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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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11 votes
1 answer
324 views

Story about robots and unemployment

This is an Analog story I think - I'm not sure from when (20th century, surely). It has a contrived setup, involving massive unemployment caused by the existence of humanoid robots, solved by someone ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 52.1k
6 votes
0 answers
96 views

short story in which humans capture superior aliens in order to study them [duplicate]

Short story, possibly from 60s, 70s or even 80s. There is a galactic community of aliens. Alephs are at the apex with what appears to be telepathy and teleportation that may be innate or from ...
Haydon Berrow's user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
867 views

A short fiction about an American poetess who supposedly foiled, thanks to posthumous poems, the Martian invasion described by H. G. Wells

I read this story (IIRC novelette length rather than "short story") about 10 or so years ago, probably in a collection. It is a hilarious spoof of an academic article. This "article&...
Alfred's user avatar
  • 19.5k
10 votes
1 answer
1k views

Scientist travels back in time to murder his wife’s secret lover

I had this short story about a scientist who discovers his wife is cheating and invents a way to travel back in time to kill her lover before they met or something. I believe the scientist ends up the ...
Matt's user avatar
  • 101
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

1980s (or 90s) story from "Asimov's" - man is cursed with success at Bingo

I have a vague memory of a man who goes to bingo games (possibly at a trailer park); he talks to someone who has been winning all night in the parking lot after the night is always, and somehow is ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 52.1k
6 votes
0 answers
82 views

Short children's story about an android who thinks they're human who creates an android

The Tomato Surprise TV Tropes entry describes a story about an android who thinks they're human who creates an android. In a short story in a children's book, the protagonist is a young prodigy ...
M. Justin's user avatar
  • 247
24 votes
1 answer
3k views

Cyberpunk short story : Two hackers empty all the bank accounts of a female criminal

I read this short story at least 20 years ago, probably in a collection. But it might well be older than that. Two hackers, using a pirate program that one of them had obtained (I'm not sure how, but ...
Alfred's user avatar
  • 19.5k
8 votes
1 answer
190 views

Short story, Reston bike paths, dead mom, WHFS

Looking for a short story about WHFS radio station ("the weasel"), Reston bike paths, 1980s, dead mom, etc. I think it was from the mid 2000s and may have been in Sci Fiction webzine (the ...
guest is a troll's user avatar
13 votes
0 answers
146 views

Sci-fi short story I read in highschool around 30 years ago about a dying alien race

I may be getting the details slight wrong, but here we go: It was a story about a dying alien race that had been either conquered or just slowly exterminated by humanity. And the way that the ...
Cowdog's user avatar
  • 131
9 votes
1 answer
599 views

Horror short story : a character escapes from a sinister castle and finds a beautiful one

I read this horror short story, probably in a collection, about 20 years ago. But somehow I think it is much older than that. The POV character lives alone in a sinister castle. He does not remember ...
Alfred's user avatar
  • 19.5k
6 votes
3 answers
713 views

Short story about shoes that may have talked to other pairs of shoes and were possibly trying to find their owner or way home

I’m trying to find the name of a short story I read in the 1990s about shoes! It came from a book of short stories, but I had only known it to have been photocopied, as it was a book from the library. ...
Stephen's user avatar
  • 77
12 votes
1 answer
1k views

Short story or novella in which the protagonist's hypnosis-protecting glasses get displaced by a beaded curtain, rendering him vulnerable [duplicate]

I'm looking for the title & author of an old classic sci-fi short story or novella I read about 50 years ago (story written in the 1940s, 50s, or 60s?) where the protagonist (cop?) is pursuing the ...
Stephen Gucker's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
877 views

Short story with an older brother training to be a dragon rider and a younger brother training to be a healer

Who wrote this science fiction short story and where can I find it again? The older brother is in training to be a dragon rider, but the dragon chosen by the school admins had his third eye damaged in ...
Paula Perry's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

Very short story on Mars. Possibly one of Ray Bradbury's Martian Chronicles, but maybe not

The answer to a recent question of mine was one of the Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. This reminded me of my very first touch with SF. It had to be in 1962 at the very latest because I remember ...
Alfred's user avatar
  • 19.5k
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story about an inventor that builds a huge tower on the north pole and saves humanity when earth gets destroyed by a passing planet

The story was in a written form in a book, or a magazine. Read about 20 years ago, but the story is probably from the 1950's. The story starts with a baby in a crib, who gets approached by a bat-like ...
jsotola's user avatar
  • 377
13 votes
3 answers
3k views

Literary work where people are permitted only a certain amount of words to speak

This may be a duplicate, as I first learned of it here. Still, I'm looking for a text where people only get to speak approximately 100 words, presumably before they're mute. I want to specify that it ...
JoJi's Bizarre Adventure's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
100 views

