See Silence Like Diamonds – Episode 1: Family Business or click here to access the full list of episodes.)

"Silence Like Diamonds" isn't just a 10,000-word story chopped up arbitrarily into ten pieces. Every episode has a beginning, middle, and ends with a cliffhanger, and each episode totals within a few words of 1,000 words. It's a tour-de-force of technique.

The third element that makes this story unusual: Well, we think it's unusually good. The author is John Barnes, with more than 30 published novels to his credit, including Orbital Resonance, A Million Open Doors, Mother of Storms and Tales of the Madman Underground. He co-authored the science fiction novel Encounter With Tiber with astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

In addition to the story, Light Reading has published a wealth of supplemental material discussing the issues in "Silence Like Diamonds": Start with the discussions on the message boards following each part of the story.

Then browse blog posts by West Coast Bureau Chief Mitch Wagner (hey, that's me!):

And author Barnes has published a series of posts on his own blog that delve deeper into the technology issues, as well as some thoughts on the craft of writing a story with the unusual constraints of this one:

And now we're done and it's time to draw the curtain. We hope you enjoy reading "Silence Like Diamonds" as much as we enjoyed publishing it.

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to [email protected]

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