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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.

78
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0answers
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 ...
40
votes
0answers
606 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 ...
37
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 ...
27
votes
0answers
991 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
votes
0answers
550 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
votes
0answers
977 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
votes
0answers
236 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 ...
20
votes
0answers
402 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 ...
20
votes
0answers
392 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
votes
0answers
927 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 ...
18
votes
0answers
254 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 ...
18
votes
0answers
742 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 ...
17
votes
0answers
349 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?), ...
17
votes
0answers
700 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
votes
0answers
353 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
votes
0answers
553 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'...
16
votes
0answers
359 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 ...
16
votes
0answers
307 views

Looking for a science fiction short story involving a 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 60s or 70s. The story wasn't ...
16
votes
0answers
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
votes
0answers
357 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
434 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
votes
0answers
225 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 ...
14
votes
0answers
452 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
votes
0answers
353 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
votes
0answers
189 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
votes
0answers
86 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
votes
0answers
232 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
votes
0answers
535 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
votes
0answers
242 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
votes
0answers
492 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 ...
12
votes
0answers
175 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
votes
0answers
192 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 ...
12
votes
0answers
534 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
votes
0answers
316 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
377 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
votes
0answers
210 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
votes
0answers
251 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 ...
12
votes
0answers
279 views

Sci-fi story. Survivor ejected in lifepod lands on planet. AI has terraformed the planet to resemble his physiology

Sci-fi story from late 90's or early 2000's collection book that was about a starship survivor who is ejected in a lifepod only big enough for himself that has an AI that keeps him in a matrix-like ...
12
votes
0answers
365 views

Help Identifying Sci fi short about game show with button to kill stranger

I read this short story about 15 years ago, in some anthology, and the plot was: Man lives in slums, gets selected for participation in game show, has no choice but to go on. (I think) they ...
11
votes
0answers
115 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 ...
11
votes
0answers
90 views

Science fiction story about an intelligent man put in suspended animation to solve future problems

I am asking this question for an older relative. This story sticks out to them over four decades after reading it, but they can't remember the title. The story is about an extremely intelligent man ...
11
votes
0answers
129 views

Searching for a short story scifi/horror of kid teleported to space to die

I'm looking for a short story. I believe I read it in a horror anthology, but it definitely had SF elements. What I can remember: It took place in what I recall as a vaguely dystopian society. This ...
11
votes
0answers
245 views

Xenolinguist assigned to make first contact with space rabbits who cannot understand counterfactuals

My memory of this story is very thin indeed. It was in a SF digest or anthology in the mid- to late 90s. Read in New York City, but could have been written anywhere (but from what I remember of the ...
11
votes
0answers
115 views

Sci-fi/horror anthology with a story about a boy who survives a crash and finds an alien who can cause pain with its mind

I have been looking for a specific science fiction/horror anthology book for years. I do not recall the cover art, the publisher, the title, or the author. I am only able to recall bits and pieces of ...
11
votes
0answers
197 views

Looking for scifi short story about people gathering to listen to agonized screams

Read a SciFi short story a few years ago and can't recall the title or some deeper details. The gist of it was that people gathered in a town square or other public place to regularly (daily?) listen ...
11
votes
0answers
191 views

Alien comes to Earth. When man learns it came to save humanity, man allows alien to die

I'm looking for the title of a short story that I read a while back. Plot: There is a fish-like alien that came to Earth. A man (we'll call them Person A) finds it and gives it water so that it ...
11
votes
0answers
154 views

Title of short story of newly discovered color

My daughter is trying to recall a book she read as a child in the 90's that contained a short story about a boy who dug up and discovered a new color in his backyard. Then his family has to buy a new ...
11
votes
0answers
1k views

Please help me ID this '70s(?) SF/Horror story about a monster in a little box

My last question was answered so quickly and so successfully, I'm going to present another, which I fear may not be as easy to answer. It is one of my holy grails... Somewhere back in the '70s (...
11
votes
0answers
178 views

Anthology: Vampirism as a cure for HIV; house full of odd characters; arrows on a path through the afterlife

In the mid-90's, I read a wonderful collection of stories that I've been trying to find since. The book was titled something like Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Stories, I believe ...
11
votes
0answers
151 views

Short story about a woman who is changed in to a puma for a month

I read a short story MANY years ago (more than 20). A woman saves a small fairy-like creature from her cat. The fairy-creature grants her a wish, and she unknowingly asks to be her cat. Conservation ...