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.

24
votes
3answers
584 views

Short story about very hostile architecture in an office building

I think I read this in middle school to high school, which places it in the mid to late 90s. It was in English. The protagonist was realizing that a particular office building, I think in the United ...
33
votes
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 ...
23
votes
1answer
741 views

A bad pun short story

I'm looking for a feghoot or shaggy dog story, either by Isaac Asimov or in an collection edited by Asimov, about the poor dependability of inter-dimensional mail. The story ends with a guy having a "...
21
votes
1answer
750 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 ...
16
votes
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 ...
13
votes
1answer
642 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
753 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. ...
12
votes
1answer
909 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
votes
1answer
242 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
195 views

50s/60s short story in which a tourist on Mars becomes dinner

In this short story probably from the 50s or 60s, a tourist on Mars meets a beautiful woman who invites him for dinner with her family. The problem is that with a meat shortage on Mars, he becomes the ...
9
votes
1answer
423 views

Short story with a helmet that fits a guys face

I was 14 when I picked up a book from my school library which contained excerpts and short stories related to space travel and such. There was this particular story, the first one actually, where a ...
8
votes
1answer
255 views

Story where a (child?) protagonist gradually explores lower decks of generation ship?

I can't remember the name or author of this generation ship short story, where the (child?) protagonist descends to progressively lower decks and encounters the various unfathomable technologies that ...
8
votes
1answer
358 views

Story about a mind-wiped criminal trying to find who he was

Looking for a short story about an man who lives in a society where instead of executing criminals, the government erases their minds and turns them into new people. The protagonist is a normal law-...
7
votes
1answer
292 views

Trying to identify a short story (might be a novelette) about alien abduction and meat consumption

Probably by a British author, because it concerns a group of people who is abducted in the United Kingdom (the narrator is abducted in London). The main theme is the identification of what was the ...
4
votes
1answer
240 views

Children stories with a little alien, name?

I'm trying to find out the name of some stories I read as a kid. I remember a little alien that would visit a child at night. I remember the alien going along in the air. I think he wore a clear ...
3
votes
0answers
412 views

Science fiction short story, where spectators in an arena are called down to the field and killed

I am looking for a short story that takes place in some form of arena, what happens is that there are players on the field of the arena who call down audience members and then kill them on the field ...
3
votes
0answers
387 views

Story about prisoners on a spaceship forced to perform repetitive tasks

In this short story, the main character is locked in a small plain room. Creatures of different "shapes" enter the room each "day" and monitor him as he is forced to watch a bubble in a tube and ...
3
votes
0answers
183 views

A couple on a yacht needs medical help but can only get it via radio from an astronaut

This is a story I've heard about but never been able to find. I've been looking for it for a long time, but the search terms I put in (astronaut, yacht, couple, medical help etc) tend to bring me ...
3
votes
0answers
507 views

Anthology of short stories; one about killer whales in space, another about a bodyguard on a desolate colony

I am looking for a book that I borrowed from the library from the mid to late 90s. It featured a number of science fiction short stories from different authors. The only story I am able to remember ...
2
votes
0answers
126 views

Short story where the rich live in towers and the poor live on the ground in the gloom

The plot: Cities have grown very tall and the rich live in the sky in the towers and the poor live on the ground where there is no sun. The families that have the skill and nerve to walk outside at ...
2
votes
0answers
54 views

Aliens helping contact spirits of the dead?

I am looking for a short story that involves a plane crash. However, aliens intervene; while they can’t save the crash victims, they have technology that lets them say goodbye to their loved ones.
2
votes
0answers
123 views

Story of a warring planet that sends out a colony ship

About 20 years ago, I had a dream which I thought would make a good short story. I really like it, but I am only a very casual sci-fi fan, so I assume somebody has used this plot device before. I told ...
2
votes
0answers
53 views

Are there hints to the identity of Ivovandas locus?

In the Scott Lynch story "A year and a day in Old Theradane" (link) , wizard Ivovandas asks a thief Amarelle Parathis to help her destroy locus of power of her rival Jarrow. Once that is destroyed, ...
2
votes
0answers
107 views

Where does this rhyme about Quatermass come from?

