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Sometimes when I can’t sleep, I write terrible sci-fi stories and submit them to real publishers under a fake name. Today’s victim is the venerated British science fiction/fantasy magazine ‘Interzone’. 

~Josh Flaum

Dear Interzone—

First, let me tell you that I am a huge fan of your website, which I have visited multiple times daily since before I can remember. Your dedication to publishing quality sci-fi and fantasy stories is second to none. Kudos!

My name is Walter Bock, and I am a HUGE sci-fi buff; I have read over twenty books, and seen every movie from ‘Star Man’ to ‘Flubber’. I even have a Star Wars T-shirt with a Yoda on the front that says “Me Want Force”. Scientific Fiction is definitely my thing.

That is why, after 48 years of life, I have finally decided to realize my dream of becoming a sci-fi author, in the vein of Archer C. Clarke and Frank Hubert (my personal heroes). My boss at Baby Gap says I’d be better off learning to work the new POS system, but I’m like “Whatever, Christine! Not everyone wants spend the rest of their lives folding footed pajamas! Some people have ambition!”

And so I submit to you the first story I have ever written by myself: a thrilling tale of a dashing space pilot and his loyal companions. I hope you love it.





By Walter Bock

 Captain Smoosh was battling a nest of Lava Blobs on the distant planet Tomato 8. The smoldering corpses of thousands of dead Blobs were strewn about the mouth of the Space Volcano, but the creatures kept coming, their jagged molten fangs glistening under the light of Tomato’s forty-nine suns.

Smoosh wheeled around to his trusted protector, Hairy Douglas, who bore all the finery of an elite warrior of the Kingdom of Snuggles: the sacred chest plate; the crystal helmet; the spiky shoulder pads; and a sword crafted out of the oozing flesh of a deadly Blunch monster.

“We have to get back to the ship, Hairy Douglas!” screamed Captain Smoosh. “My Blaster Gun is almost out of laser bullets!”

“Meow!” yelled Hairy Douglas, and flapped his floppy ears.

“Good idea!” said Captain Smoosh, as he laserblasted another Blob. He spun around to his ornery Calculto-Bot, Beep-Beep, whose angular copper form was covered in an array of colorful lights and switches.

“How much time before these Blobs overtake us, Beep-Beep?” asked Smoosh.

“Beep beep!” said Beep-Beep.

“That’s just enough time for me to build a teleporter,” said Smoosh. “Hairy Douglas, I’ll need you to cover me while I gather some supplies.”

“Meow meow,” said Hairy Douglas, and wiggled his nubby tail.

“Bleep bloop bleep,” said Beep-Beep.

“I’m moving as fast as I can”, yelled Captain Smoosh, frantically scanning the barren terrain for the items he needed.

“Meow,” said Hairy Douglas, waggling his moist nose as he covered his Blunch Blade in Blob blood. “Meow meow purr.”

“Beep,” said Beep-Beep.

“Meow mew meow,” said Hairy Douglas

Beep-Beep.fired off a spray of finger missiles. Two million Lava Blobs exploded in flames, but still more advanced. “Bleep bloop!” said Beep-Beep.

“I’m almost ready,” yelled Smoosh.

Finally, Captain Smoosh surveyed the materials he’d been able to forage from the space volcano: fifteen burnt twigs, five medium-sized rocks, some dried roots, a handful of red dirt, and a nuclear generator he’d found underneath a heap of rubble.

“This will have to do,” Smoosh mumbled to himself, and immediately got to work.

Meanwhile, Beep-Beep and Hairy Douglas were forced to retreat behind a hillock.

The Lava Blobs were closing in, leaving fiery footprints in the turf with every forward step.

“Meow meow!” said Hairy Douglas, nursing a wound on his elbow horn.

“Boop boop!” said Beep-Beep. Captain Smoosh thought he’d never heard Beep-Beep sound so sad.

The situation was looking grim.

Suddenly, the Lava Blobs stopped in their tracks. The crowd parted, and the Queen of the Blobs slithered forward, her immense form seething like a balloon full of crickets.

“RRRraaarrrgggh!” shrieked the Blob Queen.

