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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
7 votes
1 answer
177 views

War on the moon between two nations, one of which votes on strategy and one which does not

This thread reminded me of a story I read in Analog in the post-2000 era, about a war on the moon (I'm pretty sure) between two nations, one of which decided strategies via public vote, and one of ...
  • 16k
7 votes
1 answer
307 views

Title of sci-fi short story where at the end we learn that the main character is not human after all and every alien race calls itself "human"

I remember reading a short story that really impressed me as a child in the 90's. It was sci-fi anthology from my father's old book collection, so probably at the very least a decade old already. Plot/...
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5 votes
1 answer
74 views

Short-story where a man seeks a serum to dream of life before the atomic bomb [duplicate]

I'm looking for a story, I think 60s / 70s but I'm not sure. A man learned of a doctor who injects a serum that allows you to dream everything you want, so he goes to this doctor to find out. Then he ...
11 votes
1 answer
157 views

Short story about a chef who is asked to cook a recipe for immortality/life extension

I'd like some help identifying a short story. Here's what I remember of the plot: The protagonist is a chef, working at a very out-of-the-way establishment (I think it was maybe a kind of mountain ...
27 votes
1 answer
2k views

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'...
  • 361
7 votes
1 answer
90 views

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

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 ...
  • 16k
4 votes
1 answer
68 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 ...
  • 167
7 votes
0 answers
95 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 ...
  • 71
10 votes
1 answer
149 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 ...
  • 16k
5 votes
0 answers
52 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 ...
11 votes
1 answer
200 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 ...
  • 16k
9 votes
0 answers
110 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, ...
14 votes
1 answer
201 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 ...
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
55 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 ...
  • 16k
10 votes
0 answers
110 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....
  • 201
7 votes
0 answers
72 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......
  • 71
14 votes
1 answer
753 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 ...
  • 149
14 votes
1 answer
752 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 ...
  • 181
16 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
  • 16k
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 ...
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-...
  • 159
7 votes
0 answers
118 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 ...
  • 4,684
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 ...
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 ...
  • 16k
6 votes
0 answers
121 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 ...
  • 16k
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?)...
  • 273
7 votes
0 answers
85 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 ...
  • 4,684
13 votes
1 answer
939 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 ...
  • 4,684
16 votes
1 answer
763 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 ...
8 votes
0 answers
64 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 ...
11 votes
0 answers
96 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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
99 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. ...
4 votes
1 answer
177 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
112 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 ...
16 votes
1 answer
215 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 ...
  • 16k
5 votes
0 answers
82 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 ...
  • 51
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 ...
6 votes
0 answers
81 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 ...
  • 61
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 ...
12 votes
1 answer
754 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 ...
  • 139
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 ...
  • 16k
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, ...
  • 1,523
11 votes
0 answers
113 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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