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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.

3
votes
0answers
68 views

Short story about a 'hole' that trades art/fiction that people make for things from alternative realities

Looking for a short story about a 'hole' that trades art/fiction that people make for things from alternative realities (like trading your high-school essay for the manuscript of an award-winning ...
2
votes
1answer
241 views

Old short story, possibly Ray Bradbury: alien computer/robot sets questions that you really shouldn't answer incorrectly

I read a short story when I was a boy about some alien computer/robot that set questions that visiting people/aliens would try and answer, and possibly a terrible consequence if they answered ...
16
votes
6answers
4k views

The Cold Equations - How could it happen?

For those who are unfamiliar with Godwin's 1954 short story (which is included in a number of anthologies, including the book The World Turned Upside Down found here in the 'Best of Jim Baen's ...
9
votes
0answers
94 views

Short story about alien intelligence testing

I'm looking for a short story I've read long ago, and my memory is fuzzy. It was in an Italian-language, translated in an anthology. The anthology was probably from the 1970s or early 1980s. It's ...
11
votes
1answer
101 views

Short story about a man who accidentally travels back in time with his car

I'm trying to recall a short story I read somewhere in 2017-2018, most likely in an issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction published between 1980 and 2012. The story was about a man ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Hunting for a short story about earth having been isolated from the galactic civilization

I'm trying to find a short sci-fi story that I read some 40 years ago (in the early to mid 70's). Earth had been isolated with some force field as Humans were regarded as too dangerous/uncivilized by ...
5
votes
1answer
90 views

Short story: tunnel being dug, fossil hunter asked to look inside and finds small worm-like thing

The last time i knew of this story was as an audiobook anthology. i listened to it about three or four years ago, but unfortunately this doesn't mean the story isn't much much older than this. In ...
12
votes
3answers
230 views

Looking for short stories differing from two Spider Robinson collections, from “Melancholy Elephants” to “By Any Other Name”

I am looking for a synopsis or summary of two Spider Robinson short stories, "It's a Sunny Day", and "Father Paradox". This is kinda a reverse story-identification... I have name and author, I'm ...
6
votes
2answers
137 views

Sci-fi/horror short story about a disease that took over people’s minds and made their heads explode

The short story was about how a disease, perhaps from a parasitic fungus, took over people’s minds and made them climb telephone poles and trees so when their heads exploded the spores would spread. ...
10
votes
1answer
236 views

Short story about an assassin and and his alien ambassador target

This has bugged me for some time re an anthology of Dark Fantasy stories I read in the 1980's. The basic synopsis of the short story I remember best is that an assassin is contracted to kill a ...
11
votes
1answer
86 views

Looking for a short story about world peace achieved through a coin flip

Aside from possibly the idea of world peace being a fantasy (har har) I don’t remember this story having any particular F/SF elements about it except that it was either written by an author associated ...
4
votes
0answers
51 views

Short story about a man on Mars searching for the rover Opportunity before its signal is lost forever

I've been talking to my friends about Oppy (Opportunity) and I mentioned reading a short story pertaining to it in a Science magazine. Now I'm dumb and it's been well over a year since reading it and ...
19
votes
5answers
632 views

Why do anthologies have such a prominent place in the history of written SF?

My obsession with science-fiction first came to me through short stories, read in anthologies and single-writer collections. Dangerous Visions and The Science-Fiction Hall of Fame are more or less ...
5
votes
1answer
81 views

Short story published in a magazine: 100 humans are brought to aliens to explain why humans didn't save Earth when it was about to be destroyed

100 humans, including a winner of a beauty pageant, are brought up to aliens who want to learn more about humanity, and ultimately why humans didn’t save planet Earth when they knew century earlier it ...
6
votes
1answer
222 views

'70s SF Story - AI Computer gets told it will be turned off, saves itself by proposing plans for building another supercomputer

Looking for 70s SF story about building an AI computer. It goes through adolescence. It is told that it will be turned off. Overnight it sends out thousands of documents to build a computer that can ...
47
votes
3answers
8k views

