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Use this tag when asking about a fictional work too small to be called a novel - usually less than 10-20 thousand words and no chapters.

2
votes
1answer
12 views

Short story about a man getting the wrong phone number (with old-style exchange) and being 'disappeared'

An old science-fiction-y story, at least 1970s, probably earlier. Silly, short, kind of like one of Ray Bradbury's throwaways or one of Phil Dick's goofier renditions. I think but am not sure that ...
36
votes
3answers
3k views

Short story about free will and a device which buzzes/lights up moments before you press it

I read this story about a device that lights up or buzzes or does something moments before it you press a button or something, effectively killing the notion of free will. I read the recently, online, ...
8
votes
0answers
59 views

A short story about a family on their way to see aliens

This was a short story about a family on their way to see aliens and a majority of the story is set in the car while the family discusses it. The mother is concerned that they will act like 'cavemen' ...
9
votes
1answer
89 views

Sci Fi Short story with girl at futuristic movie theater being kept from seeing a movie uncovers conspiracy by film companies

It was sci-fi short story or novella that I read in Analog, Asimov's or SF&F in the past decade or so. Set in a future extrapolation of our social-media, fan-centered world inside a future mega ...
7
votes
1answer
80 views

Children's story series about a chemistry set

In elementary school in the US in the 1970's, our teacher read to us from a series of stories about a boy who receives a chemistry set from a mysterious old woman. She then gives him recipes to make ...
6
votes
0answers
68 views

Short story in White Dwarf magazine about a travelling wizard and a village being terrorised by some kind of demon

I'm trying to remember the title and author of a short story in White Dwarf magazine from the eighties. All I can remember is a travelling wizard type arriving at a small village which is being ...
6
votes
1answer
115 views

Sci-Fi short story: Side with the most advanced technology loses [duplicate]

Looking for an old sci-fi short story where the side with the most advanced technology loses because of unexpected side effects of their high tech. The story is told from the perspective of the ...
9
votes
1answer
155 views

Short story about a man diminished by the news

Back in 1979, I read a short story in a science fiction collection about a man who was obsessed with the news. He constantly read, listened to, and watched the events of the day most of his day. Some ...
3
votes
0answers
52 views

Short story about a survivor in a very hot climate future NY

Interview magazine ran a short story about a person who went searching for cans of food on a ship mired in dried up New York's harbor, walking in the hot sun to the ship looking for a container of ...
8
votes
0answers
122 views

Early sci-fi short story of a man who wanted to be buried on Earth, but the cost was too high?

I am trying to find the name of a story I remember reading in an anthology some 50 years ago about a wealthy industrialist who wanted nothing more than to be buried on Earth. I believe this to be a ...
6
votes
0answers
81 views

Looking for sci-fi short story series about a woman who had a sentient computer chip or suit

The series of short stories I am trying to remember are probably from Analog magazine or perhaps Asmiov's or The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. I subscribed to these around 10 years ago. I ...
34
votes
1answer
4k views

Short story about interstellar travel gone wrong

Trying to find a story I read a couple of years ago in an anthology, not sure when the story dates from but likely to be recent - the last decade or so. The story has passengers travelling between ...
13
votes
1answer
170 views

Short story collection about extinct alien civilizations

About a year ago, I remember finding a website featuring a large number of fictional accounts of extinct alien civilizations (it might have been around 300). In universe, these were only a sample of a ...
4
votes
0answers
117 views

Short story where candidates in a competition used an online database to answer a question

This was a short story which included a competition, in which the participants had to use an online database to find the answer to a complex question. It was something like "What was the stock price ...
7
votes
1answer
187 views

Short story with alien parasite invasion on Earth

I read this when I was a teen, and it was in one of those Twilight Zone anthologies. I still can't find it. The short story was about an alien parasite invasion of Earth. The parasite would latch on ...
6
votes
0answers
108 views

Looking for 80's scifi comic about astronaut looking for Earth in ancient alien spaceship

I have been looking for a long while for the name of an 80's comic/graphic novel of which I once read a short section as a child. What I can remember is this: The story is about an astronaut who ...
10
votes
1answer
247 views

