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Questions tagged [short-stories]

For about a fictional work too small to be called a [novel] or [novella] - usually less than 10-20 thousand words and no chapters. Use to either identify the media on a [story-identification] question or disambiguate works where the tag covers the short story and its form in other media.. If you are looking for a particular anthology of short stories, use the [anthology-book] tag instead.

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32 votes
1 answer
7k views

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 ...
sarge_smith's user avatar
  • 5,508
31 votes
1 answer
4k views

Short story where the Earth has been kept inside a force field for millennia

First we are told that the Galactic Empire/Federation/Powers-that-be have kept the Earth locked up for being too warlike, but now their help is needed against invaders from another galaxy. When the ...
sigber's user avatar
  • 788
25 votes
1 answer
5k 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 ...
Tallis's user avatar
  • 253
18 votes
1 answer
2k views

Looking for title of sci fi short story about attempts to colonise planet (Venus?). Scientist and his dog are main characters

They want to see if humans can survive in harsh planet conditions with a view to future colonisation. Scientist guy invents a machine which can transform humans into beings which are adapted to ...
Sue F's user avatar
  • 183
37 votes
1 answer
3k views

Short story; war where speed of time changes with distance from front line

Trying to remember a short story (most likely from the sixties). It starts with a soldier at the front line fighting an unknown enemy on the other side of the front line. He then gets withdrawn and ...
Durathor's user avatar
  • 703
26 votes
1 answer
4k views

Short story: people rediscover how to do math and want to put people in bombs

Many years ago I remember reading a short story about an advanced civilization at war that rediscovers how to do math mentally. The reason I remember it is the guy tells it to government officials who ...
user2609404's user avatar
  • 1,195
19 votes
1 answer
6k views

A short story about finding an inhabitable planet and meeting aliens

So the story goes, humans in a spaceship search for an inhabitable planet, being surprised they found none in the vicinity of Earth. They find one, and it seems uninhabited. At the same time are ...
Alice's user avatar
  • 191
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story where time is accelerated and characters have to get back to ship?

Looking for a short story where time is accelerated on a planet. The characters are actually born at the beginning of the story and then grow up quickly and inadvertently learn that their forebears ...
user24760's user avatar
  • 143
6 votes
2 answers
2k views

Short story about a virtual world. Protagonist is a female who specializes in torture experiences

I think I read this online in the last ten years, so after 2005 or so. In the story, everyone is online, I think 24/7. People are jaded and always looking for new experiences. The protagonist (or at ...
FuzzyBoots's user avatar
  • 230k
19 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story ID: Bouncing-Ball Time Travel

A little help please. The story I'm looking for is probably late-50's to mid-60's, and may well have occurred in an SF magazine. A professor is demonstrating his new time machine to a scientific ...
WhatRoughBeast's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story about a woman that travels to other planets. Read online recently. She just manages to live long enough to embrace new technology

I believe she loses a loved one and decides to take a pill to make her better. She eventually embraces technology and becomes a interplanetary (and possibly inter-galaxy) traveler. She travels using ...
Brian's user avatar
  • 133
27 votes
2 answers
3k views

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 ...
Ellen's user avatar
  • 517
16 votes
1 answer
3k views

Short Story: Army investigates barrier and house

I am trying to identify the author and title of a short story with the following plot. A scientist narrates a story where s/he is called in to help the army investigate an unexplained phenomena. The ...
subharmonic's user avatar
36 votes
1 answer
5k views

Short story where a man discovers he's living in a fake world

I may be conflating two separate short science-fiction stories here, so please bear with me. I definitely read this more than 10 years ago and it's likely to be older than that (60's, 70's?) A man ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 701k
26 votes
1 answer
4k 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 "...
saunderl's user avatar
  • 371
23 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story: man rescues alien from cruel hanging ceremony, but alien turns into a shrub

I am seeking a short story where a man rescues an alien from a cruel hanging ceremony, but the alien turns into a shrub. It turns out the hanging ceremony was a way the aliens,of humanoid form, had ...
Dr Denis's user avatar
  • 341
21 votes
1 answer
3k views

