Questions tagged [short-stories]

For about a fictional work too small to be called a [novel] or [novella] - usually less than 10-20 thousand words and no chapters. Use to either identify the media on a [story-identification] question or disambiguate works where the tag covers the short story and its form in other media.. If you are looking for a particular anthology of short stories, use the [anthology-book] tag instead.

638 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
116
votes
0answers
4k views

Married couple pretend to like each other due to crystal sculpture

Years ago, I remember reading a short story (as I remember it) about a couple whose prized possession is semi-living crystal structure that is sensitive to their relationship; it grows and maintains ...
73
votes
0answers
2k 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 ...
50
votes
0answers
2k views

Story about enemies in a space battle sharing their last moments over com as their ships die

I am looking for the title of a short sci-fi story which I read sometime around the mid '80s. It is about a man and a woman talking through some communication system during the last moments of their ...
42
votes
0answers
2k views

Looking for science fiction assassination story with mysterious girl

For years I've been looking for a short science fiction story about a man who was released from a prison planet in order to assassinate a candidate for galactic president. He does this on a space ...
34
votes
1answer
2k views

Short story about aliens warning humanity not to leave Earth

I was reading an answer on Quora and it referenced a story. The answer went like this: Humans were contacted by aliens out in the Oort Cloud and told never to come farther. It wasn’t, they told the ...
31
votes
0answers
2k views

A space story about a desert planet and a cup of water

I read this story over 15 years ago. It is probably a lot older. I read it in Serbian magazine (Politikin Zabavnik) but I think that the language of the original is in English. It's a short story, ...
30
votes
0answers
520 views

Short story about a man in a madhouse who asks the guard for a cigarette and tells him his story about having swapped bodies before

I am searching for a short story about a man locked in a madhouse who swaps his body with the guard/doctor while he tells him the story about his own body being swapped. I remember the following: ...
27
votes
0answers
238 views

Short story where the stars are eyes

A short story I read several years ago in either Analog or Asimov's Science Fiction, probably between 2011 and 2013. In the story there's a 4th spatial dimension whose axes are skew, so that things ...
26
votes
0answers
377 views

A story about a doctor who travels to a parallel universe to seek a cure for bubonic plague

Recent news has been reminding me of various things I've read about the Black Death, including a story I believe I only saw once, and never stumbled across again. I encountered it over 30 years ago, ...
26
votes
0answers
622 views

SciFi Short Story about an immortal man digging through an asteroid to meet a woman

Short story from the 80's or 90's, I saw someone asking about this on another forum but never got an answer. I've been curious ever since. The story is set in a decadent future where everyone lives ...
25
votes
0answers
786 views

Looking for Sci-fi Short Story - Aliens observe a planet where machines continue a war after the people are dead

I've read this short story within the past 5 years, somewhere online, but I don't believe it was a new or recent story. It is definitely a short story, and a very short one at that, possibly 1700 ...
25
votes
0answers
406 views

Short story about an elite that has mentally regressed due to assistive AI technologies

I came upon a comment describing a scifi short story where reliance on technology meant to improve appearance and demeanor has led to mental regression and AI control of the upper class that employs ...
24
votes
0answers
607 views

70s book/short story, Man wakes up from suspend animation or cryo and world has collapsed

In the book, the protagonist wakes up from either suspended animation or cryo (Probably supposed to be a short test), After 10-20 years have passed. He finds the facility abandoned (and looted?), ...
24
votes
0answers
1k views

Old sci-fi short story about buying an android?

Long, long time ago I came upon a collection of old (pre 1980s?) short sci-fi stories. I'm not 100% sure, but something makes me think they were by Russian authors. One of them was about a woman, who ...
22
votes
0answers
268 views

Aliens secretly use video game to get humans to solve their problems

I recall a story probably 20-30 years ago (pretty sure it was a short story) in which a top gamer hears about a new computer game out that no one can beat. So he gets it and starts playing it. (Pretty ...
21
votes
0answers
856 views

Old sci-fi story about shadowy aliens who surround Earth to protect it from solar flare, tragic misunderstanding by humans?