Short story about a guy getting a phone call from himself

I'm looking for an anthology about time travel that includes a particular story. The guy is in an apartment and gets a phone call from himself. It goes through a series of attempts at proving or ...
43
votes
1answer
3k views

Seeking a story about a subway train journey, through a universe made entirely of city

A man living in an underground city gets on his local subway train and keeps traveling, station after station, just to see where it goes. Nobody has ever done this before. The staff on the train (...
7
votes
1answer
166 views

Short story where Neanderthals are like supermen

Rough plot of a short story I'd like to identify: Neanderthals brought back to life by cloning. Neanderthals turn out not to be the dimwitted evolutionary dead-ends we Homo sapiens thought. ...
6
votes
1answer
113 views

Story about a family of farmers defending against a swarm of insects

I am trying to track down a short story (possibly from a sci-fi or fantasy anthology) that I remember reading in the late 1980s/early 1990s, with a plot broadly similar to the classic story "Leiningen ...
7
votes
1answer
179 views

Time traveler asks archaeologist for help in transporting a girl from dinosaur Earth to present day

Many decades ago, I read a short story about a time traveler who asks an archaeologist for help. He convinces the archaeologist that he can time travel by bringing him back a freshly killed dinosaur (...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

Short story about a female advertising executive tasked with increasing female military recruitment

The story I remember concerns a lady advertising executive in the future. Her firm is given a non negotiable assignment by the military to help increase female recruitment. She does this by ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

Short story about astronaut who finds God’s experiment

I read this story in the late 60s/early 70s. It’s about a lone astronaut who lands on a planet (I think) and sees plants, like in a garden but each plant is minutely different than the ones around ...
5
votes
1answer
105 views

A short story where a man experiences time reversal

A man experiences the reversal of time of the last few days where he relives an argument with his wife which leads to her death and he corrects it.
3
votes
1answer
121 views

Short story about a man who finds out that he's a robot

Looking for a short story that starts with a man waking up in his bed with his wife beside him. Throughout the whole story keeps thinking that something isn't right, that his life is boring, or ...
8
votes
1answer
97 views

Short story predicting online shopping and no one going outside anymore

I remember reading this short story when I was a child in the 1970s. I'm thinking it was in the Houghton Mifflin readers. Story was everyone didn't go out on the streets because of over crowding and ...
8
votes
1answer
188 views

Time travel where nothing can come back, not even information

If I remember right, this was a short story or novella. It was published either in the mid-50s, around Asimov's time, or sometime in the early '00. I read a lot of Asimov around then, as well as ...
7
votes
2answers
148 views

Short story collection, one about humans dwindling on a spaceship and another about testing a FTL device and landing on an alien planet

I remember them being part of an archive, a collection of short stories. Incredibly vague, I know, but I have some information that would be sure to make someone remember if they too have read some of ...
16
votes
1answer
156 views

Story about a person trapped in a burning building and time traveling

It was a short story, and I think it was featured on Escape Pod or one of the other sci-fi podcasts, but I can't find it in their archives. What I remember of the story: A man is attending a ...
29
votes
0answers
271 views

Spambot becomes self aware but every attempt to contact gets filtered

About 3-6 years ago I read a short story (online, I think) formatted as a series of emails sent by a spambot that had become self aware and was trying to make contact but, due to its origins, was ...
7
votes
1answer
189 views

80's-90's short story: nothing rhymes with orange

Growing up in the 80's and 90's, I read a sci-fi short story once about the human race being threatened by androids. The character in the story was talking to his friend about the androids, ...
18
votes
1answer
4k views

Aliens come to the solar system to speak with our sun

70's era (I think) science fiction story. Aliens come to the solar system to speak with our sun. They believe stars are sentient. First contact story but aliens are not much interested in humanity. ...
6
votes
1answer
95 views

What is the title of this short story about a person who receives a brain machine interface to change her mood after a brain tumor treatment?

