‘The Planners’ by Kate Wilhelm
This Nebula Award-winning short story stands in complete contrast to the rest of The Ascent Of Wonder, it would be more at home in a Kelly & Kessel volume than this Hartwell & Cramer one (and not just because chimps feature heavily). H&C rather confusingly describe Wilhelm thus:
She is one of the relatively few sf writers who have consistently attempted (and often succeeded) in incorporating science fiction into the non-genre forms of the contemporary short story and novel, of which she has a sure commend.
I’m not really clear what they mean by this but it sounds like they are struggling towards describing the type of stories collected in The Secret History Of Science Fiction. Equally, the bold, surreal use of hallucination and fantasy throughout the story make it far closer to slipstream than hard SF and more suitable for an anthology like Feeling Very Strange. Regardless of this, it is perhaps the first of the stories contained within The Ascent Of Wonder that I will re-read (and even if I don’t, it certainly deserves to be).