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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22 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short Story of a Boy with an Invisible Box that Contains Joy/Happiness

Looking for the name of a SciFi short story published in the 1970s about a boy who has an invisible box with joy (or happiness). He confides in his teacher, who experiences and is overwhelmed by the ...
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6 votes
0 answers
92 views

SF story published in *Analog* or *Asimov's* (1980s–1990s) that was about practical uses of counter-gravity/anti-gravity in racing/cars

I've already asked this in Reddit's r/tipofmytongue [1], r/science_fiction [2], and r/printSF [3]. The story was likely a novelette or novella, not a short story and almost certainly not a novel. I ...
26 votes
1 answer
2k views

Modern researcher communicates ideas to Elizabethan inventor resulting in accelerating technology feedback loop

I'll trying to find the name and author of a short story where a junior faculty or grad student develops a crush on an Elizabethan era inventor she is studying and somehow communicates with him ...
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10 votes
0 answers
167 views

Humans lose an interstellar war against humorous-looking aliens [duplicate]

This is from an anthology, possibly from the 1950s. The ambassador/general is delegated to a prisoner exchange on an isolated planet. From the illustrations I recall the aliens look like short fat ...
  • 1,418
14 votes
1 answer
1k views

'The Needler' human alien war against the Soetti (sweaty)

This is a story from an anthology, I cannot recall the author but I may have first read it in the 1960's or 1970's. The title actually refers to the protaganists superior, who charges him with solving ...
  • 1,418
11 votes
2 answers
666 views

Short story about an astronaut who joins a "collective mind" by letting some sort of "blob" attach to his brain [duplicate]

I'm looking for a short story in a compilation that I read in the 70s/early 80s at the latest in which a couple of astronauts visit a village where everyone carries a "blob" attached that ...
  • 113
6 votes
1 answer
137 views

Bear-like deity created small planet world

Story has bear-like creature that initially befriends visiting astronauts, then turns on them. A pair escape but are chased and killed at the end after circumnavigating the planet. While being chased, ...
15 votes
2 answers
2k views

Short story about earthlings landing on an alien planet and defending themselves from the indigenous inhabitants with guns that make no noise

I read a short story while I was in high school back in the late '70s, a science fiction story about earthlings landing on an alien planet and the indigenous inhabitants attack them. The weapons of ...
  • 159
19 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story involving a man who does battle at the molecular level in his own body

After I saw the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey in my youth I bought a paperback of the same name. Besides 2001, it had maybe two short stories. I thought all were written by Arthur C. Clarke but that ...
3 votes
1 answer
138 views

Sci fi short story that ended with the protagonists drinking too much from a fountain of youth and turning into babies

As a kid growing up in the '80s/'90s, I remember reading a blue hardback book that was a collection of sci-fi space stories. One of the stories I particularly remember ended with the two spacemen ...
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6 votes
1 answer
632 views

Sci-fi story about a reincarnating evil spirit that possesses someone from time to time, leading them to commit evil actions

IIRC, it's one of those old magazine short stories from the '50s-'70s, written by one of the greats (although I don't remember which one). It's about an evil spirit (or a more sciency interpretation ...
  • 77
8 votes
1 answer
193 views

Post-apocalyptic future in which almost no one can read

In the 90s (or early 2000s) I read a post-apocalyptic story in Asimovs about a man and a younger person entering an abandoned military facility to get supplies or information. The man is very old (...
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9 votes
1 answer
661 views

SF story where a young man wears a spacesuit made of fields

I believe I read this story in the early 1990s, probably in an anthology as opposed to a magazine. (It just feels that way to me, as though it were related - at least thematically - to the ...
  • 90k
13 votes
1 answer
679 views

Short story about a group of young humans raised in a sealed and sterile environment, who later become the first interstellar crew

I am trying to find a story I read in an anthology, probably from the fifties or sixties. I believe it was written in the first person, about a group of young humans called Lapins (for experimental ...
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

SF story from the 1970s about a man waiting in an enormous queue?

