Questions tagged [short-stories]

For about a fictional work too small to be called a novel - usually less than 10-20 thousand words and no chapters. Only use when identifying a work (use in conjunction with [story-identification] here) or when there is a tag ambiguity. If you are looking for a particular anthology of short stories, use the [anthology-book] tag.

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12
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0answers
122 views

Cold War short story where aliens use a cosmetic or perfume to make humans go extinct

I read this short story in the early 2000s in an anthology, but it wasn't new then (probably written during the Cold War). In the story, the world was rapidly becoming overpopulated. The main ...
18
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1answer
2k views

People recluded in a penal reservation, who believe they are on Mars but they are actually on alien-invaded Earth

This is a story from the 1950's. I recall that one of the characters states the date of the invasion as 1959. The story has some similarities to Oblivion. There is a group of people in a penal ...
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0answers
71 views

Short story about a father who dies and returns as a android/robot

Trying to track down this short story about a father who dies but comes back to life as a robotic version of himself. There was this traveling salesman who sold the household on this process whereby ...
14
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1answer
1k views

Searching for a short story about a man nostalgic for robot teachers

I'm searching for a short story (it's not Asimov's The Fun They Had) about a man who buys a vintage robot teacher and develops a relationship (I think the robot recites Shakespeare, and he spends more ...
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0answers
77 views

short story: nine billion names of god [closed]

Identify and explain the conflict. Include a direct quotation that shows the conflict. a) How does the conflict reflect an important issue or problem evident in our world today? b) Based on the ...
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86 views

Short story about man who time travels by crossing folds in his map. He meets a young woman and falls in love with her

This was in a magazine around 2000. A man gets in his car and realizes he drives to a different time by crossing the folds in his map. He meets a young woman who he falls in love with. He’s a old man ...
8
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1answer
155 views

Short story or novel set in a simulacrum of Christian Hell, populated by humans and non-human creatures

Identify the following short story or novel. I read the book in the 1990s in the German language. Very likely the book was published one or more decades earlier, a typical softcover Heyne or Bastei-...
3
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0answers
91 views

Scary story anthology where a kid gets killed by a table in his house while his parents are away?

I'm looking for a scary story anthology book where a kid gets killed by a table and his friend gets killed by a window, while his parents are away. It also had pictures showing the kids getting killed....
19
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1answer
2k views

Short story about humans serving as hosts to the larval stage of insects

I read this story in a sci-fi paperback magazine probably in the 1970s or 1980s, but it might have been published much earlier. It begins with a conversation between two young men (brothers?), the ...
4
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0answers
109 views

Short story book about a neighborhood with identical houses and identical children

A teacher read this story to us in elementary school, and I can't remember the book. It kind of follows the A Wrinkle in Time ball scene, where there's a neighborhood with identical houses and ...
14
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1answer
2k views

Story about a lazy boy who invents a robot to do all his work, tagline is “laziness is the mother of invention”

A very long time ago (1960's or 70's, story may have been much older) I read a short story about a lazy boy who invents a robot so it can do all his work for him, the tagline in the story is "...
10
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1answer
190 views

Trying to trace a dystopian short story about a man who can remember how good life used to be, in a world that’s forgotten what they have lost

This was a sci-fi short that I read in the early 90s. It starts with a man walking up to somebody who’s trying to roll a cigarette using weeds, and starts telling him how good real cigarettes used to ...
23
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1answer
2k views

Short story: invention of a device to view the past

While reading a question here whose answer was Stephen Baxter's "Light of Other Days" book, it reminded me of a short story I read with a similar idea. Probably read at least 30-40 years ago,...
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68 views

I’m trying to identify an anthology of short stories

There are only a few bits of different stories I remember: One was about two men, one being a dwarf. They would go on coaches and the dwarf would hide in the suitcase and then steal people’s ...
2
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1answer
81 views

Can anything be figured out about the setting of Fritz Leiber's “A Pail of Air”?