I am looking for a short story I read a couple of years ago. As far as I remember the plot goes like this: A person with a brain tumor gets treated with an experimental treatment, that infects the ...
15
votes
2answers
649 views

Collection of science fiction short stories, one of them has an astronaut travelling to a planet with aliens breeding naked humans

I'm trying to find a book I read a very long time ago that I read at my local public library, didn't check it out but just flipped through and read parts of it there. It was an older looking book, my ...
6
votes
0answers
47 views

Short story: alien disguised as human, can't fool job recruiter [duplicate]

The synopsis I remember is: there is a job recruiter (I believe) that is able to identify an alien that looks like a human and after talking with the alien for a bit the alien heads out to perfect his ...
5
votes
0answers
68 views

Trying to find older SF short story/novella about a split telepathic human race

Pre-1990s short story (maybe novella) where half the human race is transported to a separate world (maybe Alpha Centauri?) with advanced technology, and half the human race remains on Earth and ...
12
votes
1answer
152 views

Trying to find a sci-fi short story about humans accidentally eating “hibernating” plant people

So I read this short story in the mid to late 90's and I am trying to find it again. I'm pretty sure I read it in my older sister's English textbook. I think it was included in the text. From what ...
6
votes
1answer
83 views

Novel (or perhaps novella) involving Minoan “jumping the bull” as metaphor for black hole like effect

Some time in the 1980's I read a novel that involved a protagonist discovering that the ancient Minoan practice of "jumping the bull" was actually a metaphor for an effect produced by some ancient ...
6
votes
1answer
101 views

Short story about a rebellious mage whose mother reverts him to childhood

I think it was a comedic fantasy short story. The mage grows up and heads off to challenge a more powerful mage, who turns out to be his mother. After the battle, she reverses his age until he is a ...
8
votes
0answers
77 views

Looking for a short story about an alien or robot looking for sources of food

I am looking for a short story about an alien or possibly a robot looking for sources of food. The story was read in a school english comprehension text book in the UK in the early 1980's. Story is ...
10
votes
1answer
97 views

Vignette where the narrator addresses the reader as if they are trapped in a dream world

I'm looking for a short-short story where the narrator directly addresses the reader, describing a far future world where many people have retreated into dream worlds and forgotten they're dreaming, ...
3
votes
0answers
95 views

1970s short story (fiction) about an uncontrollable box with a button. From a fiction Anthology I read in elementary school

Another sketchy recollection I'd like help with. The short story in question, which I read in the 1970s, concerned a box that was somehow getting out of control and could only be managed if someone ...
8
votes
1answer
109 views

Help identify fiction story from 1970s elem. school anhology

Sorry this is so sketchy. I read the story in a fiction Anthology collection in the 1970s when I was in elementary school. It's about an unusual boy who joins a school, apparently very withdrawn and ...
7
votes
1answer
74 views

Short story about children being trained/conditioned to work together to obtain food [duplicate]

This is a short story, probably from the 1960’s. It begins with a little girl alone in a large space. There is a machine there that will dispense food if she performs correctly for it. She learns ...
7
votes
1answer
176 views

Short story where criminals were imprisoned in a mountain with a huge spinning wheel [duplicate]

I remember reading this as a short story. Prisoners where entombed in a mountain. Inside the mountain was a huge horizontal wheel, and the prisoners' cells where like teeth or cogs at the edge of ...
12
votes
1answer
594 views

Short story where scientist invents a new telescope lens and alien kills him to prevent him from using it to see them

The story is about a scientist that invents a new telescope lens that lets him see aliens on the moon (I think). He brings his new lens to a "friend" that he has known for many years, and tells him ...
18
votes
0answers
160 views

Looking for a sci fi short story about space mutiny and a polite captain

Looking for a Sci-fi short story that I read once and would like to find again? It was about a spaceship where the captain is unusually polite in his verbal commands to the ship's AI, always saying "...
11
votes
0answers
152 views

Looking for scifi short story about people gathering to listen to agonized screams

Read a SciFi short story a few years ago and can't recall the title or some deeper details. The gist of it was that people gathered in a town square or other public place to regularly (daily?) listen ...
14
votes
0answers
271 views
+50

Short story where a scientist discovers all the secrets of the universe as he is dying

I read this story around 3 years ago, but it might have been written much earlier. The premise of the story is this: A scientist has spent his whole life researching some aspect of the universe but ...
10
votes
0answers
115 views

50's story: space travelers reach speed of light, universe implodes

It was probably a short story by one of the popular sci-fi writers of the 50s. As I remember it, the story unfolded in a space vehicle where two travelers had embarked on a mission to exceed the speed ...