I am getting on in age, and am interested in locating SF stories that have stuck with me for more than five decades. They may be from the Golden Age of SF. Here is a summary of one: A man is standing ...
  • 187
15 votes
1 answer
1k views

Short story about psychic time travel to time of Neanderthal

I remember reading a short story in a sci-fi magazine at least 30 years ago about a couple on vacation and meeting a strange looking, hairy person who claims to be largely of Neanderthal stock and ...
8 votes
0 answers
77 views

Short story where a woman on the moon turns off the hologram trees and garden [duplicate]

Does anyone recognise this story? It was in a sci-fi anthology I found in a charity shop and have since lost. A woman lives with her husband in a town on the moon. He goes to work every day and she is ...
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Short story about the creation of a spell that creates a copy of a specific woman

Looking for a short story where one wizard creates a spell that creates a copy one specific woman that lives in that town and then explores the impacts of the spell on the church, government, brothels,...
12 votes
1 answer
975 views

Story: man purchases plantation on planet, finds 'unstoppable' infestation, uses science, electrolyses water for oxygen, 1970s-1980s

Short story, probably in an anthology, which I think I read in 1970s or 1980s. The protagonist buys a plantation on a distant planet, which grows a valuable, very durable, product. He gets a good deal ...
6 votes
1 answer
110 views

Story with vortexes or storms moving stuff to parallel worlds

I recall reading this story post-2000, but I can't pin it down closer than that. I'm fairly sure it was in a collection, but I don't remember any of the other stories in the collection, or any of the ...
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9 votes
1 answer
555 views

Ongoing story about an asteroid (Apophis?) that destroys Earth

I started reading a story that I believe was originally posted on reddit within the last 3 years or so, about an asteroid destroying the Earth. I think the asteroid is Apophis 99942, but I may be ...
12 votes
1 answer
774 views

Short story: man abducted by (telepathic?) aliens

At the very beginning man is abducted by aliens and kept in a cage of several layers of paper (aliens thought it to be a perfect cage/shield). IIRC aliens were communicating using brainwaves (they ...
16 votes
1 answer
1k views

Short story about a vortex or wormwhole and something described as a broccoli cat

I'm looking for a short story that I read back in the 80s about a vortex or wormhole that has things coming through with one being described as something that looked like broccoli and a cat. I ...
4 votes
1 answer
676 views

Story About Future Underground Race

I read a short story in the mid 1970's in which people lived underground with the constant hum of machinery. I seem to remember the constant noise as a significant plot point as when a particular ...
11 votes
1 answer
301 views

Science fiction story about a man who time travels in a space capsule and crash lands in the future, discovers insects have replaced humans

My grandpa told me of a science fiction short story he read about an astronaut who is put in a space capsule in suspended animation for many years (he said maybe 500 or 1000 years), and the system ...
  • 113
17 votes
1 answer
4k views

Short story about two guys on a spaceship, but one of them doesn't believe he's on a spaceship

The story is from the perspective of the guy who doesn't believe he's on a spaceship. He is trying to help his companion, who insists that they are on a spaceship and have been attacked by aliens. ...
  • 189
6 votes
1 answer
176 views

Short story - small group of telepathic children searching for Santa Claus' workshops

I read this short story 4-5 years ago but don't know date of writing, or the author. A small group of children scattered around the world, with telepathic and other super-normal powers decide to hunt ...
  • 379
6 votes
1 answer
460 views

Man wakes up from car accident in the future

Trying to find a novel or maybe short story where a man in the 1950s or 60s wakes up after a car accident in a future rehabilitation center. He is angry and hurts or kills someone and they treat him ...
  • 79
14 votes
2 answers
1k views

Short story about a man accompanied by a woman who tries to walk out of an endless city only to end up on a conveyor belt chopped up

I am trying to find a sci fi short story about a young man who has never left the city. He decides to walk to find what lies beyond the city. The story describes the people, things & places he ...
18 votes
2 answers
2k views

Web story where the earth is encased in a heavenly glass/diamond

This is a recent web story (not a comic but a sort of online novel) where the first astronauts attempt to leave the atmosphere but instead find that the earth is encased in a divine sort of jewel. ...
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2 votes
0 answers
145 views

60s/70s story, dying man repairs alien machine, survives because machine pipes 'life force' not electricity

A short story, found in a magazine or anthology sometime definitely before mid 1980s, but I think I read it in the 1970s. The protagonist is dying but manages to repair a machine before he does so, in ...
18 votes
1 answer
1k views

Short story about two astronauts exploring an art museum on an abandoned planet

In this short story, two astronauts are exploring an art museum on an abandoned planet. The only living things present are the flies/gnats which swarm outside the museum. They are confused by the art ...
  • 183
6 votes
0 answers
70 views

Young adult short story about barbaric duels on the surface of a moon

I recently had a recollection of a short story that I was assigned to read while in an American middle school in the early '80s. Details are scarce sadly but I believe it may have come from a sci-fi ...
4 votes
1 answer
174 views

