50 Short Science Fiction Tales
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But it discusses, in an interesting way, something about the physics and chemistry of time, which makes it worth reading. One of the classics, and for good reason. The conceit is terrific - taking place on a world orbiting six suns, it turns out that once every 2, years, none of the suns appear in the sky at all. And so people see darkness and the stars for the first time in their lives. The result? They go mad, of course. But it's the getting there that's fascinating. And the religious antagonists themselves are fascinating - not the single-minded ignoramuses you so often encounter in this type of story.
It would be a cardinal sin to not include one of Asimov's robot stories in this list, but I didn't have to think hard about which one to include. The problem with proving this, of course, is Asimov's great Susan Calvin points out, it's hard to tell the difference between a robot who follows the Three Laws and an exceptionally ethical human being How can we conquer death?
I get a kick out of the ending every single time. Personally, I think that this is Asimov's best piece of writing, period. Not only does it feature some great characterization, the conceit is sheer genius. Even though Beagle's tales of adults are brilliant, his short fiction about childhood is some of his most provocative, and this story is a miracle. Let's just get this out of the way right off the bat: The whole story collection Dangerous Visions remains required reading even after nearly 50 years. Not every story in Dangerous Visions has aged well, but they're pretty much all fascinating and audacious.
The most provocative of these stories, even after all this time, remains Delany's Nebula-winning tale of Spacers, who have been neutered in order to survive in deep space, and the Frelks who fetishize them sexually. Delany's world feels lived-in and vast, even as he tells a story of sex work, subcultures and terrible, terrible loneliness. Wasn't sure which Bradbury short story to include here — because they're pretty much all gems. But this one, in which basically a smart house keeps going after its human inhabitants are all dead, is in a special league in the knife-twisting sweepstakes.
Like a lot of stories in the years following World War II, it's concerned with the threat of nuclear annihilation, but also with how our technology might outlive us. The whole thing is one big gut-punch. This is a pretty simple story, but it contains enough ideas and emotional heft to stick with you for a long time after reading. Sly is a monkey who's been uplifted thanks to a cybernetic implant that gives him human-level intelligence — but that doesn't mean he's not still a monkey.
By the end of the story, you absolutely feel for Sly, who is one of those tragic characters who can't escape his circumstances, but he's smart enough to understand his situation. You can read the story, and hear it read by Kowal, here. Basically, this is a story about a mother and her mutant baby — at a few months old, her baby can talk in complete paragraphs and sing beautifully. And at first, you think it's kind of sweet that this baby is so precocious, considering all the other kinds of mutations she could have had.
The note of danger and tension in the story comes from the mother's correspondence with her husband Hank, who's away at the front in World War III.
Her letters to Hank are flowery and jubilant, but Hank's terse telegraphs make you wonder about just what will happen when Hank comes home and meets his special little girl. This one story has a lot of Saunders' most frequent concerns, but with even more creepiness and dystopian satire than usual. The main character is a test subject in a special facility, where they completely control his mind and emotions using bizarre drugs — and this leads to a lot of weirdly unsettling sex scenes.
But that's just the beginning. Fiction is full of dystopias where corporations or science gone mad are controlling people, but this story still stands out for how powerfully it examines questions of what makes us who we are. But mostly, just creepy as hell. Like a lot of the stories on this list, I chose this one because it keeps bugging me. Le Guin's best fiction often looks at the meetings between cultures, and the efforts of an outsider to understand a strange culture, and this story is no exception.
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The main character is in a unique position to discover how the people on another planet interact, because she's a little girl and will be accepted by them in a way that her mother won't. But this leads, over time, to a rift between the girl and her mother, who wind up having been raised in different cultures. There are so many brilliant ideas and powerful emotions in this one short story — it's reminiscent of Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness , but more personal.
Along with E. The trouble is I mainly read science fiction novels and not short stories. My favourite Heinlein novel and the first I ever read was "Glory Road" and I must have read it four times now. I found "Stranger in a Strange Land" heavy going from about half way through. I do like H G Wells eg. Time Machine and Edgar Rice Burroughs, but my favourite SF short story writer is Robert Silverberg though I can't tell you the names of any of his short stories off hand.
One of his novels was Lord Valentine's Castle. I'm so happy it led you to some fun reading. Here's to the forgotten and the underdogs of SF! And if you come across anything else you think should be on this list in your reading travels, do post! Thanks for a great list! While I'm sure many would opt to select different stories, this list is a great jump off point for someone like me who has always cradled an affinity for science fiction but hasn't dabbled in the classics that set the stage for today's storytelling.
Both incredible stories. Dune initially lured me into the realm of sci-fi, which I re-read every two years or so because of its richness, but branching off into the classics seems all the more intriguing after today. Thanks again!
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Hmm, it's been quiet here for a while, so I thought I'd update with some of my latest reads. I sure wanted to like 'em. Both failed to be sufficiently "ooh, wow, YEAH! Anyone else's thoughts? Thank you so much for buying my book, Steel Engineer, and even being the first to review it! Since I've had this book up for quite some time and it's made very few sales, I'd say you're right, my pricing is unrealistic. But you're correct, this is a different economy. I just went and changed the price to be more competitive. Sorry you just missed the good price As for my name I'm a big one for pen names and have to admit I have quite a few.
Indeed, sometimes I think I decided to be a writer because it was the only legit way to have lots of cool pseudonyms! That was before the Internet, of course! I do have relatives from way-back in the Ukraine, I believe. And, this is a very good read. You write science fiction the way it ought to be written.
