Monday, April 24, 2023

“The Intergalactic Pocket Phrasebook” • by Mark Vandersluis


Our revised edition of the Intergalactic Pocket Phrasebook contains these useful words and phrases in all known languages. Always keep your copy handy – you never know when you’ll need it, especially on the more primitive planets!

  • Hello!

  • We come from Planet <Name> at Star <Name>

  • We are an advanced alien civilisation.

  • Take us to your leader.

  • We didn’t mean to destroy the city.

  • It was an accident.

  • Don’t run away!

  • We come in peace.

  • We bring gifts.

  • What do you mean “thanks for nothing”?

  • What can you trade?

  • Please stop attacking us!

  • We have powerful weapons.

  • They are much more dangerous than yours.

  • This is your final warning!

  • You left us no choice.

  • Is anybody left alive?

  • Sorry.

  • Warning – Highly Radioactive Planet! Keep Out!


Mark Vandersluis lives in Nottingham, England and works as a Managing IT Architect . From an early age, his home was the Science Fiction section of the local library. After a lifetime reading science fiction he recently started writing his own. As well as previously appearing in Stupefying Stories, Mark has had stories published in Nature Futures and Diabolical Plots. Mark blogs (very) occasionally at and you can follow him on Twitter at @markvsf.

P.S. If you enjoyed this story, consider reading “Support Issues,” also on Stupefying Stories.

This week’s Pete Wood Challenge was to write a 150-word or less story that includes the line, “Thanks for nothing.” To see the previous winners of previous challenges, click this link

“Do you miss Firefly? Do you like The Expanse? If so, then Privateers of Mars is exactly what you need. [...] Structured as three loosely interconnected short stories, it reads like three episodes of a great science fiction show that you wish someone would make.”

—Amazon reader review