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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12 votes
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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
446 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
23 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
524 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
  • 6,657
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
103 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
8 votes
1 answer
314 views

Short story by Ray Bradbury, man comes home to smart house, can't cope, takes a gun and shoots up the consoles, gets taken away by men in white coats

I'm looking for a short story by Ray Bradbury, in which man comes home to his "smart" house, he is greeted by the door, his living room offers him a drink.... Overwhelmed, he can't cope ...
Martin O'Connor's user avatar
22 votes
1 answer
3k views

AI tricks space pirates into attacking its ship; kills all but one as part of effort to "civilize" space

Sometime around 2000, I read a short story in an anthology. Humanity is implied to be entirely, or largely spaceborne, with rare encounters between ships. A group boards/attacks one ship, intending to ...
Cellen's user avatar
  • 237
22 votes
1 answer
3k views

Short story about an engineer coming back to an abandoned city where only the robots are working. I read it in an anthology in the 1970's

This story is about a man who might be an engineer or engineering student returning to an abandoned city. He is trying to get civilization restarted but he must turn off the robot police who only ...
Jaime Lopez-Winter's user avatar
22 votes
2 answers
3k views

Short Story: Physicist Discovers how to fuse a common element

A lone Physicist discovers how to fuse a common element, probably Iron. He is debating whether he should suppress the knowledge by not submitting a paper. He reflects on his life and how 'Hell is ...
Seldon2k's user avatar
  • 2,058
12 votes
1 answer
1k views

Science fiction short story about underground society where children are kept away from parents [duplicate]

I'm looking for a science fiction short story about an alien society that lives underground, and there is a widespread sense of detachment from one's offspring, and children being raised isolated from ...
Gilmar's user avatar
  • 123
5 votes
0 answers
89 views

Short story involving music composer and a musician playing the history of music

Narrator is a music composer. He’s describing the experience of his friend, a musician, after some transformative (lightning strike?) event. Subsequently the musician plays a history of music and this ...
Leo E's user avatar
  • 51
12 votes
1 answer
1k views

Short story about a boy who brings a roach back to life

I'm trying to find information about a short story which involved a little boy who brings a dead cockroach back to life at the end of the story. I recall that he is repeatedly told to stop playing ...
VoodooRusty's user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
124 views

I'm searching for a story set on a future Earth in which the most competent individuals are kidnapped(ish) and made to serve as government leaders

It's been quite a while since I read this -- I'm thinking 1990's but the story could have been from some time before that. It was definitely a story and not a novel. The basic premise is that there ...
Eric Norton's user avatar
5 votes
0 answers
158 views

Short story about ruining civil society

Please help me identify an old short story. Civil society is dystopic and getting worse. Narrator describes recent crime, violence, and mayhem. Bad news, right? Nope. Two apparent beat cops, the ...
Jason Osgood's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short story about MMORPG sweatshops

I read this short story in a Czech translation before the year 2010. It was included in a collection aimed at "younger readers", but sci-fi and fantasy collections in Czech and Slovak ...
byMaelstromer's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
464 views

Short story in which a girl at a dinner party describes the end of the world by flooding

The story is about a guy at a dinner party who goes into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee and meets the daughter of the party hosts. He starts talking to her and she mentions she is working on a ...
Otroroboto's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
134 views

Short story about Christmas retail season running the entire year [duplicate]

Every year, when the retail stores start putting out Christmas displays earlier and earlier, I think back to this story. This year, I want to track it down. It was in a paperback short story ...
Mister3's user avatar
  • 119
8 votes
1 answer
540 views

Short story, possibly titled "Walk to the New Moon", about a time-travelling Neanderthal girl

A Neanderthal girl is separated from her tribe in a field hunting cattle. She returns to her tribe at full moon or new moon traveling through time.
Chip haupt's user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
129 views

Illuminati with prediction machine that only works when the prediction won't be used

I remember a story where the Illuminati made a machine that could predict the future. However, there was a snag: the machine only worked when the user did not intend to use the information. Therefore, ...
Riemann's user avatar
  • 161
5 votes
1 answer
115 views

Horror Short Story from Dramatic Reading YouTube Channel

About a year ago, my wife and I were on a road trip and listened to a bunch of "Dramatic Readings" of various horror stories. Some were novelettes, like "The Dunwich Horror", some ...
Turbo's user avatar
  • 2,783
28 votes
1 answer
736 views

Short story about a programmer fired by mistake who can't be rehired

I am looking for the name of a short story about a man (a programmer, I think) who has worked for decades at the same job at a computer terminal and comes in after a particularly long weekend to find ...
David42's user avatar
  • 462
18 votes
0 answers
384 views

