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This is NOT a Snrrr. They look nothing like this, but the picture perfectly expresses their collective personality.

 

One of the most annoying alien races in the galaxy, heck, maybe in the whole multiverse, are the Snrrr. And the obnoxious thing about them is their insistence on having their name spelled and pronounced exactly right by all the other galactics. Now, many people can relate to this. “Katherine” does not want to be spelled “Catherine” and Siobhan must be very tired of being pronounced SEE-oh-bahn instead of She-VAWN, but these guys are really taking it too far.

To start with, the spelling we’re using here, “Snrrr,” is flat-out wrong. It’s actually Snrrrrrrrrr, or maybe Snrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, though variants exist such as Snuuuuurrrrrrrrr and Snnnnnnrrr, whose proponents also insist on correct spelling and pronunciation. Telepathy and technology won’t get you out of this either: Mental, electronic, or other communication are subject to the same requirements. (And now you see why the photo above does not depict an actual Snrrr: All Snrrr require a signed contract before being photographed, and of course the name must be rendered correctly on the contract.)

Saying this word is no easier than writing it. Many races have difficulty producing the requisite sounds. To say the word correctly:

  • Concentrate your attention at the top of your nasal passage and think small, petty thoughts.  Allow your face to assume a rabbity expression. Now say, in the voice of that accountant in the Office Space movie, “I believe you have my stapler.”
  • Simultaneously make a kind of gargling, snoring noise at the back of your throat.
  • Use your tongue to make an R-rolling sound while simultaneously vibrating your lips very fast.  (If you do not have all these body parts, tough luck on you. Try your best.)

Almost no one but the Snrrr themselves can do this. Beings without noses cannot speak through them, and bivalves cannot be expected to roll their R’s, which would involve opening their shells to vibrate them in imitation of lips, exposing themselves to needless danger. Plant-beings aren’t great at this either.

Failure to address them correctly will result in the individual Snrrr or the entire collective turning their backs on you and refusing to acknowledge you or deal with you in any way. (This is assuming you can tell which side of them is the back, but it doesn’t matter. You will feel roundly and categorically rejected.)

Nobody would mind this — after all, who wants to mess with these clowns and their stupid name, which is also an honorific and so must be included at the beginning and end of every sentence? Who needs them anyway?

Well, almost everyone does, because they are the only known source of the ruby-red, delicious, and infinitely adaptable shaflee fruit. Imagine a giant pomegranate whose gleaming, wine-red seeds are lovelier than you would have thought possible. When pounded into a lightweight, impervious metal coating, they protect most of the galaxy’s spaceships from heat, cold, asteroids, and enemy attack. Shaflee seeds also exude a mild intoxicant which eliminates worry and boredom, and they can be taught to play Chess, Go, and Mah-jongg, which is pretty much invaluable on long voyages.

“Well, how did the other galactics obtain the shaflee fruit if access requires using this impossible name?” you ask. You don’t want to know! Suffice it to say that a whole fleet of ameboid Gtetan lawyers gave their lives, or at least their sanity, to accomplish this, and they are the trickiest lawyers in the galaxy. But that is another story*.

Of course those of us who live on light and travel instantaneously have dispensed with these things and can tell the Snrrrr to go pfligg up a rope, but we may be in the minority. If you’re not like us, you’d better figure out how to say and write this name STAT.

This has been a public service message.

____

* “The Party of the Two Parts” by William Tenn introduces the planet Gtet and its criminal ameboid inhabitants.

 

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