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54 votes
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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 ...
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45 votes
0 answers
1k views

A Novel About Time Travel Into The Future

So this is what I remember, and it's very specific, but even so I can't seem to track down the novel: a man discovers a portable time travel device that he can carry around with him. He gets caught ...
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  • 411
43 votes
0 answers
2k views

Looking for science fiction assassination story with mysterious girl

For years I've been looking for a short science fiction story about a man who was released from a prison planet in order to assassinate a candidate for galactic president. He does this on a space ...
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  • 531
38 votes
0 answers
1k views

Humorous sci-fi book with a quirky space captain where everyone is turning into "glass"

I posted this question on another website, but I've yet to find the name of the book. I remember some very specific details, but nothing I can type into a search engine (I've tried). Here are the ...
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  • 583
37 votes
0 answers
992 views

Story about Galactic authorities confining humanity to the solar system

I'm looking for a story I once read, in which Humanity sends out a space ship to try leaving the Solar System, and it is promptly destroyed by a military ship belonging to the Galactic Empire, which ...
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33 votes
0 answers
2k views

A space story about a desert planet and a cup of water

I read this story over 15 years ago. It is probably a lot older. I read it in Serbian magazine (Politikin Zabavnik) but I think that the language of the original is in English. It's a short story, ...
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  • 4,096
32 votes
0 answers
717 views

Futuristic world where reality is humanity's plaything and God is in a zoo

This is a novel I read in 2015. It was an older book. The cover was black and hardcover. Don't remember any specific details. The book was in English. I believe it was from the 1980s or ‘90s. It was ...
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  • 3,120
31 votes
0 answers
744 views

Does the movie described in Flowers for Algernon actually exist?

In Flowers for Algernon (by D. Keyes) there is a passage describing a movie that main protagonist was watching: A psychological film about a man and woman apparently in love but actually ...
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  • 413
31 votes
0 answers
560 views

Short story about a man in a madhouse who asks the guard for a cigarette and tells him his story about having swapped bodies before

I am searching for a short story about a man locked in a madhouse who swaps his body with the guard/doctor while he tells him the story about his own body being swapped. I remember the following: ...
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31 votes
0 answers
956 views

Old SF novel, set on a military ship, one character can't order spaghetti and meatballs because of sudden mid-voyage rationing?

This one is a real longshot. I won't be surprised if nobody can identify it. I read this book sometime in the early-to-mid-1980s. Science fiction novel, checked out from a public library, written in ...
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  • 24.4k
30 votes
0 answers
272 views

Short story where the stars are eyes

A short story I read several years ago in either Analog or Asimov's Science Fiction, probably between 2011 and 2013. In the story there's a 4th spatial dimension whose axes are skew, so that things ...
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  • 351
30 votes
0 answers
781 views

Story about man unable to wake up from dream

I am looking for a story which I read a long time back but cannot recall the name. The plot line was: In a futuristic world, there are dream parlors which provide sleep with dream services. The ...
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27 votes
0 answers
405 views

A story about a doctor who travels to a parallel universe to seek a cure for bubonic plague

Recent news has been reminding me of various things I've read about the Black Death, including a story I believe I only saw once, and never stumbled across again. I encountered it over 30 years ago, ...
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  • 24.4k
27 votes
0 answers
454 views

Short story about an elite that has mentally regressed due to assistive AI technologies

I came upon a comment describing a scifi short story where reliance on technology meant to improve appearance and demeanor has led to mental regression and AI control of the upper class that employs ...
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27 votes
0 answers
645 views

SciFi Short Story about an immortal man digging through an asteroid to meet a woman

Short story from the 80's or 90's, I saw someone asking about this on another forum but never got an answer. I've been curious ever since. The story is set in a decadent future where everyone lives ...
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  • 279
26 votes
0 answers
664 views

70s book/short story, Man wakes up from suspend animation or cryo and world has collapsed

In the book, the protagonist wakes up from either suspended animation or cryo (Probably supposed to be a short test), After 10-20 years have passed. He finds the facility abandoned (and looted?), ...
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  • 8,809
26 votes
0 answers
447 views

Novel about a spacewoman who needs help finding a holographic recording to defend herself in court

This was a science fiction novel, written in English, which I read in hardcover. I checked it out from a public library around the late 1980s. I don't know how old this book was at the time, but it ...
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  • 24.4k
26 votes
0 answers
1k views

Old sci-fi short story about buying an android?

Long, long time ago I came upon a collection of old (pre 1980s?) short sci-fi stories. I'm not 100% sure, but something makes me think they were by Russian authors. One of them was about a woman, who ...
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  • 261
24 votes
0 answers
867 views

Who is this character in the video for "The Saga Begins" by Weird Al Yankovic?

