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Fun stories that are also good business lessons

I'm looking for similar stories like Mark Twain's quote "If you eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day." More inside. [more inside]
posted by Georgia Is All Out Of Smokes on Feb 25, 2015 - 9 answers

Short story identification post number one million or so

I'm trying to hunt down two grim short stories. Gory details (and spoilers) below the fold! [more inside]
posted by hilatron on Feb 15, 2015 - 8 answers

Can you help my husband find this sci fi story?

He's remembering a story about a couple who lives their whole relationship in a virtual world. His memories inside. [more inside]
posted by lauranesson on Jan 14, 2015 - 6 answers

Short Story No Woman Can Get Pregnant Without 9-Months of Illness

Years ago, I read a short story about two biologists (geneticists?) who are friends. After a global plague that makes all women infertile, one of the geneticists devices a treatment in which women can again reproduce, but they spend their entire nine months of pregnancy with blue, flaking, itchy skin and extreme sickness. The second geneticist realizes that the first has actually devised both the plague and the cure. He asks his friend why he did it. "Because I never wanted another child to be born unwanted," the first geneticist replies. I probably remember some of this imperfectly, but that was the gist of it. Does anyone happen to know the author/title? Thanks in advance!
posted by Chasuk on Dec 31, 2014 - 2 answers

Short story about a one-armed girl and a bully

My brother has been looking for this short story for a while -- help me to make his Christmas! Details: A bully is tormenting everyone in school. The main character is a one-armed girl, who is generally disliked. A boy that she likes decides to stand up for everyone one day, and fights the bully. The bully beats him up, but the boy keeps getting up no matter how many times he gets hit. The crowd starts to root for the boy, and the bully starts to feel shaken. The girl, worried about the boy, goes to tell the teacher what's happening, and the teacher breaks it up. The bully is restored to power and the boy calls the girl a mean name. [more inside]
posted by cider on Dec 26, 2014 - 1 answer

ID scifi story about telepresence touch?

I'm looking to ID a scifi short story that was posted online, probably within the last 5 years, about a couple getting a black-market telepresence system implanted in their skin. When one of them touched their own skin, the other one would feel it. [more inside]
posted by savagerose on Dec 13, 2014 - 6 answers

Searching for the "repeat a story from different perspective" meme

There's a particular meme that I remember seeing a while back, probably on Reddit, and I'm wondering if (a) it has a name and (b) if anyone has curated examples of it. [more inside]
posted by primer_dimer on Nov 27, 2014 - 13 answers

Another "Help me find this story"

The core of the story is that a (possibly Indian) guy falls asleep (or is knocked out {during a robbery?}) (possibly near a river) and lives the whole lifetime of a separate existence in a dream. He wakes up (or comes to) at the end (and tries to integrate the experience). [more inside]
posted by achrise on Oct 21, 2014 - 15 answers

Help me identify a fable.

I heard this in an ethics class several years ago. I believe the original fable is Indian in origin, but I'm not sure. Here is the overview according to my memory: [more inside]
posted by boo_radley on Oct 7, 2014 - 3 answers

Seeking sci-fi baseball story from my youth

I'm hoping the hive mind can help me identify a sci-fi baseball short-story I read a few decades ago, probably in the 1970's. [more inside]
posted by alms on Oct 7, 2014 - 5 answers

Seeking identity of apparently-obscure SF story pre-1970

Greetings - A friend of mine in his 50s recalls reading a SF short story about a priest and a scientist in a ship headed to a remote island. The priest arrives at the island, the scientist does not, but later returns to discover that the priest has taken charge of the islanders, who worship him for the scientist's microscope he brought with him. Some sort of cargo cult moralizing ensues. This was my friend's favorite story as a kid, and he desperately wants to read it again. I confess that my own Google foo has failed, though I did turn up a couple books by one Everett Bleiler that catalog various SF stories, likely before the era in which this one was written. Anyone with enough encyclopedic SF knowledge, or searching skills, who can shed light? I will convey any answer with props to the green. ...JZ
posted by zittrain on Oct 7, 2014 - 2 answers

Help me identify this book!

I'm looking for a children's book I read in the mid-90s about a young girl who falls through a lake into another place. Sound familiar to anyone? I've got a few more details to share. [more inside]
posted by Mouse Army on Aug 31, 2014 - 3 answers

Looking for read stories about being forced to go in one direction.

Is there a story in the Bible or elsewhere in literature or myth about a person who wants to do many things, but is thwarted, by all sorts of forces, and ends up doing only one? [more inside]
posted by Clotilde on Aug 16, 2014 - 12 answers

West Side Story is the only Broadway musical I enjoy. Why is that?

The only Broadway musical I can actually, whole-heartedly enjoy is West Side Story. Am I the only one of my breed on this? Why might this be? [more inside]
posted by JimInLoganSquare on Jul 19, 2014 - 39 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

Choose Your Own Adventure? Halp

I have to write a piece of a Choose Your Own Adventure story for a baby shower - the idea is to put them all together so the baby will eventually read this story we've created for them - and I want to look at some examples for inspiration since it's been a long time since I read those stories. Can you point to something online? [more inside]
posted by sweetkid on Jun 13, 2014 - 5 answers

I have an encyclopedia, not a story: what to do?

