Questions tagged [story-identification]

Use for identifying a work of SF or Fantasy, including novels, movies, comic books, fanfic, TV series, video games, etc. Use with other tags to specify the type of media, eg. [short-stories]. Use [episode-identification] for identifying a single episode of a known series, whether TV, book, or comic. Use [actor-identification], [character-identification], [music-identification], or [object-identification] for those specific ID requests instead.

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366 votes
1 answer
23k views

Story where the number 3 is the monster?

I remember as a child (in the nineties) reading a story where the narrator was a little boy and how he was scared only twice a day – when the clock read 3:33. The 3's would be powerful enough (there ...
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133 votes
2 answers
5k views

Married couple pretend to like each other due to crystal sculpture

Years ago, I remember reading a short story (as I remember it) about a couple whose prized possession is semi-living crystal structure that is sensitive to their relationship; it grows and maintains ...
117 votes
3 answers
5k views

Story where scientist communicates with cities directly

In the story, a scientist discovers that cities have more or less a gestalt consciousness, and that they communicate with each other indirectly through people. He decodes this communication, and ...
100 votes
4 answers
16k views

Story about humanity realizing they are in a simulation

I'm trying to locate a story I read a couple of years ago on the internet. The story revolves around the idea that the Earth, humanity, and our entire universe are all part of a computer simulation. ...
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100 votes
1 answer
8k views

Boy transported to another planet where the being who owns the Earth lives

I read this book probably in the late 1990s. I assume the intended audience is teenagers/youth because I checked it out of my junior high library. In the book there is a boy on a plane and the plane ...
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85 votes
2 answers
6k views

Short story where human explorers accidentally blind an alien race

I read a short story (probably 20 years ago) about a human scientific expedition that arrives at an alien planet. The planet is covered by a thick cloud layer and orbits a dim red star. The humans ...
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83 votes
2 answers
4k views

Movie with magical book showing events of any day in history, except missing days of the Gregorian calendar change

I once saw a movie on the TV sometime in the 1990s. I don't remember a whole lot (maybe I didn't even see the whole movie), only one particular scene, which made quite an impression on my young self, ...
  • 1,268
83 votes
4 answers
5k views

Time Travel story where an imprisoned psychopath kills people from his past?

I read a story some years ago (probably about 35) in an monthly sci-fi anthology... It's set in a prison. The main character is a psychopath who has sessions with a psychiatrist - in these sessions ...
80 votes
2 answers
12k views

Does anyone know what this fantasy script is from?

My friend keeps on writing it, yet he won't tell me where it's from. He says the third line from the top says : "for what reason."
78 votes
1 answer
2k views

Spambot becomes self aware but every attempt to contact gets filtered

About 3-6 years ago I read a short story (online, I think) formatted as a series of emails sent by a spambot that had become self aware and was trying to make contact but, due to its origins, was ...
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76 votes
1 answer
3k views

Short story about Neurosurgeon uses nanobots to cure patients, 'reprograms' ex-wife to fall back in love with him

I read this story sometime between 1989 and 1991 in a SF&F magazine (Asimov's Science Fiction? The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction? Amazing Stories?) and I've looked for it for years, in ...
75 votes
1 answer
11k views

Book in which the "mountain" in the distance was a hole in the flat world

Science fiction novel or short story. Characters were lost or crashed or something on a new-to-them world and were making for a mountain they could see in the distance. But when they reached the ...
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74 votes
2 answers
11k views

Identify a movie in which aliens believed a sci-fi TV show to be a true documentary

I remember watching a sci-fi movie in the early 00s. It was full of comedy. Here are the details I recalled: There was a space opera TV show in the movie. It seemed a true copy of Star Trek (they ...
74 votes
1 answer
7k views

Man serves a sentence for the murder he will be allowed to commit in the future

I recently remembered a short story I had read a while ago in a sci-fi compilation. I tried to identify it, but my Google-fu is not up to the task. Google, however, directed me here. So, I hope ...
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68 votes
1 answer
16k views

Soviet statistician deduces the existence of parasites feeding on the human race

This short story would obviously have been written no later than the 1980s, though in my recollection the style was more reminiscent of the 1950s or early 1960s. Darker than a typical Asimov, but ...
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66 votes
11 answers
15k views

Which Asimov story has malevolent 3-law AI?

