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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.

17
votes
4answers
844 views

Looking for story about rocks watching a city rise and fall, on their timescale

I remember a short story where two rocks are talking to each other, and during the conversation (on their timescale) a giant city rises from nothing, is built right up to the edge of the rocks, and ...
11
votes
1answer
321 views

Short story; businessman wants secret of immortality from an immortal man

I'm pretty sure that I first read the story in a sci-fi collection. I think the story takes place on a space station. There is a businessman who wields a great deal of power, who has managed to track ...
6
votes
0answers
51 views

The origin of the Moon: Short story

This is a Matheson-like story where the human race, once widespread in the galaxy, was beaten back to our home planet after a devastating interstellar war. The aliens won the war and the Moon -- an ...
10
votes
2answers
273 views

Sci-Fi short story possibly from a “Best of” anthology from the 1950s-60s about a space voyage with a secret engine activated via sex

I read it in the 1980s. I'm pretty sure it was from an annual science fiction short story anthology compilation, probably from sometime in the mid 50s to mid 60s. It was written in English and nothing ...
23
votes
1answer
634 views

Story about encounter with hostile aliens

This is a short story I read in the late 80s or early 90s in an anthology or collection. Here are the plot points I remember: A human spaceship encounters a ship with hostile aliens (HA). There may ...
10
votes
1answer
116 views

Short story about a lady visiting a conference for multiverse versions of herself?

I would appreciate some help finding a story I read on lightspeedmagazine.com whose title I've forgotten. The details I recall are: The lady had a job involving investigation in some form There is a ...
5
votes
0answers
89 views

Perpetual war sci-fi story from the 70s

So my dad was telling me the other day that he used to read a lot of short sci fi stories in the 70s and he mentioned one story in particular but has long since forgotten what it's called and who it's ...
34
votes
1answer
670 views

Man invents legalese to English translator

Classic sci-fi short story, can remember everything but the title. Almost certainly from the 50s or so. A guy invents a device that translates legal documents into plain English. He uses it on his ...
13
votes
0answers
186 views

Dystopian short story about a home computer, likely written 1970s (1970-79)

Looking for futuristic short story about a man who brings a new device home called a "computer" which soon takes an increasingly central role in its owner's life to the point of literally reaching out ...
8
votes
0answers
130 views

Short story where highways are used to manage violence in teenagers

The story follows a teen who is too scared of the highways (where violence and murder are encouraged) and is teased for acting like an old lady. One day, he has to get his license, gets on the highway,...
9
votes
1answer
401 views

Looking for author of short story about mechanical cow on space station

In the 1980's I read a short story in an anthology. The short story was called "Hey Diddle Diddle". It was about some guys in a space station (I think) one of which pilfered equipment to make a ...
14
votes
1answer
129 views

Short story with pianist who has to sacrifice too-heavy piano

I'm looking a story I read as a teen back in the seventies, in an anthology no doubt. The plot point that sticks with me is this: a young pianist who is moving off-world has to sacrifice the piano, ...
7
votes
0answers
167 views

Short story about inter-dimensional travel; a boy meets another version of himself, is infected by needle shaped alien life forms

I listened to an audio book a few years ago that contained a story about a boy who started seeing another version of himself in his room. At first he only saw the other, but as the story progressed ...
10
votes
1answer
162 views

Serpentine spaceship captain travels to start new religions

A serpentine alien travels from one solar system to another to spread his gospel of universal love. He is assisted by a First Mate who doubts the efficacy of his captain's program. They land in a ...
-3
votes
0answers
67 views
5
votes
1answer
109 views

Short story about nuclear war and a rock band? [duplicate]

I read this short story as a kid 25-30 years ago at a minimum. Details in my description may reflect that time gap. I'm at a loss for the title or author, but I'd like to read it again as an adult. ...
11
votes
1answer
176 views

Short story: Young girl living alone on space station about to crash into the Moon

I don't really remember the context of where I read this story. It could have been online, but, if so, it would have been at a notable site. It may have been in a collection, too. I think I read it ...
7
votes
0answers
131 views

Short story called “The Itchy Teeth”

About 30-40 years ago, I read an unsettling story called "The Itchy Teeth". Here's how I remember it: There is a boy whose teeth itch. His mother is irritated by the constant sound of her son ...
9
votes
0answers
118 views

1970s short story about a man 'murdered' by his 'home theater' system?