I recently read Fritz Leiber's short story "A Pail of Air" (available to read online at Project Gutenberg), after finding the story via this ID question. It's set in a post-apocalyptic world,...
11
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1answer
368 views

Short story involving ceramic pottery with a beautiful shine, and an inspector who is killed

An inspector from Earth is stationed on a planet where the inhabitants have a special way of making pottery with a perfect, compelling glaze, as if the vase has a "soul". That indeed turns ...
10
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1answer
132 views

Short story demonstrating the butterfly effect with time travel. It's similar to “A Sound of Thunder” [duplicate]

It's like "A Sound of Thunder" but when the guy goes back from the past to the present, his superiors ask him if anything worrying happened during the trip. He says, No. But they are all in ...
33
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1answer
2k views

Short story about survivors on Earth after the atmosphere has frozen

This is a short story I read maybe in the '80s. Earth has been thrown away from the Sun, probably due to a very large object passing through the Solar System, and the atmosphere has frozen in layers. ...
6
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1answer
994 views

Story about a boy who gains psychic power due to high-voltage lines

An old short story from the early 80s, in an anthology (I remember it was in German, but quite certainly a translation). Maybe 20 pages. It may have been much older, as high-voltage lines were a known ...
10
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2answers
3k views

An Asimov story where the fact that “committee” has three double letters plays a role

This is not really an SF question, but about a short story by Isaac Asimov, so I think it fits. In one of his many "mysteries", someone asks for a rather short word with three double letters ...
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91 views

Does Ted Chiang's Omphalos hide a second, less obvious meaning?

This is my first question and I must admit I haven't put much effort in making sure it is on-topic for the community, but I felt this was the right place to ask. I've read about the 2019 short story ...
12
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2answers
2k views

Story of a man who travels far into the future and kills off humanity, in a book of science fiction short stories

I can't remember this book of short sci-fi stories. The first of the two stories I remember is about a man who meets his friends and says that he is responsible for killing off the human species. He ...
11
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1answer
141 views

Short story: Major horse race must be “fixed” in order to prevent galactic economic disaster

This was a humorous short story that I most likely read in one of the "big name" US science fiction magazines sometime in the 1980s. The story concerns the arrival of an alien starship ...
19
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1answer
1k views

Short story about a boy who chants, 'Rain, rain go away' - NOT Asimov's story

Does anyone know the author of this? When I was a kid in the 1970s, I read a wonderful short story about a boy who chants 'rain, rain go away, come again some other day' whenever it rains on a day he ...
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0answers
85 views

Houseguest lies about seeing ghost

I found this in a short story compilation in the early 90's. A woman is a guest at a manor, and persuaded to sleep in a ballroom. Every night she sees a ghastly phantom of a woman appear, but afraid ...
7
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1answer
794 views

Mutineers force captain to record instructions to spaceship's computer but he leaves out “please”

The crew mutinies on a spaceship whose captain controls it with verbal orders. They test whether they can control the ship with recordings of the captain's voice with an order to increase orbital ...
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0answers
68 views

What is the relationship between “Coins” and “The Coins of Murph” by Leo P Kelley?

DavidW solved a recent story-ID question by identifying the short story "Coins" by Leo P. Kelley (1968; ISFDB entry), featuring a young man named Lank living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland ...
9
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2answers
759 views

1970s Post-Nuclear Holocaust Short Story

I read this short story in an American magazine in the early 1970s. (It doesn't sound like an Analog story, so it was probably Galaxy or Amazing, something like that.) The MCs name was Lank; he has ...
5
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1answer
111 views

1980s/90s “Analog” story set on a world where the flora grow wormholes

I'm pretty sure this was Analog, based on my memory of the internal art (more on that later), and the timeframe corresponds to the block of issues I can't find. The story is set on a world - I recall ...
51
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1answer
6k views

Old story about two cultures living in the same city, but they are psychologically blind to each other's existence

I'm trying to identify a story that I first read in an anthology in the mid-1980s. Checked it out from a library in Indiana. I have a very vague idea that this story might have been credited to Gordon ...
9
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0answers
75 views

Short story about man travelling in universe that changes every few hours [duplicate]

Trying to find a short story I read around 20 years ago. Probably from the 60s/70s, it's about a man in the Cold War, shot in an experimental rocket that goes into hyperspace or something. It ...
7
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2answers
168 views

Story concerning a mobile phone that contained the only non-DRM copies of all the world's literature

I remember reading this in Analog, some years back. Not all that many years - post-2000. The story involved a future in which all public domain literature had been removed from the public domain, and ...
15
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1answer
3k views

Short story: Buried sentient war machine reactivates and begins to dig out

A war machine of immense power, similar to Laumer’s “Bolos”, had been inactive after some long-ago war, but wakes up and begins to dig itself out, at the risk of bringing havoc to a now peaceful world....
19
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1answer
1k views

Short story set in an alternate timeline where space is privatized; National Geographic Society first on the moon; Analog SF&F

I recall a story in Analog SF&F where space was privatized, and not run by governments. Notable elements were that the National Geographic Society were the ones to first get to the moon. The Boy ...
10
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1answer
797 views

Short story about aliens who came to Earth using vacuum tube technology?

