40 votes
Accepted

Murder mystery, probably by Asimov, but SF plays a crucial role

It is, as you suspect, an Asimov; "The Dust of Death" (1957), originally published in Venture Science Fiction Magazine, January 1957 and thereafter collected in Asimov's Mysteries. "An ...
DavidW's user avatar
  • 129k
39 votes
Accepted

Short story in which a scout on a colony ship learns there are no habitable worlds

This is "Riding the Torch", written in 1974 by Norman Spinrad. I first read this around 1985 in a German translation titled "Der Weg der Flamme", which was later reissued as the ...
Eike Pierstorff's user avatar
38 votes
Accepted

Movie involving a spaceship with upright sleep pods; a female crew member gets trapped inside one and can’t wake up

This is Lost in Space (1998). The film was based on a 1960s TV series of the same name, which was in turn inspired by the 1812 novel, The Swiss Family Robinson. As you noted in the comments, a reboot ...
LogicDictates's user avatar
33 votes
Accepted

Short story about a spaceship that takes a featureless orb on board

This is "Situation Thirty" by Frank M. Robinson, first published in 1951. I have it in front of me in Gordon R. Dickson's anthology Combat SF, published in 1981. You have much of the story ...
JRE's user avatar
  • 17.6k
26 votes
Accepted

Novel about a microscopic civilization living inside the Sun

This is probably Stephen Baxter's Flux. From Wikipedia: Dura and her fellow human beings live inside a neutron star, as they have for generations. As long as they can remember, "glitches" (...
Daniel Roseman's user avatar
26 votes
Accepted

1970s novel in which an ancient spaceship is unearthed and flies to alien worlds

This really sounds a lot like Andre Norton's Galactic Derelict. Spherical alien ship. Check. Ancient ship. Check. Flies to alien worlds which are now ruins. Check. The only mismatch is that the ...
Mark Olson's user avatar
  • 41.2k
24 votes

Short story in which a spacecraft is destroyed when all its internal friction is removed, so that it falls apart

"Frictional Losses", a novelette by John W. Campbell, Jr., first published (as by "Don A. Stuart") in Astounding Stories, July 1936, available at the Internet Archive. You may have ...
user14111's user avatar
  • 163k
23 votes
Accepted

TV series about humans living aboard a spacecraft

You may be thinking of Starhunter (2000), in particular, Season 1, Episode 19, "Bad Girls". Starhunter tells the story of a bounty hunting ship, The Tulip, and it's crew: Dante Montana (...
Vanguard3000's user avatar
  • 8,856
23 votes

Obscure sci-fi illustration book showing speculative alien life forms on other worlds

I believe this is the 1979 Galactic Encounters series artbook Aliens in Space: An Illustrated Guide to the Inhabited Galaxy by Stewart Cowley (writing as Stephen Caldwell). The cover art actually ...
DavidW's user avatar
  • 129k
22 votes
Accepted

Short 1980s TV sci-fi movie where a man and woman want to buy a planet

You may be thinking of Star Salesman, an episode of a science video series Universe & I produced by Kentucky Educational Television back in the '70s. Unfortunately, there's very little information ...
Kenster's user avatar
  • 6,726
21 votes
Accepted

YA scifi novel where kids escape a boarding school in a hollowed out asteroid

This sounds a lot like Starstormers, a series of five books by by Nicholas Fisk. It deals with a group of children, Vawn, Ispex, Tsu and Makenzi, who escape from boarding school on Earth by building ...
Clara Diaz Sanchez's user avatar
21 votes
Accepted

Sci-fi short story about two beings stranded in a spacepod with limited resources who play a word game to determine who'll survive

William Tenn's The Ghost Standard. This article discusses: This is set as legal dilemma resulting from a case of cannibalism aboard a lifeboat: Juan Kydd, a human, & Tuezuzim, "a sapient ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 45.2k
20 votes

Book about a space war with lizards and mind-controlling space turtles

This is Harry Harrison's 1973 novel Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers Now their eyes were drawn across the room and down. Down towards the table. Down towards the bowl of water. Down to the little ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
20 votes

When was "Fast Trip" by James White Published?

