Questions tagged [short-stories]

For about a fictional work too small to be called a novel - usually less than 10-20 thousand words and no chapters. Only use when identifying a work (use in conjunction with [story-identification] here) or when there is a tag ambiguity. If you are looking for a particular anthology of short stories, use the [anthology-book] tag.

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159 views

short story about a railroad and a steam engine in medieval times

In the early 70's I read this short story in an anthology. A time patrol team must inquire about a railroad in the medieval English countryside. It turns out that a local blacksmith did invent a ...
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111 views

Short story where a grandmother is living backwards through time and a flood

Young teen has a grandmother who is seen as crazy, she talks to people who aren't there and moves around the house miming different tasks to air. The teen sees her grandma talking about a birthday ...
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128 views

1970s short story about a man 'murdered' by his 'home theater' system?

This story features a detective showing up at a dead man's house to investigate his death. The man died from exposure, he was watching a documentary about arctic wolves, and as the house projected the ...
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129 views

South African boy grows up in indecision, and stands aside while shaman obliterates the Earth

A boy grows up in rural South Africa, raised partly by his white family and partly by the local black people. He is particularly impressed by the tribal shaman. As he grows up and travels, he has many ...
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153 views

Short web-original story about eldritch horrors repelling an alien first-contact

I've been trying to find a web-original short story I read a couple years back. I found it on Imgur, text on an image, fairly long, it may have been a 4chan greenpost. The essential premise was a ...
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155 views

Short story about a demon's demon

Trying to identify a short story about a man haunted by a demon from another dimension that, I think, he calls "twisty" because it appears in his peripheral vision as a spinning twist of dust that ...
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158 views

Short story about research/exploration team looking for weapon on some distant planet to defend Earth

I am looking for a short story, as far as I remember only a few pages long. (From around the 1980s). The story is set in the distant future, where humans have spread throughout the solar system (at ...
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94 views

Short story with very a old, plant-like warrior who fights a war against an enemy species

This has been eating at me for a few years now. I believe I read this in one of the 'best sci-fi of the year' aggregations. The plot centers around an old warrior living in peace in a small town. He ...
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166 views

Short story about alien intelligence testing

I'm looking for a short story I've read long ago, and my memory is fuzzy. It was in an Italian-language, translated in an anthology. The anthology was probably from the 1970s or early 1980s. It's ...
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174 views

Short story with a girl gang who like to whistle the tune of “I Wish I Was an Oscar Mayer Wiener”

I have the traces of a short story bouncing around in my head. I'd guess it dates from the late 60's, or maybe 70's. A guy has been out of circulation for several years (military? prison?) and ...
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122 views

Short story involving a crashing alien spacecraft and a blind girl

I read this short story during the late 1980s to early 1990s in an English language collection. An alien space ship is crashing to earth, with its crew terrified of their impending death. Their only ...
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123 views

Unknown short story - stranded astronaut plants forest as SOS message

The story is set in the distant future, maybe 3000AD+. I think the astronaut is a cyborg many hundreds of years old and he crash lands on this planet. On the planet he finds empty streets and houses, ...
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177 views

Short story: Girl gets abducted on a date by satanist cult (cute guy and friends) but she has already given her soul to the Greek god Hermes

The main idea is "Girl gets abducted on a date by satanist cult (cute guy and friends) but she has already given her soul to the Greek god Hermes". I read this story sometime in the 1980's. It was ...
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223 views

Short story where a little child lies that the family robot hit her and mother calls the company

I read this short story somewhere between 2002 - 2010, but I remember the book I read it from was very old and tattered, so I think it was likely quite old when I read it. The child asks the robot to ...
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195 views

Short story about a machine that provides people with what they want

There is an old sci fi short story (I think) about a civilization that creates a huge machine to provide all that people want, on demand. They think "apple", and one materializes in their hand. Much ...
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308 views

Short story: astronaut travels through space locked in a “spacesuit coffin”

In this short story, probably from the late 70's/early 80's, an astronaut ejects from his ship in a specially designed suit with a computer and life support that keeps him alive, though basically ...
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155 views

