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Monday, July 9, 2012

Willy and the Ten Trillion Chimpanzees by Larry Hodges

Willy and the Ten Trillion Chimpanzees by Larry Hodges
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Historical, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (10 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

What if William Shakespeare was a demon with ten trillion captive chimpanzees in his basement, where time is sped up a trillion-fold, and where they are forced to randomly type as they produce the works of Shakespeare? And then the chimpanzees rebel….

A rebellion is brewing. After many failed revolutions, William Shakespeare has long since stopped fearing the chimpanzees he’s enslaved. He knows all of their tricks and can quickly grind any insurrection to a halt. Or can he?

One of the first questions to pop into my mind as I began reading this story was, “how is he feeding all of these animals?” If you can accept magical answers to practical questions such as this one, you’ll quickly find yourself immersed in an otherworldly tale in which what’s happening now matters far more than how everything began.

There are a few cartoonishly violent scenes that, while they definitely serve to further the plot, may be disturbing for some readers. None of them are excessively gory, though, but they were necessary in order to establish certain aspects of William’s character.

It’s difficult to pack a lot of exposition into such a short story but this one would have been stronger if we had been given more insight into William’s motivation for imprisoning the chimpanzees and passing their work off as his own. As much as I anticipated hearing how it would all end I would have enjoyed it even more if I’d known why William made certain decisions and why his powers were nearly infinite in certain areas while in others he seems to have no more influence than would an ordinary human being.

Wouldn't a demon be able to do many of the things he bred and trained his chimpanzees to do? I didn't understand this part and while it was humorous to see primates writing some of the greatest stories in history I would have liked to see William’s reasoning for this explained a little better.

Even with these issues Willy and the Ten Trillion Chimpanzees is a delightful juxtaposition of horror and comedy. If you’re in the mood for a playful, dark look at how power can be abused and what happens when the downtrodden fight back this is definitely the book for you.

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