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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.

26
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1answer
3k views

Short story, where FTL travel is very simple but humans never discovered it

I read a short story (I think, but it might have been a novel), where most races discover a very easy way to travel faster than light at a certain point in their technological development. What I ...
19
votes
1answer
3k views

SF Story about human adapting to alien environment

This is a story that was read on BBC radio about thirty years ago, and this is about as right as I can remember it: The human pilot of a spacecraft is doing some reconnaissance on an alien planet. He ...
28
votes
1answer
3k views

Short story where the Earth has been kept inside a force field for millennia

First we are told that the Galactic Empire/Federation/Powers-that-be have kept the Earth locked up for being too warlike, but now their help is needed against invaders from another galaxy. When the ...
26
votes
1answer
3k views

Looking for an old SF tv short story about blue men staging the future [duplicate]

Does anyone know a SF TV short story in which there were blue men who helped "stage" our world- at least the parts we saw, on a minute by minute basis. So, at each minute, everyone would be in the "...
15
votes
1answer
4k views

A short story about finding an inhabitable planet and meeting aliens

So the story goes, humans in a spaceship search for an inhabitable planet, being surprised they found none in the vicinity of Earth. They find one, and it seems uninhabited. At the same time are ...
16
votes
1answer
2k views

Trying to identify a short sci-fi story about a human that is “resurrected” by malignant aliens

I'm trying to locate a short sci-fi story I read years ago about a human that is "resurrected" by an arrogant and malignant alien species that discovers him in a "museum" on an earth where the ...
24
votes
2answers
2k views

Story about a future of over-production

I'm looking for a story I read in the late 1960s or early 70s about a future in which so much stuff is produced (by machines?) that people are obligated to work very hard to wear it all out. The ...
34
votes
1answer
3k views

Short story where a man discovers he's living in a fake world

I may be conflating two separate short science-fiction stories here, so please bear with me. I definitely read this more than 10 years ago and it's likely to be older than that (60's, 70's?) A man ...
9
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 ...
28
votes
1answer
1k views

Short story; war where speed of time changes with distance from front line

Trying to remember a short story (most likely from the sixties). It starts with a soldier at the front line fighting an unknown enemy on the other side of the front line. He then gets withdrawn and ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Short story about a virtual world. Protagonist is a female who specializes in torture experiences

I think I read this online in the last ten years, so after 2005 or so. In the story, everyone is online, I think 24/7. People are jaded and always looking for new experiences. The protagonist (or at ...
16
votes
2answers
954 views

Short story where a man owns creatures that build statues of him

I am trying to recall the name of a story I read when I was fairly young (maybe 20 years ago, but not sure how old the story is). What I remember: A man acquires a set of creatures that he keeps in ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Short story about humans marooned on high gravity planet

I'm trying to find a short story that I read years ago. There were a group of humans marooned on a high gravity planet by an alien species. On the planet they encountered saber-tooth cat-type ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Looking for story where time is accelerated and characters have to get back to ship?

Looking for story where time is accelerated on a planet. The characters are actually born at the beginning of the story and then grow up quickly and inadvertently learn that their forebears came from ...
10
votes
1answer
538 views

SF short story about a patrol car on a “hyper-highway” at 400+ mph speeds

I'm trying to locate a short story, probably written in the 1970s but likely before the oil crisis, about a day in the lives of two officers and one medic on a patrol car riding the highways of the U....
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Short story about a woman that travels to other planets. Read online recently. She just manages to live long enough to embrace new technology

I believe she loses a loved one and decides to take a pill to make her better. She eventually embraces technology and becomes a interplanetary (and possibly inter-galaxy) traveler. She travels using ...
8
votes
1answer
434 views

1970's sci-fi short story in 4th grade reading anthology

As I remember a boy from another planet was dropped on earth. Gravity didn't affect him as much. He was being chased by something and leaped over a barbed wire fence "like a deer". Also the story ...
23
votes
1answer
3k views

