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Questions tagged [short-stories]

For about a fictional work too small to be called a [novel] or [novella] - usually less than 10-20 thousand words and no chapters. Use to either identify the media on a [story-identification] question or disambiguate works where the tag covers the short story and its form in other media.. If you are looking for a particular anthology of short stories, use the [anthology-book] tag instead.

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10 votes
1 answer
183 views

Very old horror short story about a dead man waking up

A dead man wakes up because his cemetery is being plowed up so they can build something there (apartments, houses, a parking lot?). I think the man kills the person running the bulldozer or backhoe? ...
Oliver W.'s user avatar
  • 101
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

The human population on Earth reached its maximum with the end of the last zoo

I read this short story at least 30 years ago. I suppose it was in a collection, since I rarely read magazines. I don't remember if I read it in English or in French, but it might have been a ...
Alfred's user avatar
  • 19.3k
9 votes
0 answers
101 views

A short fiction about a contraption not called a "time machine", driven by the "forty-year-old itch", but that did something in the past

I read this SF short fiction about 30 years ago. I'm pretty sure I read it in English, in a collection. I write "short fiction" because it was definitely not a novel. But much too long to ...
Alfred's user avatar
  • 19.3k
10 votes
1 answer
189 views

Looking For story - Artist Forced to be a Miner [duplicate]

I am looking for a story that I remember from ages ago. I want to point to a similar query here: Story about person assigned by test to be a miner when he wants to be an artist Mark, the original ...
Dave Hudson's user avatar
19 votes
3 answers
2k views

Identify the story about an author whose work-in-progress is completed by a computer [duplicate]

The protagonist's collected works having been fed in as a database, the machine projects the ending of his current work (I remember that it does a scene break with asterisks), at which point the ...
user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
39 views

Monster themed universe book series with a woman on the cover in blue with three mini-stories inside all connected to each other

It was a bit of a larger book, it had three separate stories with a connecting universe, this would have been volume 2 of that series. The cover had a woman on the front in black and white with blue ...
auggie's user avatar
  • 11
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story about a traveler who receives shelter, but after some dialogue, the traveler turns out to be a ghost or maybe Odin

It was told from the point of the view of the ghost traveler at first. It felt like folklore, and I think there was some sort of test that was failed during the dialogue where the true nature of the ...
prak's user avatar
  • 81
18 votes
1 answer
2k views

Looking for the title of a short story for my students to read about a woman searching for the last man alive

Read this short story as a sophomore in 1983-1984. I am now a freshmen English teacher and want to include it into my class. The plot involves a woman searching for the last man alive. She thinks it ...
Philip's user avatar
  • 189
13 votes
0 answers
96 views

Short story with a house in a suburban neighborhood that was dangerous only at certain times of day

I remember the feeling of impending terror I got reading this story more than the storyline. I know it was in an anthology, whether sci-fi, fantasy or horror. There's nothing that I can remember in ...
Anna C's user avatar
  • 131
8 votes
0 answers
92 views

What short story from sometime before March 2011 has a husband eventually trapping his abusive wife in a magic painting?

First seen here on TVTropes: More remembered details are: A short story [...] dealt with a man who was a painter and was married to a woman who constantly verbally abused him, constantly belittling ...
Malady's user avatar
  • 3,845
3 votes
0 answers
89 views

A probably Asimov short story about preventing and then allowing a nuclear holocaust [duplicate]

I read this SF of maybe Fantasy story many decades ago. It was in a collection and the "taste" is Asimovian but he wrote so many stories, so many collections... Two extremely powerful ...
Alfred's user avatar
  • 19.3k
6 votes
0 answers
76 views

Short story about a decades-long mission to collect a soil/rock sample from a far away planet. There are multiple generations of astronaut children

I read a short story excerpt from a textbook in high school. I would love to continue the story. The story starts with astronauts beginning a deep space mission to collect a soil sample. I remember ...
celeri's user avatar
  • 61
9 votes
0 answers
99 views

Short story about very young aliens (toddlers) invading a starship to play; they like the crew; removed by an adult alien but they want to visit again

Humorous short story written by a woman science fiction writer, I've forgotten who. The little aliens suddenly appear inside a spaceship They have teleported into various parts of the ship from their ...
HelloPeeps2's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

Old SF story about someone who detonated an atomic bomb, sacrificing self to save society from an evil government

I think it was a short story in a 1950s-era anthology. All I remember was that a young woman was tortured (her hands crippled) for information, and someone (maybe a different person) was able to ...
David T.'s user avatar
13 votes
0 answers
206 views

Story about dense beings that live in the earth and earth surface is like clouds to them

What is the name and author of the science fiction story about beings who live in the center of the earth, are very dense and find our kind of life to be like clouds and ephemeral? These dense beings ...
systemsguy's user avatar
12 votes
0 answers
155 views

Short story about a sentient flower on a barren planet asking for water

I read the story in a collection of stories in a book about 25 years ago. It takes place on a dry world. The flower keeps asking to be watered, it may have been using telepathy. I'm not sure if the ...
jsotola's user avatar
  • 377
5 votes
1 answer
112 views

