Winchell Chung
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Short story: invention of a device to view the past
Accepted answer
47 votes

The Dead Past by Isaac Asimov (1956) http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?55741 The government has a time viewer, but is real stingy with allocating viewing time to historians. One becomes ...

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Identifying a SF story about explorers on a strange planet travelling down a slowly steepening slope
45 votes

Mouth of Hell by David I. Masson The explorers on the new planet find a deep hole in the planet's surface. It starts as a gentle slope but gets steeper and steeper. They only manage to get a couple of ...

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Short story about man who finds vial containing “wick” which, when extended, absorbs all ambient sound. Disaster follows
Accepted answer
40 votes

Silenzia by Alan Nelson (1953) Protagonist is in a pawnshop and discovers what looks like an old bottle of Air Wick room deodorizer. But the label says Silenzia. It has the power of neutralizing the ...

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Story about muscle-powered wooden ships on remote ocean planet
38 votes

The Muschine by Burt K. Filer 1968 Humans colonize a water world with limited access to metals. In their sea-going ships they use organic machines that are little more than muscles grown around ...

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Movie ID: Spaceship launches fighter ships from "revolver"
30 votes

The War in Space (1977) The mothership launches fighter out of what looks like a giant revolver.

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Short story trilogy about a human whose parents were missionaries to a planet of cat people
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30 votes

The Starwolf Trilogy by Edmond Hamilton Morgan Chane's parents were missionaries trying to convert the hereditary wolf-alien Pirates of Varna. The heavy gravity of the planet eventually kills his ...

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A man in the desert is bitten by a skeletal animal, its skull gets stuck on his arm
26 votes

They Bite by Anthony Boucher Story is out of copyright and can be read online here A man was turned down for enlistment in the army due to his lungs. He decides to do something about it by moving ...

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Future wars novella with 'cling-mines'
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26 votes

These Savage Futurians by Philip E. High (1967) “That black tube on that stone over there is a chase-bomb. That, too, would kill you.” Stein did not go into the details of the chase-bomb. In ...

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Novel about future human civilization that periodically goes into hibernation?
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25 votes

Lockstep (2014) by Karl Schroeder The publisher's blurb: When seventeen-year-old Toby McGonigal finds himself lost in space, separated from his family, he expects his next drift into cold sleep to be ...

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Story about encounter with hostile aliens
Accepted answer
25 votes

"Trouble with Treaties" Katherine MacLean & Tom Condit The story has all the mentioned elements: hostile aliens, fake controls inside the fish tank, and the human crew screaming... It's The ...

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Short story about a female advertising executive tasked with increasing female military recruitment
24 votes

A-W-F Unlimited by Frank Herbert (1960) Gwen Everest is a advertising executive. One fine day Gwen arrived at her firm and some military people, angry that the WOMS (Women of Space) recruitment ...

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1960s novel opens with astronaut waking from suspended animation to witness destruction of earth by tugging it into the sun
Accepted answer
23 votes

After World's End by Jack Williamson (1939) Protagonist Barry Horn is hired by an eccentric scientist to test the first manned rocket ship. He takes an experimental drug meant to protect him from ...

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A short story telling about some adults receiving motherly care from a robot
Accepted answer
23 votes

I Sing the Body Electric by Ray Bradbury. In the story the mother of a family tragically dies. The father finds a newly opened store that sells custom made robot grandmothers/caregivers. The two ...

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Can't remember name of Sci Fi first contact Novel, "solution to the Fermi paradox"
22 votes

Run to the Stars by Michael Scott Rohan The protagonists realize that the "BC" world government is engaged in a top secret conspiracy. Half the plot is their efforts to discover the truth. As it ...

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An old short story: man goes into a fortune-teller's tent, glasses knocked off
21 votes

Happy Ending by Henry Kuttner Quarra Vee and his faithful sidekick, Tharn, travel into the past to capture a rogue robot. The "past" in this case is our present time. The robot is in a circus, ...

