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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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Looking for science fiction assassination story with mysterious girl

For years I've been looking for a short science fiction story about a man who was released from a prison planet in order to assassinate a candidate for galactic president. He does this on a space ...
Dovid's user avatar
  • 621
40 votes
0 answers
587 views

Short story where the stars are eyes

A short story I read several years ago in either Analog or Asimov's Science Fiction, probably between 2011 and 2013. In the story there's a 4th spatial dimension whose axes are skew, so that things ...
mymoo min's user avatar
  • 451
36 votes
0 answers
2k 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 (Politikin Zabavnik) but I think that the language of the original is in English. It's a short story, ...
jo1storm's user avatar
  • 5,086
34 votes
0 answers
713 views

Short story about a man in a madhouse who asks the guard for a cigarette and tells him his story about having swapped bodies before

I am searching for a short story about a man locked in a madhouse who swaps his body with the guard/doctor while he tells him the story about his own body being swapped. I remember the following: ...
Horacio_Colbert's user avatar
29 votes
0 answers
549 views

Short story about an elite that has mentally regressed due to assistive AI technologies

I came upon a comment describing a scifi short story where reliance on technology meant to improve appearance and demeanor has led to mental regression and AI control of the upper class that employs ...
noctambulus's user avatar
29 votes
0 answers
758 views

SciFi Short Story about an immortal man digging through an asteroid to meet a woman

Short story from the 80's or 90's, I saw someone asking about this on another forum but never got an answer. I've been curious ever since. The story is set in a decadent future where everyone lives ...
sintralin's user avatar
  • 299
28 votes
0 answers
630 views

Aliens secretly use video game to get humans to solve their problems

I recall a story probably 20-30 years ago (pretty sure it was a short story) in which a top gamer hears about a new computer game out that no one can beat. So he gets it and starts playing it. (Pretty ...
NJohnny's user avatar
  • 12.4k
28 votes
0 answers
539 views

A story about a doctor who travels to a parallel universe to seek a cure for bubonic plague

Recent news has been reminding me of various things I've read about the Black Death, including a story I believe I only saw once, and never stumbled across again. I encountered it over 30 years ago, ...
Lorendiac's user avatar
  • 27.3k
28 votes
0 answers
1k views

Old sci-fi short story about buying an android?

Long, long time ago I came upon a collection of old (pre 1980s?) short sci-fi stories. I'm not 100% sure, but something makes me think they were by Russian authors. One of them was about a woman, who ...
Patrycja's user avatar
  • 281
27 votes
0 answers
941 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?), ...
NJohnny's user avatar
  • 12.4k
26 votes
0 answers
595 views

Short story where a goddess promises a priestess she will see the future, but the way she held her promise was not what was expected

I'm looking for a rather short fiction which I read at least 30 years ago, probably from some collection. I only very rarely read magazines. I think it was a rather big volume, more of an anthology ...
Alfred's user avatar
  • 19.3k
24 votes
0 answers
355 views

Aliens try to liberate "enslaved" dogs from humans

I saw this story in an anthology in a used bookstore in 2009. When the aliens came, we negotiated a peace treaty with them. Everything was going fine until they said "oh, and you'll have to stop ...
user3969's user avatar
  • 341
24 votes
0 answers
608 views

Short story involving a lost-tech green glass highway in Australia

My mom's been wondering if I could find this story but I really can't without more specific details than she can give me. It's rather old, she guessed somewhere in the 1960s or 70s. The story wasn't ...
Syraphine's user avatar
  • 249
23 votes
0 answers
606 views

Short story where scientist flees to the ancient past, tries to stop scientific progress to keep man "pure"?

Plot Summary/Details I can only recall the broad theme and a few details on this one. The protagonist, who was a scientist of some sort, has fled his own time to return to man's early period. I'm ...
Helbent IV's user avatar
  • 13.5k
23 votes
1 answer
895 views

Short story in which a man gets a phone call about the end of the world by accident

I read this short story within the last year or two, almost certainly in a short story collection. It was relatively old, possibly from the '60s or '70s, but it could have been from the '50s or '80s ...
supperfly's user avatar
  • 381
22 votes
0 answers
619 views

Short story: Lost starship crew in suspended animation trying to return to Earth. Crew suicide a factor

Read a sci-fi anthology sometime in the 1980s, though the story feels like it's from the 50s or 60s. An all-male starship crew is trying to return to Earth after performing some mission, but they're ...
Joelogon's user avatar
  • 2,711
21 votes
0 answers
376 views

Short story about a giant ship that thoughtlessly destroys planets as it travels, is visited by a victim

I think I came across this ten or fifteen years ago, I cannot remember much clearly so some of these details may be mistaken. The story is told from the perspective of a crew member, on the bridge I ...
S_S_S_S's user avatar
  • 211
21 votes
1 answer
525 views