I remember that back in 80s I read a short SF story about aliens who crossed interstellar distances to arrive at Earth, and somehow managed it with only vacuum tube technology. The story was ...
34
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1answer
6k views

Man can't buy life insurance because the world will end when he dies

This is a classic, but for some reason I am completely blanking on it. Something I would have read more than 30 years ago, so late 1980s at the latest. In the story a man wishes to buy life insurance,...
14
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1answer
846 views

Story about a man waking up early from cryogenic sleep and eats his crewmates to survive

There is a ship travelling to a planet for a reason I do not remember. On their voyage, one man (let's call him Bill) is woken up a couple of years early. The ship was only stocked with food to last ...
11
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1answer
342 views

Short story about science fiction editor in thrall to a “witch doctor's” aspirations to sci-fi authorship

This was a self-consciously hokey story which I read in one of the magazines around 1989 or 1990. Primary POV character was a science fiction pulp magazine editor (I think… it may only have been a ...
7
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1answer
240 views

Short story about “assembly robot”

Looking for the author and title of a story about a man at a remote outpost in space, who spends a lot of time assembling "flat pack" machines that are delivered to him. To save time, he ...
26
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1answer
781 views

Tracking down a short story with the term “abnotechia” or “abtechnological”

Hi I am curious about the term "abnotechia" which I encountered in a short story that I am now trying to look up, but google searches are coming up empty. I am pretty sure the story appeared ...
10
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1answer
201 views

Short story ID: Scientists (?) trying to prevent people from entering a cave (?) and never coming out again [duplicate]

I'm a bit concerned that I am forgetting some details, but here is what I know: I THINK it was part of a collection called something like "World's best Sci Fi", probably 1974, 1975, 1976, or ...
5
votes
1answer
104 views

Why was the ship named Albireo in Hal Clement's “Hot Planet”?

In Hal Clement's short story "Hot Planet" (freely available to read online), a group of scientists and engineers are engaged in a mission on the surface of Mercury. Their ship is called the ...
11
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2answers
1k views

Story where space explorers find a planet that turns out to be Earth

I probably read it in the 80s or early 90s. I believe it was a short story, but almost definitely not more than a novella. Explorers come across a planet. I believe there may be some conversation ...
17
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3answers
4k views

Story about a robot creating a machine which violated the laws of Physics?

If I recall correctly, it was an Isaac Asimov story about a malfunctioning robot which created a machine which violated the laws of Physics, but I dont remember the name of the story and some details ...
12
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1answer
770 views

Title of short story; competitive bobsleds, “it's possible” catchphrase

I had this one in an anthology which I think I passed on many moves ago. I remember reading it first in the 80s, but it is likely older, as my mother was a school librarian and allowed me to pick ...
5
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1answer
134 views

Who are all the characters in Hal Clement's “Hot Planet”?

Hal Clement's short story "Hot Planet" is freely available to read online at Project Gutenberg. I read it the other day and was more or less able to understand what was going on, but the ...
5
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3answers
172 views

Classic SF short story: abductees realise they are alien child’s pets (not any previous answer to similar questions)

Can someone remind me of the title and author of the short tale from ‘golden age SF' in which a man (‘Man’, I recall) and a predictably nubile young woman (‘Woman’) find themselves in alien captivity. ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Sci-fi short story where the military build a computer in a space ship that becomes sentient

Around 1980 I read a short story about the military's attempt to build an intelligent computer. The author put in several diagrams of how the computer would be made. In the story, the army keeps ...
24
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1answer
3k views

Classic SF short story: alien trap disguised as the astronaut's home town

What is the title and the author (Asimov or one of that pantheon) of the classic short ('one idea') tale in which a spaceship crew arrives at what appears to be their home town on Earth. The fatal ...
3
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2answers
204 views

What is the significance of the name Azazel for Asimov's demon?

Isaac Asimov wrote a series of short stories about a rather dislikeable man named George Bitternut who claims to have a sort of pet demon, around two centimetres high, whom he can summon to perform ...

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