Somewhere between 20 and 30 years ago in Australia, I read an anthology of horror stories. I'm pretty sure it was a specifically YA anthology (it wasn't very gruesome) and I think that the stories and authors were Australian. One of the stories was very elliptical, riffing on a sign that said something like "Pingles Parking", and ending with some unspecified but dreadful apocalypse at night, possibly involving parked cars and machinery actually being monsters (this being the hideous true meaning of "Pingles", or whatever the sign said). I think there was an illustration of a steam shovel silhouetted against the night sky. One of the final scenes featured the child protagonist's grandfather dying in bed, his skin "like paper" or "papery" or something. There may have been a lot of irony or misdirection that I completely failed to understand (like maybe it was all just about the horror of your grandfather dying, and there weren't any real monsters involved). MetaFilter, what was this story?
posted by No-sword
on Mar 10, 2014 -
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 -
What is the name of the short story the episode in a Bolano novel, probably "The Savage Detectives," in which a father rescues his son from a cave is based on? [more inside]
posted by slowlikemolasses
on Feb 12, 2014 -
Simple summary: A brother and sister rode along to the store in the back of a truck to purchase a coffin. On the return trip home, the coffin falls on the sister and kills her, and they have to go back to the store to buy a coffin for her.
Google has had some mighty strange or irrelevant suggestions to my query, but nothing that seems right. It's probable that I'd recognize the cover or the name of the book. [more inside]
posted by stormyteal
on Feb 7, 2014 -
What are some good short stories that involve a son trying to live up to his father's expectations, but which don't turn out well?
posted by storybored
on Feb 3, 2014 -
There's a short story in which a woman tells her new lover that she has had a mastectomy and he abandons her. Or at least I think there is. [more inside]
posted by janey47
on Jan 27, 2014 -
During a recent episode of "Fresh Air," Emma Thompson referenced an Edith Wharton short story "about a young woman who comes back after her honeymoon to confront her mother, who has not given her any information about sexual behavior." Does anyone know the name of that story? My google-fu has failed me.
posted by pasici
on Jan 25, 2014 -
I once read a short story about a kid in New York. I was exposed to it in one of my college courses on the short story form, so it wasn't something I randomly stumbled upon. It was the sort of story that would probably be taught to neophytes studying the form. I can't recall if it was in our Norton anthology (don't think so; I've checked through anthologies from that era) or a copy packet. The bare facts: Brooklyn kid, I think; lived in a Brownstone; at the age when it was time to make a decision about college or work; listened to a Giants (baseball) game on the radio; lazed about in his room thinking; went for a walk (maybe at night?) because he had a big decision to make; feels to me now like the sort of thing that would have been written in the 40s or 50s.
I've been wanting to reread this story for 15 years. Finally got around to writing this out and seeking the assistance of Ask Metafilter. Can anyone help?
posted by samizdat
on Jan 14, 2014 -
I am trying to find out if an Italian short story now in the public domain has ever been published in English. [more inside]
posted by millions
on Dec 16, 2013 -
I heard a story (fiction) on the radio a few years ago and I'd like to find out what it was called and who wrote it. It was most likely presented on the show "Selected Shorts" but I'm not certain about that. The story took place in a town where everything seemed normal except that a black shape appeared one day in the sky overhead. Slowly over time the black shape fills the sky until the horizon is covered. A married couple are at the center of the story - there's more about their relationship than this thing in the sky. I think the sky-thing is a metaphor for something unspoken that dominates our fears. The characters barely react to it's presence (I think.) Anyone out there know this story?
posted by cellura p
on Nov 18, 2013 -
I recently found a short story written by my deceased grandfather that has no date or any hints as to when he might have written it. Am I out of luck on dating it, and should I just publish it as is with no special fanfare? [more inside]
posted by christopherious
on Nov 4, 2013 -
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 -
Help me find an ultra-short short story assigned in a fiction writing workshop circa 1987. One-page story, 3 sections, takes place in an apartment building or possibly hotel. The sections are, I believe, not in chronological order, are described from different perspectives, and one of the sections describes the view of a piano falling outside the building from an upper floor. The title may be something like "Room XXX".
