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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
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 -
What's this Sci-Fi short story? A scientist working on gender selection technology is contacted by future potential outcomes of his work (a male-dominated world and a woman-dominated world) that end up corresponding to the woman he marries.
posted by ropeladder
on Feb 17, 2012 -
Seeking a 1950s sf short story, probably by a notable author, that presaged a panopticon-esque surveillance society. My google-fu pride is injured that I can't find a trace of it. [more inside]
posted by dhartung
on Jan 26, 2012 -
What's the best venue to submit a politically tinged left-leaning science-fiction short story? [more inside]
posted by Slap*Happy
on Aug 24, 2011 -
I'm trying to find a SciFi short story I read as a kid - I read this story as a kid in the '70s or '80s. It was in a paperback collection of SF short stories I got from the school library, it could have been published anytime from the '50s to the late '70s. I have no idea of the title or the author, just my memory of the story. It involved someone who was walking backwards through time to get home. Some scientific accident had propelled him hundreds of years forward in time. On the wreckage of the lab, he appeared, briefly, once every year (or maybe every decade or century?). From an observer's point of view, someone flashed in and out of existence predictably on that spot. I think a holiday formed around the appearance. From the person's point of view, he was walking backwards through time, from the far future back towards the date of the accident. Each "flash" was a step in that walk.
Anyone know what this story is called or who wrote it?
posted by Cranialtorque
on Aug 4, 2011 -
What is the name of this science fiction short story that has stuck with me since I read it in the 80s? [more inside]
posted by sparkatito
on Mar 4, 2011 -
I'm trying to remember a science-fiction (?) short story that I read about 10-15 years ago. Basically, a bunch of prominent citizens of Earth (including Miss Universe) are summoned to Mars to be harangued by a sarcastic alien who tells them they're all doomed. [more inside]
posted by Johnny Assay
on Nov 28, 2010 -
It's a science fiction short story, from a collection. The main character finds a weird piece of technology in a store or something and works out that it's a video recording from the future. They watch it and it's a police advisory warning of 'Smoots' who can travel in time.
The narrator gets a little freaked but puts a notice in a newspaper seeking 'smoots.. no spoofs'. The tale ends on a Lovecraftian note with a figure in a long coat outside the door.
There's a character in the story called 'High Space Dick Hagger' which is what I remembered (because come on, it's awesome).
I vaguely think it might be Sheckley... but it's not quite witty enough. Help me metafilter!
posted by Sebmojo
on Oct 20, 2010 -
I need help finding this short story I read in 5th grade, around 1985. It was a sci-fi time travel story, possibly written for a middle grade/YA audience, and it was anthologized in a school textbook/reader. [more inside]
posted by suburbanbeatnik
on Jun 11, 2010 -
I'm looking for some Sci-fi to read, but I have some pretty specific requests: Short stories, bold endings. More inside. [more inside]
posted by GilloD
on May 7, 2010 -
Charlotte, NC, transplant writer (involuntarily amateur) looking for a writing circle/critique group/community of writers. [more inside]
posted by Scattercat
on Feb 28, 2010 -
Sci-fiShortStoryFilter: A generation ship on a long-term voyage slowly forgets the purpose of its mission and begins to interpret the mission control manual and previous captain's logs as religious works, and cease working toward their target.
Basically all other details I've forgotten, and I'm pretty sure it's not "Thirteen to Centaurus" by JG Ballard that I'm thinking of.
posted by palindromic
on Dec 14, 2009 -
I'm trying to find a short sci-fi story I read over 10 years ago that I barely remember. It may have involved some or all of the following: bicycle repair, ripe banana smelling bacteria used as deodorant and anti-libido medication. [more inside]
posted by jrishel
on Nov 19, 2009 -
In the early 1980s, Starlog magazine ran a column called Quest that featured readers' artistic submissions. To this day, I still recall a story called "Bomb Run," which dealt with an Enola Gay-style bombing of an alien planet. Did anyone else read this story, and if so, do you know where can I find it online or at least learn the author's name?
posted by nightengine
on Oct 14, 2009 -
"What science fiction short story is this?" filter. One story about body switching/different perceptions, and another about mindreading. [more inside]
posted by anthy
on Feb 25, 2009 -
I feel like I should know this one but Google has failed me.
I recall reading a Sci-Fi-like story about a group of children who were only allowed to play outside in the sun for one day a year. I can't remember if the lived underground or if it rained all of the time. I just remember that there was only one day they could enjoy being outside. Does anyone know the name or author of the story?
posted by extraheavymarcellus
on Dec 11, 2008 -
"ID this SF story" filter: I read this story in middle school out of a scifi anthology. It was about a human soldier who was launched into space in a capsule with an onboard computer, containing all the knowledge of the Earth, as well as enough supplies to last him indefinitely. [more inside]
posted by wayofthedodo
on Dec 1, 2008 -
Another "ID this SF story" question...a man wakes up in the night to discover (so he thinks) that all the metal in his house is gone. [more inside]
posted by attercoppe
on Nov 21, 2008 -
Short Story Filter. I remember a short story that I read in a sci-fi story anthology back in the mid 90's that I haven't been able to find since.
There are a group of three boys, one of them substantially younger, who play out in a big field. One of the older boys tells the younger boy, as a joke, that if you look through the hole in the middle of a stone, you can see into another world of some kind. Mysterious circumstances then occur. [more inside]
posted by lockle
on Oct 23, 2008 -
Short Story Askme: I read a short dystopian story many years ago set in a run-down, post apocalyptic future. A queue of people line up on a street to spit at a painting. The painting represents all the problems of the past. It is implied that the painting is The Mona Lisa. What is the story?
posted by bollockovnikov
on Sep 25, 2008 -
Help me be awesome and find this sci fi short story for my room mate. I have only my account of his account of the plot to go by. [more inside]
posted by pedmands
on Feb 23, 2008 -
ScienceFictionfilter: Suggestions for gift subscriptions of science fiction magazines, journals printed in English and dead tree format [more inside]
posted by jadepearl
on Jun 18, 2007 -
StoryIdentificationFilter: A few years ago, I read a scifi short story in an anthology. It had zombie-ish elements, and a scientist-type who was afflicted who was able to work and study the zombie phenomenon by burning out the nerves on spots on his hand that impelled him to touch non-zombies. They kept growing back, so he continually had to burn them out. [more inside]
posted by adamwolf
on May 10, 2007 -
Trying to remember a sci-fi short story - I used to read Nebula Award collections when I was a kid and this one was in one years collection, but I am pretty sure it did not win. I've been trying to figure out what it was for years now. I'll tell you what I remember from it inside here... [more inside]
posted by darkpony
on May 2, 2007 -
Yet another Sci-Fi ID request: I once read a tongue-in-cheek short story involving a fidgety time travel portal, dinosaurs, and culinary adventures. [more inside]
posted by Johnny Assay
on Apr 15, 2007 -
Short story filter: Help me identify a science fiction short story I read this year about a "Flowers for Algernon" type situation, where instead of the Algernon-ish character reverting back to his former state, his intelligence becomes unlimited and he goes on to (sort of) control the world. [more inside]
posted by np312
on Mar 21, 2007 -
Name that sci-fi short story: In the prologue, a colonist ship has crashed on a water planet. The colonists can't survive there themselves, so they genetically engineer humans to be about the size of microbes and live in the water instead. Most of the story deals with the resulting aquatic society, their interactions with other species of microbes, and their search for their now-forgotten origins. And no, it was not "The Incredible Journey". Any ideas on what it might be?
posted by Johnny Assay
on Jan 21, 2007 -