Just when you think you’ve figured out what is going on in the Toh Enjoe story “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Galactic Empire,” you trip on another oblique reference to some bit of the outside world. It’s a story that bears up to—and in fact, requires—multiple readings, as EnJoe takes pieces of pop and folk culture and replaces the original subject with his “Galactic Empire.” By the third line of the story, my translator sense was tingling so violently, it threatened to give me a seizure. Every word threatened to have some hidden deeper meaning that I hadn’t noticed on my first read-through. Because the more references to pop and folk culture I noticed, the more I wondered how many others I was missing.
But as near seizure as I was, I was not prepared for part 10: “There is a young Galactic Empire emperor who roams the hyperspace corridors, and will not withdraw until you beat the side of your ship, and hand over a ladle.”
Read on to find out more about ghost ships, bailing ladles, and what the translator makes of it all.
2) Not intended as humor, but definitely funny: The Indo-European myth. D. Carbonell Basset explains why the whole idea of Indo-European is “a myth, a legend that does not have a leg to stand on. There is no written evidence of such a language, so the whole theory is not supported by empirical, scientific knowledge. Sir William Jones was the precursor of this harebrained idea in 1786.” If only I’d known forty years ago, I could have saved myself a lot of time and effort!