Looking for an old short story, furry alien traveller crash lands on Earth "The Star Beast". The traveller is cruelly treated [duplicate]

I read this novella or long short story "The Star Beast" perhaps 40 years ago, perhaps longer than that. I think I read it in an anthology. It is not one of Robert Heinlein's "juvenile&...
HelloPeeps2's user avatar
12 votes
0 answers
102 views

Short story about a boy and a modular steampunk factory

I read a short story online a few years ago, in late 2022, that I can't seem to find again. The closest I seem to get when I search various terms is "Autofac" by Philip K. Dick, but it ...
Alexia's user avatar
  • 301
3 votes
0 answers
40 views

A kids book, there were 3 or 4 kids being main characters and each had a wand that controls an element

I don't remember much about it. But these 3 or 4 kids get a wand, and when they split the wand, each piece controlled an element. I also remember that an antagonist was a giant with 3 pairs of eyes, 3 ...
Joymel Crespo's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
228 views

Short story where at the end, Satan says "let there be light."

There's a short story I am trying to remember that appeared in a science fiction/fantasy collection. I can't think of the title or the author. Basically, the universe has come to an end of nothingness ...
Steve Clancy's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story about a boy living on a fake tropical island / paradise planet, who was actually an adult CEO but didn't remember it

I've come to my wits end. I read a sci-fi short story back in the 90's as a part of anthology. Unfortunately I can't remember the author, the title, or the collection. It was about a boy living on a ...
geeWishh's user avatar
  • 133
12 votes
1 answer
3k views

Short story about soldiers who are fighting against an enemy which turns out to be themselves [duplicate]

The closer they get to a boundary which returns their own fire, the shorter their names get. The soldier in question goes by H, Had, Hadolaris, and Hadolaristan (this last when he's on leave). As he ...
Richard Tibbitts's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
123 views

Short story, no later than early 60s, alien (unthahorst?) finishes/abandons project, children disappear after figuring out how to manipulate toy [duplicate]

Read this story in at least one anthology back in the 60s. I want to say it was called The Children's Hour, but that title has been way over used so it's probably just something similar.
rwniebuhr's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
75 views

Short story: possibly titled "Snatch Me Another" from a Crave anthology

I read this short story in a Crave anthology in a used bookstore. I'm almost certain the title was "Snatch Me Another", and the story revolved around a black-market machine common in every ...
Marirose Bernal's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
111 views

Asimov short (I think) - What story is told via letters, where a couple need a look-a-like robot when the couple (or the husband) goes away?

Asimov short (I think) - What story is told via letters from the family to the robot manufacturer, where a couple hired a look-a-like robot when the couple (or the husband) goes away?
Mark Nightingale's user avatar
14 votes
2 answers
2k views

Tiny book about a planet full of man-eating sunflowers

I'm trying to find information on a book I have read in my youth, or at least on the story it contained. I bought this book in a German bookstore somewhere around 1985-1995. It was one of several &...
ManoG1234609's user avatar
24 votes
2 answers
5k views

Looking for a caveman-discovers-fire short story that is a pun on "nuclear" power

I read this story online years ago but can no longer find it. It was written by a scientist in the early 1950s, (it was actually written by an engineer in 1980, please see user14111's response) I ...
HelloPeeps2's user avatar
19 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story about a group of astronauts/scientist that find a sentient planet that seems friendly but is not

What I remember of this short story is that the astronauts/scientists landed on an unknown planet and discovered that it catered to their every whim. If they were hungry, it provided food. If they ...
Haris's user avatar
  • 193
6 votes
0 answers
82 views

SF/horror short story about a man who is chosen in a government lottery to look after a prison silo

I read a short story some time ago, and I can't recall the title or the author. I've asked AI, but it... Isn't helpful. (But I'm grateful to our robot overlords for their attempts. Honestly.) The ...
Ellie H's user avatar
  • 61
18 votes
1 answer
1k views

Semi-humorous told-by-lawyer short story, set in the mid-1940s or in 1950s; desert town casino & a roulette "fix" with Psi "lucky charm"

Looking for an old told-by-lawyer short story told in a semi-humorous tone. It's a similar kind of author-voice to "The Curious Profession" by pen-name Leonard Lockhard. I think the story is ...
HelloPeeps2's user avatar
22 votes
1 answer
3k views

Old science fiction short story about a lawyer attempting to patent a new kind of incredibly strong cloth

I read on Project Gutenberg, probably in 2017, a humorous story about a young patent lawyer and his boss/mentor. The lawyer gets very excited about the discovery of a new kind of incredibly strong ...
HelloPeeps2's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
877 views

Short story about a man born in a society of inductive reasoning, who steals a rocket to escape

It was a short story; would have been published most likely 1950s-1980s. He's born almost as an evolutionary throwback, being only able to use deductive reasoning in a society where mankind has ...
Adam's user avatar
  • 171
24 votes
1 answer
1k views

