A short story is a fictional work too small to be called a novel, usually less than 10-20 thousand words and no chapters.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

5
votes
1answer
82 views

Short story involving time travel through a train station

I cannot remember the story exactly, but I guess it goes like this - Protagonist was travelling somewhere. So he goes to a train station. But the ticket counter he went to appeared old fashioned ...
10
votes
1answer
489 views

Author & title of short story about cat navigator of spaceship

Short story several decades old, about cat navigator or co-pilot of a spaceship and its human partner. They were isolated in different compartments, communication telepathic only, no visual or audio ...
25
votes
4answers
4k views

Sci fi short story or radio play of man who ends up on death row for a minor infraction…bureaucracy and obscure laws are real culprits

While traveling through Minnesota in the late-1990's I heard an old radio show rebroadcast of a sci-fi dramatization. It tells the story of bureaucracy gone horribly wrong, with the main proponent ...
7
votes
1answer
99 views

Trying to recall title of story about intellectually enhanced chimp/ape

I am trying to remember the title and author of a short story about an ape (maybe a chimp) who is given human intelligence as a result of experimentation, and subsequently feels alienated. It takes ...
5
votes
1answer
132 views

Old short story about ancient Martians stranded on earth

I probably read this short story back in the 1970s. The story is pretty old—maybe any time from 1890 to 1925. I may have read it in a trade-paperback collection of pulp fiction from the dawn of ...
1
vote
1answer
39 views

Karl Bunker's “The Woman From the Ocean”: Was the woman mistaken?

The story appeared in Gardner Dozois' 32nd edition of The Year's Best Science Fiction. It wouldn't make sense to re-tell the story here; I think the question can only be answered by people who have ...
1
vote
1answer
90 views

What story is set on planet where time runs faster as one approaches the pole? [duplicate]

short story (or novelette?) read in the 1960s or '70s, likely in an anthology from the 1950's plus or minus: planet where time ran faster as one approached the (north?) pole, and the language used by ...
3
votes
0answers
47 views

ANALOG magazine story from late 60s/early 70s. Zen/Psychic culture defeats an invasion

This was a short story. I think it was in ANALOG, probably in the late '60s or early '70s. A planet of meditative/mindful pacifists is being invaded by evil aliens who threaten mass murder. The ...
2
votes
0answers
85 views

Story about space traders selling worthless junk to rural planet

Thanks! I remember this story about space traders that would always take advantage of the ignorant rural people on this planet and out negotiate them or sell them junk. The people always think they ...
3
votes
1answer
78 views

Sci-Fi short story about a game where kids are selected based on abilities [duplicate]

I have been looking for this story for years. I read it from an anthology around 1997, but the story could be older. The story is about kids who are tested (I believe) and placed into job ...
11
votes
1answer
108 views

Seek SF melancholy story about woman who waits for her partner

A short story probably over 30 years old. Man is convicted to suspended animation for 100 years for political crimes without possibility of parole. On defrost he gets apology and wanders into a ...
3
votes
1answer
65 views

Looking for short story about a short-story-generator

It was called something like "The Greatest Science Fiction Story" or something like that. Some physicist makes a story that resolves into the best possible short story for the person who first reads ...
0
votes
1answer
91 views

Short story about a virtual world. Protagonist is a female who specializes in torture experiences

I think I read this online in the last ten years, so after 2005 or so. In the story, everyone is online, I think 24/7. People are jaded and always looking for new experiences. The protagonist (or at ...
17
votes
2answers
5k views

Story about a guy living same day over again until he falls asleep under an aluminum boat? [duplicate]

I have a strong recollection of reading a short story sometime in the '70s (maybe in Analog magazine) roughly about a man who was living in some kind of experiment run by aliens, in which the same day ...
6
votes
1answer
85 views

Possible Poul Anderson story about the development of 2 alien races as affected (or not) by Earth colonialism

Story involves 2 races, in the same or neighboring star systems, who are both contacted by Earth explorers. One race is reptiloid, somewhat primitive and rather prickly, the other is more humanoid, ...
-1
votes
1answer
85 views

Building minutes [duplicate]

Does anyone know a SF TV short story in which there were blue men who helped "stage" our world- at least the parts we saw, on a minute by minute basis. So, at each minute, everyone would be in the ...
6
votes
1answer
92 views

