Thursday, November 19, 2015

Hello, Hello, by Seanan McGuire

Published in Future Visions:Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft, edited by Elizabeth Bear, Melchior Media, November 2015

The narrator's sister Tasha is deaf, and the narrator is a computational linguistics expert working on translation software. Tasha is also a conservation expert, specializing in birds, and her home is an aviary for birds she is rehabilitating. She receives visits from bird experts from all over the world, and only some of them speak American Sign Language or British Sign Language.

It's very, very convenient for both Tasha and her sister for Tasha's home to be the testing ground for the latest improvements and upgrades to the translation software the narrator is working on.

The narrator and her wife, Angie, have two young children, Billie and Greg. When Billie and Greg start talking to a stranger using a generic avatar, calling from Tasha's home, she's very, very puzzled and concerned. Comparing notes with Tasha reveals that most of the calls have come when Tasha didn't even have any guests in the house to be making those calls.

What's going on? Is it a glitch in the software? Is someone hacking in to Tasha's system? Why is this person calling Tasha's niece and nephew? Why is the translator having difficulty translating whatever language the caller is speaking?

This is a nice little puzzle story, with a delightful surprise awaiting the reader. Recommended.

This book was free on Amazon.