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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4
votes
1answer
296 views

60s (?) short story: aliens who created the humans have decided they're too dangerous and need to be merged back into the original alien race [duplicate]

About 20 years ago, I read a sci-fi short story that was at least 40-50 years old itself, where an alien race has contacted Earth to let the human race know that the alien race is the creator of all ...
1
vote
0answers
42 views

Weird story involving moving, talking standing stones [on hold]

Asking for a friend (really): OK, creepy story, crawling up a hedgerow to the top of a hill, standing stones which move, but freeze if you look at them directly. And they talk. Any ideas? Original ...
9
votes
1answer
85 views

Wealthy businessman makes a deal with aliens to remove non-productive people from Earth

I'm pretty sure I read this in Analog, in the early 1990s. As best I can recall the story is set on Earth; technology and society are not greatly different from current, except possibly for a certain ...
9
votes
1answer
77 views

Sci-fi story about a planet with a strange religion that makes people want to merge with a parasite and die [duplicate]

What's the name of a classic sci-fi short story about a planet where their religion makes people willingly merge with a parasite in a cave and die? Outsiders can't understand why anyone would do ...
28
votes
2answers
3k views

And then her head fell off

I remember reading a compilation of children’s/bedtime/scary stories as a child, one of which was about a girl and a boy who eventually got married. Throughout the short story, she had a black ribbon ...
5
votes
2answers
137 views

Story about characters on a space station where chemicals purposefully give people specific psychoses

I'm trying to find the title of a science-fiction short story where a number of humans live on a space station. Pretty sure the main character is male There's some sort of catastrophe or sabotage, ...
5
votes
1answer
116 views

Short story where a man stranded on Mars finds an abandoned Martian civilization with machines that try to provide him with food [duplicate]

It's an old story (maybe from the fifties?) about a man stranded on Mars, and about to die. He finds the remains of an ancient Martian civilization, now extinct. But the machines are still working, ...
8
votes
1answer
525 views

Identify a 1950's era story about a man left on empty planet who slowly becomes native

This is one of the two stories I read as a kid in the 1950's, early 60's which forever locked me into sci-fi. Spoiler alert! I want to identify a short story about a spaceman who ended up marooned ...
4
votes
1answer
119 views

Short story, dystopian famine, chemical food changes a man into a creature

Short story i read in late eighties in a thick hardback anthology. Dystopian future where everyone lives on a very basic meagre ration. Then there is some supply failure and a much further reduced ...
19
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2answers
4k views

Science fiction short story where aliens contact a drunk about Earth's impending destruction

Many years ago (~32 years) I read a short story about aliens trying to contact humans to warn them of the Earth's impending destruction, but they could only psychically link with a guy who stumbled ...
19
votes
1answer
766 views

Short story about a writing machine that learns from the writer and eventually writes on its own

I'm looking for a short story, probably written in first person, about a writer. His writing machine (a typewriter, I think) breaks down, so he buys a replacement. Typewriters aren't sold any more, so ...
15
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0answers
133 views

Temporary mind transfer for entertainment

In this story, people visit an agency where they can exchange bodies (or, if you prefer, minds) with other people at random. It's a popular form of entertainment, although it is controversial enough ...
7
votes
1answer
100 views

80's (or earlier) short story: little heads growing out of a man after he offended a witch doctor

A short story from an anthology, read in 1980's but it wasn't a new book. I can only remember one story, this man offended a witch doctor in a jungle village. From then on tiny little hairy black ...
6
votes
1answer
142 views

SF short story about alien trying to drive car

I am trying to rediscover a short science fiction story/article. It was about an alien on Earth trying to drive an ordinary automobile and of course finding the whole thing pretty much impossible, as ...
5
votes
0answers
99 views

Short story where society is divided by colored areas based on physical color & beauty

A few years ago, I found a short story in the App Store on my iPhone and can't remember the name. It was set in a dystopian world where everyone was beautiful & had amazing lives until they ...
9
votes
1answer
122 views

Short story/novella: alien stranded on Earth befriends girl, gives her a device protecting from rape, accidentally goes to the past and dies in Italy

I remember reading a short story (or novella?) that had a girl who was raised by some terrible relatives because her father went missing. She was befriended by an alien who was stranded on Earth and ...
5
votes
1answer
215 views

