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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7 votes
1 answer
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Short story (1970s - 1990s) about an human and his cat in a space station

An human is in a space station which is a sort of hub for different visiting alien species. At the beginning, the human is angry with the cat because the feline, while playing, inadvertently switched ...
Ouroboros's user avatar
  • 580
7 votes
1 answer
411 views

Story ID: Lafferty? Conversation about a condensing/telescoping past

The thesis of the story: like our memory of history, actual history (past time) is telescoping, i.e., becoming shorter. The story is a conversation between characters musing on, e.g., the multiple ...
Benboy's user avatar
  • 533
3 votes
1 answer
115 views

Short story about Earth being attacked by locusts with rainbow wings and laser eyes

A couple of years ago, I read an amazing sci-fi/fantasy story (it was, I think, part of some short story collection; don't remember which one). I remember it was called "Locust" or something ...
Roboblob's user avatar
  • 133
6 votes
1 answer
164 views

A short story collection that featured an excerpt from the novelization of Star Wars by George Lucas/Alan Dean Foster

In my childhood I was gifted a hardcover sci-fi short story anthology that featured an excerpt from the novelization of Star Wars by George Lucas/Alan Dean Foster. As I recall, it was from their time ...
Dan's user avatar
  • 63
13 votes
1 answer
929 views

Short Story 1980s or 1990s from Analog SF - Police use crime scene DNA to create disease specifically for the criminal

The story I'm looking for takes place several years after the police/FBI have developed technology allowing them to create a non-fatal but debilitating disease that is specific to a particular person -...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 41k
9 votes
0 answers
128 views

Short story about retired superhero woman called back to action

I read this on a magazine website (or author's website) in the mid '00s. Main character was a retired and forgotten female superhero, contentedly puttering about the garden. A new villain starts ...
pjmorse's user avatar
  • 195
21 votes
1 answer
3k views

Short story where the rich leave the Earth and the people left behind rebuild society

I think it was in a compilation, likely within the last 10 years or so. The narrator is a scout who has returned to Earth, wearing all sorts of protective gear. He (?) lands and hides in the bushes ...
ann's user avatar
  • 461
11 votes
0 answers
119 views

Trying to identify a book I read as a child; 1970's or 1980's, anthology with themes of dark fantasy and scifi

The book was an anthology of short stories that I read as a child in Australia. This is the key points that I remember: Book had a blue cover. Style of artwork was from 70s/80s. I read this in the ...
Jesse L's user avatar
  • 111
20 votes
1 answer
3k views

Planet that has mobile intelligent plants, but only at nightime

A short story from an unremembered anthology, UK read about 50 years ago. Some guy is stranded on an alien planet and meeting with other humans, a smaller group who've been stranded a while longer. ...
Danny Mc G's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
4k views

Earth enslaved by aliens. Last sentence of the short story gives added grimness to it

I read this short story about 25 years ago. It may be older than that. It is a grim story with examples of the harshness of the alien rule. The thing that made it memorable for me was the last ...
Taxdodger's user avatar
  • 159
11 votes
1 answer
255 views

Short story about land where wealth determines one's worth as a human

I read this short story as a child, in 2005 or earlier. I do not remember much of it. I do not know when it was published or written. I don't believe it was particularly aimed for children - in fact, ...
TheAsh's user avatar
  • 24.9k
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Short story in which people discuss all metal becoming indestructible

This is an older short story. I think that a piece of metal fell in a junkyard. Then the story shifts to a room where men are saying that all metal will be indestructible. At first, the military is ...
Kycornbread's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
383 views

Looking for a short story collection

I am hoping some kind soul can please help me with the name of this collection, or at least the title of one of the stories so I can hunt it down on a used book site. It was a paperback in the local ...
DustyBooks's user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
94 views

Short story about a boy who finds a caterpillar with a human face

When I was 12 or 13, in 1985-86, I read a short story, set in England, about a boy who finds a caterpillar with a human face in his garden. I think he takes it to his room and feeds it. I have the ...
Christian Kerr's user avatar
8 votes
0 answers
72 views

Post-2000 F&SF story about a writer who steals ideas by shaking hands

I read this one in F&SF - the main character is an aspiring writer who goes to a book signing by a very famous writer - one who is known for writing in a very wide variety of styles and subgenres. ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 41k
13 votes
1 answer
370 views

Story about alien SF writer

I'm trying to identify a story which appeared in an early issue of Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine (so, a year or so either side of 1980). It takes the form of a series of story submission ...
GordonD's user avatar
  • 3,526
6 votes
0 answers
67 views

Looking for title of story, probably sci-fi, about mentally declining man who built prompts allowing him to perform daily functions. Any help here? [duplicate]

I have no idea when it was written, nor when I read it, but it's been at least a couple of decades My memory is very vague on particulars, just that it seemed to be pretty prophetic, bringing to mind ...
basketball jones's user avatar
43 votes
1 answer
3k views

