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Science Fiction Short Story ID

The gist of the story: Natives take potion which slows their movements and thoughts to match those of trees, who it turns out are sentient and out to get us. [more inside]
posted by maxwelton on Sep 26, 2014 - 6 answers

Far future, alien-feeling SF recommendations

I'm getting fairly tired of science fiction set in the near or medium future where society and motivations are an extension of modern life. I'd like something set so far in the future that there is nothing that really calls back to earth politics or history or culture, or something which may well be in an alternate universe because earth-like things never even come up. [more inside]
posted by Bugbread on Sep 26, 2014 - 30 answers

Welcome citizen to a generic science fiction utopia

You how there's always a scene in science fiction movies where a character enters some futuristic utopia and a robotic voice starts talking to them, saying something like "Welcome to Futureville, where all your needs are met" ? Is there a name for this trope? Can you think of some good examples? [more inside]
posted by craniac on Sep 15, 2014 - 36 answers

Trying to remeber a short story about alien archeologists

I'm trying to remember a short story I read years ago, in school probably, about alien archaeologists examining the only remains of earth after glaciers killed the last humans. [more inside]
posted by Canageek on Sep 13, 2014 - 2 answers

1970s science fiction short story about a young mother going crazy?

There's this science fiction story I can recall reading in at least one anthology, if not multiples. It is told from the perspective of a young mother who is going crazy dealing with her kid(s). The writing is very stark and bleak, but it's a fun story nonetheless. I am fairly certain the author was a woman. I believe it's from the late 60s or early to mid 1970s. [more inside]
posted by Slinga on Aug 21, 2014 - 9 answers

Sheena is a punk rocker now (and in the year 2875)

Help me make a punk rock playlist for the distant future. [more inside]
posted by nonasuch on Aug 16, 2014 - 31 answers

The Hugo Awards: what are the odds?

I thought bookmakers would take bets on just about anything, bookish competitions included—Ladbrokes has Haruki Murakami at 6:1 for this year's Nobel Prize for Literature—but I'm not finding anyone offering odds on this weekend's Hugo Awards. Are there any "official" odds on the Hugos? And if not, why not? [more inside]
posted by mumkin on Aug 15, 2014 - 3 answers

SF stories to make one's blood pressure rise.

I recently had the displeasure of encountering Philip K. Dick's "The Pre-Persons" for the first time. What other SF stories or novels by name authors are waiting to affront my political sensibilities? [more inside]
posted by vathek on Aug 10, 2014 - 30 answers

Aka, the effect of gamma rays on man in the moon marigolds

Which nation has the most science-fiction readers per capita? [more inside]
posted by Mike Mongo on Jul 24, 2014 - 4 answers

Seeking all-in-one SFF headline site for daily reading

Seeking recommendations for a site with good coverage of books, films, comics etc. centered around SFF nerdery for my RSS reader. I used to read The Mary Sue, but have been meh about it since its revamp. I'm currently trying out Tor.com, but I'm looking for other alternatives. Feminist orientation is a plus, but not mandatory. I don't play video games, and I'm not particularly interested in rewatches/rereads other than on FanFare.
posted by immlass on Jul 24, 2014 - 5 answers

Recent Mundane/Hard SF

Who is writing hard/mundane SF these days? I'm talking no FTL, basically. Please recommend books from the last decade or so. Not Accelerando, though. No offense to Mr. Stross, but it really was not my bag. Thank you in advance.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man on Jul 9, 2014 - 21 answers

Good Russian and Eastern European SF/F/Horror

I really love the sort of bleak/dark horror/fantasy/science fiction from Russia and Eastern Europe. I loved the Nightwatch series, loved Solaris, loved the Metro series. What else would I love from that part of the world?
posted by Ghostride The Whip on Jul 8, 2014 - 15 answers

Most interesting science fiction/fantasy monetary or currency systems?

There are lots of interesting SF&F economic systems that are without money -- post-scarcity AI-nano cornucopias, magic subsistence economies, etc. For those who imagine worlds that still have money, though, what are the most interesting speculative monetary/currency/financial systems? (Please feel free to mention the obvious-to-you, as I've got big gaps in my SF&F reading and watching.) Thanks! [more inside]
posted by deathmarch to epistemic closure on Jul 6, 2014 - 18 answers

Help me ID a Sci-Fi Story about computation and evolution

A few years ago I went into my school's SciFi library and I was given a book of short stories which I read several of sitting on the floor of the library. And then I put down the book and I don't remember what it was called. One short story was about a world in which computation speeds get faster and faster until someone, eventually makes computers capable of running models on the order of complexity of a world's worth of physics very very quickly. I think the computers may have been the shape of small cubes. [more inside]
posted by ch3cooh on Jun 25, 2014 - 2 answers

Science for English Majors

I saw -- maybe here, maybe on the blue -- a link to a webpage with discussions of all sorts of future-science problems. I can't find it again. Help? [more inside]
posted by AmandaA on Jun 24, 2014 - 2 answers

Engrossing Science Fiction Recommendations Please!