Plots Summary/Details The story is told from the POV of an astronaut who, along with his crew, is launched into orbit to investigate a weird phenomena that has entered local space. Several enormous ...
20
votes
0answers
264 views

Short story about a giant ship that thoughtlessly destroys planets as it travels, is visited by a victim

I think I came across this ten or fifteen years ago, I cannot remember much clearly so some of these details may be mistaken. The story is told from the perspective of a crew member, on the bridge I ...
20
votes
0answers
441 views

Short story involving a lost-tech green glass highway in Australia

My mom's been wondering if I could find this story but I really can't without more specific details than she can give me. It's rather old, she guessed somewhere in the 1960s or 70s. The story wasn't ...
19
votes
0answers
654 views

Sci-Fi short story read in a collection. Couple with crystal tree that reflected their emotions

I am trying to track down a short story collection (Sci-Fi) that contained this story. A couple have a crystal tree that reflects their emotions. They are very proud of the tree, even though they ...
18
votes
0answers
253 views

Short story about mankind preparing for contact with an approaching alien spacecraft, finally passing by and ignoring humans

Following the discovery of an alien spacecraft apparently bound to Earth, plagued with conflicts, mankind organizes and prepares for contact, setting up a complete protocol. This preparation turns out ...
18
votes
0answers
450 views

Short story where scientist flees to the ancient past, tries to stop scientific progress to keep man "pure"?

Plot Summary/Details I can only recall the broad theme and a few details on this one. The protagonist, who was a scientist of some sort, has fled his own time to return to man's early period. I'm ...
18
votes
0answers
488 views

Creepy short story: sinister alien dolls, invasion of Earth

I'm looking for a short story that creeped me out as a kid! It involves alien dolls, which are sold to humans as souvenirs but are designed to inject a deadly virus into any nearby human, allowing ...
18
votes
0answers
763 views

Short story about a boy who makes a virtual girl and updates her A.I as he grows up

I am searching a free short story I found about 5 years ago on some book app on my tablet. Basically in the story, this young boy got a computer (sometime during the 80s I believe) that had just ...
18
votes
0answers
460 views

Short story: Lost starship crew in suspended animation trying to return to Earth. Crew suicide a factor

Read a sci-fi anthology sometime in the 1980s, though the story feels like it's from the 50s or 60s. An all-male starship crew is trying to return to Earth after performing some mission, but they're ...
16
votes
0answers
188 views

Short story where aliens visit Tranquillity Base and take the discarded backpacks for their space museum

I'm looking for the title of a story in which aliens have visited Tranquillity Base and have taken the discarded backpacks used by Armstrong and Aldrin for their space museum. The story is told in a ...
16
votes
0answers
515 views

Short story with a computer that saves only relevant information of peoples life stories

Please help me find a short story my uncle read in his youth. When my uncle was in his teens or a young adult he read a story that had profound impact on him and defined his life (he founded a company ...
16
votes
0answers
304 views

Super sophisticated AI spacecraft autopilot saves the day

Looking for the title of this rather excellent sci-fi short story... Human spacecraft approaches alien planet Humans piloting the spacecraft about to do something inappropriate, given apparent ...
15
votes
0answers
114 views

Sci fi short story about a man who lives with pig creatures on an alien planet

I read a story a long time ago that always stuck in my mind. It's probably from the 50s-70s. I have tried to remember it fairly accurately but details may be wrong. A man (crash?) lands on a distant ...
15
votes
0answers
113 views

Looking for a short story about a 'homecoming' song from an anthology published pre-1990

This is a short story dating back to the 1980s or earlier - I read it in my school library in the late 80s/very early 90s. It's about a world in which underdeveloped planets were forced to hand over ...
15
votes
0answers
173 views

Alien visiting earth forgets he is an alien

I read this short story a long time ago. It may have been written in the 60s or earlier. An alien is visiting earth incognito but has an accident of some kind, has amnesia, and doesn't know he is an ...
15
votes
0answers
926 views

Hyper-advanced aliens create universes as a class project; one student's project goes to heat death

I was sure I stumbled across it here, but I can't find it at all. It's a short story I've read in the past 10 years, I believe. The viewpoint character is some unimaginably powerful alien who is ...
15
votes
0answers
425 views

Short story where a scientist discovers all the secrets of the universe as he is dying

I read this story around 3 years ago, but it might have been written much earlier. The premise of the story is this: A scientist has spent his whole life researching some aspect of the universe but ...
15
votes
0answers
337 views

Short story about a man who receives a floppy disk with a program that can answer any question

I read this in the mid 1990's. It was a short story set in contemporary time (the era it was written), about a man who received a package in the mail that just contained a floppy disk. The program on ...
15
votes
1answer
407 views

Lessons designed for the average man work extraordinarily well

This is a short story I read a long time ago, almost certainly before 2000 and likely before 1990. I don't recall if it was in a magazine or in a book/anthology. It was probably published a decade ...
15
votes
1answer
818 views

Story about monks who are keepers of English language?