"Fast Trip" by James White first appeared in the April 1963 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The magazine never reprinted the story. You can read the entire issue for ...
David Noble's user avatar
  • 2,493
19 votes

Science fiction book about a war veteran who was resurrected and goes on to meet a crab alien brain that gets installed onto his ship

I'm pretty certain this is Dark Intelligence, first book of a trilogy by Neal Asher, even though it was published less than a decade ago, in 2015. The human is called Thorvald Spear. He is resurrected ...
Ernst de Ridder's user avatar
19 votes

Science fiction film that begins on a spaceship with Earth and alien crew that crashes

Possibly 1966's Women of the Prehistoric Planet? The plot summary from wikipedia reads: A spacefaring crew from an advanced civilization is preparing to return home after an extended voyage. The crew ...
Showsni's user avatar
  • 8,692
16 votes
Accepted

Book I read back in the 90’s, about a boy who became a space pilot

That's Hot Sleep (sometimes called The Worthing Saga) by Orson Scott Card, which partly follows the story of Jason "Jazz" Worthing, a "swipe" or telepath. An interesting feature ...
Jon B's user avatar
  • 2,961
16 votes
Accepted

80s? Novel Men and women taken by aliens to fight in war in space

I think this is probably Their Master's War by Mick Farren. The protagonist is Harkaan, though he is renamed to Hark by the aliens, and the girl is Conchela. The aliens are the Therem. The scene with ...
John Rennie's user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

Space voyage movie, circa 1970, with a reverse sequence ending

Except for the first two bullet points this strikes me as a description of the ending of "the Time Travelers" (1964). Basically the scientists try to tune their portal to get back to their ...
lucasbachmann's user avatar
15 votes

Short story about two human space travelers who learn to transform into energy beings

This is Environment by Chester S. Geier. It first appeared in Astounding, May, 1944. It is available at the Internet Archive. It starts with two human travelers in their spacecraft, who find a planet ...
nebogipfel's user avatar
  • 6,281
15 votes
Accepted

Novel in which a research team investigates a rip in the fabric of space

This may be Greg Egan's 2002 novel Schild's Ladder (which is now just over two decades old) about a science experiment that creates a section of space growing in all directions at half the speed of ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 45.2k
14 votes
Accepted

Identify a novel of interstellar piracy with "spreighforming"

I think you are conflating the two novels Henry Martyn and Bretta Martyn by L. Neil Smith. The novel Henry Martyn starts with the torture of the youth, but it's the cover of Bretta Martyn (shown ...
John Rennie's user avatar
13 votes

Book about a man and woman stranded on a moon or asteroid, who have to rebuild or repair their crashed spacecraft

This is almost certainly Spacehounds of IPC by E.E. "Doc" Smith. The protagonists, Percival "Steve" Stevens and Nadia Newton, manage to escape to Ganymede when the passenger liner ...
Zeiss Ikon's user avatar
  • 22.8k
13 votes

Book that is sci-fi explorer mixed with Arthurian legend

Is this Enchantress from the Stars (1970) by Sylvia Engdahl...? Elana, though still a first-year student at the academy of the interstellar Anthopological Service, is elated by the chance to take ...
LogicDictates's user avatar
12 votes

Murder mystery, probably by Asimov, but SF plays a crucial role

This is indeed by Asimov - a short story called "The Dust of Death". First appeared in Venture Science Fiction (January 1957) and collected in Asimov's Mysteries. It can be read here: https:/...
GordonD's user avatar
  • 3,678
12 votes

Science fiction movie involving a woman who steals information about a crashed alien spaceship and is hunted by a powerful company

Is this Beyond the Rising Moon (1987), also known as Star Quest, also known as Outerworld...? From Wikipedia: Beyond the Rising Moon (also known as Star Quest and Starquest - Beyond the Rising Moon) ...
LogicDictates's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

Short story about a space shuttle seeing a city of lights on the Moon

Could be "City of Lights" by Tim Vicary: From this link: A young pilot Cathy Fox has lost her job. She is said to be seriously ill. But Cathy tells a completely different story. Last year ...
AJM's user avatar
  • 1,337
12 votes
Accepted

Movie about space with monsters with rock tentacles/spider legs

This is Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (2008). Johnny Rico is called back into action to defeat the bugs. A group of Federation soldiers are marooned on an alien planet and spend hours trekking along ...
LogicDictates's user avatar
11 votes

1980s science fiction novel with two infertile protagonists (one an astronaut) and a "psychic vampire" antagonist

Is this Thorns (1967) by Robert Silverberg...? The Goodreads synopsis mentions two protagonists and an antagonist matching your description: Minner Burris, a space traveller whose body was taken ...
LogicDictates's user avatar
11 votes
Accepted

Science fiction novel involving starfighters called 'Loki,' which could jam everything around them

Ragnarok by Patrick A. Vanner. Humanity is locked in a war of survival with the Xan-Sskarn, an alien race that refuses to acknowledge the rights of "weaker" creatures to live. It is a war ...
John Rennie's user avatar

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