Science fiction story where a human is searching for immortality and meets an alien that has been searching for thousands of years

I'm trying to identify a science fiction short story I read long ago (I'm 71). The story goes like this: A human is waiting at a spaceport for his flight to leave. He has been going all around the ...
SimonT's user avatar
  • 522
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

Short story about a phantom hot rod the police can't catch

I'm looking for a particular short story about a hot rod that speeds along the back country roads at night, and the local sheriff's department keeps setting up these ever more elaborate traps to catch ...
Ed Tessmacher's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
211 views

Short story where people can die and are revived in bed through high tech and need legal permission to die

I read this story in an American anthology, sometime between 1990-2010. A woman who likes extreme sports, such as dropping to Earth from near-orbit. As she falls, she burns up and dies. Then she is ...
Bill Galloway's user avatar
15 votes
1 answer
2k views

Super soldier thief hired to steal vase of incredible beauty

I’m interested in finding a decades old science fiction short story that centers upon a rich guy trying to acquire a vase that is of incredible beauty. What stood out in my mind is by the end the ...
user2609404's user avatar
  • 1,195
4 votes
0 answers
68 views

SciFi Short Story About A Robot Caretaker and Her Ward

I'm looking for a short story I read a couple years ago. It was about a woman (I think she was a marine biologist?) who was turned into a robot to help raise kids on an alien world. One of her kids is ...
evilratboy's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
84 views

Collection/anthology book including a comic about a female explorer who discovered a planet filled with a race of primitive, mushroom-headed men

[NSFW] So it came to the back of my head of a collection of comics filled with adult themes. can't remember what year it was but I do believe it was around 2007-2012. The book had a pink background ...
alpha1178's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
175 views

Short story about two cities and their architects

This was a longish short story (or short novella) that I read in an anthology around 1990 (give or take 5 years). There is an ancient city that is old and tired. People are leaving, there is not much ...
Tonny's user avatar
  • 3,334
11 votes
0 answers
134 views

I'm looking for a short story about a sculptor who creates a hand and is strangled by it

I believe I read the story approximately 10 years ago in a US newspaper online when looking for information on H.P.Lovecraft. I don't recall the newspaper or the year I read it, but I believe it was ...
Bingo's user avatar
  • 6,647
5 votes
1 answer
2k views

Sci-fi short story about a person that has to run across country and ages drastically as he's exposed to the elements

I read a sci-fi short story many years ago but can't recall the title. It is about a person that has to run across country to get to a place of sanctuary within a period of time, somewhere about 10 ...
g geber's user avatar
  • 59
15 votes
1 answer
1k views

Short story about a prehistoric man discovering either salt, garlic or onions for cooking

It takes place in a prehistoric era. The man is sick to death of the meat he's been eating and he discovers that adding something (onions, garlic, or salt - I can't remember) makes it appetizing again....
Benny Ace's user avatar
  • 163
12 votes
1 answer
853 views

Short story in which Earth is invaded by humanoids who are a bit dim [duplicate]

I have just read Harry Turtledove's novelette "The Road Not Taken" and it reminded me of a different, unmemorable, story in which Earth is invaded by humanoid aliens who aren't very bright. ...
Haydon Berrow's user avatar
20 votes
1 answer
2k views

Golden Age short story about carnivorous aliens that pay humans a license fee to clone them for meat

The story is told from the perspective of one of a handful of explorers who encountered the aliens. The explorer is sharing a terrible secret with a colleague: When the explorers encountered the ...
w8w8w8wat's user avatar
  • 203
21 votes
1 answer
3k views

SF Short Story: Humans are attempting to join the Galactic Federation

Humans are attempting to join the Galactic Federation. A small team are sent to represent Humanity and prove our worth to the aliens. When it looks as if our membership is to be rejected the chief ...
Seldon2k's user avatar
  • 2,058
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

SF novella or short story: Humans suddenly get the ability to grant their every wish

People suddenly have the ability to materialise anything they desire, seemingly just by wishing for it. This results in chaos, one example being that a young person materialises a ray gun and ...
Seldon2k's user avatar
  • 2,058
16 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short sci-fi story about traders who find an alien life form that absorbs heat

I've been trying to find this story for years. The way I remember it is a man is a trader and he travels to a planet to find goods to trade. On this planet they have something, I think they were ...
Ralph Johnson Jr.'s user avatar
12 votes
0 answers
124 views

60s Short Story About AI Morality

There was a 60s sci-fi short story where a partisan, who had been fighting tyranny on his home planet, manages to escape just before things fall apart. He had no choice but to leave his comrades ...
Jimmbo's user avatar
  • 121
6 votes
0 answers
104 views

Short story about a robot being tested for sentience that saves its interrogator from a bomb placed by a terrorist

