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
852 views

1960s/1970s short story about alien snails

I read this when I was in Jr. High (on the bus to school IIRC) so the story couldn't be any newer than 1982. Again, IIRC it was in a science fiction short story collection. It's told from the first-...
7 votes
1 answer
311 views

Planet of hostile plants with spores, hero rescues injured co-worker [duplicate]

Another anthology short story I read in the mid 70s-80s. This is set on a planet which is covered with large hostile plants. The air is thick with moulds and spores so humans working there have to ...
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10 votes
1 answer
429 views

Looking for a short story about a posthuman conducting first contact with a primitive alien race on their planet [duplicate]

I probably read this story 20 years ago. I only remember random details about it. The protagonist is a heavily modified human and he is conducting first contact with an alien species on their planet....
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4 votes
1 answer
112 views

Short Story about a teen girl that meets a mute boy with strange hands that crashes on her farm

I'm looking for a short story collection that had a story about a teen girl that witnessed a craft crash on her family's farm and a strange mute boy with block hands is in it. The family takes him in ...
  • 41
6 votes
1 answer
93 views

Short Story: Group of people with powers living together - a sentient radio, a woman with coercive powers, and someone who can fix anything [duplicate]

In Asimov's magazine, in the late 1980s or early 1990s, I recall a story about a group of people with odd powers or conditions who live together in an apartment. The leader is a woman who has "...
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15 votes
1 answer
2k views

Alien invasion averted by termites

A short story found in some anthology in the 1970-80s. Very short, I think, and with no named characters that I remember. Earth is attacked by an alien force who consider humanity an easy target. They ...
  • 4,684
23 votes
1 answer
2k views

Story where humans use aliens as machinery

Humans settle on a planet and use alien beasts instead of machinery. The beasts are in fact sentient and a contract is negotiated to allow the humans to use the aliens. I vaguely remember that there ...
5 votes
1 answer
179 views

Story where everyone uses AR goggles to obscure their miserable world

I'm trying to locate a short story I read (or dreamt?) a few years ago. I remember the protagonist living in a future where everyone wears AR goggles / implants to overlay a filter on the world and ...
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38 votes
1 answer
5k views

Short story about a man snooping on a neighbor, and finding their body folded up neatly in a box

I write short-stories and this is in sync with the type of themes I've used. I know the story, and thought I'd read it a long time ago, but several google searches and search engines come up empty. I ...
16 votes
2 answers
2k views

Story set on a world where the law requires everyone to carry a gun

I read a story, probably a short story back in the mid 1970s. Read it between 74 to about 77, but think the story itself was older, probably a book/magazine found/read in the school library In the ...
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18 votes
0 answers
255 views

Alien deduces everything about human Earth culture (including English language) from only a wardrobe & a coat hanger with the name of a cleaners on it

I think it's a short story. I probably read it in the 1970s. Somehow an alien finds a wardrobe containing one wire coat hanger that has a paper cover on it with the name of a dry-cleaning business. ...
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

SF short story, maybe from 50s or earlier, man visits place (planet?) where vendors at a market buy minute things, like fingernail clippings

I read this story when I was a kid in the early 1960s. I don't remember the plot, but I was struck by the idea of this market where vendors wanted to buy (and sell?) things (namely pieces of human ...
10 votes
0 answers
192 views

1950s short story where natives of an alien planet "help" humans solve problems, with each solution creating a bigger problem

This story was in a 1950s anthology of classic sci-fi stories. The aliens are friendly, and recommend planting a certain hedge, I think, to solve a problem. When the hedge becomes a problem, they ...
14 votes
1 answer
534 views

Starship crewman from separate space community falls for outsider

An anthology short story read in 1970-80s. In the far future passengers travel on long journeys between human colonies in large spaceships crewed by hereditary crew members. Because of the length of ...
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12 votes
2 answers
903 views

Story about sailing ship/printing press on a metal-poor world

This was a science fiction short story about the captain of a ship that sails from port to port on an alien planet. I'm not sure whether the captain is a human or the native alien species, and if he ...
  • 13.2k
7 votes
1 answer
327 views

A short story about a girl who keeps trying to commit suicide

I read this short story only a few years ago. I remember it was in a SF collection but I don't remember anything about the other stories. So it might be very old. But it does not have the "taste&...
  • 7,852
14 votes
1 answer
252 views

Short story about a euthanasia machine

I read a translation of this short story around 2000 but no idea how old the original could have been. The plot follows someone entering a euthanasia machine and being talked through the process by an ...
  • 339
25 votes
1 answer
3k views

Golden age SF short story where spacecraft pilots are reanimated dead people?

