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Help me identify this sci-fi short story
March 20, 2014 10:33 AM   Subscribe

Some time in the mid 1990s I read a sci-fi short story about an augmented individual hired to steal a password - I'm trying to figure out the name of this story and its author.

Here are the details I remember, and I hope I'm not conflating two similar stories:

The guy hired to get the password had some sort of surgical augmentation done to his brain - I think it was referred to as glass. He was small in physical stature so he looked younger than he really was, and he got himself hired in the house of the man whose password he was supposed to steal. I believe his job was to assimilate all information about the guy and compute what would be a likely password for him. The target is a hard nut to crack, but eventually ...

I'll say right now that I remember the ending but I don't want to spoil it here in case someone ends up reading this short because of the question.

I'm sure that once I know the author and story name I can find it online or get a copy of some anthology from my library but if you have a book source handy I'd love a link.
posted by komara to Writing & Language (9 answers total)
 
I read this! I want to say that I probably read it in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction between 1996-ish and 1999-ish. I will do more research and see if I can find out more.
posted by Jeanne at 10:56 AM on March 20


I think I recognize this as well. Does the guy get caught because the target had a specific routine where he entered the pwd wrong the first time, and then entered it correctly?
posted by Chrysostom at 10:58 AM on March 20


Chrysostom: yes. I was going to avoid posting that info (what with me thinking that's a pretty big spoiler) but that is indeed the story.
posted by komara at 11:00 AM on March 20


It's an Orson Scott Card story.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:02 AM on March 20


Dogwalker.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:03 AM on March 20


Yeah, that's it. Available in a couple of different collections.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:05 AM on March 20


Makes sense - my roommate at that time had several Card books. Why did it have to be him, though? I've been trying to avoid his stuff ever since it became apparent what kind of guy he is, but this once I might indulge just for nostalgia's sake.

Thanks for finding the answer, and so fast too.
posted by komara at 11:55 AM on March 20


Apparently Card had this to say about the story:
So, being the perverse and obnoxious child that I am, I challenged myself: Is the derivativeness of cyberpunk the source or a symptom of its emptiness? Is it possible to write a good story that uses all the clich├ęs of cyberpunk? The brain-microchip interface, the faked-up slang, the drugs, the counterculture... Could I, a good Mormon boy who watched the sixties through the wrong end of the binoculars, write a convincing story in that mode -- and also tell a tale that would satisfy me as good fiction?
Reading that makes me think that maybe I don't need to revisit it after all.
posted by komara at 12:00 PM on March 20


"the faked-up slang"

Those science fiction writers - always making things up!
posted by mikepop at 1:15 PM on March 20 [3 favorites]


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