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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.

8
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0answers
93 views

Sci-fi short story about compensation for stress

People have monitors that measure stress levels. If they interact with someone who causes them stress, money is transferred to compensate. Visual indicators allow others to know if they are causing ...
8
votes
0answers
142 views

Short story about research/exploration team looking for weapon on some distant planet to defend Earth

I am looking for a short story, as far as I remember only a few pages long. (From around the 1980s). The story is set in the distant future, where humans have spread throughout the solar system (at ...
12
votes
1answer
229 views

Short story where a man is actually sane while everyone else is mad

I'm looking for a short story I read as a teen. In the near future, people have machines at home that evaluate their mental health. If it goes bad, they are known to be arrested and taken somewhere ...
7
votes
0answers
83 views

Short story where a creature wrapped in newspaper attacks a man

I am trying to identify a science fiction short story I read many years ago, probably in the late 60s or early 70s. In it, a man living a typical suburban type of life goes outside to get his morning ...
6
votes
0answers
102 views

Series of short stories about an intelligent bear bred to fight an alien beast the size of a locomotive

I'm looking for a series of short stories about an intelligent bear (or species of such) bred to fight an alien beast the size of a locomotive. I recall only one story that featured a pack of bumbling,...
7
votes
1answer
191 views

Anthology containing the story “Green Mold”(?) where green mold grows on everything and eventually the astronauts

Back in high school in the late 1970s I had a book of short stories we had to read in English class, and one story has stayed with me every since. It was a sci-fi story that was called, I think, "...
6
votes
1answer
127 views

Short story in a SF anthology, TV and radio stop working so everyone fills their spare time doing painting and decorating

This was a short story I read in a sci fi anthology in the nineties, however the book had stories from the 1950’s and 1960’s in it. I really can't remember the cover. The tale begins with a ...
4
votes
1answer
95 views

Short Story Set In Future Where Jingles Become Pop Music?

I think it might be by Ray Bradbury. Music has been reduced to clips from jingles/commercials. There's a machine that writes the songs, but protagonist goes to work in small club/bar & becomes ...
8
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0answers
77 views

Short cabin in the woods story involving a monster and two kids

The family visits their/a cabin in the woods. The kids see a local who tells them about the monster residing in the woods. It proceeds with them spotting weird things, indicators that there is indeed ...
8
votes
0answers
120 views

Short story where Earth was entirely paved over

I would have read this in a mixed-author anthology sometime between 1977 and 1982. Or, just possibly, a school book. It was a short-short, basically a single scene where a crowd of dignitaries plus ...
7
votes
0answers
91 views

Looking for short story set on alien planet where natives receive memories from brain ingestion

I read this story around 1996. It was probably no more than 10-15 years old then. It was in an anthology book which may have been Nebula showcase or Hugo winners anthology but may have been an ...
7
votes
1answer
139 views

Short story about people who wear things to hinder their ability [duplicate]

I remember reading a short story about a dystopia where everything is controlled. It was on a reading list along with The Veldt, Fahrenheit 451, and 1984. I can't recall a lot about it except a few ...
26
votes
2answers
4k views

Short story about a man betting a group he could tell a story, and one of them would disappear and the others would not notice

In about 1966 or so, a stand-in teacher at our primary school spent the afternoon reading short stories to us. There was a wide genre, but I was particularly fond a one which was science fiction/...
7
votes
0answers
91 views

Anthology of SF short stories, one involving scientists discovering planet that produced every life form in existence

I think this anthology consisted of five short stories. One was where explorers landed on a alien planet and were killed one by one by alien life forms. One of the forms mimicked the night sky and ...
4
votes
0answers
53 views

90s horror short story: boy grows on (coal?) factory darkness, while his coworkers perceive it as “bad vibes”, an evil feel

Short story was part of a horror anthology that was probably published in the 1990s, but might have been a little bit older. The story was about a boy who works in a factory over the summer and seems ...
4
votes
1answer
471 views

Short story where everyone is given $1,000,000 at birth, a guy figures out how to game the system, wins despite everyone thinking he's crazy

I've searched for this short story for years. In it, everybody is given $1,000,000 at birth. A single guy figures out how to game the system. Everybody thinks he's crazy to buck the system but he ...
5
votes
0answers
73 views

Story (from a quiz paper) about a man who falls in love with a girl, not realising that she's a ghost

I read the story in a quiz during my college time, around 2013. A man discovers a girl who looks shy and then tries to talk to her. The scene was in a train (or near a train station). Later they ...
6
votes
0answers
100 views

Short story about a freed “rehabilitated” prisoner who pulls off a coup

I read it in a collection in the early 80s. I believe it was in the near future. A young prisoner was enrolled in some sort of program where he was educated as part of an experimental program. Once ...
17
votes
1answer
2k views

Short story where Earth is given a racist governor who likes species of a certain color

I'm trying to identify a science fiction short story I read many years ago. In it, Earth receives an emissary from the Galactic Government, who informs us that (our sense of self-importance ...
9
votes
0answers
88 views

Short story with very a old, plant-like warrior who fights a war against an enemy species

This has been eating at me for a few years now. I believe I read this in one of the 'best sci-fi of the year' aggregations. The plot centers around an old warrior living in peace in a small town. He ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Short Story - Man lives in isolation in a compound, plays tennis against a robot, arranges meeting with a woman

I read this story in an anthology in the late 1980s or early 1990s. I don't remember the name of the anthology (that will be for a future question) but do remember it also had the first chapter of ...
10
votes
1answer
230 views

Story that is part biblical text and part science fiction

A friend of mine is trying to find the source of a story she uncovered a few weeks ago. She probably copied it from a book or a magazine in late 1960/early 1970 in the Netherlands, so the text is in ...
23
votes
1answer
2k views

Short story in which aliens follow chain of increasingly ferocious/belligerent animals culminating with human child

This is a short story in which aliens land on Earth and track, follow and observe animals. For reasons I forget they follow a chain of increasingly belligerent animals. Near the end a wolverine faces ...
10
votes
1answer
162 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
88 views

Short story. Farm equipment & construction robots, post apocalyptic

This was a short story in one the readers we had in grade school. Gist of it was that humans had semi sentient robots for almost all tasks, but humanity has died out and the robots are looking for ...
6
votes
1answer
150 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
147 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
183 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
273 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
66 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
132 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
95 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
121 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
184 views

Short story about perils of indefinite copyright

I'm looking for an online short story about the perils of indefinite copyright law. It is set in the future and watches a conversation between a lobbyist and a congressman (woman?). They are ...
4
votes
0answers
91 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
183 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. ...
5
votes
1answer
159 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 ...
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 ...
13
votes
1answer
170 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
110 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 ...
4
votes
0answers
94 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
215 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 ...
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 ...
18
votes
0answers
242 views

Short story: If 1+2=3, then 2+3=4, obviously

This was a short story that I would have read in a big collection during the mid-to-late 1980s. I'm pretty sure that the main plot involves two people (a man and a woman?) who find themselves ...
12
votes
0answers
83 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 ...
9
votes
0answers
118 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
106 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.
8
votes
1answer
115 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
189 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
137 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 ...