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Novelists, rewrite your cyberthrillers

As I watch the Edward Snowden story develop, the foremost thought in my mind is this: It's just the tip of the iceberg.  Certainly PRISM is the tip of the iceberg in terms of what the National Security Agency and the other arms of our national security apparatus are up to, and quite possibly it is just the tip of a larger volume of secrets that Snowden has culled, but, on an entirely personal and self-serving level, it is also just the tip of a vast iceberg of things I got wrong in my book.

When I first began writing the international thriller "Skinner" three years ago, kinetic cyberattacks, Bitcoin-funded terrorists, drone armadas, 3-D printed guns, pocket reactors and the sprawl of the private intelligence industry were all topics primarily found in the dark twists of hyper-niche geek Internet back alleys.  If you lacked hand-scrawled maps of such territory, you needed to be reading a few somewhat mainstream blogs maintained by obsessives who were happy to scrabble their way through the mucky byways and bring back shiny bits that could be appreciated by dilettantes such as myself.  Like all true dilettantes, I have broad fields of appreciation, but very little interest in digging deep.  Also like many dilettantes, I am a writer.  That is one of the primary filters through which I view the world.  Asking, What is the story?  Or, How can I use this in a story?

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