Authors Of AskMe, has this happened to you? During my self-imposed creative hiatus over the last year or so I conducted a lot of research into what would be my dream project. A project I could be passionate about, the kind of book I'd really want to exist. So I made a list of every thing, character, concept, idea, sudden kind of twist I'd like. I have three notebooks of this stuff. I cross-indexed it and included all my references. I have an astounding about of detail on what I want to put in and touch on but no actual story. I keep staring at it, like it's a list of SCP entries, and I can't think of a damn thing for anyone to do with these collected items, places, motifs, themes, and people. It's frustrating cause I can come up with quick pulp narratives on the fly for stuff I'm not working as hard on but every attempt to break and outline a rising action for these people results in rapid breathing and complete brain fume-lock. I keep asking "What does the main character want?" and coming up with nothing. Is this common? Is there a resource for this? Can I pay someone to go through these ideas and find something that other people might want to read? [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Apr 23, 2014 - 39 answers

It was an alien the whole time!

A short story with a surprise ending where the protagonist is an alien, and the spacecraft that crashed in the woods contains a human. This has been done before, right? [more inside]
posted by ronofthedead on Apr 13, 2014 - 13 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

Children's story about the entire world being quiet

Help me find the name of this story I remember about a moment when everyone stops making noise at once. [more inside]
posted by grog on Mar 2, 2014 - 4 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

Help me remember a radio story I heard on NPR

There was a story/performance I heard on some (probably NPR) radio show within the last 10 years. It was a man and a woman meeting at a party, and instead of saying things to each other they described what they would say to each other, kind of a meta-conversation. [more inside]
posted by benito.strauss on Feb 6, 2014 - 7 answers

meta stories are meta

I really love works of fiction that use the style, setup, or form of another media product as a means of storytelling and sometimes subversion. For example: TEDxSummerisle (complete with tweets and botched livestream) and The Theory of Narrative Causality, written primarily in the form of Livejournal posts by the Sherlock Homes fandom (inc comments and bits of fanfic) as well as GChats, TVTropes, and related media. What other similar works are out there? [more inside]
posted by divabat on Jan 4, 2014 - 22 answers

Another finding a photo help button

I found this photo on a blog a few months ago. I have been looking for a larger higher quality version and or the name of the photographer to find out if I can purchase a print. This is what I know. It is from West Side Story It appears a number of times on the internet, all small pixel sizes The photographer is NOT Ernest Hass or Phil Stern (the two photographers who were present taking photos at some stage on the production of Westside Story) Thanks, this one baffles me. When I have time I will go to the Motion Picture Academy Library (I live in Los Angeles) and see if I can find out anything more, but until then I thought I would let Mefi rip on it!)
posted by silsurf on Dec 11, 2013 - 3 answers

What is this story about religious differences?

Iā€™m trying to find a short story I read a long time ago, but google is coming up short. The story is about two strangers who meet on the road and begin talking. Through a series of questions and answers, they discover that they are both Christians, both Protestants, both from the same denomination, both from the same branch of that particular denomination, etc etc. It keeps going on this way, with the strangers discovering that they belong to the same increasingly obscure religious sect. With each new discovery, they become more friendly and excited. At the end of the story, they realize there is one small difference between them (something like one belongs to the parish across the street from the other), at which point the strangers hate each other and nearly come to blows. What is this story, and where does it come from?
posted by helloimjohnnycash on Dec 1, 2013 - 10 answers

Help me remember the name of a Philip K. Dick story about molluscs

It's a relatively short one, and it concerns some type of land molluscs ā€“ snails or some other type of small creature that is typically regarded as "gross". I remember something about the shells being important. There's a twist in the end, possibly involving the nature of the molluscs. I can't remember much else ā€“ hence the AskMe!
posted by deathpanels on Nov 27, 2013 - 2 answers

Gay story from the 70s - 80s about a body part changing color.

Does anyone remember a story from the 70s or 80s about one day when every gay person woke up and their noses (ears?) had turned purple (blue, green?)? It was basically an illustration of Harvey Milk's call for all gay people to come out because if everyone was out, straight people would realize we were everywhere. It may have been a short story, a children's book, or a short film. I was a manuscript reviewer for Alyson Books in the mid-80s, so it might have been something I read then. [more inside]
posted by hworth on Nov 18, 2013 - 6 answers

Name of short story?

When I was 12 or 13 my English teacher assigned a short story that is quite profound. From what I remember, it was scifi. In this society there was a new company that sold delicious milkshakes. They became incredibly popular, and their stores were everywhere. Unfortunately the people in the story got obese. So another company created a product that would help you lose weight. That became popular too. The people bought lots of milkshakes, and the people paid to lose weight. Round and round... Does anyone know the title of this short story?
posted by daniel.poynter on Nov 11, 2013 - 8 answers

Once upon a time there was a... uh...

