91

The Last Starfighter (1984) Video game expert Alex Rogan finds himself transported to another planet after conquering The Last Starfighter video game only to find out it was just a test. He was recruited to join the team of best starfighters to defend their world from the attack.


61

"The Accomplice" (April 1967), by Vernor Vinge "The Accomplice" Originally published in Worlds of If Science Fiction, 1967. Bob Royce, CEO of Royce Technology, Inc., and his security officer Arnold Su have discovered that one of their employees has embezzled 4 million dollars worth of computer time. The evidence points to Howard Prentice, a 90-...


43

Elfen Lied (2004)? I watched that a couple years ago, and it does have similarities, a pink-haired young woman escaping a facility, being taken in by a pair of cousins. She's got powers and doesn't mind turning people into chunks of goo. Better summary, from MyAnimeList: Lucy is a special breed of human referred to as "Diclonius," born with a short pair ...


38

This sounds like the Retief series of books by Keith Laumer. Jame Retief begins the series as a junior diplomat working for the Corps Diplomatique Terrestrienne (CDT). His boss is Ben Magnan, a stuffy, cowardly, paper-pusher who is usually aghast at Retief's more muscular approach to "diplomacy." The usual antagonists were the Groaci, semi-insectoid ...


38

Replace the dragon with a toad, and you get "The Wee Free Men", the first of Pratchett's Tiffany Aching cycle. The protagonist is Tiffany Aching, a 9 year old girl who lives on a sheep farm. The sheep are not a major plot point, but a lot of Tiffany's life revolves around them. Thinking about the rest of Pratchett's works, I don't recall any books with a ...


36

"Street of Dreams, Feet of Clay, a novelette by Robert Sheckley, originally published in Galaxy Magazine, February 1968, available at the Internet Archive. Does any of these covers ring a bell? (A version of this story was incorporated into Sheckley's novel Dimension of Miracles, chapters 22–23.) Protagonist is a near vagrant in the future, he hears about ...


32

The Time Machine (2002), based on the 1895 book by H. G. Wells and the 1960 movie adaptation. Wikipedia's summary (emphasis mine): After a mugger kills his fiancée, Emma, he devotes himself to building a time machine that will allow him to travel back in time to save her... ...Alexander travels to 2030 to discover whether science has been able to ...


31

Gordon R. Dickson Call Him Lord. The visit to Earth is a kind of "manhood test" to reveal the Prince's suitability (or not) to be the next Emperor. When the escort meets the Emperor, the latter demands to know how his son failed the test. After going over a few lesser problems, the escort gets to the heart of the matter, saying "Lord. He was a coward," and ...


30

I think that's "Zoo 2000" by Richard Curtis. From the anthology of the same name edited by Jane Yolen. 'There isn't much that can be said on occasions like this. But, well, it isn't the end of the world. Many people live with the loss of a hand, and of course there are excellent rehabilitation programs." "Yes," said Mr. Barber bleakly, not really ...


28

HorusKol’s answer is correct. However, The Last Starfighter had no character named Zoltar. Similar sounding names that were in the film may be Xur played by Norman Snow or the bounty hunting Zando-Zan. Zoltar was the name of a coin-operated fortune telling machine in Big (1988). Tom Hanks played the lead role of Josh Baskin, aged 12 or 13 at the beginning ...


26

This is the Conqueror's Saga by Timothy Zahn. The first book, Conqueror's Pride has a battle as you describe, where after defeating the human ships, the Zhirrzh begin systematically eliminating the escape pods. Commander Pheylan Cavanagh of the Kinshasa realizes, as he watches the Zhirrzh systematically fry the escape pods, that they are probably using the ...


26

"Life on the Tether", a novelette by Mark Wheeler in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, August 1983, available at the Internet Archive. As far as the ISFDB knows, the story was never reprinted, and the author never published anything else. The story is narrated by Maura, the female twin. It is definitely science fiction; there is futuristic stuff ...


25

This is "Peter Graves" by William Pene du Bois. The anti-gravity material is called Furloy. It's a short book though, not a short story. Published in 1950. My copy is from 1972. The cover image shows the harness you mention (with golf club head covers holding the Furloy balls, and a fishing rod safety tether). And here's a scan of an interior illustration ...


25

Sounds like the 1966 book Colossus, by D F Jones. The Americans create a supercomputer to run the national defenses, but it discovers an equivalent Russian computer, links with it, and takes over the world.


24

The Chronicles of Solace Series, by Roger MacBride Allen This is a series of three novels: The Depths of Time (2000) The Ocean of Years (2002) The Shores of Tomorrow (2003) Wormholes — separated by both space and time — provide the framework for the interstellar travel network. A carefully-regulated combination of instantaneous wormhole jumps, long ...


