“Galactic Fair,” by Stephen Parrish

Apr 20th, 2019 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

TO: Dr. Marjorie Brinkman, Chair, Committee on the Arts, Earth
FROM: Ser Pandrakes Grantilope, Curator of Interspecies Art, League of Orbs
SUBJ: Review of Submission

Dear Dr. Brinkman:

Thank you for your submission of 2357.3 to the Galactic Art Fair, which I have reviewed with great diligence. Before we can proceed I must share a few observations.

Earth’s visual art appears to be limited to a narrow spectrum between 380 and 700 nm. We appreciate this is the range of human vision. But certain other species on your planet have wider ranges. Elsewhere in the galaxy great works of visual art have been created in the ultraviolet and infrared. The Darques of Krox Prime can even see high frequency microwaves, and the Grokkles of Xithkort prefer to view images of their naked females with gamma rays.

The Ipnits of Gibberkyrdz 7 (not the Gibberkyrdz 7 in Sector 23, the other one) do not see in your range at all. To them, Roy G. Biv might as well be Roy Rogers—himself a curious example of Earth’s dramatic arts. We feel your restricted employment of the electromagnetic spectrum represents an arbitrary prejudice against other species, not only throughout the galaxy, but also on your very own planet.

Butterflies enjoy colors too, Dr. Brinkman. Frogs even enjoy them in the dark.

Why the persistent employment of low-level technology? Where are the holograms? The time warps? The telepathic stimulation of ancillary gonads? Well, not so much the latter, in the case of your species at least, but you get my point.

The jury fails in particular to understand the static nature of Earth’s art, and it cannot fathom why Earthlings believe the older a work is, the more valuable. Most of it is two-dimensional, some is three-dimensional, but there is nothing in your submission that is higher. I should also point out that your species is peculiarly obsessed with mammary glands.

Your so-called modern art makes extensive use of complementary colors, as though this is some sort of achievement. Orange is the complement of blue. Hooray. The Eep! Eep! species capitalized on this knowledge eleven galactic rotations before your star formed. (I interviewed them once, but “Eep! Eep!” is all they had to say on the subject.)

We found some of your literature to be of value. Shakespeare, for instance. Certain spoken word artists, like Snoop Dogg. On the other hand, James Joyce was quite a consternation to the jury. And please explain: are whales and legless sea captains ordinarily at odds with each other? Is it normal on Earth to hang black cats in gardens?

Music appears to be nothing more to you than fluctuating sound frequencies. Dance nothing more than organisms moving their limbs. Drama nothing more than people pretending to be other people. You erect structures whose purpose it is to keep precipitation from landing on your heads—and you call that art? Pottery too? Ashtrays, for Gorf’s sake?

Finally, we fail to understand what you call “reality television,” especially telecasts featuring the man with the orange face and urine-stained hair, propped up as an imitation world leader for the amusement of your proletariat. Really, Dr. Brinkman, is this the best your culture can offer?

I’m sorry, but your application for exhibitor space at the Galactic Fair is disapproved. Try again next time, in what will be 244 of your planet’s revolutions.

I hope to see you then.


Stephen Parrish’s short work has appeared in The Austin Review, The MacGuffin, Boston Literary Magazine, The Good Men Project, and elsewhere, and has been read in public by Liars’ League, Lit Crawl, and other venues. He’s the editor of The Lascaux Review.

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