‘Black Box’ by Jennifer Egan

Originally published in bits via 140-character Twitter, this is an 8,500-word super-story of a technologically-enhanced spy whose mission is to bring down the powerful head of a crime syndicate. But it’s really about the cost to her (and her undercover colleagues) of acting as a honeytrap, and the fragmented form is perfect for expressing the internal conflict, as well as cranking up the suspense and the pace. Hopefully we’ve realised by now that Twitter isn’t a decent fiction publishing medium (even with 280 characters), but at least the experiment produced this wonderful, gripping, Egan story.

First published on Twitter.com, Spring 2012, then in The New Yorker and available online here