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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Testing a drug on animals. Two people take some. Gives intelligence, ability to morph. One becomes a cat the other and his girlfriend become pigeons

A company is testing a new drug on some pigs. I think the idea is that it is to be used in farming to help pigs grow fast and healthily. The young pigs they have tried giving the new drug to do indeed ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
75 views

Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Elephant [duplicate]

I am trying to remember the name of a short story I read in the 1990s or earlier. The story was either in an anthology or a science fiction a magazine. The story is centered on a woman on a space ...
JRE's user avatar
  • 17.6k
20 votes
2 answers
2k views

Far future robot historian or archeologist. There are no longer humans in the known universe. It describes meeting one of the last humans

It writes that it met a human who was alone and did not know how to speak. After the robot had taught him its language they got on very well together. The historian says humans have similar skeletons ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 6,868
5 votes
0 answers
92 views

Short story set on a generational ship in which the hero/villain has a device that enables him to run away from his enemies or desperate situations

I am searching for an old Sci-Fi short story, which my mother told me about. According to her, it was in a Sci-Fi anthology, and it must have been written (or published?) approximately in the 60s-70s, ...
Noobfan's user avatar
  • 51
8 votes
1 answer
902 views

Short story. Humans and machines have co-operated in peace and prosperity on Earth for hundreds of years. Aliens attack and begin slaughtering humans

I read this short story since 2010 but it seemed very old, maybe seventy years old from the language used. Humans had invented robots and super intelligent computers. Neither the word robot nor ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 6,868
11 votes
2 answers
3k views

Planet is settled by people who want to recreate their ancestors' African society. A very intelligent girl is not allowed to learn to read and write

I read this short story in about 2010. A planet has been settled by people from an African society. They want to live the way their ancient ancestors long ago on Earth used to live. The people on the ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 6,868
14 votes
2 answers
252 views

Story ID: Time machine that can only move forward loops past Big Crunch/Big Bang

Trying to ID a short story I would have read in the late 70s, maybe early 80s. Because of the type of story collections I was reading at the time, I'm positive it was older, probably from the 50s or ...
David Romerstein's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
3k views

Alien VIP visits human space station. Humans do not know public eating is taboo for this species. Alien is seriously injured. Translator is killed

This is a short story. I read it in a Science Fiction magazine after 2010. It might have been Analog. I think the cover was green. Humans have been living on a space station orbiting a planet for many ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 6,868
6 votes
0 answers
137 views

Character gets access to universal control panel, fights ancient human already there

This XKCD reminds me of a story in Asimov's magazine from the 1980s or 1990s about a meta-universe in which actions affect the "settings" of our universe - how the laws of physics, etc. work....
Andrew's user avatar
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8 votes
0 answers
57 views

Time traveler trades with people from alternative dimensions/timelines. Trades ova for high quality dogs, to help humanity in his timeline survive

I read this short story after 2017. It may not have been new but did not seem very many years old. It was in a magazine. I read the magazine online. The protagonist has a trading post that I think ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 6,868
14 votes
0 answers
138 views

Short story about the temptation of Jesus, with a twist

I'm looking for a short story I've read a couple years ago, but forgot where. It starts with the temptation of Jesus as described in the Bible, but then it has a plot twist: the devil shows the future ...
vsz's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
104 views

Humanity has long been at war with aliens. Protagonist's elderly former chemistry teacher has brain wired to control a spaceship [duplicate]

The war has been going on as long as anyone can remember. The aliens have an advantage in that they have living creatures that are spaceships and can reproduce so do not need to be built. The humans ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 6,868
10 votes
1 answer
704 views

Short story where the aliens looks similar to lions can make themselves invisible

On an alien planet, the inhabitants kind of look like lions and can make themselves invisible. The story is told from the point of view of a teenage girl who has one of them as a pet/friend and doesn'...
CarmenF1's user avatar
  • 111
6 votes
0 answers
80 views

Short story in a comic about insectoid aliens approaching Earth in an invasion armada. They attack lights that turn-out to be a truck's windshield

Comic short story about insectoid alien armada approaching lights while invading Earth. Turns out to be a truck and alien fleet is smashed against truck's windshield.
Darrell Castillo's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
466 views

A man is high above Earth. He is attacked by aliens who can alter the laws of probability to make their enemies extraordinarily unlucky

I read this short story in the 90s, it seems oldish at the time. The human is incredibly surprised that his parachute lands safely on Earth, knowing how drastically his luck has been reduced. He lands ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 6,868
8 votes
1 answer
106 views

Doomed, telepathic, underground-living alien civilisation. They send an explorer who enters the mind of a baby on an aeroplane [duplicate]

This short story I read about 95 but it seemed to have been written some decades earlier. An alien civilisation have been living underground, for many generation. They have only old stories about what ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 6,868
11 votes
2 answers
728 views