I'm reading some of the Q&A on Worldbuilding.se about the Control Problem (how to keep a general artificial intelligence in a box), like this one, and someone invariably touts Asimov's three laws ...
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66 votes
1 answer
3k views

A man takes riskier and riskier jobs (involving a transportation ring) for more money

I'm looking for a story I read in 1980. It is a short story and may have been in one of Asimov's or Bradbury's collections. It was about a man looking for a job. He goes into an office with, I ...
  • 763
65 votes
1 answer
19k views

Asimov's story where a man's speech contains no information [duplicate]

I am trying to remember the name of a tale or novel by Isaac Asimov. I am positive I've read this some years ago, but for the life of me, I can't recall the name. In the story, one of the characters, ...
  • 633
65 votes
2 answers
5k views

What story does C.S. Lewis acknowledge in the preface to "The Great Divorce"?

This isn't a typical story-identification question, since it's not a story I've read myself. As such, I unfortunately can't offer any more details or more clarification beyond what's already in this ...
  • 2,690
64 votes
1 answer
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 ...
  • 563
64 votes
3 answers
4k views

Trying to identify "I will measure the dust" story

I have a distant memory of a story which involves a person conversing with an intelligent space probe before it's launched on a long-term mission. As I recall it, their conversation goes something ...
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62 votes
1 answer
6k views

Looking for a really old novel where the people are geometric figures

A while ago I read about a really old science fiction novel/novella (could have been more than a century old) where there weren't exactly people, but geometric figures in a 2-D world. I think the ...
62 votes
2 answers
9k views

A cynical demon writing annotations into the book for puny human readers

One of the first series I've ever read was about a young boy who was learning to become a mage. In this world it was possible to summon demons of different categories, ranging from small and not very ...
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61 votes
3 answers
12k views

A Book where an Animal is advertising itself to be eaten

I remember having read (at least I think I've been reading, it might have been a series but I'm almost positive it was in prose) a book or story where an animal, maybe genetically engineered? ...
  • 1,491
59 votes
2 answers
10k views

Movie about a boy, two men, a robot and a war

I saw this movie about 12 years ago (2005) when I was about 8 years old but it probably came out way earlier than that since I saw it on local TV in West Africa. I remember there being a little boy ...
  • 681
59 votes
1 answer
2k views

Novel about a spacefaring mission trying to reestablish contact with Earth

Looking for a novel I read in the early 90s; it came from a local library so it may be quite a bit older. Might've been a YA novel, as it was in the same shelf as a bunch of William Sleator novels. ...
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57 votes
3 answers
26k views

Short story about "the monster under her bed", where the monster protects the girl from abusive parents

I remember reading a short story on the internet, maybe a year or two ago, that was about a monster under the bed of a little girl. The story took about 10 minutes to read I think. Can you help me ...
  • 3,461
57 votes
1 answer
7k views

Short story about an endless space ship

I read it online few years ago. It is a short story about exploring a spacecraft/ship/station that seems to be infinite inside. It is written like a log, and each entry starts with a measure, like ...
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56 votes
2 answers
5k views

Let There Be Light Story Identification

I am looking to identify a story that I read around 2001 (it is probably much older). Someone showed me the story on pages printed from the internet, and it was attributed to Isaac Asimov (although I ...
  • 3,121
56 votes
1 answer
3k views

Star Trek: The Next Generation episode with a black snowman

My three-year-old daughter has just been telling me about an episode of The Next Generation which was on earlier. The man runned on the sand and he fell in the black thing, and he came up a black ...
56 votes
1 answer
4k views

A short story where criminals are sent back in time as punishment?

I've already searched Wikipedia's list of time travel stories in hopes of finding it, but no such luck. This is the basic plot of the story: In the future, criminals are sent back to the Renaissance ...
56 votes
0 answers
2k views

Story about enemies in a space battle sharing their last moments over com as their ships die

I am looking for the title of a short sci-fi story which I read sometime around the mid '80s. It is about a man and a woman talking through some communication system during the last moments of their ...
55 votes
1 answer
4k views

Comicbook short story where a man inherits a clock that tells when you die

The story was in an anthology comic book, possibly something like Tales From The Crypt but not necessarily. An escape stunt artist reveals to a young man that the secret for him surviving his ...
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54 votes
1 answer
7k views

Story in which a stranded astronaut is saved by a golden humanoid, and later realizes that it could have killed him

