There are so many apps out there that sometimes it can be a little difficult to decide which to download, and whether an app is worth the money. Every week, we’ll be spotlighting an app that we find particularly interesting or helpful and giving you the rundown on what it does and why we like it. 


The promo video for The Silent History, a fictional account of an apocalyptic plague whose main symptom is silence.

Have you ever liked a novel so much that you wished you were part of the story? That you could go and explore the setting of the book itself, crawl around in the inner workings of its world? Well, if you’re a fan of futuristic, apocalyptic stories, or even if you’re just a fan of exploring your city, looking at your surroundings in a new and different way, The Silent History is the app/novel for you.

Created just last year by a team of four (Eli Horowitz, former managing editor of the online literary magazine McSweeney’s, Russell Quinn, co-founder of digital studio Spoiled Milk, and authors Matthew Derby and Kevin Moffet), The Silent History is an “exploratory novel” which acts as a collaborative fictional account of the apocalyptic spread of a mysterious birth defect that leaves children born with it unable to speak or process emotions in the same way as most humans do. 

The interesting thing about this app is not only its subject matter, which would make it worth the buy alone (all together, the app costs about $8.99, the same as a cheap paperback), but its creative structure–The Silent History is told in two forms, testimonials and field reports. The testimonials act as oral histories from various members of the global community, from cult leaders to doctors to teachers to parents of the “Silents,” as the affected children are dubbed. The field reports, however, are what we like the best about this app/novel; they are short, site-specific accounts of new characters’ interactions with the Silents which are written by outside contributors (readers like you), and which are only accessible to other readers when they are standing in the same place that the field report takes place. Once you own the app, a specific button on the field report screen allows you to send a request to become a contributor. As of now, there are field reports all over the world, though the project started in NYC.

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Screenshots from The Silent History app: at top, the intro to each section of testimonials, at bottom, a screen depicting the nearby field reports.

The Silent History has won awards from Apple, from the Webby Awards, and from SXSW, and was originally serialized from October 1, 2012 to April 19, 2013. For more information about The Silent History, please visit the app’s website

Get in touch with the author @kellitrapnell.