Story where inert, indestructible alien devices appear all across Earth

One day, billions of hovering, featureless alien objects appear out of thin air in a grid pattern across the Earth's surface. Initially, they cause car and plane crashes, but they do nothing for ...
qazwsx's user avatar
  • 1,017
4 votes
0 answers
97 views

Story about an online influencer whose image is taken over by her owner corporation after her death

I read this story online, probably in one of the bigger SF magazine sites, within the last year. The story is told from the perspective of the celebrity's personal assistant, who also was in love with ...
As If's user avatar
  • 201
33 votes
1 answer
3k views

Science fiction short story about a man who was a god of rain

Trying to find a likely classic era (Clarke/Asimov/Bradbury time) science fiction short story. It had to do with a traveling man (salesman?) who was always, always traveling in some sort of ...
Wonder's user avatar
  • 323
6 votes
0 answers
175 views

Archaeologist on alien planet encounters an alien that tells him the ruins are from a previous human culture [duplicate]

I thought I had asked this question before but it's not in my history. I'm trying to identify a short story, possibly from the 70s or 80s. A team of archaeologists is exploring ruins on an alien ...
Haydon Berrow's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
198 views

Short story where man is sent to the past but he ends up thriving there and the government sends an agent to put him further back [duplicate]

The story is about a man who has a thriving business and a lovely wife. He receives a visitor to whom he decides to tell a supposedly made up tale of what is his actual life. He was a criminal who got ...
user3429534's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
125 views

Looking for short horror story about two kids and a spell book

I’ve been looking around for a collection of short stories that contained one in particular. A brother and sister discover a book of magic in their grandparents’ basement. The girl begins using the ...
Paul's user avatar
  • 101
7 votes
2 answers
2k views

An eternal being outsmarted by a lone man just deceased

I recall having listened to an audio version of a short story where we assist the duel of wits between an eternal being and a person who just passed away. Maybe it was on YouTube (very far in my ...
renoirb's user avatar
  • 195
15 votes
1 answer
3k views

Short story in which computers make everything for humans, but refuse to make a model train kit

Computers make everything for humans. Guy gets a model train set made. Next, the guy wants a train kit and the computers refuse, because he would be creating something. Short story found in a late 70'...
Jeff S's user avatar
  • 161
12 votes
1 answer
1k views

'Scavenger' reading dead alien's mind. Turns out it's a small girl

A short science fiction story I'm looking for: a 'scavenger' (or was he called 'vulture'?) is a policeman who reads the mind of the dying. He's a bit of a pariah. He's called to a crashed spaceship, ...
Remco's user avatar
  • 163
4 votes
0 answers
127 views

SF short story about a future in which jobs are assigned by DNA

This short story is about a person riding in a limo, speaking about all the things he enjoys daily and specifically about the wood grain of the limo. You learn that your job is assigned by DNA and ...
centarianone's user avatar
7 votes
0 answers
104 views

Horror story compilation, including a story about a child who looked out his window at night and saw a creature that had eyes like car headlights

I am trying to find a story compilation from the late '70s or early '80s. The only story I can remember is about a child who looked out his window at night and saw a creature in the (bog , forest, ...
Grundig Asbjorn's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
1k views

Old sci-fi story in which fleeing aliens merge with spiders on Earth in the prehistoric era

Looking for name/author of short story I read maybe in the 1970s where aliens are fleeing their collapsing civilization. With the last of their strength, they arrive on Earth a long time ago, when ...
Photowriter's user avatar
18 votes
1 answer
2k views

Short Story about alien civilization that destroys other civilizations by giving them a machine that will answer virtually any question

trying to find a story, likely from the 1940's about two astronauts from Earth who land on a planet where an alien machine will answer any question that doesn't have to do with its own destruction. ...
Aireli's user avatar
  • 189
20 votes
1 answer
1k views

Short story about teaching a brontosaurus to fly

Read in the UK many (possibly the late 1960s) years ago - I didn't read many magazines so most likely in an anthology. There's an alien planet inhabited by these dinosaurs who very closely resemble ...
Danny Mc G's user avatar
  • 27.2k
10 votes
1 answer
203 views

Short story - advertiser using mind control dart device

I read Jerry Oltion's "Scents of Compulsion" about advertisers using scents to cause compulsive behavior related to whatever the smeller happens to be thinking of (usually but not always the ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 41.2k
19 votes
1 answer
1k views

Short story where seemingly benevolent AI suppresses any rebellion through manipulating economy? [duplicate]

I'm looking for a short story where an AI (or a group of AIs) effectively ruled the world. They were originally designed to serve some kind of economic / trading need, and everyone seemed to think ...
IronEagle's user avatar
  • 293

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