Story of a spaceship swallowed by lush vegetation

About 20 years ago I've read a short story about a scientific expedition that landed on seemingly harmless planet with lush vegetation. Their ship landed on a grassy plain then the crew set to ...
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1answer
510 views

Short story with a helmet that fits a guys face

I was 14 when I picked up a book from my school library which contained excerpts and short stories related to space travel and such. There was this particular story, the first one actually, where a ...
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161 views

60s (or earlier) short story about a time portal back to the Crusades

It was probably about 40 or 50 years ago when I read an absolutely riveting short story (possibly in a Gollancz sci-fi anthology) about a man who has a strange time portal open up near the ceiling in ...
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183 views

Story identification: post-apocalyptic short story about mutant children returning to their parents

This is a short story, probably horror. May have been part of an anthology. The setting is non-specific, but some event has occurred that causes some children to be born deformed. Rather than murder ...
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169 views

Looking for a time travel story: choosing between Nazis and Communists, ending with becoming a terrorist

I'm trying to identify an SF short story. I'm pretty sure it was in an anthology. I read it in English and almost certainly before 2000, I would guess that it's fairly old. I only remember parts of ...
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155 views

Identify a story where man wins right to pilot first rocketship by disabling Warning Indicators

I'm looking for the identity of a short story that taught me a good life lesson. In this short story from some 30 or so years ago, trainees hoping to pilot the first rocket ship, keep failing the ...
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131 views

short story - outpost of misfits stops alien invasion

As a teen over 50 years ago I read a short story with this plot. A sort of loser commander was sent to run a remote outpost on a rock of a planet in our solar system, where all the staff had ...
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175 views

Story ID: Old scifi mag story about lost robot civilization

I'm looking for the author/storyname/issue of a yarn from Galaxy or a similar 60s or 50s science fiction magazine. The plot was that in the desert on earth someone found an odd looking rock or round ...
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264 views

Short story about supernatural police detective buying a victim's ghost to investigate a murder

There is a short story that I'm sure I own but cannot find because my collection is too huge. I have the feeling it was only about 20 pages worth of story but I'd really like to read it again. I'd ...
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146 views

Short story about wired/smart sidewalks in a dystopian future

The sidewalks are wired and people must wear smart shoes which communicate with the ground at all times, so they can be tracked by the government. The protagonist ultimately rebels by removing his ...
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323 views

Dystopian short story - greasy spoons and unhealthy food are illegal

I read this at least 20 years ago, so the details are fuzzy. What I remember is, the main character is in a greasy spoon, which is illegal. Any unhealthy food such as meat or butter is illegal. ...
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334 views

Short story about the last two people on Earth; Earth has been paved all over but a small plant grows in concrete

During the 1980s when I was a child, I read a science fiction short story that I believe was part of a larger anthology. If memory serves me, the anthology was a trade paperback with a blue cover. ...
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546 views

Looking for a series of books, collection of short horror stories from the 70s or 80s

It was a series of books, each with a collection of stories. I used to check these out at the library one at a time and scare myself silly: One story was of a young man who kept seeing an older ...
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296 views

Short story: man & woman driving out of town, raining forever, woman leaving man for the petrol station guy

I can't remember the title, nor any exact parts of the text, also it was quite a poor story but it somehow seemed to respond to Ward Moore's "Lot" which is one of my favorites. I've read this other ...
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126 views

Story where ocean advances from one basin to another through extreme tides?

