February 5, 2008
Have you ever wondered what Earth's future would be if two mute chimpanzees held the fate of the planet in their primatial paws? Please consider my 80,000 word fantasy novel, Space Chimps.
Young chimps Barney and Fiji were born mute, but both excelled in the Chimpanzees-In- Space (CIS) program at NASA. With the help of their trainer Sandy, the world's foremost sign language expert, and Mike Murphy, the head of the CIS program, Barney and Fiji received top honors in their class. But the humans know that muteness ultimately will hold their prize students back from spaceflight.
But all that is about to change. With the CIS budget depleted, the White House ready to close the program, and Sandy's twelfth research grant denied, Sandy and Mike come up with a daring plan to get the chimps back in the program and out in space. A night of drunken frustration culminates in an attraction that can't be denied. As the pair wakes with Folgers in their cup, the morning news reveals that the world as they know it has changed.
A monolithic space iceberg, rapidly leaving its orbit, threatens Earth, while in the last several hours deadly meteor showers have killed every astronaut on the planet. NASA is in chaos.
Barney and Fiji will get their coveted chance.
Launched into space the next day, Barney and Fiji have their orders. Just like the Space Invaders video game they played during training, the chimps are to fire their nuclear heat ray at the space iceberg until it is destroyed. The world watches, helpless, as the chimps' space shuttle slowly approaches the rogue iceberg.
Mike and Sandy cannot know that there has been a miracle inside the chimp-pod. The moment the shuttle passes out of Earth's atmosphere, Barney and Fiji's vocal cords vibrate. They have been given speech. They spend the next twelve hours learning to talk. Soon they can reasonably understand each other. But a debate ensues as to whether the human race is worth saving.
Stricken by their discovery of speech, overwhelmed by the responsibility to save Earth, and polarized by their beliefs, Barney and Fiji fight. Only one of them will remain alive long enough to search his or her conscience and, ultimately, save the world.
After Fiji melts the space-berg, she has a good cry, ejects Barney's mutilated body into space, and then heads the chimp-pod back to Earth. With deep sadness filling her, she makes the fateful decision never to reveal her secret speech capability.
Back at NASA, Fiji is reunited with her humans. They hug. The world --and Fiji's secret-- are safe.
Dear Editor, please consider Space Chimps. I look forward to hearing from you.