The Silent History

I have recently contributed to The Silent History, a groundbreaking digital novel experience available on iphone and ipad. I wrote the Manchester field reports and with a bit of luck there will be more over the coming months.

The story is told via daily updates, called Testimonials: 120 parts, divided into six volumes, unfolding over the course of a year. Each day is a glimpse into a different character touched by the phenomenon — parents, doctors, classmates, skeptics, followers, mimes — intertwining and colliding to weave an epic narrative. Readers can join at any time  and absorb the back story. A new episode is quietly synced with your device every weekday for a month and each piece is designed to be read in 10 to 15 minutes. There’s a month break in between each of the six parts, so the entire project will take a year to unfold.

Here is a preamble :

In the early years of the 21st century, doctors begin to notice more and more children being born with a strange condition: silence. No speech, no comprehension, and soon a complete lack of engagement with most human interaction. The kids are seen as not much more than empty vessels, and many are sent to orphanages and group homes — until a teacher at one of these facilities realizes that the children have developed enigmatic, powerful skills of their own.

The app itself (including two videos and a prologue) is free, and the text can be purchased by volume or as a whole. The app also includes hundreds of Field Reports — smaller incidents taking place around the world, mapped upon the alleys, buildings, and overlooked artifacts that surround us. The Reports can be read only while you are present at the location in which they occur.

Click here for a slide presentation on Silence issued by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2022 and be sure to watch the trailer on The Silent History website, narrated by Miranda July & Thao Nguyen.

The Silent History is the result of a unique collaboration between the former managing editor of McSweeney’s (Eli Horowitz), award-winning authors (Kevin Moffett and Matthew Derby), Wired magazine’s “Most Wired Storyteller” (Russell Quinn), and contributors on five continents. It is available to download here from the 1st October.