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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
7
votes
0answers
120 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
81 views

Short story about a ghost, possibly written in the 1960s by a woman

I am a librarian hoping to help a patron. The patron believes this science fiction/fantasy story was written in the 1960s by a housewife with four kids. The story might possibly be titled "Girl in ...
1
vote
1answer
28 views

1980s short stories abou female warrior / wizard pair

This is driving me nuts. Back in (I believe) the 80s, in SF&F magazine, there were several short fantasy stories about a pair of women, one a warrior, the other a wizard, and they traveled their ...
20
votes
1answer
1k views

Name of short sci-fi story involving a musician who is punished for listening to Bach

I read a short story a long time ago and I can neither remember the title nor the author. The main character is a musician. He is sequestered and allowed to play all day on some kind of a fantastic ...
14
votes
1answer
347 views
+250

Story Where Everyone Takes Nootropic Drugs

I remember reading a story about where everyone used cognitive enhancement drugs to perform intellectually. The main character had a daughter that used them (in law school?) but they were earlier ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

A story about an astronaut on Jupiter?

Short story about an astronaut on Jupiter, describing him walking around under heavy atmosphere & gravity, wearing a diving-type space suit. Probably written in the 1950s.
18
votes
1answer
186 views

Time traveler tells historical figures of their importance just before death

I'm trying to remember / find a short story (a few pages, if that) about a time traveler (possibly rogue(?)) who meets important historical figures just before their death and informs them of the ...
7
votes
0answers
110 views

Story about an Arthurian knight who forces himself to volunteer for everything

I'm looking for a fantasy story about a Knight of the Round Table with Impostor Syndrome (they don't call it that). He's scared of being found-out, so he volunteers to do every quest, fight every ...
12
votes
0answers
309 views

Sci-fi short story about a high value prisoner who is actually in control

A friend of mine lent me a short story a few years ago. It involved a high value political/war prisoner in a prison in space (perhaps he was the only prisoner?). The wardens are trying to interrogate ...
5
votes
0answers
95 views

Short story: Two people who travel across the galaxy and eventually meet again at the same time and place

A short story where two people fall in love, but because of work or something they each travel in different directions across the galaxy at relativistic speeds, and because of time dilation they are ...
6
votes
2answers
223 views

A short story about finding a planet where there is a great hall full of statues of deities

There are a group of humans that find—on a planet—some kind of great hall (possibly in ruins), full of strange statues that seem to resemble various forms of the messiah, both human and alien like. ...
6
votes
0answers
48 views

Children's story with magic chocolate pieces and a king whose phone is as big as his desk

I remember a story from a 1980s children's magazine (probably one of my younger brothers' subscriptions, so likely the late 1980s) about two friends—a boy and a girl, who break a chocolate bar in half,...
8
votes
1answer
98 views

Short story about humans -> machines -> disembodied spirits

I've been scouring the internet trying to find a science fiction piece I remember reading when I was in elementary school. It was very short and about how humans will evolve into machines leaving our ...
6
votes
2answers
165 views

Story about an endless source of meat [duplicate]

I remember reading a short story at some time in the 1990s which featured a regenerating organism which was used for meat. Workers would carve the meat off of it. They may have sent the meat through ...
10
votes
1answer
154 views

20th century fantasy story with protagonist at the court of a child empress [duplicate]

This is definitely not The Neverending Story! This story was probably read sometime in the last millennium (possibly in the 1980s) in a science fiction or fantasy magazine that probably had large ...
5
votes
0answers
120 views

Short story where the discovery of God makes the newspaper headlines

I'm looking for a short story about the discovery of God by scientists that makes the newspaper headlines. The story ends a with headline like: God dead; is not able to alter anything. 80s perhaps?
12
votes
1answer
260 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
894 views

What does the world of of Ted Chiang's “Tower of Babylon” actually look like?

Can someone visually explain the world from the 'Tower of Babylon' story? Where does the sun go at night if the world is a cylinder? Is the sun outside/inside of the cylinder or on the same level as ...
26
votes
3answers
627 views

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 ...
6
votes
1answer
124 views

A story where prisoners could be remotely controlled as laborers

I remember reading this story, maybe in the 1990s, where condemned prisoners were not killed, but their minds erased and their bodies put to work. Miners (or whoever needed) could rent such bodies to ...
9
votes
1answer
219 views

Short story, maybe by Budrys: unpleasant man makes himself conspicuous to attract aliens

Short story about an unpleasant character who claims that he acts the way he does to attract first contact with aliens. At the end of the story contact is made with the aliens and they are captured ...
10
votes
1answer
220 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
398 views

Crab Nebula short story from 1960s or '70s

An alien, though human like, race escapes from their dying world on a FTL ship and land on Earth in prehistory, settling peaceably and mating with the natives (possibly in Ancient Egypt). The story ...
11
votes
1answer
757 views

The tooth-tapping time traveler

I seem to recall a short story of a time traveler who would tap out a code on his tooth to move through time and space. It starts with him discovering that someone had put him in a closed loop ...
29
votes
1answer
4k views

Old short story where the future emperor of the galaxy is taken for a tour around Earth

This short story is about a future emperor of the galaxy who is brought to Earth for what he thinks is a tour. A guide takes him around Earth on horseback and keeps saying “your life is in my hands”. ...
5
votes
1answer
78 views

Conan story with a wizard's wall of fire

I'm pretty sure at some point in the past I read a Conan story (could be from Howard or a later author) which features a scene something like the following: Conan leads an army against an opposing ...
8
votes
2answers
159 views