This story features a detective showing up at a dead man's house to investigate his death. The man died from exposure, he was watching a documentary about arctic wolves, and as the house projected the ...
12
votes
1answer
821 views

1970s short story about a famous hunter who is cloned and will die after three days?

As I remember it, the protagonist is looking inside his window late at night at himself inside his house/apartment. Only over the course of the story does he realize that he is a clone created to kill ...
10
votes
0answers
99 views

70s (or earlier) story about human evolution (devolution) and conflict between human species

I recall a rather grim short story/novelette read during my teens (early to mid 1970's) from either a magazine or anthology, so could be written prior to 1970. The setting was either future Earth or ...
33
votes
2answers
3k views

Short Story About Population Control Gone Horribly Wrong

I'm trying to locate a short story I read 30 years ago about a public relations guy who is hired to help the government develop a program to reduce the population. He comes up with several ideas ...
11
votes
0answers
1k views

Hardcover YA Series from the 1980's: starship pilots keep colonists in sleep; planet where everything is disassembled

The stories I read were in my grade school library in the mid 1980's. The series was like an anthology with each story published in its own hardcover. (Rather than being a single novel split up into ...
14
votes
1answer
627 views

Short story with mechanical ecology on future Earth [duplicate]

A spaceship went awry and traveled to the far future. The few people aboard find themselves looking at a gray, steamy Earth. A landing party explores a relatively cool region (Alaska?) and finds it ...
4
votes
2answers
482 views

Short story about an obsolete robot

A short story about a wheeled robot that is in turmoil over its apparent obsolescence.But finds a way to go on. I think humans are long extinct at the time this story is set in.
-1
votes
1answer
101 views

Sci-fi short story about beautifying technology

There's a story (or Twilight Zone episode) where there's a technology that can make everyone beautiful. The story is about a musician who chooses not to and becomes an outcast. It wasn't Scott ...
7
votes
0answers
119 views

Short story series about a woman with a sentient computer chip or suit

The series of short stories I am trying to remember are probably from Analog magazine or perhaps Asimov's or The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. I subscribed to these around 10 years ago. I ...
23
votes
2answers
509 views

A short story about very hostile architecture in an office building

I think I read this in middle school to high school, which places it in the mid to late 90s. It was in English. The protagonist was realizing that a particular office building, I think in the United ...
11
votes
1answer
181 views

Online short story, where the program handling optimization of ordering decides it has to eliminate humans that order unpredictably

I read a short story recently online (within the past year, I think). It features a company similar to Amazon (maybe by name, but I can't remember), that sells and delivers just about everything. ...
8
votes
0answers
135 views

Everyone wakes up without memory and dismantles monuments to the past

A man wakes up without memory in a city that is strange to him. Everyone else is in the same situation. Without leaders they set to work dismantling the monuments of the past. He is part of a crew ...
12
votes
1answer
233 views

Very creepy short story by Lord Dunsany

I remember a very creepy short story by Lord Dunsany, set more or less in the real world - the reader will hope it is less. I read it during the previous millennium, probably in a book of stories by ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Story with a time-loop where a man sees someone who turns out to be himself

I read a short story in the late 70's or early 80's, but cannot remember the title or the author. In the story a man opens a door in either a house or room and sees someone in the distance. He goes ...
5
votes
1answer
239 views

Bishop Berkeley's ideas put to the test

Bishop Berkeley (who, however, is not credited in the story) is known today for his idea that material things only exist because we think about them, that mind is truly more important than matter. ...
13
votes
1answer
180 views