Short story about a patient's OCD keeping the world in order [duplicate]

I'm trying to recall a scifi short story about a psychiatrist who tells a patient suffering from OCD to stop the rituals.
Not-an-alien's user avatar
13 votes
0 answers
153 views

Future primitive society. Tribespeople find a rocket labelled USA. Protagonist's young child brother is important to plot twist

I read this short story online, maybe in an online magazine, about 2020. The magazine artwork looked very professional.I think there was an orange drawing of the rocket. SF Magazines I remember ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 6,868
8 votes
1 answer
139 views

Short story from the early 1980s in Asimov's magazine - man develops superpowers making him dangerously fast and hot

I don't remember many details, unfortunately. The main character was looking for someone who had disappeared, I think, and was exposed to something in the missing person's house, that slowly enhanced ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 45.1k
20 votes
1 answer
1k views

Device that helps criminals beat lie detectors also cures criminals

While looking for this story I found an interesting story id question at rec.arts.sf.written An old Analog story featured a machine that could help you beat a lie detector. While under this machine, ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 45.1k
15 votes
1 answer
570 views

Short story about men stranded on Mars who are running out of air, each takes a last walk as they die

After seeing the question about a woman trapped in the nose of a spaceship being burned alive by solar radiation, [The movie "Lifepod (1981)] it reminded me about another story I read. Probably ...
NJohnny's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
200 views

City under attack turns missles to dust. Dust destroys city defences

I read this book back in the early seventies in the UK. It was in the form of a double sided book or magazine. Like the Ace doubles listed here. A city of people was under bombardment from an enemy. ...
RoyC's user avatar
  • 435
19 votes
1 answer
1k views

Trying to identify a cassette tape of science-fiction short stories

When I was a child my older brother had a cassette tape with some short sci-fi stories on. I think it must have been around 1992 to 1993. I've been searching for years because I remember being too ...
Jack87's user avatar
  • 199
16 votes
1 answer
854 views

Human like animals are modified to become more intelligent. One is adopted by humans.The fight for their rights

Short story or novella.I read this about 2005 but it seemed to have been written much earlier. I remember looking at the publication date and noting it was written before humans were capable of ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 6,868
6 votes
1 answer
334 views

Short story set in the future after some sort of disease or environmental disaster has destroyed all paper

I'm looking for a short story which I think must have been written before widespread access to personal computers. It is set in the future after some sort of disease or environmental disaster has ...
Samos's user avatar
  • 69
9 votes
1 answer
1k views

Sci-fi story about a boy living in a city that no one ever leaves, with robots and a master computer

I remember reading this when younger and I think it was in a collection of stories published in the 70's? A boy growing up attends school. He is very curious about his city and surroundings. No one ...
Ken's user avatar
  • 99
11 votes
1 answer
568 views

Short Story Protagonist believes aliens are being mistreated exploited. He has an alien lover

I think I read this in the 80s. Most people are very prejudiced against the aliens on a planet that has been colonised. They treat them appallingly. The protagonist used to feel that way before he ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 6,868
14 votes
0 answers
123 views

Short story about astronauts exploring the interior of a giant organism in space

Trying to find any info about a short story I read in a sci-fi monthly digest in the early '90s. The basic gist is a team of astronauts is exploring and researching the interior of a large asteroid/...
CountSnackula's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
110 views

Short story about perpetually cloudy skies and some people who find a permanent patch of sun

Trying to find a story that I read probably in the 1990s. Don't know where I read it, but if I had to guess it was in high school in either a fiction magazine or a book of collected stories. I ...
techturtle's user avatar
16 votes
1 answer
325 views

Analog story circa 2010 - scientist invents a machine that can detect consciousness in human - and finds many people aren't conscious

In the story, a scientist invented a machine that detected "internal consciousness" in people. He tested it with a drug that left someone apparently awake but who would have no memory of ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 45.1k
6 votes
2 answers
771 views

When was "Fast Trip" by James White Published?

Short version: I need to know when "Fast Trip" by James White was first published because I might be experiencing a "Mandala effect" about its publication date. Long Version: This ...
M. A. Golding's user avatar
21 votes
1 answer
1k views

Child in a dystopian city who had to forage for food

In this story, a man appears to a child who lives in a dystopian city, which I think is contained in a dome. He appears to the child once the pollution or radiation in the outside has dissipated ...
Dermid1789's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
95 views

Old short story about a group of authors who write using a machine AI [duplicate]

A long time ago (maybe in the 70's?) I read a short story where humanity and aliens were in contact, and the only thing they wanted was Earth fiction. So many people became authors, and were using ...
Larf's user avatar
  • 93
4 votes
1 answer
109 views

Short Story. Spaceship controls are designed to perfectly match the pschological make up of the pilot. Emergency attempt to fly another's ship [duplicate]