Short story - teenage boy (virgin) develops PK powers fuelled by frustrated lust, demonstrates for a girl, persuades her to have sex, loses powers

Not sure when I read this - probably 80s or 90s. The boy is all wound up with sexual frustration and starts finding he can move objects by focusing on them, e.g. causing a tin-can to shoot into the ...
14 votes
1 answer
409 views

Archaeologists digging in a modern dump find a layer of skeletons of the original human race

I was describing this story to a co-worker today, but I couldn't recall the title. Probably something I read in the 1990s; I was thinking Zahn, but I flipped through his collections and I couldn't ...
  • 90k
24 votes
1 answer
2k views

Sci fi story involving a competition between two authors composing stories in a stadium

This story was told from one author’s perspective. He was the underdog going up against an old pro. The competition was held in a stadium and as each author typed his story it was projected on a ...
  • 243
6 votes
1 answer
933 views

Series of switches controlling reality (short story)

When I was in middle school, I remember reading a short story where a person encountered a control room that altered reality. They flipped a switch and something they knew about reality would be ...
9 votes
1 answer
667 views

Veteran takes a correspondence school lesson. Letters come from an alien who needs an Earthling to repair his ship. Final surprise is it's a "she"

I am looking for a story about a (WW2?) veteran who takes a correspondence school where he is taught extremely advanced things. The lesson letters come from an alien shipwrecked on Earth who needs an ...
  • 101
9 votes
1 answer
646 views

Short story about hyperintelligent genetically engineered children

So I'm trying to remember the name of a short story. I can't recall if it was in an audio or written format. I think this would have been a few years ago; I might have read it in Clarkesworld but I ...
12 votes
1 answer
857 views

Military sci-fi: warrior-spy codenamed GENIE, Greatest Effectiveness Nexus Identification and Elimination fights mercenaries

Trying to find story that I read years ago. I really wanted to reread it again. Setting: A remote planet hires a mercenary general to help defend it from an impending invasion by a much larger ...
8 votes
1 answer
113 views

Short 70s(?) sci-fi story about smuggler sending cat embryo back in time to serve man and save him from alien pirates [duplicate]

The Title pretty much says it all. This story was in an anthology I read in middle school and can't quite identify to replace. The space smuggler is attacked by an alien race, codes the instruction to ...
9 votes
1 answer
609 views

Sci-fi short story / novella about a detective investigating the murder of a man whose body was planted to discredit him or the police system

The central character is a male detective. The story is set in a future time where advanced forensics and personal data tracking makes murder impossible to get away with. The body of young man is ...
18 votes
1 answer
2k views

60s short story: artist finds meteor, hides it in teddy bear, kills girlfriend

Antagonist is an artist, a painter. Finds a meteor and hides it inside a teddy bear. It has some psychic influence on him and I believe he ends up killing his girlfriend and painting with her blood.
18 votes
1 answer
2k views

Two people try to change the world in different ways

I read this relatively recently (4-7 years ago) but I believe it was in one of the scanned magazines in the Pulp Magazine Archive (archive.org), so it could have been published anytime subsequent to ...
  • 90k
3 votes
0 answers
68 views

Story about a boy and girl who get powers from a magical field

I remember a story from when I was a kid about a boy and a girl who got powers and then lost them. I’ll try to tell you what I remember, and hopefully somebody will know what I’m talking about and ...
  • 31
10 votes
1 answer
627 views

1990s novella - Disease called X, causes intense lust, then death

In the early 1990s or late 80s in Asimov's I read a novella-length story about a disease that was both sexually transmitted and caused intense lust - the disease was called "X" in common ...
  • 15.9k
32 votes
2 answers
2k views

Short story where babies were geometric forms

I'm looking for a short story I read, probably online, within the last three years. It is set on Earth in the near future. The main character is a young woman who becomes pregnant, but for some reason,...
14 votes
2 answers
1k views

Short story about drawerful of "ghost girls" (actually psychological profiles?) that needed attention

I read this one probably something over forty years ago, in a collection. I do not remember title of the story or the collection, and I do not recall the author. I think it may have originally have ...
7 votes
2 answers
235 views

Short story where legal disputes are resolved by computer-simulated battles

I believe I read this in the mid-to-late 1980s, quite possibly in Analog. I don't recall the justification, but legal disputes (as between corporations or countries) are sometimes resolved in a form ...
  • 90k
3 votes
1 answer
96 views

Short sci-fi story about a metaphysician

I recall reading a very good short story about a metaphysician. He could identify intentions and motives almost instantly, and the culminating incident was when he quickly identified a group of people ...

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