Story about time traveling tourists who come back to witness human tragedies

I read this sci-fi story sometime in the 80's (I think). To expand on above, a B&B or small hotel owner takes in a group of guests. They appear young and boisterous party folk, but there is ...
Gio's user avatar
  • 383
18 votes
2 answers
1k views

Short story where a man owns creatures that build statues of him

I am trying to recall the name of a story I read when I was fairly young (maybe 20 years ago, but not sure how old the story is). What I remember: A man acquires a set of creatures that he keeps in ...
Bryan's user avatar
  • 333
13 votes
1 answer
856 views

SF Short Story: alien apes invade during nuclear war

Trying to identify a science fiction short story from an anthology likely published before 1991. Aliens invade during a nuclear war (which would be World War III, WWIII, WW3). The warring nations ...
Dutiful Son's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
488 views

Government investigating home library of missing inventor

This is a short story from the 50s or 60s. A scientist or inventor has invented either teleportation or a space drive and has disappeared - leaving no documentation or clues except his extensive home ...
HMCurtis's user avatar
  • 123
10 votes
1 answer
897 views

SF short story about a patrol car on a "hyper-highway" at 400+ mph speeds

I'm trying to locate a short story, probably written in the 1970s but likely before the oil crisis, about a day in the lives of two officers and one medic on a patrol car riding the highways of the U....
rosesunhill's user avatar
  • 4,740
10 votes
2 answers
2k views

Sublight Starship "passed" by FTL

I'm a huge fan of SF from the golden age of SF, so this could be a fairly old book. It was a story about a "generation" starship or sublight starship. I believe most of the story was about their ...
Just4Fun's user avatar
  • 417
10 votes
1 answer
1k views

Short story about explorers landing on a planet, being absorbed and transformed

Explorers land on a new planet and display hostility to each other. They are from a rigid, stratified culture where each has his specialized field of knowledge. They jealously guard against intrusions ...
user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
2k views

Story about kids and book that tells about good old times in schools

I'm trying to find an short story I read in a collection about ten years ago. Publication date before 1980. Here's everything I remember: The story is about kids who found an old book with stories ...
Yevhenii M.'s user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
804 views

Man is sitting in his room and gets contradictory advice from two men from the future

Years ago I read short story about a man sitting in his room. Suddenly appears the same man but from the future and gives him an advice about the future. Original man seems to agree to follow that ...
nick's user avatar
  • 191
36 votes
1 answer
4k views

Need to identitify a short story about an astronaut stranded alone on a planet that houses a strange museum

Can anyone offer any help with this..? I read it at school around 1976 but cannot remember the title nor the author. Thank you in advance! A lone astronaut called - I think- Steve is stranded on a ...
Steve Hardy's user avatar
23 votes
1 answer
3k 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 ...
Julia's user avatar
  • 241
22 votes
1 answer
3k views

Short story about a hole to another universe that pulls in metal

This question reminded me of a story I read in the 90s. A woman is caught shoplifting a bunch of metal items by throwing them into her purse. She has no memory, and the purse is empty. Anything metal ...
Robert's user avatar
  • 2,047
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

Need help identifying short story about retired military colonel who fought war at end of time

I read this story in an anthology in the eighties or early nineties. It was about an old man who lived outside a western-like town, though that might have just been how I imagined it. He goes to ...
 Chewe1110's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
629 views

1970's sci-fi short story in 4th grade reading anthology

As I remember a boy from another planet was dropped on earth. Gravity didn't affect him as much. He was being chased by something and leaped over a barbed wire fence "like a deer". Also the story ...
Jane Blake's user avatar
46 votes
2 answers
7k views

Pre-1972 sci-fi short story or novel: alien(?) tunnel where people try new moves and get destroyed if they're not the correct ones

It might be a short story or it might be a novel. It must be before 1972 because I read it in my youth and I am OLD. The following is very impressionistic. There is a multidimensional/not of this ...
Don's user avatar
  • 563
33 votes
1 answer
3k views

