Thursday, July 20, 2023

“Writers Strike Reaches the Office of Predestination” • by Brandon Case

WGA pickets bobbed outside Paramount Studios in Hollywood.

Brady Willis raised his megaphone and shouted, “We are writers! When bigwigs try to extort us, what do we do? We block their ass!”

The crowd erupted in cheers.

But suddenly their pickets froze. Brady’s mouth hung half-open. Even the microscopic particles of smog stopped moving.

High above, Gabriel set down his golden pen and quit writing the universal script.

The door of his heavenly office burst open, and God stormed in. “Back to work! You’re not allowed to have writer’s block!”

Gabriel flinched at the Lord’s fury, but he left his golden pen on the desk. “I haven’t left this room for centuries. Writers everywhere are angry. And when bigwigs try to extort us, we block their ass.”


Brandon Case is an erstwhile government cog, fleeing the doldrums into unsettling worlds of science and magic. He has recent or forthcoming short fiction in Escape Pod, Martian Magazine, and anthologies including Los Suelos and After the Gold Rush. His landscape photography has been licensed by several agencies, including Oregon State’s Tourism Board for print and promotional work.

To see more of his work, check out his website at You can also catch more of his alpine adventures on Instagram @BrandonCase101 or Twitter @BrandonCase101.

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.

» Support Stupefying Stories • Subscribe | Donate »



Karin Terebessy said...

This piece is fantastic! It's so perfectly formed I really don't want to pick it apart, but in the interest of meaningful feedback, it's relevant, multi-layered, funny, philosophical, spiritual - it even contains that elusive recursive quality speculative fiction often strives for. Serious kudos!