Help papa become a better bedtime storyteller. [more inside]
posted by brappi on Nov 2, 2013 - 37 answers

Recommend fiction featuring the decline of a global superpower, please!

What novels or short stories grapple with the decline of a superpower? I'm thinking waning-British-Empire stuff, primariy, but the decline of other global powerhouses is fine too. Must be fiction. Decline-of-Empire can either be primary to the plot or a backdrop against which other key aspects of the story unfold.
posted by croutonsupafreak on Oct 16, 2013 - 16 answers

Fugazi - mouse shoes - Andy's room

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 - 1 answer

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

How many endings to stories are there?

Various writers and critics through the years have claimed that there are only X plots (with X being pretty variable) and at the end of the day, all stories boil down to one of those plots. But today I'm asking specifically about endings. How many different endings can there be, and what are the main ones? [more inside]
posted by Naberius on Sep 25, 2013 - 11 answers

StorySourceFilter: Guy dies; god is disappointed he didn't travel more

I have a half remembered parable that I'm trying to source. The gist is that a guy dies, and when he gets to heaven, God is disappointed he didn't take time to see all the natural beauties of the world. [more inside]
posted by IvyMike on Sep 23, 2013 - 4 answers

I'm trying to find a story about a pope and a bloody slipper

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 - 4 answers

Website where each click adds to the story

I remember a site where you load it up and it says something simple, like "I like tea". And then you click tea and it expands so it says "I like really good tea." And then you can click other words, over and over, until there's finally a whole paragraph. Love the site. Can't remember where it is. Can anyone remember?
posted by jragon on Aug 17, 2013 - 4 answers

What short story collection was the story story "Pagent Wagon" in?

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 - 5 answers

Sci-Fi stories involving the Maitreya Buddha

Are there any sci-fi stories that involve the future appearance of the Maitreya Buddha? Looking for stories where the character is primarily identified as the Maitreya, rather than general "Second Coming" stories where the character could conceivably belong to a number of different soteriological interpretations.
posted by Greg Nog on Jul 26, 2013 - 3 answers

best kindle book ever

Kindle book recommendations: I'd like to get my sister a kindle book for her birthday (she has the kindle. I'd like to send her a kindle edition of a book). I'd love recommendations! [more inside]
posted by mirileh on Jul 19, 2013 - 18 answers

Once upon a time there was a cat...

Help me find the link to a short fantasy story that was posted here about a japanese cat who goes on a great adventure. [more inside]
posted by TorontoSandy on Jul 18, 2013 - 5 answers

How to write a story, pulp style

Specific story-writing method published by a '20s/'30s crime writer? [more inside]
posted by meadowlark lime on Jul 18, 2013 - 3 answers

I can't remember this sci-fi short story: Mass graves hidden by society

This is one I likely encountered in the 80's so my memory is foggy here. Most likely in some anthology or maybe even a magazine like Omni. I think it was by a major writer. Salient memories inside: [more inside]
posted by sourwookie on Jul 10, 2013 - 5 answers

Story structure in different cultures

Are there recognisable patterns, trends or structures in the way that different cultures tell stories? If so, where can I learn about this? [more inside]
posted by metaBugs on Jul 9, 2013 - 16 answers

trying to remember the name of a childrens book about a bowl

The bowl was Spanish, and didn't want to be warrior... it just wanted to smell flowers... anyone remember or know what book this is?
posted by butterball on Jun 24, 2013 - 8 answers

Trying to find a short story about an alien and bacterial mind control.

I recall reading a short story featuring a eco friendly alien or superhero driving a car or spaceship covered in plants and fueled by water. [more inside]
posted by j03 on Jun 7, 2013 - 1 answer

Great short stories to read aloud for ESL teens

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 - 16 answers

Story or Dream?

Asking for a friend, who wants to know if the tale she remembers is from a story she read, or a dream she had. Details follow. [more inside]
posted by ronofthedead on Jun 1, 2013 - 7 answers

Finding good resources for explaining movie dramatic structures

Recently I was reading a book by Joseph Campbell called "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" which goes into how the "mono-myth" pattern serves as the underlying structure for most Western movies (think Star Wars, The Matrix, ...). I would love to learn more about alternative story arcs and dramatic structures (like the famous three-act structure), with examples from famous films. Any comprehensive resources, blogs, articles, anything?
posted by omar.a on May 29, 2013 - 15 answers

How can we best archive my great uncle's WWII story?

My mother got a long letter describing his experiences as a pilot in World War II. He's interested in contributing that story to a public archive of some sort. Is there anything we could contribute it to? [more inside]
posted by mccarty.tim on May 27, 2013 - 8 answers

Can you help me find a scifi short story?

I remember reading a scifi short story about people finding a dead/frozen angel floating in space, where there was just enough brain activity in the being that it was able to play a board game. It sounded like something that Ted Chiang might have written, but I didn't see it in the post about him that was here a while ago. Does this ring a bell for anyone?
posted by ymgve on Apr 18, 2013 - 3 answers

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