Questions tagged [soft-sci-fi]

Soft science fiction is a term for works in the science fiction genre which do not apply a rigourous scientific model for the universe. It can also be used to describe work where the science fiction aspect is incidental to the story (the same story could be told without the science fiction elements).

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60
votes
1answer
8k views

Short story read ~25 year ago where changing person's name prevents a war

I believe I read this short story in a collection. A man's wife goes to a consultant to improve his career. The consultant says include your middle initial (I think). The story goes though the ...
36
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2answers
4k views

Animation movie (80's-90's) with brain-sucking insects

I'm looking for a movie I've seen as a kid, the details are foggy and sparse but I'll try my best following the guide: What is it?: An animated movie. Tell us what it isn't: It is not Nausicaä of the ...
29
votes
1answer
764 views

Help me identify a story about humanity trading itself to giant squids for food

I'm trying to remember a few stories that I read back in High School (in the USA, English-language), so this is pre-1993, likely older than that. The first story was a short story, most likely from ...
28
votes
1answer
5k views

Sci-fi book I read years ago: sterile, lab-grown woman who smuggles things in a surgically-created “pouch” behind her navel

The book was about a lab-grown woman who smuggles things in a surgically-created “pouch” behind her navel. She’s sterile throughout the story, and medical sterility is a common, reversible thing in ...
22
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2answers
3k views

Late 1980's era film about thick white paste controlling people

When I was much younger (1980's), my brother and I recall watching a movie at a sci-fi convention. The premise of the movie is that there's some white paste, resembling marshmallow fluff, that enters ...
21
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1answer
3k views

80s sci fi film with quest to replace lost female droid companion

I vaguely remember watching a science fiction movie with my mother sometime in the 80s (I was born in 84, so I'd be quite young at the time)... The movie was from the 80s, and this is what I remember ...
21
votes
1answer
248 views

Aliens sterilise earth of life except small circular areas

I read this book in the school library in the early 80s, so it was probably published in the 70s or earlier. The book is composed of several stories starting in modern times going out to the far ...
20
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5answers
7k views

A TV series where the characters travel through portals to alternative dimensions

Me and my mate were talking about TV shows we watched, growing up, and we both have vague memory of the same show. In the show, the characters would jump through portals, and pop out in weird ...
18
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1answer
2k views

Short story about future where living space is at a premium

I am looking for what I remember as a short story probably written in the 1970s or earlier which was set in a future where living space was at a premium. What I recall (may not be accurate) is that ...
18
votes
1answer
829 views

Short story about a man getting the wrong phone number (with old-style exchange) and being 'disappeared'

An old science-fiction-y story, at least 1970s, probably earlier. Silly, short, kind of like one of Ray Bradbury's throwaways or one of Phil Dick's goofier renditions. I think but am not sure that ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

looking for a short story about a college/high school kid who lives billion of years and witnesses the end of the universe

A few years ago I read a great online short scifi story about a boy (either in high school or college) who kept wondering what the point of life is. The story then describes how immortality became ...
18
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1answer
602 views

Looking for a sci-fi movie about people who have to play a game to obtain a life-prolonging drug

I am looking for a sci-fi movie I remember from my youth. Given my age, I probably saw this movie in the 90es or early 2000s. I have no idea what the title was, but I remember this from the plot: In ...
17
votes
3answers
547 views

What poetic old detective noir book has mutants smuggled out of a ghetto being blackmailed?

Years ago I read this old science fiction book that was written in a poetic noir style, and I remember bits of the plot, but not any names to google. Could you help me find it? It was from my Dad's ...
16
votes
1answer
586 views

Identify sci-fi short story - on a distant planet sits a statue of man

I remember reading this short story ~10 years ago. It was an old (40-70s maybe?) short story. The plot was roughly this: Some time in the future, mankind is kind of paranoid about aliens. There are ...
15
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1answer
6k views

What movie is this? Alien living as humans

I can't remember the name of this movie, but is old, from the 1960's or 70's. It was about a community hidden out in the boonies. Maybe farmers. A couple visits this community, probably to study them. ...
15
votes
2answers
453 views

Identify a story about a dystopian society where things have timed life

I recently reminded myself about a book (a story, not sure) I've read way back about hypothetical future of Earth. I don't remember a lot from it, but the general idea was that the civilization has ...
15
votes
1answer
472 views