Trying To Remember Time Travel Story

Back in elementary school (1994-1995) we had books called "readers" that contained short stories or excerpts from novels. One story was about a guy who had a time-travel device that was the size of an ...
9
votes
3answers
268 views

Short SciFi story where humans join and evolve into a kind of multi-creature

I'm trying to identify a short story I read many years ago (early/mid 80s maybe?) where humans who congregated together somehow joined and 'evolved' into new blob multi-creatures - I don't think it ...
16
votes
1answer
1k views

Short story - spaceship pilot needs second personality to fly ship

Possibly from the 1970s or 1980s. Humans can't pilot a spaceship without going insane, so spaceship pilots have a secondary personality that kicks in as they walk through the cockpit door. The pilot ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Trying to track down a sci-fi story about Venus

The story was written with the notion that Venus was covered with watery clouds, so it must be hot and humid there. I remember the protagonist had to deal with mold or spores that would sprout ...
3
votes
0answers
106 views

Short story about an obsolete robot

A short story about a wheeled robot that is in turmoil over its apparent obsolescence.But finds a way to go on. I think humans are long extinct at the time this story is set in.
9
votes
0answers
113 views

Help identify a modern fantasy short story

I'm going a bit nuts trying to figure this out. It's one of those things where it's not really important, but I can't find something I sort of thought I knew and it's nagging at me. Basically it's a ...
16
votes
1answer
131 views

Girl who can see the future meets boy who can see the future, relationship problems ensue

I read a short story online about 5 years or so ago (plus or minus a few) on a site that publishes lots of SF stories. It involved two people who could both see the future, one a girl (who is the ...
7
votes
1answer
67 views

1960s-70s short story: Shapechanging alien invasion scouts on Earth

I am looking to identify a story I read in the 1960s or 70s. It was about a scoutship that landed on Earth, prelude to an invasion force. Previous scouts had disappeared without a trace. The crew ...
2
votes
0answers
59 views

Looking for a book of short stories - man can understand animals talking

Back in the 80's I had a book of short stories that I loved, but now I can't remember the title. I got the book when I lived in England, so it's possibly a British publication. One of the stories ...
7
votes
1answer
97 views

SF Short Story: alien apes invade during nuclear war

Trying to identify a science fiction short story from an anthology likely published before 1991. Aliens invade during a nuclear war (which would be World War III, WWIII, WW3). The warring nations ...
8
votes
0answers
86 views

60s-70s F&SF story: suicidal woman, angel, crows taking over people's thoughts

I used to read The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction as a kid, in the late 60s to early 70s. A particular story I remember was of a woman who was depressed and contemplating suicide, but she was ...
6
votes
0answers
121 views

An astronaut drops candy wrapper on planet surface - “slime” seeking phosphorus almost gets it

That's all I can remember; an astronaut in a landing party drops candy wrapper on the planet's or moon's surface. Unknown to them, there is life on the planet - possibly in the form of slime or ooze, ...
1
vote
0answers
66 views

In which short story escape-pod occupant stays inside to die while the outside was transformed? [duplicate]

A small ship or escape pod has landed on a planet with one living survivor. I think it is the regular waste dumps that - over the period of a year or so - alter the local ecology outside, somehow ...
8
votes
0answers
167 views

Dystopia where all adults get suicide pill at age 21, father gives his to son

I read this short story 30-40 years ago, and would like to find the author/story title. It was a dystopian story about a future society where life is so dismal and hard that every adult is given a ...
12
votes
1answer
266 views

Did “The Machine Stops” inspire “The Matrix”?

Somewhat surprisingly, E. M. Forster, the author of A Passage to India, wrote a science fiction short story, The Machine Stops, that was published in 1909. Many works, both fiction and non-fiction, ...
26
votes
1answer
2k views

Computer makes mistake over a late library book

I'm looking for a short story about a man who forgets to return his library book. A computerised system takes over and everything goes from bad to worse. The book he did not return is 'Kidnapped' by ...
4
votes
0answers
93 views

Where is Everybody? [duplicate]

Someone wrote a short story about the Fermi paradox—well, probably more than one person—but I have a specific story in mind. I can only recall the broad outline. A group of human explorers find a ...
12
votes
1answer
616 views