posted by drlith
on Oct 21, 2013 -
I'm pretty sure I came across this through the blue in the last few years: a story by an American author about a boy who becomes fascinated by a window he can see on the outside of his house (round? high?) that doesn't correspond with a window on the inside, and he cajoles his sister into touching it, and when she does she and the window don't vanish, they cease to have ever existed. What is it? [more inside]
posted by Hogshead
on Oct 21, 2013 -
In my late middle school/early high school years (2002-5?) I read a short story in a teen magazine that blew my mind. I think it was called "In Andy's Room," and the narrator and her crush, Andy, talked about the band Fugazi. She fretted about her flats that were pointy, like mice, and at the end of the story she sat in a tree outside Andy's room, thinking about him. Help me find this story! [more inside]
posted by wintersonata9
on Sep 30, 2013 -
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 -
Can you identify this vaguely remembered long lost scifi short story? I read this story in London when I was a kid... but it may not be British, just English language: the basic plot goes something like this - the human narrator is telling an anecdote about the pitfalls of universal translator technologies. He relates the story of a lone human scientist (perhaps a biologist or an anthropologist) studying life on an alien planet. More plot details [and SPOILERS] in the extended explanation !!!!
posted by Bwithh
on Sep 23, 2013 -
I recently half-remembered a story I read way back in elementary school (late 80s-early 90s). I am not sure if it was a standalone short story or part of a novel, but what happens is the narrator has a big plastic bloody novelty thumb that he slips on and uses to prank the person he's with at the movies. [more inside]
posted by Fuego
on Sep 16, 2013 -
What novels and short stories do a good job of depicting television? Mostly I'm interested in characters watching TV, but I'll also accept answers like 1984
—where (a slightly different version of) TV plays a major role in the plot.
posted by Hoenikker
on Sep 8, 2013 -
So I remember reading this short story once. It was about the pope and he had some kind of an infected toe. And it made him ornery and unforgiving. And then at some point the toe bursts, he feels better, it bloodies his slipper (which he doesn't change) and then he just starts forgiving everyone and everything.
Does this ring any bells for anyone?
posted by rileyray3000
on Aug 30, 2013 -
It starts with the main character's death where he meets God. God presents him with some kind of question or riddle to solve. The guy eventually gets the right answer. In the end it turns out that God deceived the man into getting the correct answer so he could be free of his immortality.
posted by laptolain
on Aug 24, 2013 -
Wikipedia claims that "Pageant Wagon" by Orson Scott Card has only ever been in the short story collection The Folk of the Fringe (1989). This is wrong, as I've read it, and I've never read an OSR short story collection. I can even remember exactly when and where I read it, but not the name of the short story collection. So, what other short story collection has it been in? Possibly under another name? [more inside]
posted by Canageek
on Aug 15, 2013 -
Help me identify a science-fiction short story I read years ago. It's about the inventor of a remote-viewing device that also lets you view the past. [more inside]
posted by RobotHero
on Jul 31, 2013 -
Is it possible to find an expert in creative writing in the Boston area or online to help me improve my short story? Several knowledgeable readers pointed out specific flaws in it that I have no idea how to fix. [more inside]
posted by gregb1007
on Jul 13, 2013 -
I vaguely remember reading a SciFi short story about racing cars backwards around a track that was a metaphor for transistors. Does such a story actually exist, or is it all in my head?
posted by Proofs and Refutations
on Jul 9, 2013 -
It´s a story about a man who gets a message in his dreams coming from a civilization that´s living in a pore in the skin of his hand. He is told that every time he scratches his hand this will cause a catastrophe in their little universe, which has already happened several times before. Finally he agrees not to scratch his hand for a while.
