Just when you think you’ve figured out what is going on in “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.” EnJoe’s science background (he started out as a physicist) means that many of his references are to science or science fiction, but he does not limit himself to this sphere, alluding to anything from Japanese ghost stories to children’s songs and games. Some are likely obvious to most readers: “Galactic Empire, you’re my only hope.” But many are idioms and ideas specific to Japan, adapted here to more Western ideas to allow English readers the same jolt upon recognition, such as the reference to class rings with “class Galactic Empire,” which was “second Galactic Empire” in Japanese, a nod to the tradition of younger female classmates asking graduating male classmates for the second button of their uniform. The aggregate of these bits and pieces is a sidelong glance at the end of a civilization, ostensibly the Galactic Empire, but hopefully, readers will take the time to puzzle out the deeper meanings and put together their own ideas of what the Galactic Empire really means. —Jocelyne Allen
Chapter of the Bizarre
00: The Galactic Empire stands on what was once a cemetery.
01: Fried bread is a popular dish of which the Galactic Empire is justly proud. With this, Galactic Empire third-year Class Four conquered Galactic Empire first-year Class Two.
02: Soft noodles are a popular dish of which the Galactic Empire is justly proud. Some are of the opinion that the soup stock faction’s purge of the curry faction accelerated the Empire’s downfall.
03: Specimens of Galactic Empire subjects’ skeletons are lined up in the Galactic Empire laboratory. They start to move when night falls in their hometowns.
04: Subjects having no skeletons play piano in the Galactic Empire music room and make known the nights of their home planets.
05: It is known that night in the Galactic Empire will continue until the very end. Thus, the Galactic Empire is always cloaked in some starry night, somewhere.
06: Sometimes, late at night on the Galactic Empire campus, the former Galactic Empire appears. The emperor of the former Galactic Empire reigns over the former subjects of the Galactic Empire
07: When asked to call out bloody Galactic Empire three times, it is best to chant, “Smash it, smash it.”
08: On the steps to the throne of the Galactic Empire, one occasionally witnesses the ghosts of the young emperors playing “What Time Is It, Mr. Wolf?”
09: There is a rumor that there are seven rumors concerning the Galactic Empire. There is also a rumor that there are no such rumors.
Chapter of the Topography
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 bail bucket.
11: The number of Galactic Empire subjects born during the last hundred years exceeds the total population until then since the dawn of history.
12: The Galactic Empire is so large that many regions have still, to this day, been unable to pay it tribute. Also enormous is the number of regions to which notification of admission has not yet been delivered.
13: The Galactic Empire is so large that the so-called Galactic Empire was built through the collective effort of those who lost their way.
14: A network of hyperspace corridors covers the Galactic Empire. Or, a network of Galactic Empire covers hyperspace.
15: Grabbing onto a hyperspace corridor allows you to carry the Galactic Empire with you. This is known as hyperspace navigation.
16: One method of fishing involves trawling with the hyperspace corridor network. The galaxy is said to be the fire used at night for this kind of fishing.
17: Progress is made each year on faster-than-light travel. Since, even if you leave first, you will be overtaken in due time, no one embarks on long journeys.
18: Twin Galactic Empires, seen as inauspicious, are given over to a shepherd. The shepherd assassinates the twins, and presents in tribute his own Galactic Empire.
19: Innumerable strangled and buried young Galactic Empire emperors continue to pour the emptiness into the Galactic Empire using bail buckets.
Chapter of the Streets
20: This year’s Galactic Empire sold out fifteen minutes after going on sale.
21: The Galactic Empire cannot accept reservations. Every year, the Galactic Empire emperor himself deploys the awning on the store front three days in advance.
22: As yet, no one has been able to get hold of a limited first edition. This fact is taken to be proof that the Galactic Empire is everlasting.
23: Buy two Galactic Empires and get one free. With three, get another one free; the same hereafter.
24: Photographing the Galactic Empire without said Empire’s permission is prohibited. Break the prohibition and the young emperor of the Galactic Empire will appear in the background of the photo.
