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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8
votes
1answer
384 views

Short sci-fi story about mind control hijacking

I read an excellent SF short story about 20 years ago. It started as a man being chased by the police. The man himself had had his mind taken over by another 'being'. These 'beings' were hunted by ...
14
votes
1answer
932 views

Short story about a sentient disease from a Jovian moon

I'm trying to identify a hard science fiction short story I read in a hard-copy book anthology (Update: actually ClarksWorld) roughly 5 years ago. My impression is that it was a relatively new story ...
11
votes
0answers
110 views

Poignant story of forgetting … feels like Ellison

Short story: A man arrives in an isolated room, in shock of some sort brought on by his travel there. Temporary amnesia. There's someone else (AI/machine/hologram) already there, also not remembering ...
6
votes
0answers
57 views

Short story where aliens give boy super powers which he uses to destroy the world, dies alone [duplicate]

I'm actually trying to pin down an anthology and this is the only story I can remember being definitely in it. A boy (maybe called Christopher) is visited by aliens who agree to carry out his every ...
6
votes
1answer
87 views

Two sorcerers duel whose willpower increases with distance [duplicate]

This is a short story I read more than 20 years ago, but I don't recall at all where. It opens with a pair of sorcerers (with innate, mental-based powers like telekinesis) competing. One pulls down ...
11
votes
0answers
141 views

Short story about two spaceships moving in opposite directions

I'm looking for a sci fi short story: It is told in a slightly surreal dreamscape kind of way. Two identical spaceships are headed in opposite directions, each carrying a solitary person one of ...
14
votes
1answer
812 views

Short story about painters erasing a neighborhood

I don't remember much about this story. I think I read it in the late 80s, but it could have been old at that time. It's about a group of house painters that are re-painting a neighborhood but as they ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

An old sci-fi story about an Earth ship orbiting Jupiter

Years ago, in the 90's, I read a sci-fi story in an airline mag. It was about an Earth ship orbiting Jupiter where they sent Earth men down to the surface transforming them into these enormous Jupiter ...
3
votes
1answer
150 views

Help me identify a science fiction story from the 60's or 70's. It begins with some post-human types having a “ball”

It is then explained that the "ball" is about a mile in diameter. I don't remember anything about the plot – just this opening gag line. It was in an anthology I read as a kid. Possibly by a well-...
21
votes
1answer
2k views

Short story identification: I heard it through the grapevine

I read a short story long ago about a scientist experimenting with plants. The scientist found that plants would react to murder or torture being carried out on people, and used that effect to help ...
4
votes
1answer
127 views

Looking for short story with main character in reverse time

It is a perfunctory cats and mouse "fugitive" scenario in a small town BUT the "mouse" is living in "reverse time" and it is handled extremely competently. I'm sure it was an early early early P.K.D. (...
7
votes
1answer
105 views

60's-70's SF short story, worldwide transport beam system goes wrong, a man gets an upside down head

I read this approx 1990 but I think it was in an anthology with a lot of stories from the 1960's and 1970's. A man steps into his daily transporter booth and sits down, a few seconds later he goes to ...
4
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0answers
83 views

Collection of short stories by different authors

I am trying to track down a volume of short stories by different authors. I am certain that one was "The Small Assassin" by Ray Bradbury, probably the first story in the volume. I am pretty certain ...
10
votes
2answers
460 views

Short story: Norse command generation(?) or battleship at war

Short story: Generation(?) or battleship based on Norse myth culture. Read in last 15 years, perhaps in The Year's Best Science Fiction edited by Gardner Dozois. Not a sure if it was a generation ship ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

Interstellar culture resolves disputes with simulated duels; antagonist cheats using telepathy

The story begins in media res with as the viewpoint character fights a duel on a frozen planet. They combatants are wearing something between a power suit and a single-person armoured vehicle; ...
5
votes
1answer
117 views

What is the short story about the science fiction writer who becomes trapped in his story?

What I remember: I'm pretty sure it was in an asimov short story collection A group of SF writers are discussing ideas/stories/characters something, one tells a story about a man who is struck by ...
27
votes
1answer
2k views

1980s or earlier sci-fi short story where a planet is calling to a woman and she becomes an astronaut to travel there

The story I'm looking for had a female protagonist, a young girl (unattractive and unloved) whose ambition is to become an astronaut and travel to the stars. There is a particular planet that is "...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

In the story 'the dead past' How would Arnold Potterley blackmail Foster if necessary?