Help me fill my Kindle with vacation reading! I like well-written doorstop SF, urban fantasy, spaceship books, epic fantasy, deep complicated books but also joyful romps, complicated prophecies that manifest in unusual ways, great worldbuilding, etc. Romantic elements are fine but I'm not as into stuff where the plot is a thin scrim to hang over endless sexy sex. And as a lifelong SF reader, I have now officially read enough books without women in them, so only books that include solid female characters (as opposed to braid-tugging smurfettes). Things I have loved under the cut. [more inside]
posted by KathrynT on Jun 19, 2014 - 66 answers

Nonviolent sff: where is it?

Please recommend to me any science fiction/fantasy novels (maybe TV shows as well) that are well written, interesting, and essentially nonviolent. "Completely violence-free" isn't necessary. I'm particularly looking for novels aimed at adults that don't rely on combat scenes to advance the narrative, generate/resolve tension, or provide Crowning Moments of Awesome.* [more inside]
posted by wintersweet on Jun 17, 2014 - 41 answers

Where does 'verse originate?

Where does the elision of universe to 'verse originate? I know it from the television show Firefly (aired late 2002) and recently noticed it used casually in The Chronicles of Riddick (released mid-2004), but it seemed unlikely that the screenwriter would appropriate a bit of slang connected to someone else's failed project from barely a year earlier. It seems to me I have heard it again since, but I cannot recall where. I read very little sf these days; did both these I mention draw it from elsewhere?
posted by ricochet biscuit on Jun 16, 2014 - 12 answers

Grow food in a giant cave?

I'm working on a story where some people live in a cave and have to grow their own food inside. I would like some idea of what could realistically be grown in this situation (more details below). [more inside]
posted by ErikH2000 on Jun 3, 2014 - 20 answers

Best family friendly sci-fi or space exploration movies?

I want to show a smart, sci-fi film to a bunch of maker type kids - 12-18 years old. "Explorers" immediately comes to mind, but I'm hoping for something more perfect that will inspire these kids without pandering or boring them. Suggestions?
posted by Unsomnambulist on May 31, 2014 - 27 answers

Places to put out a call for submissions for SF anthology?

I'm involved with a brand new anthology project, and we're soliciting science fiction stories written for a middle grade audience. We're about ready to put the word out, and I'm making a list of places for the announcement. I have some of the biggies: Ralen's, Duotrope, PW - but where else should I make sure to submit?
posted by korej on May 28, 2014 - 3 answers

Help me find a short story? SciFi simulated universe, subjects escape

I read a short story a few years ago about scientists simulating a whole world in a computer and watching history unfold. The scientists appear in the world like gods to shape it. But then the virtual test subjects figure out a way to interact with the world outside the computer and then ultimately escape by teleporting the whole computer facility through a wormhole. What story is this? [more inside]
posted by Kolath on May 28, 2014 - 8 answers

Trying to identify a science fiction short story / novella from 1986-87?

I'm trying to identify a story from my adolescence. It started with an elderly woman realizing she wasn't able to shovel her walk. Her options were to use a snowblower given her by one concerned child/grandchild, or to use a bottle of pills given by another. The pills contained nanobots, and they made her feel so well that she was not only able to do the snow, but began changing her life and having adventures. She continued to age, but technology kept ahead of her, extending her life, until she was one of the oldest humans on earth, and then beyond. [more inside]
posted by happyturtle on May 6, 2014 - 4 answers

Today's science-fiction story: P. Anderson's classic "A Plate of Beans."

In Poul Anderson’s “The Last of the Deliverers,” (spoilers ahead) he describes a future America in which, for all practical purposes, cheap solar energy and a culture of decreased desires for material advancement (people are essentially satisfied with a comfortable, but low, standard of living) have led to a kind of utopia. The plot of the story is, more or less, that two representatives of remnants from an older culture – a small-government type in the Barry Goldwater mold as well as a member of the American Communist Party – meet in a village and argue about the virtues of their respective ideologies, but cannot appreciate that social evolution and the lack of scarcity produced by it has made their political differences (and their politics) largely pointless and obsolete. So how am I to understand the last half-paragraph of the story, which seems to undercut the entire story in a most paradoxical way: [more inside]
posted by Mr. Justice on Apr 21, 2014 - 4 answers