Novelette: long lost Gypsy homeland returns but then an American city vanishes

I read this in some anthology in UK in the early 1980's. It could have been a longish short story. Plot I can remember:- An explorer is in a jeep (Dead Sea area possibly but I'm not sure) and ...
2
votes
0answers
124 views

Short story where the rich live in towers and the poor live on the ground in the gloom

The plot: Cities have grown very tall and the rich live in the sky in the towers and the poor live on the ground where there is no sun. The families that have the skill and nerve to walk outside at ...
11
votes
1answer
429 views

An astronaut drops candy wrapper on planet surface - “slime” seeking phosphorus almost gets it

That's all I can remember; a short story that begins with an astronaut in a landing party dropping a candy or crisp wrapper on the planet's or moon's surface. Unknown to them, there is life on the ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

Old short story about climbing the toughest mountain in the known universe

Sometime in the 1980s, in a science fiction anthology (English language, hardback, checked out from a library), I read a short story that went along the following lines: The story is written in the ...
10
votes
0answers
216 views

Oldish short story where a CEO's daughter gets an experimental treatment that's turning her into an alien

I read this one or two (or more) decades ago, I think in Omni magazine. It was told from the father's perspective; he's the CEO of a company that finds alien technology and is studying it. His ...
21
votes
1answer
318 views

Short story about war with aliens where humans never show their overwhelming superiority

First contact is made on a new planet. The natives attack with spears. Rules of engagement are proportional response. Natives invent arrows, guns, cannons, tanks, missiles; the response is always ...
40
votes
1answer
4k views

Is there a calendrical error in Asimov's “The Last Trump”?

In the short story "The Last Trump" by Isaac Asimov, there is a point where one of the characters explains that the year is calculated differently by various different cultures: "Nor is that all," ...
5
votes
1answer
162 views

Research lab punches hole through space into vacuum

An accident at a research lab has resulted in hurricane-force winds converging on it from all directions. Air goes in, doesn't come out: Evidently the scientists, who were exploring the properties of ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Short story about people living in a different time streams

I have been trying to quote the sci-fi short story about the world in which people live in different time streams - some of them are slow, others extremely fast - to the former ones the fast people ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Planetary colonization by human modification

SF short story about an attempt to colonize a planet by modifying successive generations to enable them to live on the surface’s hostile environment. The main character is a modified human but cannot ...
4
votes
0answers
117 views

Science fiction/fantasy short story: humans strap on wings to ascend a huge alien moutain

Looking for the name of an old SFF short story where humans strap on wings to attempt to ascend a huge alien mountain by riding/flying the prevailing winds.Probably 1980s but read it when i was very ...
9
votes
0answers
119 views

South African boy grows up in indecision, and stands aside while shaman obliterates the Earth

A boy grows up in rural South Africa, raised partly by his white family and partly by the local black people. He is particularly impressed by the tribal shaman. As he grows up and travels, he has many ...
8
votes
1answer
236 views

Short story where heroes in a show are killed and then restored via medicine to full health for entertainment

A short science fiction story where medical science has enabled almost instant body reconstruction, causing a reality-based form of entertainment where you can vote for your hero or villain to be ...
9
votes
1answer
88 views

Short story where TV audiences vote on the plot points of live serials

I would have read this in an anthology in the 1980s, but the book was borrowed from an older cousin, so it's probably from the 1970s or earlier. I don't really remember anything about the book itself,...
7
votes
1answer
120 views

Metal-softening tool [duplicate]

A pair of alien "door-to-door salesmen" comes down to Earth and meets a citizen. They show him some interesting but unsuitable wares, and then a small, cylindrical device that softens any metal that ...
16
votes
0answers
354 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
72 views

Collection of sci-fi short stories for younger readers

I've been looking for this for several years, and bugs me that I can't find it... It was a collection of about 7 - 8 sci-fi short stories geared towards younger readers that I read in the early 80's ...