I think I read this in the 80s probably in an anthology from a UK library. All spaceships are individually designed for their pilot to match the things they like and the way their mind works. There is ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 6,868
12 votes
1 answer
340 views

Short story about a point in the solar system where ships disappear and reappear with scientific break throughs

I'm trying to find the title of a short story about astronauts being sent in ships to a point in the solar system (orbit of Jupiter?) where they disappear temporarily. When they return they have been ...
Bob's user avatar
  • 129
11 votes
1 answer
859 views

1980s story about all-female society that reintroduces men for genetic diversity

Back in (probably) the 1980s I read a short story or novella (English, US) set in an all-female society where people reproduce by parthenogenesis. Eventually their scientists re-create the Y ...
arp's user avatar
  • 1,198
3 votes
1 answer
72 views

Short Story. Man sells his soul to the devil who arrives by train. Gets a watch which can stop time in exchange [duplicate]

The man is homeless. The devil arrives by train wearing a conductor's uniform. The devil offers him any wish he desires in exchange for his soul when he dies. They make the bargain and he wishes the ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 6,868
5 votes
1 answer
50 views

Short Story. Man given exprimental drug which gives him perfect recall of his memories [duplicate]

I think I read this in the 80s. It is a short story. The protagonist is soon to be married. He works for a drug company. He is approached by researchers who also work at his company. They want him to ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 6,868
12 votes
1 answer
131 views

Space adventure story: infiltration identified by restrictions on ship's menu

This is a 1950s-era short story, I think. If I recall correctly, the hero wants spaghetti for dinner at the mess, and while investigating why he can't get it, he uncovers a conspiracy: The aliens who ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 45.1k
9 votes
0 answers
95 views

Trying to find a Sci Fi book about a man in love with the captain's daughter put in charge of hydroponics

I'm looking for a book that was a favorite of a friend of mine, who is elderly and blind. She was recounting the plot to me but I couldn't find any matches searching. She said it was like a series ...
Amy P's user avatar
  • 91
9 votes
1 answer
918 views

Short Story. Super intelligent telepathic unborn child. Communicates telepathically with his mother. Writes a well received book

A young married couple are expecting their first child. From the womb he communicates telepathically with his mother. He tells her to drink milk which she hates the taste of. The unborn child tells ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 6,868
5 votes
1 answer
78 views

Evil man uses robot teddy bear to raise a boy to be a killer [duplicate]

An evil man wants to hire an assassin. He cannot find anyone who can do the job. For many years every human child has been raised with a talking robot teddy bear. Amongst many other things these teddy ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 6,868
5 votes
1 answer
166 views

Humans are kept as livestock by aliens. They all know an old song. The song teaches them how to fly their long abandoned spaceship [duplicate]

I read this short story about 2015. I think it was old at the time. The planet was settled by humans long ago. The indigenous aliens later beat them in a war. Humans are kept as livestock on farms, ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 6,868
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

Small girl visits sweet innocent-seeming Martian old lady. She is far less harmless than she seems

I read this about ten years ago but it seemed much older. The Martian seems like an innocent sweet old lady. A human girl visits her house and watches her baking something like apple pie. The girl ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 6,868
19 votes
1 answer
4k views

Short story. If a family has a third child, it is announced that for the next 24 hours killing the father will be perfectly legal

I think I read this in the 80s. In the future overpopulation is a problem and all families are limited to two children. (It is not the Ender's game series which has a similar restriction on family ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 6,868
17 votes
1 answer
2k views

Which short science fiction story warning of nuclear war was about the telephone book?

I know I read this when it was already a classic, as a teenager in the 1990s. The author I think was well-known and male and American, but that doesn't narrow it down once. It was unusually short. It ...
AFCat's user avatar
  • 179
10 votes
1 answer
672 views

Story involving fabbers (replicators / 3D-printers), famous quote

I'm trying to identify a short story involving replicators/fabbers/3D-printers. The devices use a carbon fiber that can be recycled, and that fact is important. I remember the use of the Harold ...
Chris B. Behrens's user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
797 views

Technician kills an early time traveller, requests private trial [duplicate]

Another question reminded me of this short story, which I read in an anthology before 2000. A time machine has been constructed. It takes up a lot of space, possibly the entire ground floor of a ...
Pastychomper thanks Monica's user avatar
10 votes
0 answers
69 views

Short story where a human and alien fighter have to battle it out to decide the outcome of a war [duplicate]

Back in high school, around 1990, we read half of a short story where, to end a war, an alien and human have to battle it out. They are in an area that is separated by an invisible division so that ...
Duncan's user avatar
  • 101
11 votes
1 answer
764 views

Short Story. Five year old human boy adopted by elderly female telepathic bison from another planet or reality

The small boy is born with the ability to teleport to other realities. His parents have been killed in a war. In another reality there is an elderly female bison like animal also telepathic. Her ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
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