In the video for the Weird Al Yankovic song "The Saga Begins" (1999), Weird Al is playing at a Mos Eisley-type cantina, where several aliens can be seen dancing alongside the regular Star Wars ...
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  • 1,090
24 votes
0 answers
582 views

Spanish-language comic book story about time-traveling Jewish kids becoming the legendary Adam and Eve?

Around 1992 or 1993, I borrowed a comic-book-format magazine from someone. It was a pretty thick publication (well over 100 pages, I'm thinking; maybe over 200?) and was printed in Spanish. I think I ...
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  • 24.4k
24 votes
1 answer
2k views

Who was the enemy of Spider-Man who acquired Spider-Man's powers and said "Where were these powers when I was in High School"?

About a decade ago, I saw in a Marvel encyclopedia-style book a frame from an issue of one of the Spider-Man series. In it, an enemy had pretty much defeated Peter Parker using the same powers as he. ...
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24 votes
1 answer
816 views

Man and boy left behind on damaged earth?

What is the name of the sci-fi story featuring an old man and boy who miss (on purpose in the man's case, accidentally in the boy's) the last shuttle leaving a destroyed, polluted earth? I read it as ...
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  • 249
23 votes
0 answers
344 views

Aliens secretly use video game to get humans to solve their problems

I recall a story probably 20-30 years ago (pretty sure it was a short story) in which a top gamer hears about a new computer game out that no one can beat. So he gets it and starts playing it. (Pretty ...
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  • 8,809
23 votes
0 answers
361 views

Car crash leaves man in a world devoid of animal and human life. Sees red flashes with demons and voices

It was a movie from the late '80's to the early '90's. A man and his girlfriend/wife are in a car arguing, driving down a road on a stormy night. They wreck, and she is gone, and he has a bad ...
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  • 423
23 votes
0 answers
556 views

Short story where scientist flees to the ancient past, tries to stop scientific progress to keep man "pure"?

Plot Summary/Details I can only recall the broad theme and a few details on this one. The protagonist, who was a scientist of some sort, has fled his own time to return to man's early period. I'm ...
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  • 12.5k
23 votes
0 answers
454 views

Astronauts on Europa (moon), time-shift future, gravity, intelligent computer, Aries, 1960s?

I'm looking for the title and artists of a comic about some astronauts (around five I think) doing research/archaeology on (I think) Europa (Jupiter's moon). They're working when one or more of them ...
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23 votes
0 answers
482 views

Article about science fiction languages

I'm looking for a journal item, probably written between 1992 and 1994, which discusses languages from Venus on the Half-Shell, Sagan's Contact, and several other novels, usually science fiction, ...
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22 votes
0 answers
342 views

What is the Galactic Senate emblem meant to depict?

Most of the emblems used throughout Star Wars are abstract geometric symbols, often with a radial symmetry pattern. According to the answers to this question, they have a spiritual/religious origin. ...
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  • 14.5k
22 votes
0 answers
554 views

A man sent to a parallel Earth to save someone important

This is not a novel, but "longish" short fiction, novelette or novella. I read it around 1984, in an already used book containing half a dozen or so stories, in a cheap hotel in the US. There were ...
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  • 7,634
22 votes
0 answers
361 views

What's this serialised comic strip about a girl who discovers everyone around her is a robot?

As a kid in the '80s, I found myself often in doctor's waiting rooms. I devoured most of the comic magazines there. In one of those, I read fragments of a story that I would like to find. The story ...
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  • 36.7k
22 votes
0 answers
436 views

A small group of children accidentally time-traveling to the future and learning about everyday life in an utopistic future society

I'm trying to find a science fiction novel about a small group of children accidentally time-traveling to the future and learning about everyday life in an utopistic future society. This is long, so ...
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  • 31.7k
22 votes
0 answers
465 views

A ruined USA, where protagonists are captured by a biker bandits encamped in a zoo

It was written in English. I read it around 2013-2014 in British Columbia, Canada when I was in middle school. It could have been a short series, or one book. The protagonists are young adults, and ...
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  • 361
22 votes
1 answer
369 views

What species are the skulls seen in Dr. McCoy's office from?