posted by Faustulus
on Jun 20, 2013 -
I'm looking for a few short stories to read aloud to ESL students between 13 and 16 years old, each divisible into a few 15- to 20-minute chunks, and each engaging. [more inside]
posted by mdonley
on Jun 5, 2013 -
I heard this short story on audio on a family car trip ~15 years ago, give or take a few years. I'm pretty sure it was a horror story. I don't know if it was targeted towards kids, but I was elementary aged when I heard it. Two kids, a carnival, and a evil being in the clouds. [more inside]
posted by tan_coul
on May 7, 2013 -
I remember reading a short story about a futuristic treatment which causes long-life (1000 years?). In the story, a young couple gets the treatment, and we follow their lives up through old age. The only particular I remember has the couple bored with nothing else to learn or experience, and they sit, playing million piece all-white jigsaw puzzles to pass the time. [more inside]
posted by klausman
on May 7, 2013 -
I'm in search of two half-remembered short stories, both probably from European authors in the early-to-mid-twentieth century. One involves a parade and a recurring motif of linden trees. The other was a tale of a young aristocratic man who is seduced by a con woman while on holiday. [more inside]
posted by jeudi
on Apr 20, 2013 -
Does anyone know of any very short stories (1,500 words or fewer), preferably in the science fiction or fantasy genre, that are told through the eyes of an unreliable narrator? [more inside]
posted by DeusExMegana
on Apr 2, 2013 -
I've been looking for this particular short sci-fi story for several years and I am finally giving up on going solo. Help me find it, hive mind. [more inside]
posted by mr_crash_davis
on Mar 20, 2013 -
If anyone recognises this story, please can you tell me the author? I think the story is about five years old. An ordinary man with low self-esteem is dumped by his beautiful intelligent accomplished girlfriend. She gives him a dog as a pity present, with a snide subtext that the dog is better than he is. Gradually through caring for the dog, a magnificent Alsation, and taking pride in it, the man recovers his self-esteem and becomes sought-after. It's a story that feels as if it has a lot of undercurrents and as if it's not as simple as it looks: in some way the dog stands in for the guy, or represents the guy or becomes a totem for him. Or something.
posted by glasseyes
on Mar 3, 2013 -
Please help me identify a short story I read in high school. It's about a man who claims that he can make people disappear to the extent that no-one will remember that they ever existed. He is asked to prove the claim... *possible spoilers inside* [more inside]
posted by pianissimo
on Mar 2, 2013 -
Help me fill in this vague recollection of a story I read? I read it probably as recently as last year. I don't remember if it's a short story or an incident in a novel. [more inside]
posted by Infinity_8
on Jan 17, 2013 -
Someone recently emailed me trying to track down a short story he remembered reading as a kid (in Johannesburg, 1970). He thought it might be by Roald Dahl. I told him that I'm 99.9% sure it's not by Dahl, just on the basis that I've read everything he ever published. The story sounds interesting though (something about a doll's house and playing God), and I'd like to try to help him track it down if I can. Does it ring a bell for anybody? Plot description follows. [more inside]
posted by web-goddess
on Jan 13, 2013 -
I'm looking for books, stories, films, documentaries, articles about the birth of dystopic societies. Examples could be a prequel to the Hunger Games (how did this fictional world come to be?), an article about people's lives in a nation where democracy was overthrown, stories about how Jews and non-Jews reacted to the early days of Hitler's rise, explorations of the slow realization that an ostensibly democratic nation is now really run by a strongman or single powerful party. [more inside]
posted by croutonsupafreak
on Jan 9, 2013 -
I am looking for the title of a nineteenth centry short story that goes: a man and a woman (acquainted but unconnected) inadvertently get lost or delayed together on an excursion and have to stay out overnight (sleeping separately). When they return, everyone is scandalised and propriety forces them to marry, which both resent, and blame each other for. But they fall passionately in love as soon as they are married. I thought this was by Guy de Maupassant, but I have searched all his stories and cannot find it.
posted by Bradfordian
on Dec 22, 2012 -
Chinese short story set in Gansu or western China, involving a farmer venturing into the sand dune desert? [more inside]
posted by pravit
on Dec 2, 2012 -
Can you help me identify a 25+ year-old short story that describes someone unable to cross a city street? [more inside]
posted by argonauta
on Nov 13, 2012 -
Half remembered short story: Girl and Guy meet at rail station waiting room. Feel a relationship spark. They walk into nearest Town and dance at a bar.
Halfway through the story the couple realise that they (and everyone else in the railway waiting room) are ghosts. *Might* have been a originally posted to the metafilter? [more inside]
posted by Faintdreams
on Nov 7, 2012 -
What's the story where the guy talks to a bunch of dead people and then finds out he's dead? [more inside]
posted by nzero
on Sep 15, 2012 -
I'm trying to recall a Star Trek short story published 25-30 years ago. I have no author or title. It was in an anthology. [more inside]
posted by Mblue
on Aug 20, 2012 -
Looking for a short story I read 2 or 3 years ago about a robot who worked in a church, and started reading scripture, and was eventually killed by the townspeople because of it. [more inside]
posted by Gargantuantoe
on Apr 10, 2012 -