23

"Doomsday Deferred", a short story by Will F. Jenkins aka Murray Leinster. The narrator, an American butterfly hunter in Brazil, is visited by a desperate man: It happened in Milhao, where José Ribiera came to me. Milhao is in Brazil, but from it the Andes can be seen against the sky at sunset. It is a town the jungle unfortunately did not finish burying ...


23

The story is What Did Tessimond Tell You by Adam Roberts. I read it in the Solaris Rising 1.5 ebook. The story starts: THE NOBEL WAS in the bag, and we were only a fortnight from our public announcement, when Niu Jian told he was quitting. I assumed it was a joke. But Niu Jian had never been a practical joker; and of course he wasn’t kidding now. The ...


22

This is Jack Vance's novelette "The World Between" (1953), also known as "Ecological Onslaught". It has the two competing terraforming crews, from planets called Blue Star and Kay and the interaction of the competing processes results in a wild, but viable world very different (but more interesting) from any of the sterile designs originally intended by the ...


21

This sounds like Elfen Lied. The pink haired girl escapes from a holding facility and brutally slaughters all guards standing in her way with her powers. Their deaths are very gory indeed. During her escape she is shot and falls into the sea. She is later found on a beach by a boy and a girl that takes care of her.


16

I came across this by happenstance today while searching for another story. The one I was looking for is "The Fourth Dynasty" (1936) by R. R. Winterbotham -- much older than I expected, and very short (about 7 1/2 pages). It is available to read online in full courtesy of archive.org. The two characters who find themselves in the future are Victor Hansen ...


16

I cannot believe I've found it. My mistake was to look for it in english. The series I was looking for is Time Runners(Yes, it is ITALIAN and it looks like it doesn't have an english wikipedia article). It was translated to Portuguese via Editora Abril. I also found a description of the game here but here is the relevant plot: Episode 1 starts the ...


15

This might be the 1987 short "The Price of Life" which I found referenced on the Wikipedia page for "In Time" (2011). I have never heard of this, so I'm just going to quote the Wikipedia summary: The basic premise of the film is that a time account is physically linked to every infant at birth, with death automatic when the balance drops to zero. An ...


15

This is likely Greg Egan's Quarantine. Quoting from the Wikipedia summary: The novel is set in the near future (2034–2080), after the solar system has been surrounded by an impenetrable shield known as the Bubble, presumably by an extraterrestrial civilization for unknown reasons. The Bubble permits no light to enter the solar system, and as a ...


15

"...And All the Stars a Stage" by James Blish. 1086 A.D.: A sudden glare of light in the constellation later called Taurus. The Chinese astronomer T'ang Yaou-Shun marks it down: A new and marvelous star, portending miracles. But the miracle has already happened. It sleeps inside Yaou-Shun, in twelve of his genes. At one point, the serial was ...


14

Skinner by Richard S. McEnroe From Goodreads: Hunting dragonhides on Trollshulm is a losing game. The odds of surviving to buy back your freedom range from slim to nil. Most skinners end up burned out, broken, or dead. Chavez Blackstone was different. The spark that burned in him was so strong, nothing could snuff it out - not even Eli Santer, ...


14

This is The Time Machine, which was released in 2002. A movie of the H.G. Wells book by the same name. From wikipedia: In 1899, Dr. Alexander Hartdegen is an inventor teaching at Columbia University in New York City. Unlike his friend David Philby, Alexander would rather do pure research than work in the world of business. After a mugger kills his ...


14

I think this might be "Spawn of the Death Machine" by Ted White (1968). The Goodreads description is a partial match: "You are an artificially constructed human being, a mobile data-gathering device." That is what the computer's metallic voice tells Tanner when it releases him from his cell. Naked, unarmed, with no memory to guide him, he emerges into ...


14

Okay! Going by British older mentor, young man he mentoring, a sibling, and some signs, I thought it sounded a bit like The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper. I know they made a not-very-well-reviewed movie a few years ago that had changed the storyline. As it turned out, The Seeker is the movie decuser was looking for. I can't give you details about the movie ...


14

Feet of Clay features: The Dragon King of Arms who is not a real dragon, but a vampire. He is also not a lawyer, but Ankh Morpork’s chief herald. However, he is as close as you can possibly get to the stereotypic evil lawyer without being a lawyer. He is the book’s antagonist. A sheep stampede and a Judas goat. They are partly used as an analogy to the ...


14

The Voyage of the Space Beagle by A. E. Van Vogt. Wikipedia has an article on the novel here. This is a fixup novel made from four of Van Vogt's novellas. The alien that looks like a cat appears in the first story. He is a Coeurl, the last of his race, and he lives by extracting potassium from the creatures that he kills. The crew initially believe him to ...


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