Short story about a pursuit across time-rates

This was in an anthology from way back in the 60s or 70s when I was just getting into SF - I've no idea who the author was. One man pursues another as he slips across different time rates - the only ...
6
votes
1answer
149 views

Itinerant doctor foils a would-be emperor's plans to commandeer old space technology to weaponize space

I most likely read this sometime between the late 1990s and 2010. I have no idea where I would have read it. It might be closer to novella length than a short story. It'd be neat to have it ...
12
votes
1answer
715 views

Ecological tale of a world covered by a forest that is all one organism

Interstellar explorers have discovered what looks like a very suitable planet for human colonization. The climate is good, there are no pathogens, and a beautiful forest grows abundantly. A charming ...
36
votes
3answers
2k views

Story about space travelers who stumble across an alien civilization only to realize it is heaven and God has gone insane

Does anyone know what book or series I am thinking of? Honestly, this may be a movie, a book, a short story, etc. I can't quite remember. I just remember someone describing a story in which space ...
15
votes
2answers
562 views

Young man hypnotized (willingly?) into thinking he was an alien

This is a story that I read in a sci-fi magazine in the mid-to-late 1980s, but it may have been published up to 15 years earlier, since I was going through several years' worth of issues at the time. ...
7
votes
0answers
294 views

Silly story where aliens cause everything inanimate (even shoes) to become intelligent and talk

This is another story I read in a science fiction magazine in the mid-to-late 1980s, probably published that decade. The premise is silly: Aliens arrive at Earth and disapprove of the way humans ...
2
votes
1answer
118 views

Short story about a game of baseball with aliens for the fate of humanity, involves a “trick ankle”

I asked about this nine years ago on the TV Tropes YKTS section, and got no answers. Recently, I decided to check again, and saw that I'd commented on an unaccepted (and possibly wrong) answer that it ...
7
votes
1answer
145 views

1970s-80s SF short story about a logger sent to a planet to fell the biggest tree

May have been in Astounding/Analog. The logger meets the spirit of the tree, cuts it down anyway -then all the houses of the village at its base begin crumbling. The tree had grown them for the ...
11
votes
1answer
298 views

Man crashes on planet and is treated nicely by natives, then nastily by another group. Possibly Isaac Asimov story

In the early- to mid-nineties I bought a book that was a collection of sci-fi short stories. One story was about a man that I think had emergency/crash-landed on a planet where he was treated nicely ...
13
votes
1answer
353 views

Short Story: Cold War setting. In orbit, two astronauts decide whether to launch nuclear counter strike (“MAD” scenario). Twist at end

I'm trying to recall a sci-fi short story. The setting is during the Cold War on a space station orbiting Earth. The way the story is set up it seems as if the astronauts are American, and Russia has ...
54
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0answers
903 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
2answers
357 views

Scifi short story-aliens with inscrutable thinking have taken over Earth, one alien in charge of each continent

The main character is a human who has risen to be the assistant to the alien in charge of North America because he can understand their inscrutable thinking a little better than most. It's a mystery ...
7
votes
1answer
308 views

Ghost house where the house only appeared once a year for it was the ghost

I remember reading a short story in a Marvel annual many years ago where a group of young adults were bet they couldn't spend a night in a haunted house. So they took the challenge and spent the ...
11
votes
1answer
328 views

Story about a robot that commits suicide when it can't make new memories

I remember reading a short story in an old anthology about a robot that has a limited memory that is filling up and will soon stop being able to make new memories. I think I remember that the robot ...
23
votes
1answer
3k views

A man in the desert is bitten by a skeletal animal, its skull gets stuck on his arm

I'm looking for a short story about a man in the desert who sees an animal out of the corner of his eye. He can't really see it, but it's really hot outside so he takes shelter in an old adobe hut but ...
24
votes
1answer
3k views

Short comic about alien explorers visiting an abandoned world with giant statues that turn out to be alive but move very slowly

A sci-fi short story, probably part of a comic sci-fi/horror anthology. I remember seeing it when I was 13, but still remember the twist ending clearly. Judging from the artwork, something around 60'...
6
votes
3answers
236 views

Planet of iron oxide inhabited by robots

I believe this is a pretty old sci-fi short story. As I recall, it takes place on a planet of iron and iron oxide (rust). The only inhabitants are robots. IIRC, a ship lands, or crash lands there, and ...
3
votes
0answers
101 views