Book about people facing environmental catastrophe who construct huge spaceship

I'm trying to track down a book I read in the 1980s sometime. I think it was set in the far future on an alien world colonised by humans, who had eventually descended into a kind of industrial-feudal ...
15
votes
1answer
315 views

Sci-Fi novel about a man that has the power to make everyone he meets forget him

I have been trying to recall what this book is from almost thirty years, I read it as a teen. I think it was published in the 1980s. The story takes place in a distant space faring future, where ...
15
votes
1answer
827 views

Sci-Fi Novel Title involving Space Infantry

I read a paperback novel in 1999 when I was suffering from pneumonia. My mother had purchased it from a thrift store for me, so it could have been from the 70s or 80s. In this story, a squad of space ...
14
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1answer
2k views

Scifi short story about a device that removes dust, is replicated for profit, and the original owners reverse the flow of dust removal?

Please can someone advise? My longish title kind of says what I recall the most of the story... I think it was in anthology from the 50's or 60's. It's a story about a device that someone found that ...
14
votes
4answers
602 views

Book read/published in the late 90's - early 2000's about a bank robbing computer-virus

Characters Genius Hacker Kid - Developed Worm/Virus, trusts this leader dude who might be a priest (pretty sure it's something similar). Might have a sister that's being leveraged against him near ...
14
votes
1answer
504 views

Extinction/resurrection story

Please help me identify this story. A woman wakes up in the wilderness, with no one else around. She has no idea why. That night, the answer comes to her in a dream: Humanity is extinct, but she ...
14
votes
1answer
610 views

Story about a girl stranded on a planet where fragrance only means death

I'm looking for a short story about a teenage girl who is with some kind of scientific expedition on a planet inhabited by humanoids, where there is no odor at all except in the vicinity of someone ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Book about training for and surviving on a deadly planet

Looking for a 1960s book about people who think they are first training for and then fortifying on a planet where all the vegetation and other life is deadly and actively trying to kill intruders. ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Short story with space cannibals and a missionary

Trying to find a short story I read a long time ago: A Christian missionary travels to a planet populated by humans (or human-looking aliens) to spread the good word. The natives welcome him and ...
13
votes
1answer
411 views

Trying to recall title of story about intellectually enhanced chimp/ape

I am trying to remember the title and author of a short story about an ape (maybe a chimp) who is given human intelligence as a result of experimentation, and subsequently feels alienated. It takes ...
13
votes
1answer
786 views

Looking for a short story about a boy killed by his girlfriend's anti-pregnancy kit

I read this short story about 15 years ago, dystopic future where humans are divided into castes and at the top of the oligarchy there are the wealthiest and the ones with the right genes, i.e. one of ...
12
votes
1answer
280 views

Sci-fi story about cubes/threads attracted to sentient beings that entangle/kill them

I read this science-fiction story probably about a decade ago. I vaguely remember the cover featuring a pink cube. Plot points: There's a sort of environmental threat of weird never-fully-...
12
votes
1answer
172 views

Children's book about a boy who travels to the future, using Coca-Cola syrup for negative friction

I remember reading this (old) book when I was about ten years old, in 2012. It was already old then, I think it's from around the 1980s. I can only remember a few things from it: They used Coca-Cola ...
12
votes
1answer
347 views

90's teen fiction - UK town shrouded in mist/fog causing violence

I remember borrowing this book from my teens from a local library so some time in the mid-90's, although I can't be sure if it was new or old at the time. The story was science fiction set in the UK ...
12
votes
1answer
285 views

story identification: A cowboy with a robotic horse sees a wisp of smoke

The story takes place in the post-apocalyptic Earth. The wild life has become extremely dangerous. A cowboy is in the clean room where he keeps the cows (maybe during the night) and sees a fly on the ...
11
votes
1answer
678 views

A short sci fi story about Von Neumann machines that serve humans too well [duplicate]

I read a story in a collection of short sci fi stories which I can no longer remember the name of. In the story mankind built large, self-repairing, sentient factories that made war machines and ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Trying to remember the title of a sci-fi book I read in the 80's? [duplicate]

I read this sci-fi book back around 1987 that my father had finished. My memory of the book is sadly very limited, but the emotion of enjoying it string prompting me to try and remember it. My clear ...
11
votes
1answer
213 views

Scifi/Greek mythology graphic novel where the Greek gods were actually a space-faring civilization from a different dimension

