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.

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80
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3k 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 ...
54
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0answers
903 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 ...
38
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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 ...
33
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1answer
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 ...
28
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0answers
1k views

Woman who discovers her beautiful lover is a surrogate body of a disfigured man

I'm trying to find the author/title of a story. Jan is an austere woman living a dull and predictable life in a time with no monetary transactions, but "credits" rather. She has saved up a ...
24
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571 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 ...
22
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0answers
486 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 ...
22
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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 ...
21
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0answers
255 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 ...
21
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0answers
244 views

Short story where a physics professor goes to a timeline where his son doesn’t exist

The story probably dates from the late 80s to early 90s. I'm almost sure I read it in one of the pulp magazines while researching an article in the early '00s. A physics professor, in a fit of ...
21
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1answer
775 views

Story about someone serving a life sentence when their life has been extended indefinitely

This is a short story, which I'm pretty sure I read online. The narrator was sentenced to life in prison, but after sentencing, some sort of nanotechnology was released, infecting everyone and making ...
20
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0answers
538 views

Time travel to the crucifixion of Jesus and changing the past

The story I'm looking for is not Let's Go to Golgotha!, although there are a few core similarities. It's not Up the Line either. In the mid 2000s, I read in a magazine a science fiction short story ...
20
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0answers
453 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?), ...
20
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0answers
574 views

Looking for a Sci-fi short story about an alien race traveling to a dying star

I once found a short story on a library computer about an alien race and a dying star. I've been searching for this story since the 9th grade and I've never gotten close to figuring out what it is. It'...
20
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0answers
405 views

Story about building up speed leading to increased quality of life

It's a story I read in 2 or 3 parts in a sci-fi magazine around 2004 (give or take a year, I suppose), but it may be a bit older than that. This is what I remember (and I hope it's all accurate): The ...
19
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0answers
991 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 but I think that the language of the original is in English. It's a short story, less than two A4 ...
19
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0answers
783 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 ...
19
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0answers
380 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 ...
17
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0answers
715 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 ...
17
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0answers
364 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 ...
17
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1answer
2k views

Short story about astronaut stung by a “bee”

A group of astronauts travel to a mysterious planet where they find an empty city. One of the crew is stung by a "bee" and when they begin traveling back to Earth the swollen sting area hatches and ...
15
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0answers
245 views

Short story from an anthology book where a man travels back in time trying to meet Jesus but ends up becoming him

This story involved a young man in the future who travels back to the time of Jesus to meet him only to end up as Jesus. He is able to perform "miracles" because he shares some aspirin from his ...
15
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0answers
130 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 ...
15
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0answers
323 views

Short story where a man is killed for being “too intelligent”

I’m looking for a possibly British short story I read in a youth sci-fi collection book that definitely was not new, so the story may be older. I would have read it about 10 years ago but the book it ...
15
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0answers
374 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
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0answers
276 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
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0answers
448 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 ...
14
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0answers
472 views

Looking for a short SF story about two ultra-fast ships flying around the entire universe

I'm trying to find a story I read maybe fifteen or twenty years ago. The story itself might be much older, of course: it had a 1950's - 60's 'golden age of hard SF' feel to it. As I remember it, ...
14
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0answers
369 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 ...
13
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0answers
98 views

Temporary mind transfer for entertainment

In this story, people visit an agency where they can exchange bodies (or, if you prefer, minds) with other people at random. It's a popular form of entertainment, although it is controversial enough ...
13
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0answers
209 views

Dystopian short story about a home computer, likely written 1970s (1970-79)

Looking for futuristic short story about a man who brings a new device home called a "computer" which soon takes an increasingly central role in its owner's life to the point of literally reaching out ...
13
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0answers
95 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 ...
13
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0answers
240 views

Short story about an angel killing a man so he doesn't commit suicide and go to hell

I recently remembered a short story I read a very long time ago; maybe 7 years ago or more. It was given to us by our teacher so I don’t know where it comes from. In the story a man is thinking ...
13
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0answers
556 views

Short Horror Story About Man Trapped In Tunnel Chased By Pig-Like Creatures

I've been trying to find again a short horror I read about 15-20 years ago in a horror anthology I absolutely was mesmerized by but I can't for the life of me remember the title or author anymore. I ...
13
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0answers
295 views

Short story about a world government planting poison kill switches in everybody's head

This is a question about a short story I read in Norwegian back in the day, in a kind of (monthly? quarterly?) youths' anthology (not a sci-fi anthology, but a collection of youth-related topics; peer ...
13
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0answers
259 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 ...
13
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0answers
643 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
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0answers
493 views

Man whose job is to destroy broken robots on Mars

Could anyone help me please. I am looking for a short story where the setting is on Mars, protagonist a human waste disposal worker. His job is to shovel broken down robots into the furnace and they ...
13
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0answers
589 views

Story about Neil Armstrong being transported across the galaxy

Attempting to search for the answer myself (and also ignited by current events), I recalled another short story I read back in 2006 that involved Neil Armstrong getting caught in a wormhole while ...
13
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1answer
760 views

Identify short story in which invention of music redeems humanity from alien death sentence

A small mission of harmless-looking little aliens comes to Earth to observe the place before destroying mankind. These folks have no music of their own but when they are exposed to ours, they love it. ...
13
votes
1answer
651 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 ...
12
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0answers
134 views

Short story about protagonist & others 'time-travelling' forward as statues

Disclaimer: this might be from a German author, at least I read it in German Read this in the 90s, probably quite older than that. I'll try to tell the rough story, obviously spoilers towards the ...
12
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0answers
192 views

Short story about an alien or robot looking for sources of food

I am looking for a short story about an alien or possibly a robot looking for sources of food. The story was read in a school English comprehension text book in the UK in the early 1980's. Story is ...
12
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0answers
586 views

Looking for a short story about an immortal

I read the story sometime around 1993, and I seem to remember it being part of some anthology. The POV character is immortal, in that whenever he is killed, he regenerates. While he is whole, he ...
12
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0answers
375 views

Short story about a man turning into a (monstrous*) vampire

*Note: "Monstrous" refers to the protagonist's personality change, not appearance. This story was featured in a short story collection about vampires. I read it in a library in early 2001 (in Germany,...
12
votes
0answers
404 views

Old sci-fi short story where protagonist is the lone survivor of a space passenger vessel that crashes on a semi-hostile planet?

Plot Details/Summary The protagonist in this one wakes aboard the wreckage of the space-going equivalent of a 747 or the like. That is, it's a commuter spaceship of some sort. The ship has crash-...
12
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0answers
974 views

Short story where Earth submits to alien warriors but a Terran admiral dooms Earth by trying to ambush alien fleet

Plot Summary/Details The story is at least partially written in a flash-back. The protagonist is a senior military commander in the Terran space fleet (forget the actual name). An alien race, ...
12
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0answers
230 views

Short story about game expert who learns a complex spherical game from giant sea creatures

I think this short story is from the 1970's or 1980's. The story opens when rescuers find a human that was stranded alone on a spaceship for many years. How he got stranded alone on a spaceship is ...
12
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0answers
1k views

Hardcover YA Series from the 1980's: starship pilots keep colonists in sleep; planet where everything is disassembled

The stories I read were in my grade school library in the mid 1980's. The series was like an anthology with each story published in its own hardcover. (Rather than being a single novel split up into ...
12
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0answers
261 views

Short story space liner materializes, almost self destructs

I read this story (English language) in a science fiction anthology paperback book from the 1960s or earlier. I remember only one scene from this story. In this story spaceships travel by jumping ...