“Bleep!” said Beep-Beep.

“Meowy meow!” said Hairy Douglas.

“RRRrrrrarrrrrrrggh!” the Blob Queen shrieked again.

“Mew mew meow!” said Hairy Douglas.

“Beep bloop!” said Beep-Beep.

“RRrrrrooooaaaaarrrr!” said Queen Blob, and raised her massive fists for a crunching blow. Beep-Beep and Hairy Douglas winced, certain that this was their time to go to Space Heaven.

Lucky for them, Captain Smoosh had lodged the final medium-sized rock into place. His makeshift teleporter was as ready as it was ever going to be. He pulled a twig, and the nuclear generator whirred to life.

KAPOW! Smoosh, Beep-Beep, and Hairy Douglas disappeared in a glorious burst of hot turquoise light, just as Queen Blob pounded the earth with her titanic forearms, destabilizing Tomato 8’s fragile magma core. Within seconds, the entire planet had split apart like a wet sandwich.

And that was the end of the Lava Blobs.


Safely back on his ship, the Forty Winks, Captain Smoosh poured himself a glass of orange juice, as was his custom after every adventure.

“That was too close,” said Smoosh. “I guess we’ll have to look for Space Gasoline on a different planet.”

“Beep bop bleep,” said Beep-Beep.

“Meow!” said Hairy Douglas, and Captain Smoosh laughed and laughed.

Who can fathom the mind of a Snuggaloid? Smoosh wondered as he drank his juice. Their ways never cease to amaze me.



*NOTE TO INTERZONE: You’ll notice I punctuated my conclusion with a question mark. That’s because I’m thinking about turning this into a franchise. Future titles include: ‘Captain Smoosh and the Laser Apes’, ‘Captain Smoosh and the Moon Lobsters’, and ‘Diabetes in Space’ (which will detail one of the worst side-effects of Space Obesity). Let me know if you want in on the ground floor!

Thanks again for your consideration! I look forward to working with you five days a week.

High-fives for Sci-Fi!


Walter Bock



There’s a magazine??? That’s AMAZING!!!!

This is seriously good news. The last time I tried to access your website, I was told very sternly by a theater usher to put my computer away and sit back down in my seat. Like it’s my fault ‘The Cherry Orchard’ is such a boring play (I wasn’t the only one who got restless, I’ll tell you that much). My point is, if I’d had a magazine, I wouldn’t have had to get up to plug in my laptop. I’m glad you guys have branched out.

QUESTION: Does this magazine contain the same scientific fiction stories you’ve posted online? Is it printed daily or weekly? How much is a subscription, and do you accept trade? I have a pretty great mountain bike, a new-ish espresso machine, and several unused gift certificates to Baby Gap which I recently received for being employee of the month ($30 value). Let me know if any of these things appeal to you.

Also, thank you so much for reading my story and getting back with me so quickly. I’m sorry it didn’t fit the bill. If it’s not too troublesome, can I ask you why it was rejected? Was it a formatting issue? Any feedback would be helpful as I am preparing to quit my job so I can start writing full-time.

Once again, thanks so much, and congratulations on your new magazine! I will be a dedicated reader, now and for always. Interzone is the greatest!


Walter Bock


Follow Josh on twitter, here!

About author View all posts

Jenna Busch

Jenna Busch is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Legion of Leia and has hosted and written for sites like Nerdist, ComingSoon.net, Metro, Birth. Movies. Death., IGN, AOL, Huffington Post and more. She co-hosted Cocktails With Stan with the legendary Stan Lee and has appeared on Attack of the Show, Fresh Ink, Tabletop with Wil Wheaton, in the documentary She Makes Comics, on NPR and Al Jazeera America, and has covered film/TV/gaming/comics for years. She's currently a co-host on Most Craved. She's been published in the comics anthology Womanthology, is a chapter author for Star Wars Psychology: Dark Side of the Mind, Game of Thrones Psychology and Star Trek Psychology and more, and owns a terrifying amount of swords and 20-sided dice. There are also those My Little Pony trailer voice overs that give one nightmares.

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