Short story about astronauts landing on a planet of shapeshifters

I'm trying to find an English-language short story I read in a collection about five to ten years ago (I don't have any idea of the original publication date). Here's everything I remember: The ...
22
votes
1answer
3k views

Title of short story: God granting immortality to others to find a way to kill himself

I am looking for a short story I read a long time ago. In it, a man dies and finds himself in a dark and featureless afterlife with a disembodied voice that calls itself god. That god reveals that ...
13
votes
1answer
952 views

Trying to identify pre-1970s short story involving multiple humans absorbed into an alien blob

I think this story dates from the 1950s, plus or minus a decade - I read it about 30-35 years ago in a (then) fairly old story collection. It involves explorers on a planet falling into a gelatinous ...
8
votes
1answer
581 views

Man is sitting in his room and gets contradictory advice from two men from the future

Years ago I read short story about a man sitting in his room. Suddenly appears the same man but from the future and gives him an advice about the future. Original man seems to agree to follow that ...
15
votes
1answer
3k views

Short sci-fi story: aliens regret setting Earth's destruction in motion

The story is basically told from an alien's point of view. Essentially they observed us from far off, deemed us as violent and a danger to the universe, and set course (asteroid or something) to kill ...
13
votes
2answers
959 views

Trying to identify a very old short story about aliens colonizing human bodies

Don't remember the exact start to the story, but it went something like "walking along a path" or something, and when he hears what sounds like a shotgun blast behind him, he then feels something ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Man clones himself to have the clone do things he doesn't enjoy

I read a short story about four years ago and can't remember the title or author. The only thing I know is that it is relatively old -- like Huxley or Asimov era. Can anyone help me? The basic ...
9
votes
1answer
433 views

Trying to find the name of a sci fi anthology book, or just the titles of one or more stories

Okay, so here it goes. Over a decade ago I read a sci fi anthology book from my grade school's library. I would guess it was written in the 50's or early 60's but I could be wrong. There are 3 stories ...
8
votes
1answer
768 views

Need help identifying short story about retired military colonel who fought war at end of time

I read this story in an anthology in the eighties or early nineties. It was about an old man who lived outside a western-like town, though that might have just been how I imagined it. He goes to ...
20
votes
1answer
2k views

Short story - spaceship pilot needs second personality to fly ship

Possibly from the 1970s or 1980s. Humans can't pilot a spaceship without going insane, so spaceship pilots have a secondary personality that kicks in as they walk through the cockpit door. The pilot ...
31
votes
1answer
2k views

Computer makes mistake over a late library book

I'm looking for a short story about a man who forgets to return his library book. A computerised system takes over and everything goes from bad to worse. The book he did not return is 'Kidnapped' by ...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

Humorous time travel short story about a man's dealings with other versions of himself

Okay, similar questions to this have been asked before, but not about the particular short story I am trying to find. It was in an anthology of short sci fi stories, possibly award winning ones or at ...
15
votes
1answer
22k views

Short story about if you die you are reborn as someone else in a different time

I remember reading a short story a few years ago and I would like to reread read it again. As far as I remember it went a little like this: You are in a car with your family and a truck hits it, but ...
17
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 ...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

Sci-Fi short story that involved time travel and a couple who keep losing each other

I read a collection of Sci-Fi short stories back in the 1970's or early 80's that had one about a couple in love who kept losing each other. The book was my dad's so the story itself could be much ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Short story where a man disguises the destination of a letter by making postal code different from address

A man is running from some people who have him under surveillance, and when he wants to send a letter he thinks they can see the address he wrote on the letter, so he writes a fake address and prints ...
34
votes
1answer
3k views

Need to identitify a short story about an astronaut stranded alone on a planet that houses a strange museum

Can anyone offer any help with this..? I read it at school around 1976 but cannot remember the title nor the author. Thank you in advance! A lone astronaut called - I think- Steve is stranded on a ...
26
votes
1answer
3k views

