Weird Tales magazine recently hosted a spiffy flash fiction contest. The challenge: write a piece of fewer than 500 words based on a SPAM email.

Well, gosh. I have a host of collected SPAM to choose from — some of them artful in their painful obfuscation and stilted Engrish — so choosing was half the battle. My [losing] entry is below.

It’s worth noting the first paragraph is entirely the introduction to an actual junk email that hit my in-box. It’s also worth noting that this piece is altogether science-fictiony, and thus arguably not the best entry for a Weird Tales contest, but you go where the muse takes you…

Return-Path: Ǥ§Þ¤°¤
Received: from ¤§mtp2.mail.isp ( 1)
From: Xenophile Ǥ§Þ¤°¤³°Ò
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2008 04:35:02 GMT
X-Mailer: Webmail
Subject: Mutual Understanding/ Benefit

Greetings and Compliments.

I strongly regret any inconvenience the receipt of this message may cause you, bearing in mind the nature of its content coming from an individual without referral or prior correspondence, but please read and assimilate its content and objectively consider if we can work together.

I am the secretary of communications for the peoples of  Ǥ§Þ¤°¤, which you will assuredly know as extra-solar planet GJ 436c in your (Terran) constellation Leo, located 32.66676 light years
from your sun. Please call me Phil.

I should like to intimate you with certain facts that I believe would be of interest to you. My delegation represents the totality of the peoples of Ǥ§Þ¤°¤ currently en route to your coordinates. I communicate with the authority of the director of our trade delegation to your peoples.

It is to our mutual good fortune we have for some time monitored high frequency electromagnetic transmissions from your world and consequently are come to know your being’s social and
economical wants. Your recent Happy Days transmission we find joyful. (Fonzie. Ayyyyy.) Your Hitler program we had enjoyed not so much.

Due to unforeseen consequences with a neutron particle colliding experiment a substantial portion of our home world’s atmosphere was discharged, rendering our home world unhabitable. Hey, mistakes happen. As a consequence, we wish to secure rights to Solar planets Sol-d (Mars), and mineral rights or perhaps a lease / purchase agreement for Sol-e (Jupiter). Exchange of biological specimens would be advantageous, but is not a requirement for our sustained and mutual cooperation.

As proof of our earnestness in intent and devotion to our mutual transaction we have caused to be propulsed a mineral-bearing asteroid of primary composition: Pt 18%, Au 22%, Pu 24% and of a mass 6.1 × 10¹³ kg which will intersect with your planet on March 24, 2010 (your calendar.) We calculate that our gift should arrive within +- 0.99997 km of your equatorial plane thus to better procure your assured delivery. Hey, don’t miss it! (Ayyyyy.)

With great anticipation of a mutually beneficial partnership and durable relationships.

Your friend,



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