The key detail from the story was that because of cosmic rays or some other deadly phenomenon, pilots of spacecraft returning to earth had to be dead people who had been specially reanimated. Living ...
  • 531
25 votes
1 answer
2k views

Planet of cannibals

This question First story to feature the trope "the nice self-sufficient society that welcomed us are actually cannibals"? jogged my memory about a sci-fi short story that I read maybe ...
  • 21.5k
17 votes
1 answer
956 views

Short story about time travel and refugees from the future

I'm trying to find a short story about a woman whose job is processing time travelling refugees from a future genocide/dystopia. The protagonist is in charge of settling them in refugee camps. She's ...
7 votes
1 answer
146 views

Time traveller going backwards and mad in museum [duplicate]

Interesting short story I read 1970-80s. A lifepod containing one occupant appears at a museum. At first hairy, dirty and wildly incoherent, the occupant becomes calmer, cleaner and communicative over ...
  • 4,684
12 votes
1 answer
180 views

Twin star, perception disturbances on space station, punning text message

A humorous short story from an anthology read 1970-80s. Humans have established a space station that orbits both stars of a twin system. As a result days and nights are of radically different lengths. ...
  • 4,684
17 votes
2 answers
1k views

Sci-fi short story with shocking reversal of expectation [duplicate]

I read this in HS in the '80s. Story told from the point of view of inhabitants of a planet, which we assume are humans, as invaders come attacking. Late, or near the end of the story it is revealed ...
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22 votes
1 answer
2k views

Scientist in accident which reverses his molecular handedness

Another short story from some 1970-80s anthology. A scientist is involved in an explosion at a reactor or collider facility. There's a lot of distruction but he is pulled out of the ruins alive. ...
  • 4,684
8 votes
1 answer
184 views

Sci-fi short story about highway patrol officers that can execute traffic offenders

The story includes at least two young drivers. There is a horrific accident that kills a little girl. One of the young men was a repeat offender who does not show remorse. the other offender had ...
4 votes
0 answers
113 views

Looking for a horror/scifi anthology 2000-2012 (I think.)

There are two short stories I am specifically looking for. I can't remember the titles. From what I recall, they were in some sort of horror/fantasy combination anthology at the San Francisco Public ...
  • 41
18 votes
1 answer
3k views

Murder in cult of identical people

No idea where I read this short story, but probably 1975-85 and in an anthology. There has been a murder in a cult community. The unique thing about this cult is that they don't believe in uniqueness. ...
  • 4,684
11 votes
1 answer
159 views

Short story about intelligence being only an evolutionary stage to ensure interstellar propagation [duplicate]

Main character is a schoolteacher on one of the first human colonies in space. He is puzzled over and concerned with the uniform lack of intellect he is observing in his students, especially since ...
11 votes
2 answers
1k views

Trying to remember a story about vikings attacking a convent

It's a dim memory from many years ago, but the head of the convent either is an alien or has supernatural powers she uses to defeat the attackers. Does this ring a bell with anyone?
  • 127
10 votes
0 answers
92 views

Post-apocalyptic mutated boy and father hide out from authorities

This is a short story from an anthology I read c, 1970-85. Sometime in the future, probably after some kind of nuclear war, many children are born mutated and monsterous. The government or army rounds ...
  • 4,684
11 votes
1 answer
207 views

Short story from Asimov's — explosive hobbyists create wormhole

I'm looking for a short story from Asimov's (late 1990s or early 2000s, I think). The setting is mildly dystopian — there's a Bureau of Technology Control (possibly associated with BATF). The main ...
  • 16k
8 votes
0 answers
161 views

Trying to find a story about simulated evolution and god

I remember reading a short story many years ago wherein a programmer develops a simulation of evolution. Eventually, sapient life evolves and tries to communicate with him, their god. So he takes ...
9 votes
2 answers
394 views

Short story with character living life in non-sequential segments

Years ago I read a story with a character who experiences their life in segments different than the normal time line, e.g. his first memories might be flailing around like a baby in an adult body and ...
20 votes
1 answer
933 views

