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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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
508 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
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1answer
959 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
874 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 ...
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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 ...
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Short story, where FTL travel is very simple but humans never discovered it

I read a short story (I think, but it might have been a novel), where most races discover a very easy way to travel faster than light at a certain point in their technological development. What I ...
26
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1answer
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 "...
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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
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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
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/...
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1answer
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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 ...
26
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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,...
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2answers
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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 ...
25
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1answer
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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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2answers
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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.
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4answers
989 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
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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
24
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1answer
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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,...
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1answer
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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 '...
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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
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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
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1answer
922 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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2answers
987 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 ...
24
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1answer
826 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 ...
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2answers
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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
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1answer
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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 ...
24
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2answers
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Story about a future of over-production

I'm looking for a story I read in the late 1960s or early 70s about a future in which so much stuff is produced (by machines?) that people are obligated to work very hard to wear it all out. The ...
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2answers
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Short story where aliens deal with humanity on the misunderstanding that Star Trek is non-fiction

I'm looking for a short (which I'm fairly sure I read online rather than on paper) which has as its premise that an alien civilization observing humanity thought Star Trek was real rather than ...
24
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1answer
942 views

A short story about how silly human physicists are to assume lightspeed is a universal constant

Something recently reminded me of a short story I once read in a back issue of Analog. I think the issue was from sometime in the 1960s -- I'm sure it was one that came out while John W. Campbell Jr. ...
24
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1answer
591 views

Dead alcoholic gets a second chance, helped by Judas

This story is about a recently deceased man, who finds himself walking along a dark plain towards soothing glowing in the distance. He is accompanied by a hooded figure. There are doors. He is made to ...
24
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1answer
800 views

Short Story about chess playing supercomputers

Here's what I remember of the plot: Russia and the US both build a supercomputer that's designed to play chess. They meet in a highly publicized event where the two computers will play each other. ...
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2answers
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An alien tries to stop war by disabling weapon technologies

I'm looking for the title and author of a short story where the central plot goes like this. An alien comes to earth and uses his very advanced technology to try to stop war. First, he disables ...
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0answers
559 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 ...
24
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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 ...
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5answers
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What story has a man forget a very significant question?

I recall reading about a man who has solved some very significant question--The meaning of life, perhaps. But nobody ever gets to hear this profound discovery because he becomes distracted and the ...
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2answers
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Story about astronauts who set off an alien warning beacon on the moon (or Mars?)

MY father and I were talking about sci-fi stories we've read over the years. He asked if I had ever read "that one about those astronauts on the moon, or maybe Mars?. I don't remember much, except ...
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1answer
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Short story, possibly Asimov, about an engineer sabotaging a floating city's engines, causing it to crash on Earth and killing everyone on board

This short story is about an engineer who sabotages the engines on a floating city where the rich and well-to-do live apart from normal humanity causing it to crash on Earth killing everyone on board.....
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1answer
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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 ...
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3answers
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Scientists shown a fake anti-gravity device to motivate them to build the real thing

There exists a SF short story about anti-gravitation called the Mother of Invention (AFAIK). A bunch of scientists are shown a (fake) movie in which an anti-gravity device is demonstrated by an ...
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1answer
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A dictator tries to escape war by suspended animation, but travels too long, killed by maroonee [duplicate]

Anthology story sought. A warlord, the Master? tries to escape capture by suspended animation, but last incoming rocket salvo seals his cave in mountains. Stays suspended for far longer than thought, ...
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1answer
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Giant Bird in Space

I read a short story as a child that revolved around the people of earth observing a distant object in space approaching. Over time as the distant speck got closer it was observed to be a giant bird ...
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1answer
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Story: world ended because it ran out of jokes

I'd like to know who wrote this old short story and its name. I read it 30 years ago or so and I'd love to read that book again. As far as I can remember, it told how the world ends because there ...
23
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1answer
3k views

Old sci-fi story: radiation mutated the animals, a boy loses a limb, but it's okay because “humans used to do great with only two arms”

I read this story in an anthology in the late 80's or early 90's. The story deals with a father and son at a zoo, and the father describing how radiation has mutated the animals over the years. ...
23
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1answer
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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 ...