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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.

72
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0answers
2k 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 ...
36
votes
0answers
517 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 ...
36
votes
0answers
1k 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 ...
31
votes
0answers
511 views

Man invents legalese to English translator

Classic sci-fi short story, can remember everything but the title. Almost certainly from the 50s or so. A guy invents a device that translates legal documents into plain English. He uses it on his ...
26
votes
0answers
961 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
515 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 ...
23
votes
0answers
671 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 ...
21
votes
0answers
937 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 ...
20
votes
0answers
206 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
350 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
384 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
876 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
711 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
314 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
685 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
330 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
537 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
189 views

Energy globes flatten everything, turn out be be warp bubbles of starships from another dimension

I read this in the early '70s - I'm not sure if it was in a proper anthology, or just an extra story added in to pad out a short novel to proper paperback size. Set in England (so probably a British ...
16
votes
0answers
334 views

Short SF Story: The last (Immortal) man visited by Aliens

An immortal and very old man resides in a mausoleum. He is the last man on Earth. He hears a great noise, goes outside and is disappointed, it was only a starship decelerating in the atmosphere. The ...
16
votes
0answers
196 views

Looking for a short story about military escalation on an alien planet

First contact is made on a new planet. The natives attack with spears. Rules of engagement are proportional response. Natives invent arrows, guns, cannons, tanks, missiles; the response is always ...
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
228 views

Help identifying short story about people never leaving their own house/room

I read this short story quite some time ago (about 20 years) but it stayed with me as the theme was very memorable. I'd love to find the book that the story appears in. The story consists of someone ...
14
votes
0answers
332 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 ...
14
votes
0answers
427 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
292 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 ...
13
votes
0answers
159 views

Short story about archaeologists on post apocalyptic world finding out about science-fiction

I remember reading a short story in an anthology sometime between the end of the 90's and the 2000's. It was the French translation of an English story, thus it could be much older. I remember the ...
13
votes
0answers
222 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
507 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
382 views

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

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 ...
13
votes
0answers
314 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
232 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
483 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
145 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
214 views

Seeking a short story about psychologically curing a human serviceman of his obsession with an alien female's affection

This was a short story, written in English. I read it in a hardback anthology I checked out from a library in Indiana no later than 1986 (and I suspect it was a couple of years earlier). I think the ...
12
votes
0answers
434 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
342 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
198 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
239 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
263 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
354 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
70 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 ...
11
votes
0answers
107 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
226 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
187 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
173 views

Sci-fi short story about a man who receives a computer disk with a program that can answer any question

I read this in the mid 90's. It was a short story that takes place in modern time (for the era it was written) about a man who received a package in the mail that just contained a computer disk. The ...
11
votes
0answers
177 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
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
189 views

Looking for a SF short story about gamer who defeats his rival by revealing her disfigured face

So there's this story I read years ago (somewhere between 2007 and 2013) and I remember almost everything but the title and author. I want to say it was in one of the Year's Best Science Fiction ...
11
votes
0answers
288 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 ...
11
votes
0answers
684 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, ...