Dr. McCoy, aka Bones, has a couple of weird skulls in his office, as seen in the following picture from the episode "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" (they are highlighted with red arrows and ...
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  • 8,962
21 votes
0 answers
286 views

Short story about a giant ship that thoughtlessly destroys planets as it travels, is visited by a victim

I think I came across this ten or fifteen years ago, I cannot remember much clearly so some of these details may be mistaken. The story is told from the perspective of a crew member, on the bridge I ...
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  • 211
21 votes
0 answers
651 views

Old SF novel about Earth as a prison planet; newly arrived convict has a secret agenda

I think I read this no later than the year 1986. English language, hardback, available in a public library in Indiana in the mid-1980s. I don't think it was by any of the Big Names of 20th Century ...
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  • 24.4k
21 votes
0 answers
528 views

Story about a rainstorm that only the blind can see

I would have read this some time probably in the early 1990s. I don't remember how old it was at the time. I only remember the beginning, and a snatch of details from it: Several blind characters ...
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  • 15.6k
21 votes
0 answers
554 views

Short story: Lost starship crew in suspended animation trying to return to Earth. Crew suicide a factor

Read a sci-fi anthology sometime in the 1980s, though the story feels like it's from the 50s or 60s. An all-male starship crew is trying to return to Earth after performing some mission, but they're ...
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  • 2,360
21 votes
0 answers
459 views

Short story involving a lost-tech green glass highway in Australia

My mom's been wondering if I could find this story but I really can't without more specific details than she can give me. It's rather old, she guessed somewhere in the 1960s or 70s. The story wasn't ...
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  • 219
20 votes
1 answer
1k views

What does "D.Wiz, X.J. (sorc), S. of Mag. Q." stand for in the Harry Potter: Film Wizardry book?

I received Harry Potter: Film Wizardry (Updated Edition) and the Hogwarts letter seems to be different than in the book and the film, according to how Harry reads it out loud in Sorcerer's Stone. At ...
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20 votes
0 answers
322 views

Old movie involving unexplained handprint on mirror in spaceship

I would like the title of an old black-and-white movie. My best guess is that it would have been released in the 1950s or early 1960s, as I saw at least a small part of it when I was about ten years ...
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  • 301
20 votes
1 answer
934 views

Identify short story in which invention of music redeems humanity from alien death sentence

A small mission of harmless-looking little aliens comes to Earth to observe the place before destroying mankind. These folks have no music of their own but when they are exposed to ours, they love it. ...
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  • 251
19 votes
0 answers
340 views

WW2 airman is thawed out, and saves Earth from interplanetary invasion

I am trying to find the title and author of an extremely pulpy science fiction yarn. Unfortunately I do not know how the cover was - the version I had was secondhand, and in the vicissitudes of its ...
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19 votes
0 answers
1k views

Does Skynet Feel Guilty?

I stumbled upon a reference from James Cameron stating that Skynet has felt guilty for 30 years with regards to the near extinction of human life. He even suggests that Skynet has used time travel in ...
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19 votes
0 answers
450 views

Out of universe, have any actions by Harvey Dent ever been determined by tossing a coin?

Are there interviews where any Batman writer (Comic, TV or Film) has admitted to tossing a coin to decide what Harvey Dent was going to do next? I'll accept rolling a die (or any other method) as ...
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  • 7,073
19 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why does the 'hand of the king' symbol show a left hand?

The right hand often appears as a metaphor in the bible or as a motif in art so it would make more sense if the pin shows the right hand.
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  • 291
18 votes
0 answers
336 views

Man accidentally hired into government position, uncovers an attempted alien invasion

This is a book science fiction story. A man was accidentally hired into a (secret?) government position due to having the same exact name as their intended hire. I don't remember, is he required to ...
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  • 223
18 votes
0 answers
157 views

Animated film/show with man's journey of reverse civilization to an extent that he goes naked and hunts for food

I remember watching an animated film or an episode from an animated TV show (maybe anthology) on Indian channel Doordarshan aka DD1 in mid 90s but the movie or show appears to be little older as ...
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18 votes
0 answers
503 views

Space battle fleets, intergalactic elfs

This again from long ago, i think I read it in the seventies but maybe later. It was one of the first times I came across the concept of motherships and star carriers, before that space battles in ...
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  • 20.1k
18 votes
0 answers
879 views

Could the Vorlons be responsible for every race having invented Swedish meatballs?

In the episode “Walkabout”, G’Kar reveals than the Narn food “breen” is the same as Swedish meatballs from Earth, and that all sentient races have them. It's an ...
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  • 50.4k
18 votes
0 answers
533 views

Creepy short story: sinister alien dolls, invasion of Earth

I'm looking for a short story that creeped me out as a kid. It involves alien dolls, which are sold to humans as souvenirs but are designed to inject a deadly virus into any nearby human, allowing the ...
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