Friday Flash Fiction: Talking Apes

Slight change of pace this week, here’s today’s flash:

Talking Apes
By Neil Beynon

Dear Xthranir the third of the fourth Kranian Empire,

Thank you for the opportunity to read your manuscript Talking Apes Must Be Subjugated. Unfortunately we will have to pass on it this time around.

It was very kind of you to deliver the manuscript by your own battle group and even more thoughtful for you to keep them around until we had finished reading it. I can’t begin to tell you the postage it saved. As requested by your battle group commander I am including feedback.

The premise of your story, that somewhere in the universe primates developed sentience, is a slightly over-used trope in our genre. Although you clearly attempted to bring something new to the idea, it did not entirely succeed for us. It is important to think these ideas through logically – if primates could think would they really spend their time watching electromagnetic pulses trapped in a box?

A note on structure: it was a bold decision to write your manuscript in overlaying multiple person POV running on four concurrent timelines across two realities. I was very impressed with how you overcame the inherent quantum challenges. However, this structure could confuse some readers, particularly those who only move in five dimensions.

The central themes of your story of conquest, thought control and their inherent limitations as an imperial device are of interest to your fellow Kranians but the rest of our galactic readership might find it a little hostile. We are not allowed to use the term sub-kranian as a label for other races. Equally and for much the same reasons you do not need to use the real skin of one of your slaves or write in blood – it’s terrible to read in a low light.

Your battle group commander has insisted that I provide advice for the future and kindly agreed to leave half the planet intact in return for this. My advice is to try and write something more grounded in scientific reality – like sentient ants for example. Perhaps you could explore non-violence as a means of peaceful galactic expansion?

Your battle group commander is now laughing so hard I fear for his wellbeing.

Anyway, I hope these brief notes have been of use and my successor looks forward to receiving new manuscripts from you in the future*.

Best wishes.

Vrishna – Editor, Tales from the Rim

* Note my successor only exists in this realm for eight weeks a year and so you should time your next submission for this period.

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