Computer makes mistake over a late library book

I'm looking for a short story about a man who forgets to return his library book. A computerised system takes over and everything goes from bad to worse. The book he did not return is 'Kidnapped' by ...
Tammy's user avatar
  • 341
22 votes
1 answer
3k views

Story identification: Old man has hacker neighbor who mysteriously dies

Does anyone know this story? It was a novelette published with another one (I don't remember what it was) in dos-a-dos format. The premise was that the narrator is an old man whose neighbor, a hacker, ...
james h's user avatar
  • 323
20 votes
1 answer
3k 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 ...
Christine's user avatar
  • 261
16 votes
1 answer
3k views

Trying to identify a short sci-fi story about a human that is "resurrected" by malignant aliens [duplicate]

I'm trying to locate a short sci-fi story I read years ago about a human that is "resurrected" by an arrogant and malignant alien species that discovers him in a "museum" on an earth where the ...
Clark's user avatar
  • 181
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Mysterious contact by advanced aliens; leaves humans insane

It'd be great if anyone could remember the source of this short story I only dimly remember, but recall finding quite haunting back in my youth. I read it maybe 20 years ago in a paperback that ...
Mike's user avatar
  • 241
12 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story about humans marooned on high gravity planet

I'm trying to find a short story that I read years ago. There were a group of humans marooned on a high gravity planet by an alien species. On the planet they encountered saber-tooth cat-type ...
Pratt Koon's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
748 views

Looking for a (short?) story about a cryo ship looking for habitable planets

I read this story/novella at least 15 years ago, probably 20 or more. It is about a ship, travelling through the universe, looking for habitable planets. Why, I can't remember. People are held in Cryo ...
Michael Frank's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
4k views

Man clones himself to have the clone do things he doesn't enjoy

I read a short story about four years ago and can't remember the title or author. The only thing I know is that it is relatively old -- like Huxley or Asimov era. Can anyone help me? The basic ...
user30566's user avatar
  • 123
12 votes
1 answer
1k views

Short story as a letter to original colonisers of earth

I am trying to track the title of a short story which is written as a message from an alien race to the original colonisers of earth apologising for the collapse of the experiment and advising the ...
Guest 2000's user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

story on forest timescale

I'm looking for the title of a short story by Ursula Le Guin about a scientist (?) who is given a drug that slows the timescale of his perception enormously, so that he can perceive that an alien (?) ...
Ben Bolker's user avatar
  • 2,524
42 votes
2 answers
4k views

Identify a short story about post-apocalyptic household robots

Media: Short story collection When I read it: 2011 but the story itself was much older (unsure how much) so this information only serves to clarify that it is by no means new. Plot summary: A ...
Ghoti and Chips's user avatar
38 votes
1 answer
7k views

Astronauts land on planet, met by aliens impersonating their deceased relatives

When I was young, I read a chilling story of astronauts coming to an unknown planet and found to their delight the occupants were all members of their family who were deceased. Each crew member goes ...
Stephen Collicoat's user avatar
32 votes
1 answer
3k 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 ...
slebetman's user avatar
  • 710
29 votes
1 answer
4k views

Title of short story: God granting immortality to others to find a way to kill himself

I am looking for a short story I read a long time ago. In it, a man dies and finds himself in a dark and featureless afterlife with a disembodied voice that calls itself god. That god reveals that ...
HugoRune's user avatar
  • 3,229
27 votes
1 answer
5k 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 ...
Liesmith's user avatar
  • 5,098
22 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short Story about interminable rain on Venus

It's not All Summer in a Day. This was a story about explorers on Venus, who are separated from their base (possibly they're lost, possibly they suffered equipment failure, possibly they're just ...
tbrookside's user avatar
  • 7,005
21 votes
2 answers
2k views

Short story about humans as beasts of burden for another race, read about 30 years ago

Short story or possibly book where humans on a planet are work animals for a different race. It turns out that it was a human colony that was overrun by this race a long time ago. I believe it is the ...
farhangfarhangfar's user avatar
20 votes
3 answers
4k 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 ...
Cԃաԃ's user avatar
  • 607
20 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
Ben Wellborn's user avatar

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