Menacing Audio-Animatronic creatures in amusement park - boy nicknamed Pugsley

I read this short story in the 1980s, probably in Amazing or F&SF. An uncle is taking his nephew to an amusement park - the uncle doesn't see his nephew often, and finds him off-putting. Either ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 52.1k
8 votes
1 answer
202 views

Short horror story where it is revealed that everyone who dies is tormented

Looking for a short horror story about a secret fiercely guarded by the church. The secret is that EVERYONE who dies, good or bad, saint or sinner, goes into eternal torment, consumed by a giant ...
Ken's user avatar
  • 97
9 votes
1 answer
143 views

Short story about nostalgia for previous eras of exploration

I'm trying to recall a short story where each chapter has a different character waxing nostalgic about the previous era of exploration of the planet they are on and how they wish they had been able to ...
Jakey Greenberg's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
193 views

Short story about cost of IP after death

I remember reading a short story about how your mind can be uploaded after death, but you either have to pay for all the IP you remember (e.g. books read, TV shows/movies watched, music listened to) ...
parsley72's user avatar
  • 1,097
11 votes
2 answers
285 views

Short story involving time dilation and a girl growing up while her astronaut mother explores other planets

I am trying to find a short story I read a few years back in a science fiction course. I believe the name of it was "Borrowed Time" but there is a short film and a new anthology with the ...
CoalSmudge's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
1k views

Spacecraft rescued when they transmitted Morse code

I read this many years ago (80s or early 90s) almost certainly in an anthology in book form. A spacecraft was in distress of some form, and had lost all communications, but somehow managed to cobble ...
Chris H's user avatar
  • 917
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

Two Earth engineers tasked with recreating a perpetual motion machine

A short story about two Earth engineers who are shown a fake perpetual motion machine and challenged by aliens to duplicate it to prove whether Earth engineers are better than alien engineers. They ...
Olatunde Aroloye's user avatar
24 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story about a late night feline meeting

I'm trying to find a story I read once about a late night cat meeting. Cats from all over this city are called somehow to sneak out at night for this gathering. I think in the story you're following 1 ...
user174442's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
111 views

1970s Scholastic (maybe?) children's science fiction story set on an asteroid or moon where humans are hunted as "aliens"

I'm looking for a 1970s sci fi short story that I think was published by Scholastic where humans were the aliens. It takes place on an airless moon or asteroid. It's a military story where we follow ...
Dave's user avatar
  • 99
20 votes
1 answer
2k views

Post-apocalyptic story - shaman learns Latin names for animals

In this short story, probably from Analog (in the 80s perhaps), a tribe of humans in a post-apocalyptic world has a shaman bless the hunting party before each venture. The shaman tries to use the ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 52.1k
10 votes
0 answers
141 views

Short story in small anthology about a computer antagonist governing society with a name like BACKATRACK

I believe I read this English language short story around 1974 or 1975, but may have read it a few years later… I'm pretty certain I read it in the 70s though. It was in a small paperback a little bit ...
Lexible's user avatar
  • 22.3k
9 votes
0 answers
72 views

Aliens sent to prepare Earth invasion, camouflaged as toy makers. Mission goes wrong because female Martian falls in love with tax agent

I need to remember a short story in a science fiction magazine (old publications maybe between 1937 and 1965). The story is about extraterrestrials (must be Martians if I remember) who were sent in ...
KiltiNasyon's user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
87 views

Short story. Humanity reaches Mars, the whole planet is honeycombed. Aliens rapidly mined everything of any value, then abandoned the planet [duplicate]

I read this after 2000. It seemed a few decades old when I read it. Earth is in a pretty bad way and many humans hope to move to Mars. The first team of astronauts to reach Mars are extraordinarily ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 8,466
8 votes
1 answer
534 views

Where is "Rhiannon's choice" from

Rhiannon's choice is a concept from a science-fiction novel to describe a common dilemma for that society. I just can't recall where is it from or what it is about! I recalled it while reading Seth ...
hwa's user avatar
  • 89
7 votes
0 answers
76 views

Short story or novella. Human colony on planet with intelligent aliens. Aliens, with permission, lay their eggs in living human beings [duplicate]

The humans and aliens have been cooperating in this way for several generations. In the past before humans came to their planet, the aliens used to lay their eggs in animals, they would hatch and eat ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 8,466
8 votes
1 answer
271 views

Sci-fi short story taking place on a swampy planet (could be Venus) on which the natives are like water ducks or geese

I remember reading a short story in a science fiction magazine (probably published between 1937 and 1965) in which an Earth conglomerate had hired a galactic consultant and sent him to a distant ...
KiltiNasyon's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
732 views

