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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.

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28
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1answer
2k views

Astronaut is freed from mind parasite when he leaves Earth's gravity well

In the late 90s I read a short story (probably written much earlier) in which an astronaut on a mission to Mars is surprised to discover that he has spent his whole life with an invisible and ...
28
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1answer
3k views

Looking for a short story about a man eating a sandwich who calmly reacts to an alien appearing

It's about a man sitting in his room reading a book while eating a sandwich, when a being from another dimension materialises in front of him and engages him in conversation. I cannot remember what ...
28
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1answer
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Scientist discovers hyperspace with a twist

I believe the setting is an Earth that desperately needs transportation to the stars (overpopulation?) A scientist discovers hyperspace (I believe he solves a theory that explains how to reach it, ...
28
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1answer
2k views

Identify sci-fi short story about last man and woman on earth

It's a short short. Humanity destroyed by a disease (virus?) that causes temporary paralysis. Written from pov of last man about to marry last woman who is devout (Christian?) and very proper. Man ...
28
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2answers
2k views

Identify a short story where a young boy is time-shifted several minutes into the future

Please help me identify this short story of speculative fiction about time travel (or maybe more accurately, time shifting) which I read some time in the late 1980s or early 1990s. I may have some of ...
28
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1answer
1k views

A dystopian short story where children are raised to be murdered

I read a short story 1-2 years ago and I don't know the title/author. The story was online, possibly at Longform, although it does not appear to be there. I don't recall if the story itself was new or ...
28
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2answers
846 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 "...
28
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2answers
2k views

Short story about a conversation between a comet and the Earth

This is a story I read during the 90's but the actual story might be older. I don't remember the title nor the author but remember a good deal of the plot. It started with the Earth and the Moon ...
28
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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 ...
27
votes
2answers
5k views

Short story about a man who has duplicates of himself appear behind him [duplicate]

The story begins with a writer sitting at typewriter, he senses something behind him, he turns to see a shimmering disc floating in the air. Suddenly a man falls out of the disc, and it is a duplicate ...
27
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1answer
3k views

Short Story About How 2 Astronauts Who Stop for Lunch Unknowingly Destroy the Only Lifeform on an Arid Planet

In the 70's or 80's I read a short story in which 2 astronauts looking for a nice place to eat lunch choose a spot at the pole of a small desolate planet, overlooking the world's only pool of surface ...
27
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1answer
3k views

Sci fi short story, robot city that nags people about health

I read this sometime in 1980's in an anthology in UK. Protagonist is a near vagrant in the future, he hears about an automatic city where all is free so he follows hints until he finds it. Totally ...
27
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1answer
4k views

Fantasy story circa 60s about a sheltered vegetarian boy who visits a slaughter house with dire results

The boy's parents die when he is a baby and he is raised by his vegetarian grandmother in an isolated rural setting. She teaches him to cook, but dies without teaching him about the dangers of life ...
27
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1answer
4k views

Old science fiction story with an alien creature tapping Planck's constant

About 50 years ago, I read a science fiction story in a "year's best" anthology. As I remember it, a guy was visiting a small moon and ran into a scary giant spider-like creature. He fired a shot, ...
27
votes
1answer
3k views

Short story where the Devil goes to a Physics professor for help?

This is a short story I read in an anthology 3-4 years ago. But I get the feeling it was much older than that. In the story, the Devil in the form of a shy young man comes to meet a Physics ...
27
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1answer
2k views

Trying to find a short story about a drug that keeps wiping out your short-term memory every few minutes

A long time ago, around the late 1980s or possibly the early 1990s, I read a science fiction story about a man hit with a drug that keeps resetting his short-term memory. I remember the general plot,...
27
votes
1answer
553 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 ...
27
votes
1answer
992 views

Seeking story about time travel used to steal from the future

I'm looking for a short story that I read in an anthology. In it, I think the theory was that you could time travel, but could never take anything that would be missed. As in, if you went to the ...
27
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1answer
885 views

One person constructs a building, another tears it down, unaware of each other

I heard a synopsis of this story in the early 2000s. The story is set on a different world, one that has two suns. The suns may have been of different colour. While the first sun is up, the people ...
26
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1answer
2k views

Short story with physics professor who “brings back the dead” (Asimov or Bradbury?)

There is a physics professor who, one day, gets drunk and starts a conversation with an English teacher saying that he can bring back the dead. I believe he said he tried... Shakespeare? Whoever it ...
26
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1answer
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Anyone know this science fiction story about a sentient space suit?

Does anyone know the title or author of a story where a lone spaceman is walking across lunar surface in a suit that has sentience. The story skilfully teases the reader into believing the spaceman is ...
26
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1answer
3k views

Looking for an old SF tv short story about blue men staging the future [duplicate]

Does anyone know a SF TV short story in which there were blue men who helped "stage" our world- at least the parts we saw, on a minute by minute basis. So, at each minute, everyone would be in the "...
26
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2answers
3k views

Short story about scientists playing grooves on old pottery like an old vinyl record

Read a long time ago so not recent, maybe in the 1970s or 1980s. It might have been Bradbury, but maybe not. Some kind of researchers (anthropologists? physicists?) figure out how to play the ...
26
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1answer
3k views

Short story where rain only on one side of the house gives away fake world?