In Isaac Asimov's the dead past how would Arnold blackmail Foster? As seen In these lines: Let the youngster gather knowledge. Let him think a small gathering would be his limit. Having taken ...
4
votes
1answer
227 views

In the story ‘the dead past’ What did Arnold Potterley really want to see in the chronoscope?

In Isaac Asimov's "The Dead Past", Arnold convinces Foster to build the chronoscope in his house even though he knows that his wife would want to see her dead daughter and may find that maybe she died ...
13
votes
1answer
644 views

Looking for title of short story about octopus that develops intelligence on spaceship

The story is about a spaceship sent from Earth that includes a intelligence-enhanced octopus along with regular octopuses. The crew dies, leaving the octopuses to survive and evolve alone. The smart ...
21
votes
1answer
1k views

Story with shapeshifting Martians identified by sneezing?

I'm trying to remember a classic-era short story about a Martian landing I read in an anthology sometime during the late 1980s-early 1990s. It was an old anthology, probably from the 60s. I don't ...
9
votes
1answer
451 views

British Virtual Reality story from 1990s or early 2000s

The story I am trying to rediscover was set in a future London where virtually everyone had been recreated in a Virtual Reality version of the city, overlaid on the physical city, but there was a ...
6
votes
1answer
128 views

Short story about artificial intelligences that take years to develop [duplicate]

People can buy some small, baby AIs, that live inside a virtual world. Initially, the AIs cannot do much, have an intelligence similar to a puppy, but as the years pass, they gain more and more ...
8
votes
0answers
138 views

Trying to locate an old scifi short story about people permanently locked in rooms

I remember having read as a child a short scifi story with the following approximate plot: We follow some young guy who has been locked all his life in a room/small apartment with a TV and some books....
10
votes
1answer
390 views

Short story about a drug that makes people live as slow as trees [duplicate]

I read this story in Omni magazine about 25 years ago. In researching a few months ago, I believe I found info on this site, but can’t find again, and browser history was cleared. Written in the 40’s, ...
8
votes
1answer
111 views

Looking for Soviet era sci-fi short story about a man's sight and hearing being switched

Basically the story was how in the future consciousness is transported from system to system by series of relays, and one man who went the furthest/spent the most time out of body came back to find ...
10
votes
1answer
741 views

Murder investigation on planet where people express their feelings with musical instruments worn on a necklace

Where in a gov official is sent to a distant planet and gets involved with a murder investigation. On this planet the people never express emotion directly, instead use musical instruments worn on a ...
5
votes
1answer
100 views

Short post-pandemic story, the last adult gets trapped by feral kids

A long ago read, maybe 1975 approx.; I read this short story in an anthology. A disease (or space radiation) has wiped out all adults and the oldest survivors are aged about eight. Protagonist has ...
3
votes
1answer
119 views

Short story: Ironic ending is a note ‘Send more chickens like that’ [duplicate]

A short story, mean farmer who finds a hole/cave that has aliens/monsters who give him gold in exchange for food Provides chickens Ends up disappearing Wife goes to cave/hole and receives a note ...
15
votes
1answer
155 views

Seeking magazine short story c. 1950-1965 about man entering region of artificially distorted space on spaceship and deforming whilst in it

I'd like to find a short story from one of the SF magazines — possibly Astounding/Analog— probably before 1965. I saw it a few years ago while flicking through second-hand magazines in a ...
7
votes
1answer
117 views

Short satiric/dystopic story: “boot up” dialog while restoring a brain dump to virtual space - music copyright agent

I recall fairly recently seeing a short story that was the "boot up dialog" while a stored "brain dump" was being first revived into a virtual computational state: being "uploaded". During the process,...
7
votes
1answer
172 views

Identify short story arguing against computationalist theory of mind

I read a short story years ago whose name and author I cannot now recall. It was an attempt at a reductio ad absurdum argument against "computationalist" theories of mind/consciousness, which posit ...
5
votes
1answer
607 views

short story, post-WW3, a girl, a lost letter

I've used the search function for phrases that, to me, should find results if a question about this story has been asked before. But sorry if this is a duplicate and I just didn't search well enough. ...
29
votes
1answer
3k views