Spanish Horror/ Science Fiction Novels or Short Stories

I'm looking for some psychological horror, science fiction, or just plain interesting stories written in Spanish. I really enjoy Stephen King, and Junji Ito as horror writers go, and I love harder science fiction rather than softer. Philip K. Dick is one of my favorites as well. [more inside]
posted by Gargantuantoe on Apr 10, 2014 - 10 answers

Modern Life is Magic

Help me find books that convey a jolly feeling of appreciation for the wonders of modern life. Ideally these would be books that have a sci-fi or fantasy feel, but in which nothing overtly magical or fantastic happens. The best recent examples I can think of are Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, which has all the elements of a fantasy novel but is set squarely in our world, and William Gibson's most recent novels, all of which feel fantastic to me but are grounded in real life. [more inside]
posted by spacewaitress on Apr 10, 2014 - 18 answers

Help, I've got an Amazon credit burning a hole in my pocket!

My wife and kids are leaving town for five days. I have to stay home because of work. However, I will have some free time this weekend and in the evenings early next week. I also have a nice credit in my Amazon account. So, this seems like the perfect time to read a big science fiction or fantasy novel. I'm looking for a single long novel or maybe a trilogy. Something to fill the lonely hours. I'd like interesting characters, an exciting plot, and writing that's not too clunky (better writing is preferred, but I'm more interested in character and plotting than MFA literary styling). I want to read the sort of book (or series) that will keep me up late into the night. A page turner. I usually have to read things in small chunks in the evening and on the bus, but this is my chance to indulge in some obsessive reading.
posted by Area Man on Mar 28, 2014 - 31 answers

The American SF "Canon"

For an upcoming project I'm putting together what's meant to be a comprehensive timeline of important (even "necessary") works of American science fiction since the late 19th century. [more inside]
posted by gerryblog on Mar 23, 2014 - 68 answers

Books that fill the same niche as Project Rho/Atomic Rockets?

I really like reading Atomic Rockets at Project Rho. But I want to take it around with me in an easily digestible form. Can anybody recommend books that have the same sort of content and a similar feel? Not science fiction, but books about the science of science fiction. [more inside]
posted by penduluum on Mar 19, 2014 - 2 answers

Technology orgasm nightmare

My friend asks: "I once saw a sci-fi film where people had worked out how to record conscious experiences and then others could experience it directly themselves. There's one bit where a guy ends up driving himself into an insane catatonic state when he loops this recording of someone having sex at the point of orgasm and plays it for 12 hours straight." Q: what is that film?
posted by urbanwhaleshark on Mar 15, 2014 - 13 answers

More smart thrillers like Brilliance and Lexicon

I've recently finished Marcus Sakey's Brilliance and Max Barry's Lexicon and I'd like more thrillers like them. By "like them", I mean: fast paced, lots of twists and action, an intelligent, speculative, science-fictiony central idea, but the book is not marketed as genre science fiction, but rather as a thriller. Some literary aspiration is a plus, as is a good Bechdel test score (both of the above books kind of failed on that latter criterion). Already read: Atwood, Gibson, Stephenson. I read a lot of "literary mysteries" like Tana French and the like, but here I'm more interested in action/thrillers and not so much mysteries or procedurals.
posted by matildaben on Mar 6, 2014 - 10 answers

What was this science-fiction short story?

A friend read an SF short story in the 1970's, probably published in one of the common "Best of" anthologies of that decade. She's trying to find out the title, but Google and other sources turn up nothing so far. Can you help? [more inside]
posted by infodiva on Feb 19, 2014 - 3 answers

ISO good fiction about catching babies

Recommend me fiction or very readable memoirs about midwifery, obstetrics, and the politics of birth--any genre is fine, but SF/F and historical suggestions are especially welcome. [more inside]
posted by PhoBWanKenobi on Feb 10, 2014 - 24 answers

ID a dystopian future short story with massive unemplyment and a utopia.

I'm trying to ID a short story where the protagonist becomes unemployed in a world where once you lose your job you have no hope of getting another job and are therefor forced to accept marginal government assistance. Additional spoilerific details inside. [more inside]
posted by Mitheral on Feb 7, 2014 - 2 answers

Intro to Superhuman Studies, the Novel

I'm looking for examples of novels (or stories in other media) that fit a particular mold exemplified by Harry Potter. The basic premise is that the protagonist is living a (usually particularly unpleasant) mundane life when they are unexpectedly contacted by a representative from a secret supernatural (or otherwise fantastic) society and then.... invited to enroll in a school. [more inside]
posted by 256 on Jan 30, 2014 - 20 answers

Book recomnedation: worldbuilding and self-aware, active characters

I again have time to consume books like a cookie-monster. I've avoided lists of classics-by-genera because I tend to like only 5% of what's on them. It's not that I specifically like reading dystopias or sci-fi - I liked the Poisonwood Bible for instance, as much if not more than Lord of the Rings. In addition to book recommendations, it would also be useful if, given the books listed below, you have any ideas for other trends that could help me search out books myself. Your advice is much appreciated! :) [more inside]
posted by ch3cooh on Jan 25, 2014 - 24 answers

Help me find this old poetic noir SF book

Years ago I read this old science fiction book that was written in a poetic noir style, and I remember bits of the plot, but not any names to google. Could you help me find it? [more inside]
posted by Canageek on Jan 10, 2014 - 4 answers

False flag in science or speculative fiction?