Story about a planet with alien devices that produce 2^64 different items

It was a story about a human colony on a planet where there were mysterious alien precursor devices all over. Each one had two (drums? poles?). Something musical at any rate. You beat the two poles 64 ...
Zyzzyva's user avatar
  • 303
21 votes
1 answer
1k views

Boy playing ball has to run inside to avoid a hail of diamonds

I read this in a collection of sci-fi short stories when I was in elementary school, so circa mid-to-late 1980s. It might have been published by Scholastic. It's a very short story. It may have been ...
TLC's user avatar
  • 211
20 votes
0 answers
240 views

Artificially intelligent commuter spacecraft story

I am searching for the title of a story that I read forty-odd years ago; I had thought that the story was in "Time and Stars" by Poul Anderson, but I was mistaken. The story concerns a ...
Stanley Webb's user avatar
  • 7,568
20 votes
0 answers
344 views

Short story: intelligent dogs create androids

The story I'm looking for takes place in the far future. Humans have long since left for space. The Earth is dominated by intelligent dogs and cats, who are in conflict with each other. The dogs, who ...
Seth's user avatar
  • 151
20 votes
1 answer
1k views

Identify short story in which invention of music redeems humanity from alien death sentence

A small mission of harmless-looking little aliens comes to Earth to observe the place before destroying mankind. These folks have no music of their own but when they are exposed to ours, they love it. ...
Jon W.'s user avatar
  • 251
19 votes
0 answers
241 views

Short story ID: colonists on alien planet have problem of deadly bouncing creatures

A short story, probably from sometime between 1960s through 1990s, that I read either in an anthology or in a magazine like Analog or Asimov's, about a guy who describes how he has to figure out how ...
Jacob C.'s user avatar
  • 4,436
19 votes
0 answers
474 views

Weird Galaxy/IF Short Story

I am almost positive this short story appeared in either Galaxy, IF, or Worlds of Tomorrow in the late 1960s or early 1970s. The MC is an alien with three(?) legs and a bell-like head with a circle of ...
Lee Eckhardt's user avatar
  • 6,130
19 votes
0 answers
811 views

Short story about a boy who makes a virtual girl and updates her A.I as he grows up

I am searching a free short story I found about 5 years ago on some book app on my tablet. Basically in the story, this young boy got a computer (sometime during the 80s I believe) that had just ...
J. Erridge's user avatar
18 votes
0 answers
316 views

Sci fi short story: inept king, tiny kingdom, time traveler secretly thwarting him

I was searching for something other than this on the "Stable Time Loop/Literature" page of tvtropes.org, when I came across an entry with no title. I'm sure I've read the story, but there is ...
JellyKidBiz's user avatar
18 votes
0 answers
436 views

Short story about a man who receives a floppy disk with a program that can answer any question

I read this in the mid 1990s. It was a short story set in contemporary time (the era it was written), about a man who received a package in the mail that just contained a floppy disk. The program on ...
Greenozzy's user avatar
  • 531
17 votes
0 answers
297 views

NPR radio story about spaceship with forbidden door

Quite a few years ago my wife kids and I were driving through Cincinnati returning home from Alabama. As usual they were asleep and as usual I had on Public radio. I was listening to a radio sci-fi ...
cjm's user avatar
  • 171
17 votes
0 answers
342 views

Post apocalyptic short story

When I was in grade 10 back in 1990-1991 in Ontario Canada, there was a short story that we read that as I took place in the aftermath of some catastrophe (nuclear war I think). (I know it is not the ...
Peter's user avatar
  • 171
17 votes
0 answers
490 views

SF Short Story - Robots Carry On

I read this short story in the 1960s, although it may have been published earlier. English language, American or British author. Two men, strangers, are talking in an office; one carries a cane. There ...
Lee Eckhardt's user avatar
  • 6,130
17 votes
0 answers
212 views

Short story where aliens visit Tranquillity Base and take the discarded backpacks for their space museum

I'm looking for the title of a story in which aliens have visited Tranquillity Base and have taken the discarded backpacks used by Armstrong and Aldrin for their space museum. The story is told in a ...
GordonD's user avatar
  • 3,688
17 votes
0 answers
600 views

Short story with a computer that saves only relevant information of peoples life stories

Please help me find a short story my uncle read in his youth. When my uncle was in his teens or a young adult he read a story that had profound impact on him and defined his life (he founded a company ...
Mixia's user avatar
  • 171
16 votes
0 answers
297 views

Short story, protagonist afraid of sea; sea is an eldritch abomination hivemind, he is its drone trying to break free

A man who once nearly drowned has extreme thalassophobia and fear of the dark; in fact he conceptualizes the sea as The Dark, and he believes that it is 1) out to get him and 2) able to access all ...
Szczepan Hołyszewski's user avatar
16 votes
0 answers
189 views