The story starts with an interrogation room where a robot is being tested for sentience. A terrorist places a bomb, and the robot the realizes the ship is going to explode, so it saves the ...
rebaked's user avatar
  • 61
7 votes
1 answer
437 views

Short story about a prisoner with implanted pain inducer who tries to escape anyway

I read this short story in my English schoolbook, ca. 1995. It's possible it was written specifically for the schoolbook but it had some "mature" feel to it which makes me think it might ...
Alexander Klauer's user avatar
7 votes
0 answers
84 views

Need help identifying a sci-fi short story (shocked from a band saw, comes to in a slightly altered timeline)

I recall reading this fantastic sci-fi short story in a book of collected short stories, I just can't remember the name or author. I read it maybe between 2010 and 2015, it was in a thick book of ...
Tom's user avatar
  • 71
5 votes
1 answer
426 views

Short story set in alien land with oceans where people die of algae infection but we later learn that the dead people live on in the algae

I remember reading a short story online set in alien land with ocean and algae/fungus and the people begin dying due to infection but we later learn they get to live on forever in the algae. The ...
cellar-door's user avatar
22 votes
1 answer
3k views

Short story about man who couldn't stop consuming

The story was set in utopian future, post-scarcity setting. A man, living on a island (?), starts ordering more and more products of all sorts. While it wasn't a huge issue, it eventually drew ...
Yksisarvinen's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
520 views

Short story about a clone warrior who believes she's the original

I read this in an anthology in the early-mid 1990s. Details are hazy, but the main character was a clone fighting in a conflict. She doesn't seem to realise that she is a clone, and believes herself ...
Leigh's user avatar
  • 93
22 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story told by a shop owner, involving different customers who find and go through a time-travelling mirror [duplicate]

The story involves a shop owner and a time-travel mirror. The shop owner tells stories of customers going through the mirror. The shop owner playfully demonstrates the power of the mirror to customers ...
Gabriel's user avatar
  • 521
10 votes
1 answer
161 views

Short story where researchers recreate primordial Hawai'ian ecosystem, find it has an awareness

I'm pretty sure I read this in Analog, but it's possible it was in one of the other magazines, like Asimov's, probably in the 1980s or 1990s. I have a vague recollection of a black-and-white drawing ...
DavidW's user avatar
  • 127k
1 vote
0 answers
49 views

Short story about a young artisan an old woman and a living statue/mecha

I am trying to identify of a fantasy short story about a young German artisan an old woman and a living statue/mecha he must take care of. Thanks.
Regulo Castro's user avatar
7 votes
0 answers
103 views

A fantasy story about a king who forgets everything after drinking the incorrect potion

I'm looking for a short fantasy story that I read in the early 1980s. Because of the story's not child-friendly nature, I am almost sure I did read it in a young adult fantasy book with no ...
Bingo's user avatar
  • 6,647
14 votes
1 answer
1k views

Short story where the protagonist is hired by a necromancer

Looking for the identity of a short story. Heard it on a podcast 5 or so years ago and I know there is a short story written somewhere. A man is hired as an assistant to a necromancer because of his ...
Mizmor's user avatar
  • 259
17 votes
1 answer
2k views

Looking for SF short story about first contact and humans have to destroy evidence before aliens reach Earth

I read a really great SF short story published in an anthology from the late 1990s (maybe 1996-1997?) that involved humans making first contact with a more advanced alien species whose ambassadors are ...
JimTheWhyGuy's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
143 views

Short story describing computer-controlled society ending up with the computer's demise

I am looking for a story, probably from the early 1950's, about a society that was essentially controlled by a computer. Every person had a plastic cube that contained their history. If one wanted to ...
Ernie Lippert's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
85 views

Looking for 70s short story about dying man and a deer

The story was in a sci fi anthology I read in 75. Terminally ill man watching a deer in the tree line from his hospital room window. Not the story "Time Deer."
RoyBaty's user avatar
  • 39
8 votes
1 answer
148 views

Science fiction short story in Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine about a Portuguese man who reincarnates

I read a story in a 1986 Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine about a Portuguese man who reincarnates and can make women fall madly in love with him by squeezing a secretion out from under his ...
Enrique Navarrete's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
161 views

Looking for a military sf short story about American Marines taken to prevent the emergence of a demon in a different world (dimension?)

A small group of marines were taken to another world to help prevent the emergence of a demon that is awakened by torturing a victim. There is a powerful wizard with them who cannot directly attack ...
mdrs's user avatar
  • 83
9 votes
0 answers
102 views

Short story about a girl killing cancer cells with a video game

Remembering a short story I read when I was about 8-10 (this would have been 1981-83). I could have sworn it was in OMNI magazine, but it could have been in the Asimov Digest or something else. The ...
indeterminate vegetable's user avatar

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