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Short story about entity that suppresses human intelligence on trip to Mars
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20 votes

Unwelcome Tenant by Roger Dee Astronaut Mayard reaches the balance point between Earth's gravity and Mars' gravity. At which point he becomes aware of an immaterial mental parasite in his brain, ...

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Far future SF novel with humans living in genetically engineered habitats in space
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19 votes

The Helix and the Sword by John C. McLoughlin (1983) Humans live in space in organic space habitats. Gravity is seen as evil, so planets and moons are shunned. The humans have access to lots of energy ...

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Short story about aliens trading for hydroponics
Accepted answer
18 votes

In Value Deceived by H. B. Fyfe (1950) Story appeared in collection Possible Worlds of Science Fiction edited by Groff Conklin. The alien home world had all its food crops destroyed by a blight. They ...

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People in hazmat suits get turned into faceless zombies with lighting/electricity appearing inside their helmets
Accepted answer
18 votes

Episode of The Outer Limits entitled "Production and Decay of Strange Particles". Researchers wearing hazmat suits perform experiments in nuclear physics. They inadvertently create a nuclear life ...

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Alien cow pie collectors -- name of story?
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16 votes

The Big Pat Boom by Damon Knight Aliens visit Earth, and wander around looking for something interesting. At a farmer's market, at the end of one table the local cow lifts its tail and dumps a cow pie....

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Book: Crash landed Colony ship, when night falls something makes colonists feral
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16 votes

From the sparse details it sounds vaguely like Darkover Landfall by Marion Zimmer Bradley. A colony ship goes off course and crashes on an unknown planet. There is some sort of hallucinogenic pollen ...

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Two Scenes From A Conan The Barbarian Story?
15 votes

"Rogues in the House" by Robert E. Howard http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?68501 "He listened briefly to the clamor inside and the pleas of the wench; then he dropped her with ...

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Factually-presented description of an interstellar colonization program
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15 votes

Handbook for Space Pioneers by L. Stephen Wolfe and Roy L. Wysack The diagrams include configurations of the modular starships, which match the questioner's diagram. The starships accelerated small ...

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Short story where both radiation and "demons" travel in straight lines so put bends in the entryway
Accepted answer
15 votes

I found it. "Blessed Are the Meek", by G. C. Edmondson, originally published in 1955. "What about devils?" "I don't remember too well, but they were supposed to do terrible things to you and ...

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Anthology that contains illustrations for some Arthur C. Clarke short stories
14 votes

A British boy's magazine called Speed & Power. It featured quite a few Arthur C. Clarke short stories, illustrated by Mike Whittlesea and other artists. Some of the illustrations can be found here ...

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Book with Black Goopy Alien & Super Addictive Drug, Ends with Drug Helping Destroy Alien
Accepted answer
14 votes

Bloodhype by Alan Dean Foster The Humanx Commonwealth is often threatened by the AAnn empire. On a remote planet the AAnn discover a large black amoebic creature that is almost indestructible. They ...

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Encyclopedia of aliens
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14 votes

Alien World: The Complete Illustrated Guide by Steven Eisler This was an art book of sci-fi aliens illustrated by various authors, with lurid descriptions invented by Mr. Eisler. Disembodied eye on ...

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Old, vaugely Starship Troopers-like novel/novella with female, possibly gay, protagonist?
Accepted answer
14 votes

Some of this sounds like The Forever War by Joe Haldeman (1974) The first specific detail I can remember is a battle where the protagonist is seriously wounded. She is hit in the lower leg by a ...

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Revolutionaries' fleet armed with kinetic weapons defeats government fleet armed with missiles
Accepted answer
13 votes

Starworld by Harry Harrison (1981) The rag-tag rebel fleet uses mass drivers to launch iron cannon balls at the goverment fleet. The rebels win because they had to learn how to make do with less. And ...

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Short story where a guy becomes a bee, teaches bees to shave the barbs off their stingers
Accepted answer
12 votes

"The Council of Drones" by William K. Sonnemann A scientist teaches the protagonist how to transfer his mind into the queen bee of a bee hive. The queen is named Masoul because she is the soul of the ...

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