In the mid-90s I read a short story about a guy freaking out at his wife and therapist because as they were leaving the house to go on a train trip to New York City, he went back inside to grab ...
26
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1answer
2k views

Looking for SF short story about robot executioner

This is a short story from the 50s or 60s I think. In it a man is convicted of a crime and then set free. He is followed 24 hours a day by a large, featureless robot. At some unknown time in the ...
26
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2answers
2k views

Collection of fantasy/horror short stories with one or two full color illustrations per story

First, this is absolutely not Scary Stories or More Scary Stories. I don't think there is any relation there. From what I remember the book contained a collection of shorties that may or may not ...
26
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3answers
657 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 ...
25
votes
1answer
2k views

Anthology: underwater aliens / an impassable wall / a moon with an incredibly low orbit

I am looking for the names of these three short stories that I read long back in an anthology of sci-fi stories. First Story: It's about a planet mostly water that has been seeded by some ...
25
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1answer
2k views

Short story where algae runs a kind of software simulation of another world where life is evolving

I'm looking for a short story about an ocean planet where there are huge mats of algae and no other life. The algae appears dumb but on a cellular level it's running a simulation of another world, and ...
25
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1answer
3k views

Short story about astronauts landing on a planet of shapeshifters

I'm trying to find an English-language short story I read in a collection about five to ten years ago (I don't have any idea of the original publication date). Here's everything I remember: The ...
25
votes
2answers
3k views

Short story about a future where people spend all their time in cars

I'm looking for a story where people are always in their cars, which are small, individual-sized, and are considered naked when they are out of them. It's from the late 1960s or early 70s.
25
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2answers
1k views

Short story where caffeine is illegal and police detective chases down caff-heads?

I read a story, perhaps 25 years ago, where caffeine is illegal and the main character is a police officer/detective who tracks down "caff-heads": caffeine addicts. The story ends with a memorable ...
25
votes
1answer
3k views

Short comic about alien explorers visiting an abandoned world with giant statues that turn out to be alive but move very slowly

A sci-fi short story, probably part of a comic sci-fi/horror anthology. I remember seeing it when I was 13, but still remember the twist ending clearly. Judging from the artwork, something around 60'...
25
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2answers
4k views

Short story about a man betting a group he could tell a story, and one of them would disappear and the others would not notice

In about 1966 or so, a stand-in teacher at our primary school spent the afternoon reading short stories to us. There was a wide genre, but I was particularly fond a one which was science fiction/...
25
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4answers
1k views

Did CS Lewis ever write other Narnia works?

Did C.S. Lewis ever write (or authorise) any other works that are canonicaly set in the Chronicles of Narnia universe? To clarify, I'm asking about works (of any length) besides for the main seven ...
25
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1answer
2k views

Short story about human colonists vs. alien animals that evolve very rapidly

I can remember this story's plot very vividly, but not the author or title. I read it in an American, English-language paperback anthology with an extraterrestrial theme, in the very late 80's or ...
25
votes
1answer
2k views

Looking for a short story about the icy end of the world

More than a decade ago, I read a short story about a small group of people at the end of the world. The story was premised on some sort of mass-produced device which took ambient heat and turned it ...
25
votes
1answer
2k views

Story about a group of programmers detecting the emergence of AI

I read this story a couple of years ago but can't seem to find it since.It's a short story. The story starts with a programmer debugging a program and not being able to find the bug. Frustrated, he ...
25
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1answer
3k views

Identify a short horror story about a mysterious girl

Please help me find this short story that I read about 20 years ago: The story is set in the late 1800 / early 1900 in an American / English city, where a young man rents an apartment whose former ...
25
votes
1answer
439 views

Short story with a research facility that ends the world when it runs

A major research facility (like the Large Hadron Collider) is being commissioned. Unfortunately the project appears to be jinxed, because the device always breaks down before it can be successfully ...
24
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1answer
4k views

Sci-fi story I read decades ago: young tenants in an apartment which turns out to be a trap

This story featured a young couple who were looking for an apartment. They didn’t have a lot of money to spend and were very excited to find the perfect place, all the amenities, unbelievably low rent,...
24
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1answer
2k views

Planet full of robots turn out to be all humans pretending to be robots

I'm looking for a classic science fiction story where a man disguised as a robot is send to investigate a robot uprising on a mining/factory planet. He is found out to be a human and brought before ...
24
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1answer
3k views

Short story about a mutiny on a spaceship and a polite captain

It was in a collection of short stories by different authors, which I read in the mid 80's. The crew of the ship keep complaining about how the Captain is rude to them and the only 'person' he says '...
24
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1answer
5k views

Short story about a man who lands on Mars, and Martians don't believe he's from Earth

In my childhood, I read a short story about a man who lands on Mars and finds that Martians looked exactly like humans. When he told them he was from Earth, everyone thought he had a disease that ...
24
votes
1answer
954 views

1960s short story — time traveling dinosaur hunter gets eaten by his prey’s ticks and fleas

I am trying to find a short story I read many years ago from an anthology. I remember hunters who time traveled to kill dinosaurs. They were successful in that they did go back in time with big guns ...
24
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1answer
2k views

Harlan Ellison(?) story about immortality

There's a story I listened to some time ago. I know it was narrated by Harlan Ellison, but I don't know for a fact it was written by him. It was a collection of three very short stories centered on ...
24
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1answer
1k views

Short story with brother-sister conjoined twins as protagonists?

Plot Summary/Details This one is a real longshot, I fear. I can only recall specific details about the protagonists, with a few hazily remembered story elements to go with them. I am certain the ...
24
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2answers
3k views

60s (or earlier) short story where each colony has one person who doesn't connect well with others who is there for being able to absorb knowledge

I read a short story in the mid 1960's and now cannot remember the title. It was in an anthology I think. The story began with space travelers, male and female. I think they were involved in a ...
24
votes
1answer
2k views

Looking for a scifi short story about two guys who suspect an AI is taking over the world

I think I read this on a telnet server, many years ago - so it may be quite obscure. The story centers around a programmer, who's happily married to a doctor, and his friend who is a "hacker/Private ...