Bad Matter: 05/25/10
Bad Matter by Alexandra Duncan is set in Mumbai but it involves space travel. Travel though is slow and dangerous, like the old days of sea faring. Languages and cultures develop on ships and linguists have made careers studying these ship born dialects.
One of these linguists is called to a ship recently landed, having received a letter about a "virus come upon" a girl named Ete. The linguist, the daughter of the late doctor the letter was meant for, goes to answer the call for help, unsure how much she can possibly help.
Much of this story's strength is in the language. The dialect of the crewe has a cadence similar to the old west dialect (or at least the way it's been rendered on film and tv). In this regard I'm reminded of Firefly.