Pre late-80s UK-based short horror story. Giant alien shapeshifters imitate a house and a uk phone box to trap and devour the young protagonist

General This UK-based short story was from a horror or SciFi compilation I read during the late 80s/early 90s (but was almost definitely from earlier). I have a feeling the compilation was probably ...
Danny_Torrence's user avatar
16 votes
0 answers
121 views

Our hero hems and haws and finally decides to summon the fleet to help his new alien buddies

I read this story some time around 2000. It wasn't brand new when I read it, but I think it was close. It was in a collection of sci fi short stories, and it was by a relative unknown; the central ...
Mr. Zafner's user avatar
16 votes
0 answers
437 views

Short story about an alien or robot looking for sources of food

I am looking for a short story about an alien or possibly a robot looking for sources of food. The story was read in a school English comprehension text book in the UK in the early 1980's. Story is as ...
skyjack's user avatar
  • 11.7k
16 votes
0 answers
483 views

Short story where a scientist discovers all the secrets of the universe as he is dying

I read this story around 3 years ago, but it might have been written much earlier. The premise of the story is this: A scientist has spent his whole life researching some aspect of the universe but ...
sudhanva's user avatar
  • 6,531
16 votes
0 answers
489 views

Short story about colonist ship's computer deliberately "weeding out" unfit colonists during hypersleep?

Plot Details/Summary This is going to be another of my longshot questions, as I only remember a few details about the story. The entire story takes place aboard an interstellar colony ship, and ...
Helbent IV's user avatar
  • 13.5k
16 votes
0 answers
1k views

Short story where humanity transcends to a higher plane of existence and dogs become the dominant intelligent species on Earth

I'm looking for a short story I saw on Reddit once, but apparently didn't save or bookmark. It's about how, in the far future, humanity finally achieves some technological singularity and "transcends" ...
dolphins3's user avatar
  • 161
16 votes
0 answers
333 views

Super sophisticated AI spacecraft autopilot saves the day

Looking for the title of this rather excellent sci-fi short story... Human spacecraft approaches alien planet Humans piloting the spacecraft about to do something inappropriate, given apparent ...
Mark's user avatar
  • 161
15 votes
0 answers
187 views

Jump past the heat death of the universe

Looking for the title and author of a short story I read a while back. It was set on a spaceship with a small crew which had gotten lost and was trying to get back home. However, a side effect of the ...
Sleepy's user avatar
  • 159
15 votes
0 answers
127 views

Sci-fi short story about neural prosthetics used to simulate a person's brain in an art performance

I'm looking for a science fiction short story I read years ago that takes place in the near future where neural prosthetics for people with Alzheimer's, memory loss, and other types of brain damage ...
GoogieK's user avatar
  • 251
15 votes
1 answer
186 views

Soldier travels via interplanetary portal-like booth/kiosk

A short anthology story probably before 1980, certainly pre-Stargate. Somewhere a booth has been found (or appeared) of unknown origin. It looks something like a telephone kiosk, big enough for one ...
PotatoCrisp's user avatar
  • 4,635
15 votes
0 answers
189 views

Sci fi short story about a man who lives with pig creatures on an alien planet

I read a story a long time ago that always stuck in my mind. It's probably from the 50s-70s. I have tried to remember it fairly accurately but details may be wrong. A man (crash?) lands on a distant ...
Boshy's user avatar
  • 511
15 votes
0 answers
132 views

Looking for a short story about a 'homecoming' song from an anthology published pre-1990

This is a short story dating back to the 1980s or earlier - I read it in my school library in the late 80s/very early 90s. It's about a world in which underdeveloped planets were forced to hand over ...
Sally TP's user avatar
  • 331
15 votes
0 answers
357 views

Lost novella or short story: Either uplifted or evolved animals finally break through a barrier to discover that the humans have left Earth

The protagonist, possibly an uplifted or naturally evolved bear is in charge of a project to breach a barrier. This has kept all intelligent species from leaving the area. They eventually break ...
Seldon2k's user avatar
  • 2,058
14 votes
0 answers
164 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
  • 12k
14 votes
0 answers
132 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
14 votes
0 answers
233 views

Short story about humans finding out the afterlife is real, but you have to be buried on Earth

I never read this short story, someone made a comment about it and never said the name of it. Apparently it's about humans millions of years after forming an interstellar civilization. They discovered ...
Pedro 's user avatar
  • 201
14 votes
0 answers
195 views

Sad story about killing sentient, but dangerous, beings brought by a smuggler

I read this very sad short fiction (novelette rather than short story, I think) more than 20 years ago, in a collection. It might be older. It left me a very sad feeling. It takes place on a planet ...
Alfred's user avatar
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