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This fun techno-fantasy by James P. Wagner has been previously published in:
     Golden Visions Magazine (2009)
     Static Movement Magazine (2010)
     Paradigm Shift Magazine (2010)
     Diamonds in The Rough (An Anthology, 2010)
and was always a fan favorite especially from lovers of traditional books. 


In a civilization on a distant planet an inventor discovers a way to transfer and store untold amounts of information by way of crystals and gems. This new technology promises untold wonders and advances...

As the civilization rushes forward into progress by getting rid of old parchments and paper, they tend to find this new technology is making their civilization thrive, all seems well...

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Sneak Peak: 

“I’ve finally done it, senators,” a voice beamed throughout the chamber. “After three years of work, my project is finally done.”
The man speaking wore a rundown blue and green robe. He stood in the center of a large white room. Tall grey columns stood in all four of the chamber’s corners. Six more stood firm in the center—the man occupied the space in between them. Rows of seats lined the walls, all filled with men and women wearing long white robes.
“You’ve been wasting the government’s money for years, Phineyus,” an older gentleman in the front row said. “What should lead us to believe that your invention works now?”
“I’ve seen it!” another, much younger white-robed gentle-men said as he stood up. “He’s converted the entire collected scrolls of Othellius and managed to store them in his device.”
“That’s impossible!” the older man yelled.
“Please! Senators!” Phineyus pleaded. “Allow me to show you an example!”
The younger man turned to the older one. “Any objections to that, Glounious?”
“None at all, Arleous,” the elder said after a short silence.
Phineyus smiled as he reached into his pocket. “Here it is!” he said holding up his hand, revealing the results of years of labor. Against the palm of his opened hand sat a sparkling oval-shaped blue-green gem.
“You can’t be serious!” Glounious yelled in protest. “You rant and rave for years, and then present that before us?”
“You don’t understand, Glounious, as you don’t under-stand most things in this world,” Arleous stated. “Phineyus has found a way to harness energy into the gem.”
“No, it’s not!” Phineyus yelled. “It’s true! Electric current is running through this piece, and through the electric current, in cryptic form, thousands of parchments of information!”
“Senators!” Glounious said standing, raising his arms. “This is ludicrous, not only should we stop funding this so called ‘scientist,’ but he should be sent to the asylum for rehabilitation!”
“His claims are anything but false,” Arleous interjected.
“Prove them, then!” Glounious demanded.
“I will!” Phineyus said, running through the main chamber door. A moment later, a loud, rumbling noise could be heard as the scientist rolled a large, four-wheeled cart bearing two trays into the center of the senate hall. Large crystals of multiple colors sat on one tray, a huge clear-colored crystal sat on the other. There were murmurs amongst the members of the crowd. “Ladies and gentlemen of the senate, the gem I showed you earlier was just a storage device. These crystals here are the translators.”
“Translators of what?” Glounious asked.
“Of the information stored, of course!” Phineyus leaned down, tampering with the different-colored crystals while he spoke. “Using contained electric charges captured from lightning storms, I managed to be able to lightly modify other running electric currents so that they carry patterns in the same way our languages have patterns. As such, contents of parchments, scrolls, maps—anything can be stored in unimaginable quantities!” He stood up straight, checking everything one last time before holding up the small, sparkling gem once more. “Now, senators, if you please, watch the clear crystal on the second tray.” He leaned in, placing the small gem in the center of the first tray in the middle of the circle made up of large crystals. “Here we go!” he said as he tapped the side of one of the crystals.
Before a second passed, sparks flew among all of the gems on the tray—they started to move in a circular pattern. The red, green, blue, and purple colors started to blend together. After a moment, the clear crystal on the second tray started to glow bright yellow. Against the crystal’s edge, patterns started to appear—text appeared, and the members of the chamber mumbled and muttered in awe.
“Look at the text!” one of them yelled.
“It’s real! That’s the introduction to one of the scrolls of Othellius!” another said jumping to her feet.
“It can’t be!” Glounious yelled.
“Yes, it can be!” Arleous proclaimed. “Phineyus has done it! He has created a storage device unlike any other we have seen!”
“How much information can it store?” a woman asked Phineyus as she stood up and walked to him—other senators flocked to the device in the center as well.
“This one here is a small one, but these gems come in all shapes and sizes,” the inventor answered. “And depending on the density and the amount of electric current you can store inside them, you can store anywhere from a few hundred scrolls and letters, to entire libraries’ worth of material.”
“This is amazing!”
“It’s a new age!” One of the senators proclaimed. “These new universal libraries will enlighten us all. Every child can have all the knowledge and culture of our entire planet at their disposal—in the palms of their hands!”
Glounious sat back hiding amongst the crowd, his head found its way to his hands. Phineyus stood proudly in the center of the hall, hands on his hips, smiling as half of the hall’s occupants examined his invention. Arleous crossed his arms, observing proudly the reactions of the chamber.

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