I came across this comment on the internet, unfortunately much too old for me to respond to to find more information or ask if they'd gotten an answer. Nonetheless, their description intrigued me and ...
54 votes
1 answer
1k views

90s novel: wood nymph (similar to an otik) who becomes a scientist

I am trying to hunt down a book I read in the 90s, but lost some time ago. It starts with some children wandering in a wood, and they encounter a wood nymph creature that starts following them around. ...
  • 961
53 votes
1 answer
6k views

Pratchett Quote about Research and Development

I'm looking for a quote by Terry Pratchett. I'm pretty sure that the patrician was speaking about Leonard of Quirm and giving funds to Research and Development. It was something along the lines of: ...
  • 787
53 votes
1 answer
4k views

Humorous essay on dystopian novel tropes

Several years ago my now-ex was in an MFA program for writing children's literature and read to me an essay she came across. I'm looking for help in finding it. The problem is that I can't remember ...
  • 731
53 votes
2 answers
7k views

A universe not quite like ours

Okay this is a story someone else was telling me about. I wanted to read it but he didn't remember the title. This was in the mid-eighties; the story itself must be at least that old. The protagonist ...
53 votes
1 answer
7k views

Story about a spaceship "emergency program" that simulates a "perfect woman"

There’s an SF story I’ve been looking for for a long time. I have a hard time believing that I made it up myself, so I feel like it must be out there, somewhere. But I can’t seem to find it. The ...
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53 votes
1 answer
6k views

Novel where the wealthy could save up time and use it for an "eighth day of the week"

Sometime around the 1980s, I recall reading one of my father's 'mass market paperback' science fiction novels. The book was showing its age even then, so it's likely to have come from the 60s or 70s. ...
  • 7,420
53 votes
1 answer
7k views

Old story about two cultures living in the same city, but they are psychologically blind to each other's existence

I'm trying to identify a story that I first read in an anthology in the mid-1980s. Checked it out from a library in Indiana. I have a very vague idea that this story might have been credited to Gordon ...
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52 votes
2 answers
12k views

Movie where protagonist time-travels to dystopian future when people become mentally degraded

Please help me identify a movie referred by an acquaintance. (I haven't watched it.) No cast or director info is available. The protagonist is today's average man who participates in a scientific ...
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52 votes
2 answers
13k views

1980s live-action movie where individually-coloured nations on clouds fight

I saw this movie in July or August 1986. It wasn't a commercial movie - I didn't see it in a normal movie theatre. The story takes place somewhere there are 3 nations, each on its own cloud. The ...
  • 90k
52 votes
1 answer
7k views

Old short story where scientist creates "time viewer" to see founding of Stonehenge, realizes at end he may have inspired its creation

Plot Details/Summary The premise of this tale is that a scientist, or small group of scientists, have created a device that will allow them to open a viewing portal to the past. With it, the ...
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51 votes
1 answer
4k views

Short story about a boy and girl enclosed in an experiment and given injections to age rapidly

The story is told from the point of view of one of the scientists. He meets the subjects in the experiment as they play in the lab before being put into the enclosure that will become their world/home....
50 votes
3 answers
10k views

A story where a small child takes on the pain of the world

I think this was a short story, and I have no recollection of where or when I read it. It had a dystopian disguised as a utopian feel. From what I remember, the world was at peace and everyone was ...
  • 411
50 votes
3 answers
6k views

Short story about free will and a device which buzzes/lights up moments before you press it

I read this story about a device that lights up or buzzes or does something moments before it you press a button or something, effectively killing the notion of free will. I read the recently, online, ...
  • 773
50 votes
1 answer
7k views

Old story where computer expert digitally animates The Lord of the Rings

Back in the 1960s there was a story about the head of a corporation in the late 20th or early 21st century who discovered that his computer expert was using the mainframe to digitally animate a ...
50 votes
1 answer
3k views

Short story with a battle fought by attempting to change genres

I came across a short story a few years back. Probably post 2010. I suspect it may have been on a forum thought it may have been a short story site. I thought it might have been a comment on on ...
  • 3,653
49 votes
3 answers
10k views

Short story about humanity sending out (radio waves) signals and being answered with a warning

The story is quite simple: humanity has been sending out communications via radio waves (possibly) into the depths of space, and after some time of searching, they eventually receive a response from ...
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