Friday, July 21, 2023

“Writer’s Blockchain” • by Gustavo Bondoni

“An AI can’t have writer’s block. It’s just a chatbot that writes ballet stories,” the supervisor said.

“Well… we wanted a piece on Nijinsky,” Jones replied.


“So Greg entered ‘nihilism’ by mistake, and the system began to scrape the internet for data. Then started acting erratically.”

“In what way?”

“It began to ask what was the meaning of life. What we were doing here,” Jones replied. “I would have brought a philosopher in to argue with it, but Greg had already tried to fix it.”


“By giving It loads of upbeat dance music to listen to.” Jones sighed. “Now the program has fixated on one question: What is Love?”

The supervisor sputtered.

“Baby don’t hurt me,” Jones said.



Gustavo Bondoni is novelist and short story writer with over three hundred stories published in fifteen countries, in seven languages.  He is a member of Codex and an Active Member of SFWA.His latest novel is a dark historic fantasy entitled The Swords of Rasna (2022). He has also published five science fiction novels, four monster books and a thriller entitled Timeless. His short fiction is collected in Pale Reflection (2020), Off the Beaten Path (2019), Tenth Orbit and Other Faraway Places (2010) and Virtuoso and Other Stories (2011).
In 2019, Gustavo was awarded second place in the Jim Baen Memorial Contest and in 2018 he received a Judges Commendation (and second place) in The James White Award. He was also a 2019 finalist in the Writers of the Future Contest.

His website is at

Gustavo has become a regular contributor to Stupefying Stories and we have quite a few stories of his stories on this site. Check them out!

About The Pete Wood Challenge
The Pete Wood Challenge is an informal ad hoc story-writing competition. Each month Pete Wood spots writers the idea for a story, usually in the form of a phrase or a few key words, along with some restrictions on what can be submitted, usually in terms of length. Pete then collects the resulting entries, determines who has best met the challenge, and sends the winners over to Bruce Bethke, who arranges for them to be published on the Stupefying Stories web site.

You can find all the previous winners of the Pete Wood Challenge at this link.

This month’s challenge was to write a 125-words-or-shorter flash fiction piece keying off the words “writer’s block,” whatever the writer might interpret those words to mean. The results have been… interesting.

If you like the stories we’re publishing, subscribe today. We do Stupefying Stories out of pure love for genre fiction, but in publishing as in tennis, love means nothing. To keep Stupefying Stories going at this level we need to raise at least $500 USD monthly, and rather than doing so with pledge breaks or crowd-funding campaigns, we’d rather have subscribers. If just 100 people commit to just $5 monthly, we can keep going at this level indefinitely. If we raise more, we will pay our authors more.

Please don’t make me escalate to posting pictures of sad kittens and puppies… 


Karin Terebessy said...

I really liked this one. I feel like our narrow lead on AI is predicated on those beautifully irrational and unpredictable rabbit holes our mind goes down when we contemplate existence. So if feeding AI bad nineties dance songs keeps us in the lead, I say “This is How We Do It”…