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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OMNI magazine short story about generation ship caretaker instantiated to evaluate planet viability

I read this story in OMNI when I was a kid sometime in the '80s. The generation ship has no living crew, but will create one person from DNA when it gets close to a candidate planet to determine if it'...
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3 votes
1 answer
26 views

Pre-1980 story about man who can access alternate universes. References to a girl with a scar on her face, and Mithras

Some years ago, I read on rec.arts.sf.written about a story (I think by Lafferty or Davidson) about a man who could access alternate universes - he can, for example, pick up a quarter from the return ...
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-3 votes
0 answers
46 views

short story protagonist asks girl to cover up at beach then she wears half exposed dress to dinner, russian has camera that sends to moscow to develop

The overall story is more about the man who is a reporter or an agent from US and his interaction with a foreign society and changes. Unclear whether an off-world component, but I think it was an ...
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4 votes
1 answer
57 views

Short story collection, crossovers between detectives, included a story about Agent Pendergrast and one involving a cursed artifact in a mausoleum

I think I listened to this as an audiobook in 2020 or 2021. I think the concept of the book was that they took two authors known for their detective fiction, and had them do a story where their ...
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15 votes
1 answer
1k views

Novelette or short story: Aliens resurrect female after humanity has died off [duplicate]

Last story in a book of short stories. Written by a man, other stories were by different authors. All human life on Earth had died off. An alien race with the ability to bring the entire human race ...
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5 votes
0 answers
78 views

Short story about a slave girl on an alien planet and her rescuer

This is the summary of a short story. There's a man who's some kind of freedom fighter on an alien planet. He takes pity on a slave girl and releases her from bondage. He almost makes it to safety ...
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9 votes
1 answer
130 views

Short Story — Man who can alter the past, responsible for the fate of Native Americans

In the 1990s, I read a story in Asimov's (almost sure) about a man who could (by an act of will) change the past, resulting in appropriate changes to the present. I don't remember much of the plot; I ...
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5 votes
0 answers
38 views

Short creative writing story about a man being followed/ taunted/ possibly haunted (?) by a water droplet through this journey through the desert

I read this short story back in high school (2018/2019?). The story goes a man is going on a journey with a backpack on his back through the desert. In his backpack there’s a water droplet that acts ...
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11 votes
1 answer
191 views

Professor's mind in ape's body, slowly losing human characteristics

This is a short story from the 1980s, in Amazing or F&SF I think. It's told in the first-person by a college professor (of English, I think) who finds himself in the body of an ape in the rain ...
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9 votes
0 answers
87 views

Short Story - alien dolls wipe out humanity

This was in a collection of short stories I read, probably in the 90's and I've been looking for it for a long time now! As I recall it, it started with human soldiers on what appears to be a poor, ...
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13 votes
1 answer
167 views

Sci-fi short story where a man is tricked into believing he has superpowers

I'm trying to find either the specific short story or the book in which it can be found. The book was published some time in 2009. The book was a collection of both fiction and nonfiction stories ...
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11 votes
1 answer
3k views

Short story about a wizard who duels his darker half

There was a shortish story I read in middle school that was about a young boy who wanted to be a wizard. My memory is spotty, but I remember him training with someone who kept having him look at ...
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4 votes
0 answers
53 views

Online story from early 2010s. A professional "griefer" is reformed

I read this story online in the early 2010s. It's told in first-person by a person who is a professional griefer/troll - someone who attempts to disrupt society in a variety of ways, generally in a ...
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10 votes
0 answers
106 views

Story: Waiting for girlfriend returning from alien planet

A short story, decades old, translated to my native German, probably written by a female Canadian in French: Aliens have contacted Earth and installed a space station with a portal to their home world....
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7 votes
0 answers
70 views

Help finding a short story about aliens composed of several childlike creatures

Read a beautifully imagined story that followed 3 or 4 very different childlike beings on an ocean world. One was filmy and liked to float on the surface soaking up the waning sun. The others were......
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-1 votes
0 answers
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Where, Exactly, can the Works Searched for by This Exchange be Found? [migrated]

There's a constant stream of story identification threads, and inevitably answers appear with paragraphs from the text to verify the story that's been looked for. Yet, when I click the link to the ...
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14 votes
1 answer
741 views

Short story about space cadets in a solar sailing vessel with parts broken by instructor