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Good sci-fi always has some wit, some theory, and some of the unexpected. You have all. The author name is Karen Kolodenko, not Chris Teldon Female writer using male name to bypass gender bias of sci-fi readers. Either way, very good short story. One business note: I think you will get more sales with a lower price. It might bring some sales. Peace and best wishes.
The 30 Sci-Fi Stories Everyone Should Read
PS- -enko is Ukrainian. I'm living in Kiev, so I know all about -enko and -chuk. The politicians nowadays need good Ukrainian names to win elections. Thanks for following up, Steel Engineer. Yeah, Connie Willis isn't known for action-based stories. She's more character-based and about shifts in paradigms and often bridges science fiction and fantasy.
I find her very re-readable, but my husband does not. He is the major sciencefictionite around these parts and would put together a completely different list, I think, and include A Martian Odyssey. Well, I made a third effort to read Connie Willis' book today. I realized it was work. She does a lot of explaining through thoughts Not so much action. And, the sci-fi aspects are not that convincing.
I will try some other stories. But, I plan to abandon page much sooner if it is not interesting. You're right - A Martian Odyssey was life-changing and society-changing and a true "first. I think I need to give it another read and come at it with expectations not so modern. I bought Connie Willis' book, 12 stories, through your link. The preceding had no Kindle versions. I'll let you know later what I think.
Hubbers should shop first for another hubber's link I often do. I'm looking forward to reading some of the books on the list again. There is a short story called Slow Birds by Ian Watson from I think about that I read about 10 years ago and just can't get it out of my head. I agree with theframjak about "Nine billion names". Wonderful story. Never read the "Last Question" by Aasimov. Another thing for my "to do" list. What a great list. I agree with many, my favorite remains Flowers for Algernon but I have read almost everything in your list.
online.park-travel.ru/img/map12.php Some of these I had forgotten about! I agree with your comment on Heinlein though- I remember Stranger in a Strange Land and liking it hey- it was the 60s but the rest of his stuff I could do without. You have inspired me to do more Golden Oldies on my blog. We really do need to pay homage to the older writers and introduce the young uns to them.
What an interesting list! Voted up. I love science fiction stories and the passing of Bradbury was just tragic and all too soon, a great light gone out in the literary sky. Very good hub. Nice list. I had a top 50 list, but it was more than 10, words. So I decided to just make a top 10 list. Another issue with modern "science fiction" is the inclusion of fantasy elements and the repeat titles of a current story line until the old master has degenerated it completely series like Ringworld, Dune.
Nice list ive only read one of these Farewell to the Master and enjoyed it so will look into the rest of the list. Thanks for sharing. This hub is all about the old SF masters, and I honestly meant to keep it that way. But then, under the influence of a lot of caffeine, I decided it would be very, very wrong not to self-promote my brand new short story ebook available for purchase on Kindle:. It's not hard sci-fi - in fact, it's fairly squishy.
But some of you might recognize the occasional gentle bow to some of the Golden Age greats Flowers for Algernon is a definite classic - I think it captures the hopes and frustrations of intellect in a way that few other works can match. Just out of curiosity, have you read Heinlein's "Starship Troopers"? I, too, tend not to enjoy Heinlein much, but "Starship Troopers" seems to be far more realistic and "grounded" than most of his other works.
It gets a bit melodramatic in a few places, but still a good read. Why not expand it to a Top Twenty or Top Thirty list? I know that I - at least - would also enjoy reading your Hub on that topic, too. Let me be one of the crowd who will lambaste you for not putting Nightfall in the top spot in SF short stories. It should be there. It has all the elements including, as you so aptly point out, the wonderful surprise ending. Asimov should have left it at that. He should have resisted the temptation to turn it into a novel.
It came out while I was reviewing, and I read it and was disappointed, especially after the nice, tight writing and great plot of the original. I absolutely agree with including By His Bootstraps. An excellent time-travel paradox story. Arthur C. Clark's The Star comes to mind as another story that would have qualified for this list, as does R. And read Flowers for Algernon - the original.
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It's not gruesome, though it is sad. There is, particularly toward the end, a sensitive sort of reverie, a bittersweetness. In a way, it is a sort of paradigm for Alzheimers disease now, as Charlies watches his gifts slip away from him. Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners. HubPages and Hubbers authors may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others. HubPages Inc, a part of Maven Inc. As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hobbylark.
Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so. Chris Telden more. I based inclusion on whether or not many of these factors were to the story's credit: I read the story with one exception. I loved the story. The story was fun to read. It wasn't depressing with one exception. The story stayed with me - I thought about it for a long time - either in my nightmares or giggling about it spontaneously at work. The story was well-written.
I was either not aware of any major writing flaws or I got a shiver of delight at the way the words are written. The story gripped me and didn't let go. I never thought, "I've got to go get my laundry out of the dryer" in the middle of it. The story made me feel a sense of wonder. Even decades after it was written, in the age of the iPad and Android and suchlike. The story is important. It did something new that changed the way science fiction was written afterward, or it changed society. Best Science Fiction Stories of All Time These are the best science fiction stories of all time, according to somebody who spent much of her life thinking that science fiction sucked.
Disclaimer This might be obvious, but these are ten of the best science fiction stories ever in my own opinion. What you'll find: Short reviews of the stories and why I Iiked them. Contains the short story, Nightfall. The novel of the same title is a different book.