Colonists in a sleep ship are redirected to a different world than what they signed up for and some emergency is cited as an excuse, though they suspect this was planned all along because the cargo ...
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173 views

Identify Story: Trying to stop nano-machine escape, but they're already out

This is a short story that's about a decade or so old. In it, the protagonist is helping to quarantine an area to stop a nano-machine intelligent swarm from breaking out. The "reveal" is that they've ...
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1k views

Story about man crashed on planet with primitive aliens

I read this short story in the 70s or early 80s, probably in a magazine or in an anthology, and I believe I read it in Dutch, but I have no idea if it was a translation or not. It involves a man ...
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427 views

Short story from the 70's about a super fast ship approaching earth

Here one for the older readers: I read this short story, in an anthology, back in the '70's or early 80's. A spaceship is approaching planet Earth at light speed, or maybe just really really fast, ...
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363 views

Short story identification: Man poisons wife with mushrooms and a large fungus appears for revenge

Written in the form of a diary - a man (professor / mycologist ) poisons wife by substituting poisonous mushrooms for edible ones in her meal. He buries her a short distance from the house and a large ...
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1answer
202 views

50s/60s short story in which a tourist on Mars becomes dinner

In this short story probably from the 50s or 60s, a tourist on Mars meets a beautiful woman who invites him for dinner with her family. The problem is that with a meat shortage on Mars, he becomes the ...
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374 views

Curator working late discovers the night watchman is the vandal and the Egyptian gods are real

I’d love to identify a short story I read in an anthology that must’ve been printed in the 80s or 90s. The main character is a museum curator and she’s working late studying a statue of an Egyptian ...
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67 views

Short story about a photo restoration specialist who can travel back in time to the day a photo was taken

This was a short story, told in the third person. Written in English. I first read it in a library book, sometime during the 1980s, probably no later than 1986. (I lived in Indiana at the time.) I'm ...
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1answer
225 views

Short story about England right after nuclear war

Read a story back in the 1980s in a sci-fi anthology about England just after a nuclear war. The government was trying to rebuild and everyone was suffering from radiation poisoning. Towards the end a ...
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108 views

Military science fiction in an anthology—world war between Islamic countries and rest of the world

A very good short story published in a military science fiction anthology - possible 25 years ago. Protagonist was a female officer trying to get her ragtag platoon through the jungle. There had been ...
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102 views

A recent short Sci-Fi story about a family at Christmas and climate change

I'm looking for a recent (last four years?) SF story about a family enjoying a nice day in their house at Christmastime, watching the snow fall in the forest near their home through the windows. The ...
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200 views

Short story might be called “The Drifter” about a man who falls asleep on a bus in the 1940s and wakes up in the 1980s

I am a librarian hoping to help a patron. The patron believes this science fiction/fantasy story was written in the 1960s by a housewife with four kids. The story might possibly be titled "The Drifter....
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139 views

Story identification: man living in a matrix world to save his life

I have tried and failed to remember/identify this short story or short film (can't remember which!) of a guy who goes about his normal life with a nagging feeling that something is controlling his arm ...
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114 views

Online short story about a robot plugged to a wall that becomes sentient

I’m looking for an online (very) short story written in English that I read about 10 years ago. The story is about a couple of scientists making repeated experiments on a robot that is attached by a ...
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164 views

Short story where highways are used to manage violence in teenagers

The story follows a teen who is too scared of the highways (where violence and murder are encouraged) and is teased for acting like an old lady. One day, he has to get his license, gets on the highway,...
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110 views

Short story about a bunch of scientists visiting a radioactive island

I don't remember much about this short story. All I remember is my friend telling me it around 6 years ago. What I do remember is scientists visit a radioactive island where missiles had been sent and ...
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122 views

Time travel short story, man tries to stop himself from killing family member

There was a short story, probably from the 1950's, about a man who goes to visit his grandfather or uncle, father etc. The man is confronted by a stranger, who tries to beat him up while walking to ...
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96 views

Sci-fi short story about compensation for stress

People have monitors that measure stress levels. If they interact with someone who causes them stress, money is transferred to compensate. Visual indicators allow others to know if they are causing ...
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86 views

Short cabin in the woods story involving a monster and two kids

The family visits their/a cabin in the woods. The kids see a local who tells them about the monster residing in the woods. It proceeds with them spotting weird things, indicators that there is indeed ...
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132 views

Short story where Earth was entirely paved over

I would have read this in a mixed-author anthology sometime between 1977 and 1982. Or, just possibly, a school book. It was a short-short, basically a single scene where a crowd of dignitaries plus ...