A story where a small child takes on the pain of the world

I think this was a short story, and I have no recollection of where or when I read it. It had a dystopian disguised as a utopian feel. From what I remember, the world was at peace and everyone was ...
4
votes
0answers
77 views

Sci-fi short story about an astronaut adrift in space and a teapot

The story I am referring to was a part of an collection of horror/sci fi stories by Indian authors and had a yellow sandy cover. I read it in 2011/2012. The story in question had an unnamed female ...
5
votes
1answer
663 views

Short story about racism and green skin

I recall a short story, presumably written at the time of the US civil rights movement or the battle against South Africa's apartheid, about racism. One day, it started raining. The rain turned ...
13
votes
1answer
155 views

Short story: Internet is forgotten in future, referred to as “virtuality”

This is a short story that I'm reasonably certain I read online in the last year or so. It was most likely at a publisher's website (e.g. Tor) or an online magazine (e.g. Lightspeed), part of a recent ...
5
votes
1answer
129 views

Short story about a young woman who is deliberately infected with life-preserving and repairing nanites [duplicate]

Short story about a young woman who is deliberately infected with life-preserving and repairing nanites. She lives through the end of humanity and the death of the universe as the nanites constantly ...
12
votes
1answer
990 views

Short story with a woman made immortal by nanotechnology, sees end of Earth

Trying to find a short story. I first read it approximately five years ago. It was part of a short story collection from various authors. I can only guess at the original published date, but the ...
9
votes
1answer
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 ...
6
votes
0answers
97 views

Anthology that had both sci-fi stories and “science fact” about space travel/colonization

I'm trying to find this book I remember partially reading about 15-20 years ago. I believe it alternated sci-fi stories with short essays/postscripts that went into whether the story's details were ...
5
votes
1answer
882 views

Asimov short story with several encounters to further the human race, ends with the Big Bang

I'm looking for a short story that I believe was written by Asimov back in the 50's or 60's. I read it in an anthology I checked out of the library back in the 80's or 90's. The story is like a ...
5
votes
2answers
186 views

Short story with a time loop initiated by aliens studying humans for one million years

Back in the 80s I read a story in an anthology book, in which unseen aliens "invade" Earth and force everyone to relive the same day over and over. They do this in order to thoroughly study humanity ...
8
votes
1answer
407 views

50s(?) short story with a boy infected by a virus, who voluntarily spreads the invasion

I’m trying to identify a short story I read years ago, in which a small boy is playing in his yard and gets infected by a virus (I can’t remember if he cuts himself). He has a couple of days while the ...
4
votes
0answers
82 views

Book of fantasy short stories, including one retelling Cinderella as a vampire

I read this short story in the early 90s and I would love to get hold of the whole book. I think it was an anthology of female science fiction and fantasy writers, possibly lesbian writers. The ...
11
votes
1answer
258 views

Spaceship in the jungle, war of the sexes

I believe that I am looking for a 1950 or 1980 short fiction story. The story starts out with two men in the jungle looking for an ancient ruin that was reported by other people. They find a rock, or ...
7
votes
3answers
240 views

Short Story about a Malevolent Plane/Dimension

I've been looking for this short story for the past couple of days. I definitely remember reading sometime in the last 4 years. It involves a dimension or plane of existence trying to breach into ours ...
8
votes
1answer
100 views

Short story: fake robot child of an astronaut meets robot parents on return to Earth

There was a classic-period sci-fi short story about a hero astronaut on a multi-year mission that would land to Earth for a few days and leave again. The astronaut has actually died during the ...
7
votes
1answer
99 views

Science fiction story about a giant robot performing simple math problems

I remember reading it about a decade ago in school, I seem to recall the giant robot maybe being angry that he couldn't make 2 numbers add up to each other.
6
votes
2answers
305 views

Trying to identify short story about the second ice age

I read a short story at least 18 years ago for an extra credit grade in a physical science class. I'm pretty sure it started with some future person finding a journal of a scientist detailing the ...
11
votes
0answers
70 views

Our hero hems and haws and finally decides to summon the fleet to help his new alien buddies

I read this story some time around 2000. It wasn't brand new when I read it, but I think it was close. It was in a collection of sci fi short stories, and it was by a relative unknown; the central ...
4
votes
2answers
199 views