25: It is known overseas as GINGA TEIKOKU. Concerned about the influence on young people, some are beginning to call for regulation.
26: The young emperor making the rounds of the Galactic Empire incognito is well liked. For various reasons, the young emperor is thought to be a little girl. Boy child emperors nowadays are treacherous.
27: Everyone is creeped out and put out, all because of the tastes of a few citizens, and I think it has got to stop.
28: Look, the Galactic Empire is a loser who’s behind the times and can’t get a grip on the way things are now, so the Empire should just die already.
29: So said the neighboring Galactic Empire. The neighboring Galactic Empire also said, if you don’t say that, I’ll hit you.
Chapter of the Morality
30: The fake Galactic Empire’s mustache is black.
31: Galactic Empire is already drunk at noon and does nothing but paw at the dancers, which is why no one likes Galactic Empire.
32: If you see a man calling himself Mitsueimon at the Galactic Empire wholesaler in Echigo, report immediately to an Imperial Family Councillor.
33: The young Galactic Empire emperor returned from camp school only after the remains of the entire Galactic Empire household had been cremated.
34: If you will avenge my mother and father for me, I will give over to you this imperial seal.
35: The gift monaka wafer cake made of heavy metals posted record sales, overtaking the heavy water sweet bean jelly.
36: They say that all these young emperors have been washing up on the beach because they have lost their sense of direction, and definitely not as a result of any conspiracy.
37: How exactly are we supposed to decide on what grounds we should take vengeance for which young Galactic Empire emperor?
38: The Galactic Empire has never even seen or heard anything about this player Galactic Empire you’re talking about.
39: Galactic Empire citizens, listen closely. Non–Galactic Empire citizens, listen as well. The Galactic Empire will inevitably fall.
Chapter of the Mystery Thief
40: I will come to fetch the Galactic Empire tonight at nine o’clock.
41: Disguising yourself with bandages is an old trick, twentieth young emperor of the Galactic Empire. Or perhaps I should call you fortieth young emperor of the Galactic Empire now.
42: The archaeological opinion that Galactic Empire has its auspcious origins in a letter holder is difficult to accept initially.
43: Father Abraham had seven young emperors. Well, they couldn’t laugh, and they couldn’t sing. In other words, the fact that everyone will disappear is inescapable.
44: I never imagined that you had your eye on my Galactic Empire when you approached me. Until that time.
45: It’s elementary, my dear Galactic Empire. After all, I have studied every last detail of the Galactic Empire and written a paper on the topic.
46: Did you think I didn’t know you were having an affair with the Galactic Empire or something?
47: Exactly. After creating the locked room known as the Galactic Empire, the Galactic Empire murdered the Galactic Empire.
48: Come now, there’s no such thing as a Galactic Empire in this world, young Galactic Empire.
49: The Galactic Empire fell due to the machinations of a soldier emperor who tried to hide a leaf in the forest.
Chapter of the Question
50: “Will the Galactic Empire be launched?”
“Kelly Link has already used that.”
51: “Please state the total population of the Galactic Empire.”
“The population is double the total population of the Galactic Empire.”
52: “Who does the Galactic Empire belong to?”
“The Galactic Empire most certainly does not belong to you.”
53: “There have been reports of your passionate relationship with the Galactic Empire.”
“I have no response to that.”
54: “How do you feel now that the young emperor has passed on?”
“I must say that his passing is a tragic loss.”
55: “Will the Galactic Empire be resurrected over and over again?”
“The Galactic Empire will be resurrected over and over again.”
56: “Is the Galactic Empire undying?”
“The Galactic Empire is undying.”
57: “Aren’t you referring to something that is not the Galactic Empire as the Galactic Empire?”
“I correctly refer only to the Galactic Empire as the Galactic Empire.”
58: “How can unrest be brought to the Galactic Empire?”
“Abandon all attachments, and know that the Galactic Empire does not exist.”
59: “Do you enjoy writing this kind of thing?”
“Yeah, I do.”