Short Story or Novella About Observing the Future [duplicate]

Trying to identify a story: I read it in an anthology during the 80's. The anthology may have been older than that. Narrator is sent by an organization to view the future. He does this on multiple ...
6
votes
1answer
149 views

Science fiction story or novel: humans do not leave apartments, communicate via two-way television, “McCloo” mentioned

I once read a concise, printed description of a science fiction short story or novel. I never read this short story or novel. The story's central idea: a future civilization in which humans lived in ...
13
votes
1answer
240 views

2 War machines survive the destruction of humanity, try to build a robot to repair themselves

The story is about 2 war robots who have survived a war that wiped out humanity world-wide. There may be more of the robots functional elsewhere, but since the long-distance communication robots ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Short story (+radio play?) in which astronauts outside their ship slowly drift apart in space

Looking for a short story in which the crew of a spaceship for some reason find themselves outside the ship, drifting apart in outer space. They can communicate via their radios but are individually ...
5
votes
1answer
148 views

Isaac Asimov short story: circa 1976, male astronaut saves space station inhabitants during solar storm

I've read through several in-print lists of Isaac Asimov short stories, and have been unable to identify one short story. It may have been published in THE SATURDAY EVENING POST around 1976. In the ...
6
votes
2answers
180 views

identify “hard” science fiction short story astronaut hides in parade crowd, evades broadcast reporter, was radio drama

In Canada and the United States, FM and AM rebroadcasts of "old" science fiction and fantasy short stories can be heard. Please identify the following short story: The radio program ends with a live ...
49
votes
0answers
824 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 ...
22
votes
0answers
468 views

Short story about a young man stranded alone on Mars who runs out of air

I read this story in approximately 1979 (plus or minus a year); I found it in an anthology when I was systematically reading my way through all the SF in my library's YA section. Note that the book ...
20
votes
2answers
3k views

Inventor that creates machine that grabs man from future

Discussing the question "Do you consider yourself superior to people in the old days?," poster Matthew here is looking for the title and author of a short story from a scifi anthology with this plot: ...
5
votes
0answers
66 views

Short story where a snail-like alien creature preys upon the protagonist in the end [duplicate]

The description of the story may be a little bit wrong since I read this story many years ago. Also, the short story is not recent (thinking maybe written in the 50s or 60s) and it is science fiction/...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

Short story about Nobel Prize winning scientists that drop out when they realise they were incorrect

It's a short story that I read in an anthology a few years ago. The premise is several scientists are preparing to go to Geneva to accept the Nobel Prize for their work in astrophysics. But one of ...
16
votes
1answer
2k views

Intelligent Ants in the Amazon

What's the sf short story where an entomologist discovers a swarm of intelligent ants that collect butterfly and moth eggs for him? But then realizes they are extremely dangerous? (I think they might ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Short story by Sheckley about a man from the future who radiates love and lust

When I was young, I read a collection of Robert Sheckley's short stories. I know it contained "Can you feel anything when I do this?", but that's not the story I'm looking for. It's been a long time ...
5
votes
1answer
167 views

Short story where a man is stranded on an island on another planet and records messages for his future self

There's this one short story where some people or some guy gets stranded on an island on another planet. He starts recording messages for himself so when he's old and senile he's basically making fun ...
10
votes
1answer
154 views

Story about descendants of space colonists becoming slaves of aliens? [duplicate]

I read this old short story in an anthology (about 25 years ago) but can't remember the title. The plot was that human colonists/astronauts arrive at a planet inhabited by rather primitive aliens. ...
17
votes
1answer
938 views

New invention compresses matter to produce energy? or other items? (Short Story)

Probably read in 1970s or 1980s (it may have been written earlier.) Pretty sure it was a short story in English from the USA. Scientist develop a device that converts or compresses any material into ...
32
votes
2answers
2k views

Short story with an old programmer about to lose his job who triggers a Trojan Horse that only he can fix

I remember reading a short story many years ago (1980s) about an old computer programmer who was about to be forced into mandatory retirement. After receiving the news from his boss he returns to his ...
5
votes
1answer
292 views

Looking for short story about the dangers of marketing and advertising

I had a conversation with a few friends about the dangers of advertising the other day, and parts of this story have been running through my mind. The main character is a woman who used to be a ...
8
votes
1answer
230 views

1960s anthology; one story was about people living in cocoons but still looking for one where female scientist is seduced by the plant king

In the 1960s, I read two short stories in a sci-fi paperback anthology magazine. I would like to know the anthology that they were in (and the titles of the two stories, obviously) Future age on ...
31
votes
1answer
2k views

Science-fiction short story where space navy wanted hospital ships and settlers had guns mounted everywhere [duplicate]

I remember reading a short story where the official space navy of the “Golden Empire” would only fight if hospital ships were close by, so they could be picked up and treated. They had to defend their ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

Science fiction short story involving a paper written by a schizophrenic

I have only an image, a fragment of this short stories book: somebody that is looking a text in a paper; before to read it he realized that the shape of the text seems to be a standing man with the ...
6
votes
1answer
192 views

Book of sci-fi short stories: purple and black cover with sorceress and cat

I remember owning a book that had a several short sci-fi stories. One was about an older couple who used to listen to the music in the rain. Another about a woman who wished for a hundred of ...
25
votes
2answers
1k views

Short story where caffeine is illegal and police detective chases down caff-heads?

I read a story, perhaps 25 years ago, where caffeine is illegal and the main character is a police officer/detective who tracks down "caff-heads": caffeine addicts. The story ends with a memorable ...
5
votes
1answer
254 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.