In the 1960s/early 1970s, I read a lot of science fiction short stories and anthologies from Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, and Isaac Asimov. One of the stories was about an interview for an order of ...
14
votes
0answers
219 views

Time traveller finds that Hitler is a kind man

I'm looking for the title of a short story I read maybe ten or fifteen years ago. A time traveller decides to kill Hitler (don't they all?) but when he arrives in the past Hitler's bodyguards ...
14
votes
0answers
269 views

SF Short Story - Robots Carry On

I read this short story in the 1960s, although it may have been published earlier. American or British author. Two men, strangers, are talking in an office; one carries a cane. There is a large, ...
14
votes
0answers
144 views

Short story where you had quotas for daily activities allowed to be done by yourself instead of hiring professionals

I'm trying to find the short story where due to shortage of jobs, people were not allowed to do most things by themselves, but instead were forced to hire professionals. Everybody had daily quotas for ...
14
votes
0answers
161 views

Pre late-80s UK-based short horror story. Giant alien shapeshifters imitate a house and a uk phone box to trap and devour the young protagonist

General This UK-based short story was from a horror or SciFi compilation I read during the late 80s/early 90s (but was almost definitely from earlier). I have a feeling the compilation was probably ...
14
votes
0answers
112 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 ...
14
votes
0answers
337 views

Short story about colonist ship's computer deliberately "weeding out" unfit colonists during hypersleep?

Plot Details/Summary This is going to be another of my longshot questions, as I only remember a few details about the story. The entire story takes place aboard an interstellar colony ship, and ...
14
votes
0answers
725 views

Boy playing ball has to run inside to avoid a hail of diamonds

I read this in a collection of sci-fi short stories when I was in elementary school, so circa mid-to-late 1980s. It might have been published by Scholastic. It's a very short story. It may have been ...
13
votes
0answers
87 views

Sci-fi book or short story about people who crash-land on an alien world. The protagonist is captured by a hive of intelligent insects

This book from my teenage years I just can't get out of my mind for many years now, and sooo want to reread! It involved a travelling spaceship full of a few key characters - a male and a villain (I ...
13
votes
0answers
122 views

Old sci fi (1980s or earlier) short story about androids sold as 'the perfect son in law' or 'the perfect housewife'

I have this memory of a short story I read as a child at school in the late 80s/early 90s. The story was written in the form of a catalogue, advertising these androids and talking about which model ...
13
votes
0answers
134 views

Short story about moth aliens invading Earth; a human soldier tries to blow up an alien hive but is transformed

Decades ago (this was in the late 1990s-before 2004, but most likely written much earlier), in some science fiction anthology or other, I remember reading a short story in which moth-aliens took over ...
13
votes
0answers
131 views

Short story about the difficulties of alien/human cooperation

I think I would have read this a few years ago, but I really have no more specific time frame than that, unfortunately. Honestly, it might even have just been a comment in a writing prompt subreddit ...
13
votes
0answers
71 views

SF-Fantasy short story collection themed around the Yoruba smith god Ogun

As per the title, I am looking for a short-story collection of SF, Fantasy, and whatever else might fall in between. I cannot recall what the book looked like, nor its length, nor if it was a recent ...
13
votes
0answers
212 views

Short story about two spaceships moving in opposite directions

I'm looking for a sci fi short story: It is told in a slightly surreal dreamscape kind of way. Two identical spaceships are headed in opposite directions, each carrying a solitary person one of ...
13
votes
0answers
179 views

In ancient times various alien "gods" cause/feed on worship. Traveler & girl must hide object that threatens gods, fortunately lose it in the desert

This was an English language short story/novella I read around 2000-2010. I believe it was in some anthology, but possibly it was in a SF/fantasy magazine like F&SF that I read it. It may well ...
13
votes
0answers
169 views

SF short story about an immortal man as he grieves for dead partner, becomes a mercenary, meets ageless artificial intelligence

I only remember some elements and only hazily - nothing of the ending. An internet link took me to the story, I read it online, but it wasn't dated so I don't know which era it's from. I, however, ...

1
2 3 4 5
13