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.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
21
votes
1answer
3k views

Aliens hiding important information about the human race; story ends “‘You don’t’ he said?”

And thereby makes clear in 4 words what the whole story was about. In a 60's or 70's era anthology I think. I’ve always remembered it as being an example of good or clever writing. I've never read ...
21
votes
1answer
3k views

Short story with a alien planet, government officials must wear exploding medallions

Can someone please help me identify the short story where, on some alien planet, every government official must wear a medallion that explodes, on his/her neck. The explosion is triggered when a ...
21
votes
1answer
3k views

Short stories about reversible assassinations as practical jokes

I'm looking for two short stories and I could have sworn they were called "Pamela's Profession" and "Pamela's Pursuit" but searching for these has come up with nothing. I've tried different women's ...
21
votes
1answer
4k views

Short story about an astronaut who comes back to earth and lives a few seconds in the future?

What I remember is that this astronaut comes back to earth and for some unknown reason lives (experience time I should say) 13.6453837 seconds (I don't know this number exactly) in the future. So he ...
21
votes
1answer
4k views

Trying to find a short story: telepathy has all but destroyed the female population of Earth. Returning astronauts offer hope of repopulation

From an anthology read in my youth in the 70's. I recall it has the crew of a deep range rocket being feted on their return because the female crew members may be able to bear children (they had been ...
21
votes
1answer
2k views

Werewolf Short Story - Love Goes Bad (mildly NSFW language)

Somewhere around 2006 I read an unusual and poignant short story written from the perspective of a female werewolf. An American college professor goes on a trip to Eastern Europe and falls in love ...
21
votes
2answers
2k views

Golden Age SF short story about first contact, and a different kind of hyperspace

I've been trying to find a certain "golden age" short sci-fi story for days and it's driving me crazy. Here's what I can remember: first contact with humans and an alien scoutship from a galactic ...
21
votes
1answer
2k views

Short story where humans evolve from vermin on the spaceships of precursor aliens

I've been trying to remember a short story which I read in the 1980s in a scifi anthology. The details which I remember are: Humans were traveling to other planets trying to decipher their big ...
21
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 ...
21
votes
1answer
627 views

Which short story has a medical trial that goes better than expected

It was about a medical trial for a menopause treatment that ends up being essentially the fountain of youth (the reader can see this, the pharm company misses the forest for the trees), and then when ...
21
votes
1answer
322 views

Short story about war with aliens where humans never show their overwhelming superiority

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 ...
21
votes
0answers
246 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 ...
21
votes
1answer
776 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 ...
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

Inventor that creates machine that grabs man from future

Discussing the question "Do you consider yourself superior to people in the old days?," poster Matthew here is looking for the title and author of a short story from a scifi anthology with this plot: ...
20
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 ...
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
702 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

Name of short sci-fi story involving a musician who is punished for listening to Bach

I read a short story a long time ago and I can neither remember the title nor the author. The main character is a musician. He is sequestered and allowed to play all day on some kind of a fantastic ...
20
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

Old short story about climbing the toughest mountain in the known universe

Sometime in the 1980s, in a science fiction anthology (English language, hardback, checked out from a library), I read a short story that went along the following lines: The story is written in the ...
20
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 ...
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
2answers
815 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
851 views

1970's- 1980's children's SF anthology (British?) identification

I've been trying for years to find a children's/young adult science fiction collection that I read growing up in the 1980's in the UK. It wrecks my head whenever I try and look it up. There were a few ...
20
votes
1answer
569 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
2answers
1k 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, "...
20
votes
0answers
560 views

Time travel to the crucifixion of Jesus and changing the past

The story I'm looking for is not Let's Go to Golgotha!, although there are a few core similarities. It's not Up the Line either. In the mid 2000s, I read in a magazine a science fiction short story ...
20
votes
0answers
462 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?), ...
20
votes
0answers
576 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'...
20
votes
0answers
406 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
653 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

Science fiction short story where aliens contact a drunk about Earth's impending destruction

Many years ago (~32 years) I read a short story about aliens trying to contact humans to warn them of the Earth's impending destruction, but they could only psychically link with a guy who stumbled ...
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
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 ...
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
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
1answer
2k views

One person election gets to vote for the president, by Isaac Asimov

I read a short story, by Isaac Asimov, I believe, in which the presidential election process is so far calculated that it only takes one person to vote. I would LOVE to know the name of this short ...
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
322 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'...