Everything had been going along just fine.
–Julianna Baggott - The Virtual Swallows of Hog Island - c.2017
In “The Virtual Swallows of Hog Island,” a programmer finds himself working for the self-proclaimed “Bad-Boy of Virtual-Reality Therapy.” While his boss is breaking new ground and breaking the rules and his coworkers are engaging in questionable uses of the latest technology, the lonely programmer is in a state of mourning over his deep personal losses and must figure out his own form of therapy. (blurb from Tor.com where you can read this story)
It’s amazing how a title can pull you in. The Virtual Swallows of Hog Island just sounded so intriguing that I had to read it. Plus I loved the illustration. Instant want to read.
The story looks at childhood trauma. The narrator codes virtual reality games that are used as part of therapy to assist people deal with their past. It is an interesting idea. But Archer, the narrator, also has issues and grief of his own to deal with.
As I said, it is an interesting story, but as with so many short stories I was left wanting more. A good thing in many ways I suppose :) I’d certainly pick up more by this author.