Two men have to populate a planet by themselves

I'm trying to identify a short story that was probably written in the 1970s or 1980s—at least, well before today's more accepting attitude towards human sexuality and gender roles. It must have in ...
9
votes
1answer
667 views

Identify a short story involving a blond that makes a fire poker sag

I found a box of books in the attic of a new house at age 12, the summer of 1963. It contained 2 sf anthologies. One was Damon Knight stories. The other one was a hard bound collection of multiple ...
10
votes
1answer
110 views

Martin Luther King day? Free speech

Trying to reconstruct the name of a science fiction/fantasy story. Earth had discovered many, many populated planets. Protagonist works at an embassy at one of these for an embarrassing figurehead ...
11
votes
1answer
269 views

Scientists accidentally breed super-intelligent mice

This one is really nagging me. The plot goes something like this: Two scientists, one from the U.S., one newly escaped from the Soviet Union, have a polite argument about evolution. The former ...
8
votes
1answer
138 views

SF story with a talking bull getting even during a bullfight

Probably written in the 1940s or 1950s, this story featured an intelligent talking bull who asked to be entered into a bullfight to get revenge on the cruel humans who killed his brethren. The story ...
10
votes
1answer
194 views

SF short story about a patrol car on a “hyper-highway” at 400+ mph speeds

I'm trying to locate a short story, probably written in the 1970s but likely before the oil crisis, about a day in the lives of two officers and one medic on a patrol car riding the highways of the ...
3
votes
0answers
102 views

story identification: the Anarchist Party won the elections

I've read this story a long time ago; this is what I remember: The Anarchist Party won the elections, and we listen to its announces as it is now dismantling the State. 43 (or was it 41?)-tones Jazz ...
5
votes
0answers
152 views

Short story about a boy raised in a “bubble” who becomes the smartest person alive

I'm trying to recall a story that must be sixty or seventy years old. I probably read it in an anthology. It felt old even when I read it. Here's what I remember: A baby was raised completely ...
3
votes
1answer
102 views

Looking for a SF story about robotic explorers who discover intelligent organic life on a planet

I read a humorous science fiction story some ten to twenty years ago about robotic explorers who discover a planet, perhaps Earth, with intelligent organic lifeforms and can't quite believe it. They ...
11
votes
1answer
164 views

SF short story ID, written 40s—60s, primitive aliens who are much smarter than us

I'm looking for a story that was probably written somewhere from the 1940s to the 1960s. I think I read it in an anthology, possibly in the 1970s. A group of human explorers landed on a planet with ...
10
votes
0answers
117 views

Science Fiction Short Story about Computer controlled Utopia

I have been trying to find this short story for years and after Lee SeDol defeated AlphaGo in game 4 yesterday, it really reminded me of it. The story is about a Utopia that is computer controlled ...
7
votes
0answers
115 views

Short story / film about scientist experimenting on an ant colony

I was wondering if someone can help me identify a short story that my uncle was telling me about when I was a kid. It is either a written story or a short film. There might be obvious mistakes in my ...
6
votes
1answer
119 views

SF Story identification, short story published 1940s, 1950s, immortal Neanderthal

I'm trying to identify a short story written quite some time ago, in the 1940s or 1950s. I remember that there was an immortal Neanderthal hiding in plain sight, pretending to be just an ugly human. ...
3
votes
1answer
87 views

Blob-like alien that shoots out tentacles people would stick to

I read a short story in an anthology when I was very young (I'm guessing it was some time in the mid-'70s). All I remember is that there was a blob-like alien of some kind, sitting in the middle of a ...
13
votes
1answer
291 views

The original Divergent story

My daughter is a The Divergent Series fan and when I read the first book of the Series recently, I could swear that I had read something very similar during my teens in the 1980s. It was a short ...
10
votes
1answer
155 views

Men go to another planet, turn into crystal beings

I read a story from an anthology from the 1950s, where men were on another planet and they saw some crystal beings in the sky. The humans might walk through a maze or some cause and they gradually ...
8
votes
1answer
71 views

Looking for short stories differing from two Spider Robinson collections, from “Melancholy Elephants” to “By Any Other Name”

I am looking for a synopsis or summary of two Spider Robinson short stories, "It's a Sunny Day", and "Father Paradox". This is kinda a reverse story-identification... I have name and author, I'm ...