Escaped dolls meet Sugar Jack

I am looking for an anthologized fantasy short story in which two dolls escape from their playroom into an enchanted forest. Living in the forest is a manic, toothless creature named Sugar Jack, who ...
9
votes
1answer
366 views

Curator working late discovers the night watchman is the vandal and the Egyptian gods are real

I’d love to identify a short story I read in an anthology that must’ve been printed in the 80s or 90s. The main character is a museum curator and she’s working late studying a statue of an Egyptian ...
7
votes
0answers
129 views

Short story about time traveller who brings virus from future

A short story about a time traveller from the future who brings a virus to cull the human race in our present. He muses on previous unsuccessful attempts and why more direct action is needed. He tries ...
10
votes
1answer
274 views

Looking for a Bradburyish story from Read magazine ca. 1970

I'm trying to find a story that I read around 1970 (my best guess would be 1968-1971) in Read magazine, which was a little magazine that we used to get in junior high school. The details are hazy at ...
15
votes
8answers
2k views

Short story with teleportation from Mars (or another planet) to Earth

Short story, definitely no later than the 1980s, but probably much earlier, in which there’s a chap on Mars (I think — could be the moon or another planet) in a base or ship (can’t recall which) that’...
6
votes
0answers
114 views

Black bird wreaks havoc

I once read a truly scary short story: a bird sits in a cage. Out of the sky comes a huge, dark bird. It enters the cage and after a few days(weeks?) the bird in the cage hatches a kind of monster ...
2
votes
1answer
175 views

Story by Aaron Bernstein about a man going to space at a speed faster than light and looking at the Earth of the past

An episode of G, a miniseries by Radiolab, about Einstein’s brain describes a story by Aaron Bernstein Einstein read in 1905 or earlier that inspired him to think of relativity. It’s not “Eine ...
4
votes
0answers
81 views

70s (or earlier) science fiction short story featuring a gem in a velvet box used for time travel or teleportation

I am trying to track down a science fiction story that I read in the mid-1970s and vaguely recall. This was a short story that was in a compilation book in my school library. The details that I ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Sublight Starship “passed” by FTL

I'm a huge fan of SF from the golden age of SF, so this could be a fairly old book. It was a story about a "generation" starship or sublight starship. I believe most of the story was about their ...
20
votes
0answers
541 views

Time travel to the crucifixion of Jesus and changing the past

The story I'm looking for is not Let's Go to Golgotha!, although there are a few core similarities. It's not Up the Line either. In the mid 2000s, I read in a magazine a science fiction short story ...
7
votes
1answer
236 views

Short stories book, including one where human-looking aliens betray themselves by not pulling up their pants when sitting

There is this one book that I've been looking for for years, my intermediate school teacher would read us a new short story when we had enough time. I know it's an old sci-fi book, it could have been ...
16
votes
1answer
972 views

YA paperback about a boy talking to an alien on his computer, alien asking for help

I read this short story in elementary school, 15-20 years ago. It was a small book, similar to Apple Paperbacks, but I've combed through lists of all their published works to no avail. It was ...
11
votes
0answers
110 views

Humanity as a galactic ring species [duplicate]

Short story, published before 1976. Humanity has spread along the circumference of the galaxy (apparently avoiding the core), and diversified. The main characters are a married couple of a hairless ...
9
votes
0answers
226 views

A tribe of telepathic male aliens produced by a tree. 1960s/70s short story

When the sentient aliens reach adolescence they mentally block out the rest of the tribe and die crossing a desert in a futile attempt to reach — we later learn — a similarly isolated female tribe and ...
9
votes
1answer
95 views

I'm looking for a Sci-Fi anthology from the late 70s. (the stories are probably older) [duplicate]

So, I had this book when I was about 6. I lost it around when I turned 8, (parents found it, and lets just say they weren't fans of SF) and haven't seen it since. Lately I've been wishing I could let ...
5
votes
0answers
94 views

Short story about a kid who turns out to be a robot?

I read this short story in a compilation of short horror stories for kids back in 2005-06. One thing I do remember is the title of this short story was a combination of numbers and letters, like “...
9
votes
1answer
497 views

Short story with a helmet that fits a guys face

I was 14 when I picked up a book from my school library which contained excerpts and short stories related to space travel and such. There was this particular story, the first one actually, where a ...