Another Word for World by Ann Leckie

Sorry I didn’t get a weekend post up. Miss Adventure and I went to a contra dance Saturday night and then we had a soccer tournament for Mr. Curiosity most of Sunday. Today, I have the last story in the Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft anthology (still free for the Kindle!) by Ann Leckie. I’ve been eagerly anticipating this story since I loved her Imperial Radch trilogy.

Published: 2015

Genre: science fiction

Setting: an exoplanet, far future

Summary: Ashiban Xidyla, the daughter of the Raksamat who originally worked with the Gidanta, and the Sovereign of Iss, the recognized head of the Giganta, were trying to negotiate a treaty to prevent a war on the planet, but their flyer was just shot down. Ashiban has a concussion and is slow to realize someone shot the flyer down on purpose, but the Sovereign realizes they must leave the area and find help elsewhere. They walk through the wilderness, able to communicate only slightly once the communication handset is lost. Eventually, they are rescued and told the treaty is pointless now. However, the two decide to work on the translation software to improve communication between the two races.

Final thoughts: This story was much more science fiction-y than any of the other stories. For one thing, it’s set on a different planet, quite far in the future. I will admit, I read the story looking for where the technology would show up. At first I thought the whole thing was just a simulation, but it turns out the technology was the translation modules. There were small errors in the translations that were causing confusion in interactions between the groups. Ashiban’s mother had created the initial translations and they hadn’t been updated since.

I found the story to be a reminder that relying exclusively on technology can cause some serious problems. No one wanted to go through the effort of learning the other language since you just needed a translation module and could talk to the other race. Simple and effortless, so why bother. Except for the fact that the translations weren’t perfect and it was leading up to war because of it.

Leckie does manage to play with gender expectations a bit as well even in such a short story. Our two protagonists are female, one old (and complaining about how much her joints hurt quite regularly) and one barely a teenager.

Title comes from: It refers to the translation between languages. What’s your word for world? Is it the same as your word for globe? or Earth?

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image or title to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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