Help me remember a story where Florida is nuked by the US government and it's blamed on terrorists to justify authoritarian measures. I thought it was a John Brunner novel.... [more inside]
posted by morganw on Jan 7, 2014 - 7 answers

Name that sci-fi short story (aliens discussing humans)

Do you remember reading a short science fiction story where aliens were regretting their decision to exterminate humanity? [more inside]
posted by ana scoot on Dec 31, 2013 - 3 answers

What does a "John Dos Passos-like list" look like?

I was reading a review of Kim Stanley Robinson's 2312 and a reviewer said the following: The author inserts John Dos Passos-like lists here and there in the text. Not quite sure that works, however (These lists are distorted and truncated in the Kindle edition). What do these lists look like? [more inside]
posted by hjo3 on Dec 29, 2013 - 3 answers

Lost scifi short story from my youth, the Golden Age of Scifi.

I am looking for a science fiction short story probably from the first half of the 20th Century. It involved a deep mine, strange events at the bottom, footprints in stone and a species that evolved to live underground, INSIDE the rock. [more inside]
posted by Seamus on Dec 23, 2013 - 4 answers

Looking for dystopian short fiction and literary theory

Please help me find as much short (8,000 words or less) dystopian fiction and literary theory (any length) as possible! Anthologies are fine. It can be on the internet or in book/magazine/any purchasable form. It can be famous; it can be obscure. Anything goes, really! [more inside]
posted by Quilford on Dec 21, 2013 - 15 answers

Who was the sci-fi writing mathematician who didn't cash his checks?

In James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, the author, Julie Phillips, mentions "a mathematician at the Institute for Advanced Study who was so closeted about his pen name that he didn't even cash the checks for his stories" (Google books preview) that Fred Pohl had worked with previously, but Phillips doesn't provide additional details. Who is (or was) this mysterious writer? [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 25, 2013 - 15 answers

Help me find a short story about mind control graffiti

This thread and this hypnotic diagram reminded me of a science fiction short story premised around the idea that breakthroughs in psychology and applied mathematics had made it possible to design two-dimensional black and white images that would produce extreme effects in anyone who looked at them. The result was a society in perpetual counter-terrorism lockdown. An image like "The Parrot" could cause immediate seizures and fatal strokes, and one terrorist sneaking a placard of it into the Superbowl could not only kill everyone in his immediate area but also viewers at home. Our main characters in the story are tweens who attend a school with translucent windows. They've gotten their hands on a low-powered nausea-inducing image and they've formed a secret club to take turns looking at it. Where can I find this story? [more inside]
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow on Oct 28, 2013 - 13 answers

Relativity and time dilation ... how's that work again?

I am writing a story with science fictional elements, and I am finding whatever practical knowledge of time dilation I ever had has dissolved into the mists of time. Help me out? [more inside]
posted by kyrademon on Oct 22, 2013 - 4 answers

Recent Entry-Level Science Fiction

In search of accessible contemporary SF—help! [more inside]
posted by xenization on Oct 22, 2013 - 24 answers

Help ID a scifi story about aliens and a quarantined Earth

Can you help my friend identify this scifi short story about aliens and a shield around the earth? [more inside]
posted by mediareport on Oct 2, 2013 - 3 answers

What are some great ongoing fantasy and science fiction book series?

A while back I stopped reading any book series that was not completely finished. I have now decided to ease up on the rule and I have realized that I am a little bit out of touch with the state of the field in fantasy/science fiction. So please recommend your favorite recent books and series in this area. [more inside]
posted by bove on Oct 2, 2013 - 40 answers

SF story about a man who shows up in a world of women wanting adventure

I'm trying to remember a science fiction story about a peaceful future in which there are only women and a time-traveling man shows up wanting adventure ("What, you don't have war? No soldiers?"), and I can't remember the title and can't google it up. Maybe by Joanna Russ? (End-of-story spoiler inside.) [more inside]
posted by languagehat on Sep 30, 2013 - 5 answers

What is the name of this classic Sci-Fi story?

I'm looking for the name of this classic SF story about a handful of astronauts stranded in space in radio contact but slowly drifting away from each other and running out of air. [more inside]
posted by kittensofthenight on Sep 29, 2013 - 10 answers

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