90s (or earlier) short story concerning two mathematicians and “dark numbers”

I think I read this short story 20, 30 years ago. The story concerns two mathematicians in a dark dystopian future. The one is struggling with some project, and can't figure out how to get the thing ...
7
votes
1answer
712 views

Sunspots caused by intelligent life

Longish short story or short novella. I originally read it in an anthology compiled by Isaac Asimov. (I don't think the actual story was an Asimov) Story about intelligent beings native to stellar ...
8
votes
1answer
921 views

Short story about a Martian invasion that starts with a mysterious set of stores in major cities

The story is about these mysterious stores that sell products that do not break and make life easier. The population becomes dependent on these products. It was part of a collection, I want to say ...
14
votes
0answers
107 views
+50

A story about a doctor who travels to a parallel universe to seek a cure for bubonic plague

Recent news has been reminding me of various things I've read about the Black Death, including a story I believe I only saw once, and never stumbled across again. I encountered it over 30 years ago, ...
5
votes
0answers
113 views

50s/60s short story, scientist invents a device linking the minds of asylum patients, therapy seems successful but several characters jump out windows

Search for the title of a short (possibly 'short short') story from the 1950s or 1960s. I cannot remember the author. A scientist/psychiatrist invents a device that allows him to link to the mind of ...
10
votes
1answer
845 views

Short story with a cult built around dolls for people living in bunkers

This was a short story with a Ray Bradbury vibe, centering around a boy and girl hunting rabbits and walking away from the adults. It also featured information about adults living in bunkers and ...
3
votes
0answers
70 views

looking for science fiction short story about boy and friends who jump through planet gates to watch star explosions

This story is relatively new. It's short probably from one of the most known sci/fi magazines (Asimov, Analog, The magazine of fantasy and science fiction, Clarkesworld) I just read it earlier this ...
8
votes
1answer
198 views

Short story; invasion by timelike aliens averted by a handy native fixing their ship

Trying to find a short science fiction story where an alien race arrives from a parallel time world which is not spacelike but timelike. They are stuck in a valley and need someone from a near ...
5
votes
0answers
95 views

Short story about “truth-seeker” mathematicians, probably about topology or Boolean algebra

I read this probably about 7? years ago but it was probably published earlier than that. It was in the back of a book of short stories. I don't remember anything about the title or the cover, just ...
7
votes
1answer
298 views

Short story about creating a fake alien to scare people into cleaning up Earth

Earth has a serious pollution problem. Story is about a small group (couple?) of humans who create a simulacrum of an alien disguised in the body of a human. Purpose is to have it discovered and ...
1
vote
1answer
102 views

Spaceship on Planet with No Government [closed]

I am looking for an old short story I read many years ago about a spaceship that lands on a planet and no local person seems to notice or care about the spacecraft being there. The people are ...
4
votes
0answers
89 views

A short story involving discrimination based on size

I am trying to remember the title of a story I read as a kid. The story, set in the future, revolves around individuals that chose to reduce their size or have kids of smaller than usual stature ...
8
votes
1answer
260 views

Late 70s-early 80s Pocket Books “Best of” science fiction author series, who was included?

In the late 1970s - early 1980s there were at least two publishers putting out "The Best of" single author short story collections. Del Rey was kind enough to provide a catalog of the books in the ...
14
votes
1answer
564 views

Science Fiction Short Story - Trader tries to sell movies to aliens, but learns that they find preachers more entertaining

I am looking for a science fiction short story that I read perhaps 20 years ago or so, probably part of a much older anthology. I thought it might be by Isaac Asimov and have searched through his ...
4
votes
0answers
104 views

Short story with “sky” in the title

I'm looking for a short story in which people know only a virtual existence in separate underground cells. In the ending, perhaps because a real war is waging on the earth's surface, the narrator's ...
5
votes
0answers
88 views

Short story about a woman living in a plague/natural disaster

I am looking for a short story I read in middle school (so probably around 2007 to 2008). It is about a young woman who has recently moved somewhere warm, I believe it was Florida. However, some ...
8
votes
4answers
852 views

Old sci fi story about a ship that arrives on an alien planet and watches evolution from bacteria to whatever comes after man

I've been trying to remember a short story which I read in the 1980s in a sci-fi anthology. I recall a ship arriving an alien planet and watching as evolution from bacteria to fish, reptile, mammal, ...

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