Short story about animal resurrection, but the resurrectioner doesn't want to bring back humans who caused the extinction

I think it's titled "The Beast" but I can't find it under that name. It's a very short story. I can't remember but I think it's post-apocalyptic. It's about someone or something resurrecting the ...
9
votes
1answer
124 views

Story about a woman who believes every bit of bad luck removes significant amounts of time from her life expectancy

I think I read this story in an issue of Analog from sometime in the late 1980s/early 1990s. English language. I don't think I recognized the author's name from any books I had read at the time, but I ...
8
votes
2answers
124 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
0answers
181 views

Short story involving teens raised to be replacement bodies

I'm looking for a short story I read in a magazine in the 90's. It focused on a boy who is getting ready to graduate high school (I think it may have been a boarding school?) And while initially the ...
12
votes
1answer
609 views

Short story/novella similar to the game, Black and White

I read it a short story/novella a few years ago and I think it was fairly recently published. If anyone has played the black and white series of games the story read a lot like one of them. A man is ...
4
votes
1answer
209 views

SF short story (Playboy-70's?) where a man with mental powers visits the President and is killed as he leaves

Trying to find this one for someone on another site. The plot synopsis as we both remember it is that a man has mental powers probably controlling type, gets into see the President and as he is ...
27
votes
1answer
4k views

Short story about a scientist trying to prove faster-than-light travel with a billiard ball

A short story about a scientist trying to prove faster than light travel. He uses a billiard ball for the demonstration. It works but the billiard ball passes through a rival scientist, killing said ...
9
votes
0answers
295 views

Short story about the last two people on Earth; Earth has been paved all over but a small plant grows in concrete

During the 1980s when I was a child, I read a science fiction short story that I believe was part of a larger anthology. If memory serves me, the anthology was a trade paperback with a blue cover. ...
9
votes
1answer
117 views

20th century Fantasy story with protagonist at the court of a child empress - NOT Neverending Story [duplicate]

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 pages like ...
7
votes
2answers
129 views

Short story where a scientist uses a time-machine to evolve mice with wings

A scientist encloses a community of mice inside a machine that makes time go much faster inside the machine. Thus he can breed successive generations of mice incredibly quickly. He breeds the ...
7
votes
1answer
337 views

80s (or earlier) short story about a shaman alien whose story is similar to Jesus'; ends up staked by the planet's aliens

Remember reading it in an old collection about 30 years ago. A colonial governor on an Earth colony has to deal with a local shaman who is stirring up trouble. He eventually "washes his hands" of the ...
0
votes
2answers
153 views

Short story of a man whose reality would gradually become a weird dream

I read it years ago. It told the story of a man whose reality would gradually become a weird dream, while his dreams became as ordinary as real life can be. At some point in the story, the concerned ...
5
votes
0answers
144 views

70s(?) short story about a character who has visions of the eternal cycles of the time

It was about eternity and time... probably was a 70s short story. Maybe it was about the shapes that a soul could take along eons of time. Sorry, I really cannot remember more. Just that it was a ...
9
votes
0answers
166 views

Short story with a girl gang who like to whistle the tune of “I Wish I Was an Oscar Mayer Wiener”

I have the traces of a short story bouncing around in my head. I'd guess it dates from the late 60's, or maybe 70's. A guy has been out of circulation for several years (military? prison?) and ...
5
votes
0answers
100 views

Short story with a teleportation tunnel and a “hole” in it

This is a short story I read back in the '90s (but I think it's been written before that), in which someone develops a sort of "space/time warp tunnel" to travel to work from his home. He uses the ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Sci fi short story where technology made the future known but the government ensured that key events happened as predicted

Technology reached the stage where the future was known but the government ensured that key events happened as predicted. A woman thinks that she is being followed. It turns out that he is a ...
9
votes
1answer
192 views

SF short story about a starship that triggers a supernova when it goes FTL [duplicate]

I remember reading a short story a few years ago about a starship crew from Earth(?), in either their first (or a new model) FTL ship. The story opened with them in a new star system, which they had ...