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.

20
votes
2answers
5k views

Story ID: A man who suffers from blackouts hires a husband and wife detective team to follow him when he's in his fugue state [duplicate]

A short story I think... A man who suffers from blackouts hires a husband and wife detective team to follow him when he's in his fugue state... I thought it was a Philip K Dick short but couldn't find ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

That's what's unique about humans among all species—“they die”

My friend read this science fiction story as a kid, probably written prior to 1970. Forgive me it's a second hand description: Earth is visited by aliens. The aliens note that every race in the galaxy ...
20
votes
2answers
5k views

Story about a guy living same day over again until he falls asleep under an aluminum boat? [duplicate]

I have a strong recollection of reading a short story sometime in the '70s (maybe in Analog magazine) roughly about a man who was living in some kind of experiment run by aliens, in which the same day ...
20
votes
2answers
3k views

Short story where a scientist finds a way to explode the iron in the Earth's crust, considers a childhood of bullying, and releases the process

I was reading this story-id request and it reminded me of story I read somewhere in the mid 90s to the early 2000s in an anthology. A scientist finds a way to explode the iron in the Earth's crust. I ...
20
votes
3answers
2k views

Future Archeology in New York City

I vividly remember what I think was a short story about archaeologists in the future digging through the ruins of Grand Central Station. They describe what I, the reader who is from New York, know to ...
20
votes
2answers
694 views

Short sci-fi story about a man who can make things with his mind

There is a man who discovers that he can make things simply by thinking them. So he tries gold bricks. But when he inspects said brick he finds it is lead because he doesn't understand the root of ...
20
votes
1answer
2k views

Man creates miniature population on different time-scale; uses them to invent the 'absolute protection' dome

My dad has been trying to find the title of a short story for ages. According to him, the story goes like this: A scientist who works on an island manages to create a miniature population with whom ...
20
votes
1answer
1k views

Time traveling astronaut appearing frozen to observers in time travel accident

So I was recently watching the series seven episode of Doctor Who titled "Hide" and it struck me that I had read a short story that was remarkably similar to the astronaut woman of the episode. Here'...
20
votes
1answer
2k views

Short story - spaceship pilot needs second personality to fly ship

Possibly from the 1970s or 1980s. Humans can't pilot a spaceship without going insane, so spaceship pilots have a secondary personality that kicks in as they walk through the cockpit door. The pilot ...
20
votes
1answer
1k views

Old short story about energy beings

I am trying to find an old science fiction short story that my brothers and I recall from about fifty years ago. We read it in some science fiction anthology while driving around the U.S. as vagabonds ...
20
votes
1answer
2k views

Short story about a girl who lost/replaced her personality

I'm trying to remember the title/author of a short story I read about 5-10 years ago; I think it was new at the time. It's about a teenage girl who lost her personality because of overdosing on some ...
20
votes
2answers
792 views

IChing and space travel identification question [duplicate]

There was a short that I read in an anthology, when I was on my anthology kick about 8-15 years ago. I am fairly positive that the story was from pre-1995, if that helps anyone. I know it wasn't a ...
20
votes
1answer
2k views

Short Story about alien invader scouts encountering a grizzly bear

I'm trying to identify a story about scouts for an alien invasion. The aliens have a weapon that will kill any creature with a nervous system advanced enough to be intelligent, and they believe that ...
20
votes
1answer
554 views

Short story where a doctor wakes early from hyper sleep and slowly cannibalises the rest of the crew?

Heard this as an audio book a while back and loved it! A doctor wakes up early on a long space flight and realizes that there aren't enough rations to last the rest of the trip. Eventually, close to ...
20
votes
0answers
408 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
398 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
7answers
2k views

Pub or tavern reached from many time periods

This has been tickling my mind for a while and I'm not sure if it's an actual story, if it's from a series of short stories, or if it's just something I think I remember. I don't remember a storyline,...
19
votes
5answers
649 views

Why do anthologies have such a prominent place in the history of written SF?

My obsession with science-fiction first came to me through short stories, read in anthologies and single-writer collections. Dangerous Visions and The Science-Fiction Hall of Fame are more or less ...
19
votes
2answers
4k views

Short story about psychologist analyzing demon

I heard about a short story where a psychologist or psychiatrist conjures up a demon. He analyzes the demon who shrugs off his evil aspect and an angel emerges. I'd love to know the author and title....
19
votes
1answer
2k views

Short story about robots exploring another planet whose inhabitants thought the robots were inferior

The story was about robots exploring another planet. The inhabitants thought the robots were human, and also thought that they were superior to the robots. That is until the robots stirred molten ...
19
votes
2answers
2k views

Short Story about being unable to understand aliens

Some time ago I read a short story about humans' inability to understand alien culture/society. The premise was that we had a colony of sorts on an alien planet, that was comprised of a team of ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

Scifi short story where all citizens are armed (golden age)?