Chapter of the Great War
60: Galactic Empire, you’re my only hope.
61: We are the Galactic Empire. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.
62: I want a mechanical Galactic Empire. I don’t care if I’m made into a screw. In fact, I want to be screws and nuts.
63: And just what could someone like the young emperor do about it now? Next time, I’d like to have a young emperor who’s a little more docile.
64: Run? And where exactly are we supposed to go? No matter which way you turn, it’s just more Galactic Empire.
65: The good Galactic Empires all fall. You just be as careful as you can.
66: All hands, abandon the Galactic Empire! I will share the fate of the Galactic Empire. Everything, all of it, is so dear to me.
67: Because the dummy Galactic Empire was so exquisitely crafted, no one could tell which was the original.
68: I’m off to save the Galactic Empire. You never wanted to try it too, just once?
69: The Galactic Empire collapsed, caught up in the upheaval of military operations on nine fronts, i.e., in the fronts north, east, south, west, heaven, earth, present, past, future.
Chapter of the Graduation
70: I want his class Galactic Empire.
71: We might be saying good-bye now, but we’ll always be Galactic Empires, right? Even ten years from now, we’ll still be awesome Galactic Empires. For sure.
72: As of today, the Galactic Empire club is disbanded. Most likely, you all will be the last Galactic Empires in this area.
73: In the end, the young Galactic Empire emperor who had transferred to our school didn’t show up during the third term either.
74: That’s right. We turn into Galactic Empires one step at a time like this. You can’t say it’s all been for nothing.
75: In the end, that Galactic Empire’s a real pain, huh? I know. I just wanted to get it out. Forget it.
76: I kind of wondered if maybe the truth was it was me who was the Galactic Empire. But then I figured no way.
77: I mean, we graduated and everything, but somehow, at the next Galactic Empire, it’ll be all the same faces.
78: I’ll remember this Galactic Empire every time spring comes around. And then, someday, I’ll probably forget it.
79: They say you don’t know the meaning of the Galactic Empire until it’s gone.
Chapter of the Remainder
80: Eternal curse on the opener of the Galactic Empire.
81: I can’t stand it when a group of stray Galactic Empires gathers in front of my house. I heard they hate the smell of citrus, so I’ll try putting some peels out.
82: You keep doing things like that, and the Galactic Empire’ll come, you know. Just leave me out of it. I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
83: I’ll never forgive my family for throwing out that box full of Galactic Empire husks.
84: Compost Galactic Empire is Tuesday and Friday, regular Galactic Empire and recyclable Galactic Empire are on Wednesday; a special permit is required for oversized Galactic Empire.
85: Picking up a Galactic Empire that has fallen from its nest is not necessarily good for the Galactic Empire.
86: I love Galactic Empire, but I’m allergic. It sucks that I can’t even touch it.
87: I said not to mope around like that. I mean, the Galactic Empire’s collapsing all over the place, every day.
88: The public Galactic Empire announced that, with regard to the frequent unlawful dumping of Galactic Empire, it would rely on the good sense of the citizens.
89: The Galactic Empire we know is thought to be nothing more than one-seventh the total Galactic Empire.
Chapter of the End
90: To freeze or to bounce, that is the question.
91: Eventually, kids like them are going to have to bear the fate of the Galactic Empire.
92: This was left for you, it’s the last Galactic Empire.
93: Let me handle this Galactic Empire, you go on ahead. At least let me play it cool in the end here.
94: Congratulations on having made it this far, Galactic Empire. You have two choices. Join me, or be instantaneously destroyed. Very well.
95: I have to go, the Galactic Empire’s calling. No one can resist the Galactic Empire’s singing.
96: Exactly how long must we, the cursed Galactic Empires, repeat these matters?
97: Awakening in the dark, the young Galactic Empire emperor sees the figure of a person seated on a chair on the other side of the room.
98: “You again?”
99: Those with hearts would do well to listen. Facing each other thus, the two young emperors each squeezed the trigger together, and then the Galactic Empire collapsed.