Looking for a collection of stories about an isolationist community

Sorry, I don't have a lot of information about these stories, other than what I remember of their content. I read them in English, but the character names are definitely not traditional English names,...
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11 votes
0 answers
90 views

Short story about aliens who use terrifying dreams/visions to conquer other species

I read this story many years ago so I've forgotten most of the details. I think it was told from the point of view of a narrator going through the experience. People all over the world began having ...
  • 171
20 votes
1 answer
2k views

Destructive teleportation story where the inventor is afraid to use it

I believed I read this story in Asimov's in the early 1980s, but last year I re-read (most of?) them, and I didn't come across it. I'm 90% sure I read it in a magazine, the next most likely being F&...
  • 90.2k
6 votes
2 answers
120 views

Sci-fi short, a miniature town/people used for testing advertisements? [duplicate]

Many years ago I read a short story about a man who figures out that his world is not real but an artificial miniature, populated by artificial people and used to test advertisements, etc. The "...
  • 163
12 votes
0 answers
126 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 ...
  • 4,684
12 votes
1 answer
1k views

Short story where people traveling FTL see their parallel universe selves (not Cascade Point)

So this was a short story I read 25 years ago or so about a starship pilot. In the world of the book people go to sleep during FTL travel only the pilot stays awake. After there is a problem on the ...
  • 137
20 votes
2 answers
2k views

90s vampire short story set in post-communist Romania having a subplot about the effects of AIDS on vampires

I read a collection of vampire short stories in the 90s. One stood out about a group of UN inspectors or delegation of some sort in Romania after the fall of Ceaușescu. One of the group is a vampire ...
26 votes
1 answer
1k views

Time travel short story about a man from a multi-racial future who is killed when he goes back to a racist past?

A friend of mine had an Amazing Tales-type anthology back in the mid-80's with this story. A traveller is sent back to an earlier time (early 20th century America?). He reveals innocently that he's &...
7 votes
1 answer
160 views

Pre-80s short story: man finds tape player inside his chest and cuts the tape [duplicate]

A very short story from an anthology. As usual read 79s/80s, in English. A man discovers he has some kind of tape player in his chest with a reel of tape. He fiddles with it, perhaps rewinding it and ...
  • 4,684
14 votes
1 answer
852 views

Beehive in body short story

I read a short story in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in the past 8 or so years that deals with a lot of body modification. The main character had surgery at some point to add wings but ...
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4 votes
1 answer
148 views

Story read in the 70s about a human who is transformed into a cyborg or Steve Austin type being

I read a sci-fi story about 50 years ago and I at times wonder what story it was. The only elements I remember is the main character was enhanced like the six million dollar man, and I remember a ...
17 votes
1 answer
5k views

Isaac Newton is visited by a time traveller who tries to give him a calculator

This recent question about a time traveller who visits Newton reminded me of this short story, which I think I read in Omni in the early 1980's. A man travels back in time, hoping to spare Isaac ...
  • 11.6k
6 votes
0 answers
222 views

Isaac Newton visited by time traveller who has confusion about human anatomy

I’m looking for a story I read about 1992 in an anthology; a time traveler/alien, visits Isaac Newton, to find out about Newton’s life. The visitor is disguised as a woman dressed in period garb, but ...
  • 16k
31 votes
1 answer
3k views

Alien diplomat unable to lie settles bet about the most wonderful planet in the galaxy

A short story I read at college, 1977-86ish. I think it was a side story from a bigger space opera series I never read, but it stands alone. There was a interplanetary mining(?) vessel, the kind where ...
  • 4,684
30 votes
1 answer
4k views

Beethoven driven mad by voice from future

Short story in which a student of music uses some sort of an audio time machine to speak across time to Beethoven. He wants to the ask the famous composer why he didn't finish his last work. Beethoven ...
  • 4,684
24 votes
1 answer
1k views

Story about rats in ESP experiments

Possibly from Omni magazine in the early 80s. A researcher of psychic phenomena is exposed as a fraud — he's been faking results showing that rats could predict the future or something. But the end ...
  • 16k
9 votes
1 answer
127 views

Children's short story I read in the mid-1960s, about two children on another planet who had to work or go to school all the time [duplicate]

My lifelong love of Science Fiction started in the third grade in the mid-60s with a short story we read in class about 2 children on another planet who had to work or go to school all the time and ...

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