To Vernon’s great surprise the app was launched with a design interface he’d have been proud to have designed himself. Who knows how much additional outlay Tarkey had expended and with whom. The ‘Jabberwocky’ was uploaded into the software and he heard an audible gasp, a palpable suspense and the prickle of heat on his neck. He daren’t look around him.
On the projected screen the app could be seen laying out sentences in neat paragraphs; each stanza of the poem annotated in a different colour with explanatory text. At four in the afternoon when the evening’s food was broiling, the lively fantastical badgers energetically skewered the promising grassy shadows around the sundial… Vernon was torn between immense relief that his reputation was intact and sadness that yet more mysterious kinks in human knowledge were about to be ironed out. Captain audacity was reeling in the audience like an old hand and revelling in it.
Vernon had no recollection of what kind of distribution plan they’d agreed or his cut in it all… all he knew was that Mrs McGuin was clapping coquettishly and smiling in his direction. He hoped she wouldn’t come over.
Just as she seemed about to Tarkey again took the microphone. “Ladies and Gentlemen as you can see this test has been successful. Are there any questions members of the press would like to ask?”
The microphone was handed to a balding, heavy jowled man in a 70s pattern checked jacket. “Ah, very slick, very slick indeed Mr McGuin. Can you tell me if the nonsense-filter is multi-lingual and whether it can be used for translation?” The man seemed a little too easily pleased and Tarkey seemed prepared already for his question.
“Yes indeed Mr Verisimilitude. Yes indeed, though of course sophisticated programming of this kind will need to be rolled out in a phased programme.”
“Quite so, very good.”
A sharply dressed diminutive woman whose size belied the range of her voice boomed into the microphone making Vernon wince “Tell me Mr McGuin, what use does this have as a Nonsense Filter to deal with data that has not yet been rendered meaningful through the hard work of others? Isn’t the Nonsense Filter merely a glorified search engine sampler with a heightened dictionary function? “
Tarkey sensed that for all his mathematical proficiency here was an intelligence he had better take seriously. “Mmm, interesting observation. Quite interesting. I’d like to invite to the platform my friend and co-developer Mr Vernon Jules. Vernon perhaps you would field this one?”
Check out the rest of the story on The Novel page