A short story about an ancient anaerobic civilisation on Earth

I read this story many decades ago. Probably in a collection since I very rarely read magazines, but I don't remember at all what it might have looked like. A very, very old alien tells her memories ...
Alfred's user avatar
  • 19.3k
5 votes
0 answers
81 views

Short story where automated freight ships regularly come to a mining planet to collect the ore

Was rummaging the pages of an SF anthology many years back and have thought about one of its stories but can't remember what it was called or who wrote it. Help! The title is probably the name of a ...
user176997's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story in which the main character buys a robot psychotherapist to get rid of the obsessive desire to kill

The main character buys a robot psychotherapist to get rid of the obsessive desire to kill, but the robot is confused with a model for Martians. I remember the content quite accurately, but I can't ...
Mio's user avatar
  • 109
15 votes
2 answers
897 views

Story featuring an alien with an exotic sensorium (sonar?) that helps solve a murder

In this story, probably in Analog or Asimov's back in the 20th century, a group of humans are on a distant planet: I forget whether they are just exploring or setting up to colonize the place. A ...
R. Darwin's user avatar
  • 509
9 votes
0 answers
108 views

Sci-fi short story about a WW2 German secret project to create a portal to another world [duplicate]

Hey hey you wonderful people. Need help finding a short story. It was part of a short story compendium whose book title I've unfortunately forgotten... probably written in the 80s or 70's. Granted ...
Joshua Ayala's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Cloning with stolen DNA

I'm looking for a short piece (probably a novelette) about a near-future where it's possible to clone people without their consent from a small scrap of skin (etc.). It's not common (and probably ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 51.6k
13 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story crashing landing on a planet and taking shelter in a building that had automated defenses

Trying to find this story that my dad read in the 1960s although the story may be earlier. It's a story where a spaceship crashes and the pilot seeks refuge and finds some kind of shelter, likely ...
NibblyPig's user avatar
  • 339
17 votes
1 answer
2k views

A short story about a woman who pretends to have dissociative identity disorder

I read this short story only a few years ago in a collection of SF stories that might have been much older. A woman who does not have dissociative identity disorder (DID) is fascinated by DID. (The ...
Alfred's user avatar
  • 19.3k
13 votes
1 answer
2k views

I'm looking for a short story I read 10-15 years ago about a man exploring post-apocalyptic Britain

The story involves a man exploring post-apocalyptic Britain. All the people have gone, and he doesn't know why. Nature is reclaiming the land. The bit that really stuck with me, although it wasn't a ...
Ellen Clarke's user avatar
9 votes
0 answers
114 views

Science fiction story from around 2010 whose title was something like "Angels at (something)"

I'm looking to identify a science fiction story I read in a magazine ages ago. I think around 2010, though it may have been a few years either side of that. It might have been in Analog, Asimov's, or ...
William's user avatar
  • 91
23 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is the time-travel story where "ugly chickens" are trapped in the past and brought to the present to become ingredients for a soup?

I read this short story in a collection about 30 years ago but it might be older than that. The main character has a "soup of the day" in his usual restaurant. He finds out it is mostly ...
Alfred's user avatar
  • 19.3k
16 votes
1 answer
2k views

Story about a future gang initiation - but there's a twist

I read this story in the 1980s in an anthology, I think. I thought it was by Laumer, but I don't see a familiar title in his ISFDB page. The story is about a new member being initiated into a gang. ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 51.6k
19 votes
1 answer
177 views

Short story - man in harsh environment in a chamber

It involves a man struggling to make his way through a harsh, arctic-like environment. He has to battle his way to a doorway or something like that. Finally he makes it to what proves to be an exit. ...
Sidney Williams's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
73 views

Short story where some children who move into a new house see ghosts, only to find out at the end that it was them trying to warn their past selves

I don't remember exactly when I read this. My memory is somewhere around when I was in middle school, so in the 1990s, as part of a collection of horror stories. The story had some children (I think ...
FuzzyBoots's user avatar
  • 230k
7 votes
1 answer
393 views

Children's SF story - kid with marbles defeats aliens

I read this story in the 1970s, in a school anthology (or maybe a magazine like Cricket. A young boy meets aliens (or alien robots?) while he is playing marbles alone. He interprets a bauble of the ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 51.6k
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

A short story in French about furniture that leaves a mansion by itself, and comes back some time later

I read this Fantasy short story decades ago. I read it in French in a collection. As in two of my previous questions, it was not a collection of Fantasy, just one Fantasy story among several ...
Alfred's user avatar
  • 19.3k
10 votes
0 answers
65 views

Story in an early 90's Horror Anthology re: demons in basement of new house

I've been trying to track down this Horror Anthology book, or the story. I believe I read it in summer of '92. It involves a brother and sister whose family move to a new house. Shortly after the ...
metal2342msncom's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
2k views

Mad scientist spoof - identical snowflakes

I'm trying to remember a short humorous story from Asimov's in the early 1980s (when Scithers was editor, I suspect). There's a mad scientist obsessed with making his mark, trying to do something ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 51.6k

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