Short Story About How 2 Astronauts Who Stop for Lunch Unknowingly Destroy the Only Lifeform on an Arid Planet

In the 70's or 80's I read a short story in which 2 astronauts looking for a nice place to eat lunch choose a spot at the pole of a small desolate planet, overlooking the world's only pool of surface ...
21
votes
1answer
3k views

Short story: people rediscover how to do math and want to put people in bombs

Many years ago I remember reading a short story about an advanced civilization at war that rediscovers how to do math mentally. The reason I remember it is the guy tells it to government officials who ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Looking for title of sci fi short story about attempts to colonise planet (Venus?). Scientist and his dog are main characters

They want to see if humans can survive in harsh planet conditions with a view to future colonisation. Scientist guy invents a machine which can transform humans into beings which are adapted to ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

Can you identifiy this short about teenagers on a raft getting swallowed up by an oil slick?

In the spirit of all the story identification today, I'm looking for some kind of TV episode about some teenagers who were at a lake. Slowly, one by one, they get swallowed up by some kind of oil ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Short story ID: Bouncing-Ball Time Travel

A little help please. The story I'm looking for is probably late-50's to mid-60's, and may well have occurred in an SF magazine. A professor is demonstrating his new time machine to a scientific ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Story identification: Stranded alien ship builds Earth civilization to help it fix the spaceship

I'm trying to figure out the name of a sci-fi short story I read a while back. Hours of Googling were no help. Can anyone figure this out? The punchline of the story is that all of humanity was ...
11
votes
1answer
190 views

Need help recalling name of sci-if story about earth evolving into electronic life forms

Read a story once about earth being abandoned for long periods of time. Upon the return of man to earth all life forms, flora and fauna, have evolved into intricate electronic forms of themselves. ...
9
votes
1answer
475 views

SF Short Story: alien apes invade during nuclear war

Trying to identify a science fiction short story from an anthology likely published before 1991. Aliens invade during a nuclear war (which would be World War III, WWIII, WW3). The warring nations ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Story about kids and book that tells about good old times in schools

I'm trying to find an short story I read in a collection about ten years ago. Publication date before 1980. Here's everything I remember: The story is about kids who found an old book with stories ...
5
votes
2answers
382 views

Name of story with video phones and personal contact is embarrassing [duplicate]

I'm looking for the name of a science fiction short story in which characters lack modesty when communicating over video phones but direct contact is excruciatingly embarrassing.
8
votes
1answer
401 views

Looking for a (short?) story about a cryo ship looking for habitable planets

I read this story/novella at least 15 years ago, probably 20 or more. It is about a ship, travelling through the universe, looking for habitable planets. Why, I can't remember. People are held in ...
37
votes
2answers
4k views

Need help to find a sci-fi collection I read at school (mid 80s)

I am now 46 and so it's been bugging me for over 30 years - time to try and do something about it. The collection was in my lower school library (UK). It was a thick black hardback book and I believe ...
22
votes
5answers
3k views

Identifying a short story about advertising

I remember reading a short story at least twenty years ago about a man who spends a lot of money to rent a hovel because there is no advertising in it. During any normal day everything advertises to ...
22
votes
1answer
3k views

Story identification: Old man has hacker neighbor who mysteriously dies

Does anyone know this story? It was a novelette published with another one (I don't remember what it was) in dos-a-dos format. The premise was that the narrator is an old man whose neighbor, a hacker, ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

Story about a multiverse theory of immortality

Please help me identify a short story I read about a guy who believed that the multiverse was true, but the one that we experienced was the one in which we lived the longest. He was also contemplating ...
10
votes
1answer
443 views

Scientist sets up experiment without pre-determining the outcome

His theory is that scientists pre-determine the result of experiment by their expectations and thereby influence how the world works. He sets up an experiment with no expectations and when it runs, ...