Looking for a SF story with Checkpoint Charlie and a male scientist disguised as a woman

I recall reading in English a short story about the extraction of a German (or Russian) scientist defector from the Iron Curtain in a fiction published in a magazine somewhere in the early 1970s (it ...
Bingo's user avatar
  • 7,308
8 votes
1 answer
232 views

A touching short story about two women leaving Earth forever, one of them to join her husband

I know with some precision when I read this story: while I was a student in the US, between September 75 and June 79. I read it in a collection, but there were so many in that library I cannot ...
Alfred's user avatar
  • 19.5k
7 votes
0 answers
73 views

Vintage (50s-60s?) SF short story where a young alien roots to the ground during rainy season

The setting is an alien planet. The protagonist is a humanoid alien youth named Spet. The other main character is a human observer monitoring Spet's village, who gradually befriends Spet. The human is ...
Tom Camilleri's user avatar
18 votes
1 answer
315 views

Short story about aliens asking humans for advice on not nuking themselves

I read a story years ago where a number of aliens had contacted Earth. They agreed to trade some of their more advanced technology for sociology advisors. One for each of the different alien species. ...
Arcanestomper's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
180 views

Short story about Soviet centralized networked computing model

I remember an alternate story from a while ago where the Soviet Union promoted a centralized networked computing model that proved more effective than the decentralized Western version. As I recall it ...
sattler360's user avatar
17 votes
1 answer
219 views

Short Story. Shop in a basement sells items from the future. Future people cannot leave basement. Man's clothes suddenly vanish at his wedding

One man discovers this strange shop in a basement. He enter it and buys a wonderful television at an unbelievably low price. The shop does not accept cash. To pay, you deposit money in their bank ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 8,466
9 votes
1 answer
121 views

Short Story. A human jewel thief teams up with a mountain sized alien thief with psychic powers who doesn't like to leave his planet

The jewel thief starts the story in jail. He is contacted telepathically by a psychic alien. He proposes they team up. The alien can use his psychic powers to make all the people nearby believe the ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 8,466
7 votes
0 answers
144 views

Circa 1950-60 short story about a scientist who builds a machine to create a woman

A super shy scientist built a machine to make a woman. The first success disappeared after 5 seconds. Poof! She was naked. He improved the machine. A woman appeared in evening dress but he couldn’t ...
Jerry hodgson's user avatar
30 votes
1 answer
3k views

Short story; a journalist visits a hospital with inpatients who are mentally ill. One patient pretends to use invisible tools to build a machine

The journalist likes this patient, a friendly little man who seems perfectly normal except for using invisible tools to build a complex invisible machine. The journalist spends some time with him and ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 8,466
11 votes
0 answers
155 views

Short story where a man summons demon who mocks him for not believing in God

I read this short story a while ago and can't for the life of me find it again. I think it might have been around the time that the SFX Pulp books were released and the aliens found humans were ...
Fayth's user avatar
  • 111
17 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short Story. Mouse is sent by a human scientist in a spaceship to moon. Intercepted by intelligent aliens. Given intelligence and speech. Named Mickey

A Short Story read after 2000, seemed to be written much earlier. A German scientist is living in America. He talks a lot to a mouse in his house who he catches, and keeps in a cage. He calls the ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 8,466
10 votes
1 answer
366 views

Looking for Short Story in Magazine: Researcher living in his Computer simulation but his world is a simulation too

Looking for a short story that ran in a magazine, I thought Popular Science, but I can't seem to find it. Was between probably 2014 and 2020, guessing about 2017. A researcher is porting into a world ...
Charles's user avatar
  • 101
24 votes
1 answer
2k views

Ghost Story set on a Victorian age ocean going liner. Everyone who has slept in a certain cabin for the last four voyages has jumped overboard

I read this after 2000 but from the language used it might well have been written as well at set in Victorian times.The name of the ship was The Kamchatka it may have been spelled a little differently ...
Judith Jones's user avatar
  • 8,466
5 votes
2 answers
143 views

A short sci-fi/horror story about an ink blot type alien creature 70’s or 80’s

The story begins with the creature in the forest relating the story from its perspective. It has sustained itself on small animals but appears to need more intelligent life forms to absorb. The ...
Larry DePreta's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
674 views

A short story about a dish that was not eaten and a bottle that contained no wine

I read this short story in French, about only 10 or so years ago. It might have been a translation, but I doubt it. The POV character has a friend who works for a big jewellers company (this will be ...
Alfred's user avatar
  • 19.5k
7 votes
1 answer
122 views

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
  • 8,466
6 votes
1 answer
107 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
  • 18k
27 votes
2 answers
3k 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
  • 8,466