I found this rhyme about Quatermass II. I'm trying to find out who wrote it and whether there's an expanded version somewhere. Does the rhyme have a real-world origin? There was a man from outer ...
2
votes
0answers
91 views

“monster” turns out to be boys mutated family dog

Read in 1977 in an elementary school library, a book of maybe 3 short stories. One with the mutated family dog and one with spider-like creatures destroyed by a crystal. Story had "Boys Life" like ...
2
votes
0answers
159 views

Seeking SF short story with “slow” in title

I'm looking for a SF short story with the word slow in the title. It might have been in one of Gardner Dozois's anthologies ages ago. I believe it was about someone being chased on a spaceship and ...
2
votes
0answers
360 views

Short story where an immortal woman is going to get euthanized

All I remember is the following details from a magazine I read in high school: Most likely a short story. Mother and son are nigh immortals through life extensions technology. They are talking ...
2
votes
0answers
112 views

Sci-Fi Short Story Identifcation. Time Travel, Takes Place on Titan?

I am looking to find a short story wherein a group of people leave their ship to respond to a distress signal on Titan (maybe?) They head into some kind of ice caverns on a mountain. The crew come to ...
2
votes
0answers
260 views

Scary book series from the 1990's, short stories and came in hardcover?

I'm looking for a book series I owned a few books of in my childhood, they were compilation novels and I recall they had about three stories or so in each one. One of the stories I remember vividly ...
2
votes
0answers
147 views

Looking for vampire-themed short story in 1960's sci-fi anthology

Library book, remembered as Orbit series, but it could have been Dangerous Visions or New Dimensions or even Year's Best SF. This was mid-60's, 1965-69, and the book was fairly new, possibly ...
2
votes
0answers
203 views

Short story about the crew of a spaceship keeping prisoners as breeders

Not sure when it was published or the author's name. The only parts I remember are two prisoners trying to escape because they don't want to be breeders/sex slaves and that there are no names, just ...
2
votes
0answers
148 views

Looking for a short story about a ring and a giant

I have been trying to find this short story for ages. I forget most of the detail but it is set in space and in the end the protagonist has the realisation that the star he sees (or the planet he is ...
2
votes
0answers
105 views

Story about enhanced gladiators

I recall reading a short story in which a prisoner meets several physically enhanced gladiators (or possibly, long-term prisoners in some survival-type prison). Specifically, one of them had a triple ...
2
votes
0answers
132 views

Looking for a book of short stories - man can understand animals talking

Back in the 80's I had a book of short stories that I loved, but now I can't remember the title. I got the book when I lived in England, so it's possibly a British publication. One of the stories ...
2
votes
0answers
1k views

Short-story about a boy's obsession with a video game about war

I have been searching for so long now for the title of a short-story I read in the late 1990s, I think. Possibly early 2000s. The plot goes along something like this. There is a boy, I think he may ...
2
votes
0answers
103 views

Skeptic resists a quasi-Taoism and ends up in some sort of hell

Story identification request. The title says most of it. It's a short story I believe I read in a science fiction anthology. People have some Eastern-ish or mystic belief system or something, and the ...
2
votes
0answers
123 views

Story in a 70's anthology in which earth is a teenager's school project

This story involved a man and a woman and I believe the man was a messiah like creature or perfect being and the man and woman are interrupted during sex by a god. Also it seems the story involved ...
2
votes
0answers
408 views

Short Story Collection from 80s/early 90s with story about the Ainu and a shapeshifter

I'm looking for the short story collection that contained a short story that involved the Ainu culture and shape shifters. I read the collection in late 80s/early 90s. It was published in America — ...
1
vote
0answers
129 views

Short story, older people who can't separate mind from body

Possibly set in Cambridge, true self and form self. An older or aged woman is unable to separate her mind -- true self -- from her body -- form self. Younger people can apparently do this at will, ...
1
vote
0answers
57 views

90s illustrated horror anthology squat plump characters same era as John Bradley prominent lips

I got this book out a billion times from my library, I remember it was shelved right by the collection of mostly ghostly, looking at John Bradley's illustrations always makes me think of it, but I ...
1
vote
0answers
494 views

Short story about reincarnation and god

I'm looking for a short story (similar to Harlan Ellison, maybe even by him). When people die, their souls go into this universal god/spirit/whatever, and when a new person (or alien) is born, a bit ...
0
votes
0answers
114 views

Story about a criminal who goes from Earth to the Moon to Mars, dragging the government of Earth into space

Looking for name and title of a (short?)story I read long ago. Premise is someone with space-tech abilities does something nefarious on Earth, and while waiting for the legalities decides to split. ...
-2
votes
0answers
82 views

Short story with deformed baby who takes on all diseases

Tale of a baby born who was very deformed. I think he was named after a biblical character. People wanted him to be killed as they were scared of him. Ending is he takes on all mankind’s diseases.