I read this scifi/Greek mythology graphic novel I read a few years back ~2013-14. The main premise was that the Greek gods were actually a space-faring civilization from a different dimension, while ...
11
votes
1answer
307 views

Trying to find a story about an unborn telepathic baby who can save a spaceship from doom

There's a spaceship, nearing the end of its journey. Everybody on board is in cryosleep. For some reason the wake-up system malfunctions, and the ship will fly on indefinitely. The people at the space ...
11
votes
2answers
351 views

Identify weird Sci Fi movie from 70s/80s

Things I remember (vaguely, maybe incorrectly) about this movie: the setting is overcrowded and we never see "outside", so it may be in space or just a dystopian future it's weird, like Brazil-level ...
11
votes
1answer
375 views

Minerals crashing into the sun, emigrating cult, and frozen man

I'm looking for a book, that I read 10 years ago. But the book is of course way older. It contained 3 stories, which have a common main charater. I'll try to remember of as many details as possible. ...
10
votes
1answer
591 views

ID Story: A robotic storyteller that is sentient

I'm fairly sure this is an Asimov short story, but I can't actually find the name of it. A group of kids has a robot that tells stories. They are mean to it, and generally abuse the thing. At the end ...
10
votes
2answers
914 views

Sci-Fi: Story about an astronaut and telepathic feline-like aliens

I read a series of books when I was younger, about 20 years ago. And I can't for the life of me remember one title, or the writer. So I'm asking for your help. Things I know: The writer was ...
10
votes
1answer
963 views

Title of short story: Computer plotting to kill himself [duplicate]

I am looking for a short story, of which I heard an audio version. In it, most of the work and for that matter everyday life is governed by a computer program. The computer is portrayed as not self-...
10
votes
1answer
442 views

A TV show, from the 90's or 80's, very weird

Does anyone remember a show, where: An alien girl lives with a family She comes from the moon She is looking for a new king because their king (a giant baby) is dying Her spaceship its a VW van They ...
10
votes
1answer
486 views

Story Identification: Sci-fi love story, where love is dictated by a computer

I'm looking for the title/author of a short story. The story begins with a young man who is living in some sort of computer-controlled utopia, and he is very upset because the computer informed him ...
10
votes
1answer
226 views

Trying to locate award winning story about a famous actor who murders a woman to study for the part of a killer

This story dates back to the late 70's, early 80's. It was in an anthology of award-winning short stories. (Perhaps edited by Lester delRay?) The story line is about a super-star actor famous for his ...
10
votes
1answer
375 views

Looking for dystopian short story titled “The Girl”, don't remember name of author

I'm trying to find a short story titled "The Girl" that I remember reading in my high school english class. It was set at a school in an Orwellian future dystopia where the students and teachers all ...
10
votes
1answer
241 views

Possible tête-bêche book - symbiote on back/ lost colony finds gun in spaceship

This book was possibly a tête-bêche book. A tête-bêche book is where two books are bound back to back, with one being upside down. The name is used for all books that follow this format, regardless of ...
10
votes
3answers
660 views

Book series with travel to purple grassed planets and space pets

I found the book in my middle school library some time between 1979-1983. The book may have been from the 70's, I doubt earlier. It was a short story science fiction series geared toward grade ...
9
votes
2answers
274 views

space opera, possibly Robert Sheckley, Piers Anthony or Harry Harrison

I am looking for the name of a science fiction story or novel that I read 30 years ago. It is a "space opera" about a lone human that travels some distance through a galaxy populated by various ...
9
votes
1answer
361 views

Old book about a young man marooned in space who is drawn to an alien shipwreck by a ring he is wearing

It was a school library book I read in the 70s, about a young man marooned in space who is drawn to an alien shipwreck by a ring he is wearing. Can't seem to remember more, but the image has stayed ...
9
votes
2answers
482 views

Story about space flubber

I'm trying to remember a book I read when I was young (late 80s) although I am pretty sure the book was already old then. I read it in English. I only remember one scene clearly, a scientist ...
9
votes
1answer
196 views

Novel, Lo Tech SF/Fantasy, Powerful Woman, Male Assistant, Quest, Trilogy [duplicate]

Looking for the name of a SF or fantasy novel. I probably read this in the 70's or 80's. Believe was first published post 1960. Could be part of a larger series. My faulty memory keeps trying to ...