Trying to identify a scifi short story, possibly from the golden age, where all citizens carry sidearm weapons. Everyone is super-polite because it is legal and accepted to challenge another citizen ...
19
votes
3answers
1k views

Trying to track down a sci-fi story about Venus

The story was written with the notion that Venus was covered with watery clouds, so it must be hot and humid there. I remember the protagonist had to deal with mold or spores that would sprout ...
19
votes
1answer
1k views

Looking for Jewish Android Girl Short Story

I read a short story a few years ago in a collection of science fiction stories. It may have been a "best of the year" type of collection, but I am not sure. It included stories from many different ...
19
votes
1answer
1k views

Short story where ship propulsion is done by crew walking

Answering the question "What is your favorite SF propulsion concept?" recently on Quora.com reminded me of a science fiction story I read many many years ago. I can’t recall the name of the writer. ...
19
votes
1answer
313 views

Telegrams from Unknown City that Gets Destroyed by Mist

A visiting science fiction author, James D. Macdonald, showed a writing group at my school this story when I was in 7th/8th grade (around 1996-1997) and I can't remember the title or the author but it'...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

Sci-Fi short story that involved time travel and a couple who keep losing each other

I read a collection of Sci-Fi short stories back in the 1970's or early 80's that had one about a couple in love who kept losing each other. The book was my dad's so the story itself could be much ...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

Short story about a female advertising executive tasked with increasing female military recruitment

The story I remember concerns a lady advertising executive in the future. Her firm is given a non negotiable assignment by the military to help increase female recruitment. She does this by ...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

In a future war, an old lady is trying to raise a boy but one of the weapons has made everyone deaf

A long time ago, I read a story about a future war. Everything is in ruins. An old lady is trying to raise a boy. But one weapon has made everyone deaf. When the boy does something bad, all she ...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

Short story: rocket fuel which oxidizes iron destroys life on earth

I'm looking for the title of a short science fiction story, probably published in a Hugo winner collection 30 years ago. In the story, scientists have developed an extremely efficient rocket fuel that ...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

Looking for a short story: robot making other robots

A friend of mine is trying to track down a short story that her dad enjoyed decades ago, with a view to buying the book for his birthday. It's a comedy, and the plot follows a guy who assembles a ...
19
votes
1answer
875 views

Utopia where no one has to work, but people want to work anyway

I'm looking for a short story that takes place in a sort of utopian future, where no one has to work because machines do everything. People can basically sit and do nothing all day, but this is ...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

Short story where magic is powered by secrets

I'm looking for a short story I read 2-5 years back. I'm pretty sure it was in a anthology of short stories about magic, possibly about wizards specifically. I believe that the anthology was recent. ...
19
votes
6answers
1k views

Generational ship loses power/gravity in space, and inhabitants forget purpose of mission

I read this story maybe 15-20 years ago. It was about a massive spaceship on a voyage that would take many generations to reach their destination. Somehow the ship breaks down, losing power and ...
19
votes
1answer
3k views

SF Story about human adapting to alien environment

This is a story that was read on BBC radio about thirty years ago, and this is about as right as I can remember it: The human pilot of a spacecraft is doing some reconnaissance on an alien planet. He ...
19
votes
3answers
819 views

Looking for a short story about a girl who can go anywhere without causing suspicion?

I remember reading a short story about a girl with an interesting superpower. She can go anywhere (e.g. any secure facility) without causing suspicion - the people around always take it for granted ...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

What short story from the 1960s is about future where there are no printed books [duplicate]

A friend recently reminded me of a story where two children hear/learn /read in a book about a time long ago when all books were in print, and it's very strange to them as they are totally electronic ...
19
votes
1answer
1k views

Science Fiction short story I read— need to find. Current-day guy is in the future (cryogenics??)

A while back I read a science-fiction short story that I very much want to re-find. If you've read it, my plot description will hopefully ring a bell and maybe you'll recall some vital stats about it. ...
19
votes
3answers
895 views

Short story about rocks watching a city rise and fall, on their timescale

I remember a short story where two rocks are talking to each other, and during the conversation (on their timescale) a giant city rises from nothing, is built right up to the edge of the rocks, and ...
19
votes
1answer
1k views

Old short story where humans deliberately pick an insane man to lead a contact mission with an alien species

Plot Summary/Details Afraid this is going to be another one of my "longshot specials", in that I only remember a bit about the tale. The setting takes place on an alien world, with a three-man team ...
19
votes
1answer
310 views

Old sci fi story about a mom who sacrifices herself so a child won't die alone in a toxic rainstorm

It was part of an anthology that was required reading in Canada, maybe 30 yrs ago. A woman and her daughter live on a toxic planet. Story may have been told from daughter's POV. The mother is cold, ...
19
votes
1answer
492 views

Book of sci-fi short stories containing time machines, strange planets and civilisations

This story reminded me of something similar I had read 10+ years ago. I'm trying to identify a book of short stories, possibly by the same author. I only remember bits of it. A story about time ...
19
votes
1answer
368 views

Looking for a sci fi short story about space mutiny and a polite captain

Looking for a Sci-fi short story that I read once and would like to find again? It was about a spaceship where the captain is unusually polite in his verbal commands to the ship's AI, always saying "...
19
votes
2answers
998 views

Old story about a man with “vision lag” — he sees what was happening a few minutes ago

I think I read this short story in the 1990s, in a library book (anthology of some sort). I remember nothing about the rest of the book, nor the author. I did think the story had an old-fashioned, "...
19
votes
1answer
544 views

Science Fiction Short Story about Computer controlled Utopia

I have been trying to find this short story for years and after Lee SeDol defeated AlphaGo in game 4 yesterday, it really reminded me of it. The story is about a Utopia that is computer controlled ...
19
votes
0answers
429 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?), ...
19
votes
0answers
967 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
2answers
3k views

Short story where people can swap minds with others

I've read this book about 15 years ago, but I think it's older than that. In the story people use some sort consciousness transfer technology to travel to distant solar systems. So basically an alien ...
18
votes
1answer
3k views

Time travel short story where a man arrives in the late 19th century in a time machine and then sends the machine back into the past

A time travel machine arrives in the late 19th century. A man jumps out and makes the machine disappear into the past so he can't be tracked. He then explains that human descendants with huge brains ...
18
votes
1answer
4k views

Aliens come to the solar system to speak with our sun

70's era (I think) science fiction story. Aliens come to the solar system to speak with our sun. They believe stars are sentient. First contact story but aliens are not much interested in humanity. ...