I remember having had a collection of science fiction shorts in the 80s that contained a story about space cadets being sent to space for the first time in a solar sailing vessel. The instructor is ...
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14 votes
1 answer
734 views

SF short story from the 1970s, maybe earlier where two men start a movie company showing real footage of historical events [duplicate]

I THINK this was by Robert Heinlein. In the story two men have/develop a device that can show video of the past. They start a movie company and hire a young woman who I THINK develops a romance with ...
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16 votes
1 answer
1k views

Human "alien hunter" meets a real alien

This is a short story (only a few pages as I recall) probably from Asimovs in the 1980s. The main character is a man who looks for aliens in human disguise and kills them, secretly. The story opens ...
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20 votes
2 answers
3k views

Short story about a man who works and lives alone, who is repulsed by people when he has to leave his cubicle

Read this story a long time back. It's about a man at the controls as he works; his basic needs are provided. Food, clothes, etc. are made available to him. One day he wakes up to find the system is ...
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14 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story about an astronaut searching for life but they have the common cold?

I can't remember the name of this short story I read (about ten years ago (2010s) but it may have been much older). It involves an astronaut on a (I think) deep space mission searching for extra-...
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7 votes
0 answers
115 views

Philosophical aliens without arms quickly create an industrial world using monkeys

This is a philosophical short story I read in the 80s. On an alien planet the most intellectually advanced beings are creatures with no arms and one foot to hop around on. They are highly intelligent ...
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16 votes
1 answer
1k views

Short story where interplanetary explorers find a strange planet that's weirdly suited for human life

I recall reading the story in a book that was part of a larger award anthology. The plot revolved around a small team of scientists (3-5) exploring planets searching for those potentially suitable for ...
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20 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story - conspiracy to stop authors who are too good

This one may be from F&SF or Asimovs. The story involves a writer who accidentally kills a bike-riding kid. Then someone comes to his house and offers to erase the accident from history (and ...
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5 votes
0 answers
81 views

Short story - Prophetic science fiction author reawakened on the moon

I suspect the story I'm learning for is from Analog in the 1980s or so. A science fiction writer is woken up from cold sleep, and greeted by government officials who tell him that his stories are ...
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17 votes
3 answers
2k views

Fight where opponents multiply themselves by jumping in time [duplicate]

I read this around 2000 (± 5 years), so I could have messed up some details. I read this around 2000, but as I remember story was older ('60s?). The plot was a duel between two humans (wizards? gods?)...
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7 votes
0 answers
80 views

Three clone women meet male triplets

Another anthology short story I read early 1980s. In the future cloning is available. However clones are looked down upon and considered second-class citizens or worse. The MCs are a trio of female ...
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  • 4,276
13 votes
1 answer
913 views

Girl becomes involved with alien neighbours who have three genders

Another story I read in probably the 1980s in a library anthology. Might have been a novella. Human-looking aliens have come to Earth to establish trade. The MC is a pretty young girl who meets a ...
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  • 4,276
16 votes
1 answer
718 views

Trying to find short sci-fi story about robot surgeon trying to become human

I'm searching for a short story about a robot that is trained to be a surgeon and realizes the human society he lives in is flawed. He organizes the other robots to revolt so the humans have to ...
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8 votes
0 answers
52 views

Short story about a passenger and taxi driver who somehow travel through time to the late 1800s

I'm looking for a short story as part of a collection of short stories that was about a passenger and taxi driver who somehow travel through time to the late 1800s. They run into native Americans and ...
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11 votes
0 answers
86 views

Looking for a sci-fi short story about a search engine that gets pleasure from answering queries

I read this sometime within the last 15 years and can't recall the title, but the basic idea is that someone created an AI-based search engine that is motivated to provide good answers to people's ...
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6 votes
0 answers
67 views

Short story about the development and proliferation of AI

There's a story I read awhile ago that centered around the development of artificial intelligence. Some large corporation or government makes one, and some hacktivist leaks the code to the public. ...
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4 votes
1 answer
91 views

Short story about a boy cloning himself, who then ends up fighting with the clone (open ending/plot twist of the clone being the one that survived?)

I remember reading this at school when I was 13/12, so I assume this is a sci-fi story for kids. I also remember that the story is a bit old too. The story, from what I remember, is about a boy that ...
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5 votes
1 answer
103 views

1950s or 1960s short story where everyone is in constant phone communication with relatives

In this short story, a male character commutes to or from work. He's constantly in conversation with his wife at home. If I remember correctly, there's also always music in all the places he goes ...
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16 votes
1 answer
210 views

Military spaceship crew hoping to get their memories and bodies back after mission

In the mid-1970s I read a story about a spaceship crewed by people (or one person) who had been incorporated into the ship (I think), and had most of their memories temporarily erased before the ...
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5 votes
0 answers
77 views

SF short story about a dome with a kid and a robot

I read this at least 25 years ago, so before 2000. I can't remember too much about the story, except that it really captivated my imagination - these are the points I remember: The boy lived in a ...
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16 votes
5 answers
3k views

Science fiction story about people that all look the same and visiting astronauts start to change as well

Looking for the name of a science fiction story that I read around 2001. I think it was part of an anthology. From what I remember there were some astronauts that went to a planet and everyone there ...
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6 votes
0 answers
80 views

Short story about a man finding people with rich, vivid memories [duplicate]

From what I remember, this was in a short story collection, perhaps by Isaac Asimov, or similar authors. The story starts with a man using a device on young kid, asking him to recall or just think ...
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18 votes
1 answer
1k views

Short story about alien machine that can answer any question

I am trying to find a short story that I read about ten years ago in a science fiction anthology. The story itself was much older - I'd estimate it was from the 1950s. Unfortunately I don't remember ...
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12 votes
1 answer
732 views

Short story about a pregnant time traveller set in the wild west

The plot: Set in 19th century USA, the main character is a man who is a sheriff, but who is dominated by the local bad guys, who at some point have attacked him and dislocated both his arms, rendering ...
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13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Alternate world travel finds church with women priests

I read a story in the 1990s (I think) in Asimov's (almost sure) in which travel between a limited (half dozen) alternate worlds had become possible; relations between those worlds were peaceful. Then ...
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16 votes
1 answer
2k views

A hobo goes to visit a funeral in the American south, and proves to be an alien

I remember a short story which opened with a hobo returning to a small town (in the American south, I believe) wanting to pay his respects at the funeral of a man who had been a friend and a mentor, ...
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11 votes
0 answers
112 views

Science fiction short story about falling asleep while driving and waking up under a different sky

I remember reading a short story in English online (after the year 2000), that may have been self-published on a website or blog, about a person who is driving through a deserted landscape (possibly ...
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11 votes
1 answer
834 views

1960s/1970s short story about alien snails

I read this when I was in Jr. High (on the bus to school IIRC) so the story couldn't be any newer than 1982. Again, IIRC it was in a science fiction short story collection. It's told from the first-...
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7 votes
1 answer
298 views

Planet of hostile plants with spores, hero rescues injured co-worker [duplicate]

Another anthology short story I read in the mid 70s-80s. This is set on a planet which is covered with large hostile plants. The air is thick with moulds and spores so humans working there have to ...
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10 votes
1 answer
415 views

Looking for a short story about a posthuman conducting first contact with a primitive alien race on their planet [duplicate]

I probably read this story 20 years ago. I only remember random details about it. The protagonist is a heavily modified human and he is conducting first contact with an alien species on their planet....
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  • 103
4 votes
1 answer
100 views

Short Story about a teen girl that meets a mute boy with strange hands that crashes on her farm

I'm looking for a short story collection that had a story about a teen girl that witnessed a craft crash on her family's farm and a strange mute boy with block hands is in it. The family takes him in ...
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6 votes
1 answer
85 views

Short Story: Group of people with powers living together - a sentient radio, a woman with coercive powers, and someone who can fix anything [duplicate]

In Asimov's magazine, in the late 1980s or early 1990s, I recall a story about a group of people with odd powers or conditions who live together in an apartment. The leader is a woman who has "...
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15 votes
1 answer
2k views

Alien invasion averted by termites

A short story found in some anthology in the 1970-80s. Very short, I think, and with no named characters that I remember. Earth is attacked by an alien force who consider humanity an easy target. They ...
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  • 4,276
23 votes
1 answer
2k views

Story where humans use aliens as machinery

Humans settle on a planet and use alien beasts instead of machinery. The beasts are in fact sentient and a contract is negotiated to allow the humans to use the aliens. I vaguely remember that there ...
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