The big list of short stories' below currently does not include all stories at this site - perhaps half the posts. I do intend to bring in remaining stories here - but that will take a while.
List below is ranked on quality - best first. Stories with same rating & in close proximity are sometimes about the same quality, & could have been ranked a little differently.
I classify novelette of Hugo Awards as short stories, & its novellas as either short story or novel depending on my whim (but usually as short story)! A complimentary listing of novels by quality is also available. For historical reasons, I maintain list of shorts by Arthur Clarke separately.
If you are looking for a few good stories to read, try some A-rated ones near the beginning of list. If you are looking for a specific story or author, try searching using the box at top of this page - many reviewed stories never make it to this page, but might have short commentary elsewhere.
Prefix "*" indicates the full text of the story is available online for free. Link will often be found either with the entry below, & in respective review of story; occasionally only in review post.
Some stories are tagged science fiction, fantasy, etc in bold, while others are not. I will eventually tag all; for the moment, please use description for untagged entries.
This is a multi-part file.Because the list has grown too big. Target is to keep 25-50 stories in each part file. Part files will be split when they grow too big; so their URLs are not safe to link to. Link to this file only ("main story list"); this URL is stable.
This A1 file was last split on 23 May 2008; later half of the file that day is now in A2 file. Contents of original A2 file that day are now in new A3/A4 files.
List navigation.Current file's name is in bold. Files earlier in the list hold better stories; those later in the list worse stories. Files names Ai contain A-rated stories, etc.
first, previous, next.
[A1], A2, A3, A4, B1, B2, B3, B4, C1, C2.
Story list (best first).
- Tom Godwin's "The Cold Equations" (A); download text or MP3; Astounding, August 1954; science fiction: An innocent girl is to be executed due to apathy of administration (according to author, due to nature's laws, but that's now how it comes across in the story). Intensely emotional.
- Henry Kuttner & C L Moore's "The Twonky" (A); Astounding, September 1942; science fiction, humor: An audio player that can do your dishes, read & change your mind, stop you from doing naughty things, ...!
- Daniel Keyes' "Flowers for Algernon" (A); F&SF, April 1959: Don't maltreat mentally retarded, please.
- Henry Kuttner & C L Moore's "Mimsy Were the Borogoves" (A); Astounding, February 1943; science fiction: This story was originally published under the pseudonym Lewis Padgett - joint pseudonym of spouses Henry Kuttner and C L Moore. Cognitive processes impossible to human adults can be taught to very young children.
- * Ellen Klages' "Ringing Up Baby" (A); download; Nature magazine, 27 April 2006; science fiction, humor: A made-to-order baby, gone wrong. Beautiful piece of humor - and chillingly plausible.
- * Eric Frank Russell's "Allamagoosa" (A); Astounding, May 1955; science fiction, humor: A line manager fixes books to pass a bureaucratic inspection, & ends up causing chaos. Winner of Hugo Award 1955 in short story category.
- * Edgar Allen Poe's "A Descent Into The Maelström" (A), download; April 1841; science fiction: A man survives after getting sucked into a maelstrom by keeping his wits.
- James P Hogan's "Making Light" (A); Judy-Lynn del Rey (Ed)'s "Stellar #7: Science Fiction Stories", August, 1981; fantasy, humor: GOD's problems dealing with heavenly bureaucracy!
- [novella] Eric Frank Russell's "The Ultimate Invader" aka "Design for Great-Day" (A); Planet Stories, January 1953; space opera: Mythical intergalactic super-cops are out to enforce new war-free rules for space lanes!
- [novelette] Eric Frank Russell's "Dear Devil" (A); Other Worlds Science Stories, May 1950; science fiction: Humanity rises from post-nuclear-war apocalypse - with some external help.
- Robert Heinlein's "Misfit" (A); Astounding, November 1939; science fiction: An asteroid is moved - to build a space station!
- Larry Niven's "The Jigsaw Man" (A); Harlan Ellison (Ed)'s "Dangerous Visions", 1967; science fiction: Chilling implications of human organ transplant technology. Nominated for Hugo Awards 1968 in short story category.
- Robert Heinlein's "The Roads Must Roll" (A); science fiction: Terrorist attack on suburban transport system causes much mayhem.
- Henry Kuttner & C L Moore's "Or Else" (A); Amazing Stories, August/September 1953; non-genre, humor: An ageless story about men giving unsolicited advise to others without understanding the other party's circumstances.
- Henry Kuttner & C L Moore's "The Proud Robot" (A); Astounding, October 1943; with C L Moore; science fiction, humor: Hilarious story about a robot in love with itself. Touches on some contemporary themes - video use in a way that annoys content owners, DRM (yes - in a 1943 story!), frivolous patents - but in a manner technologically irrelevant to current times (except last issue - patents).
- James Blish's "Surface Tension" aka "Lavon" (A); Galaxy, August, 1952; science fiction: When a stellar colonization ship crashed on an uninhabitable water world with no chance of anyone surviving more than a few weeks, the colonists do the next best thing - create microscopic water-borne life forms adapted to local world that are essentially human! Now these microscopic "men" are ready to discover who their ancestors were.
- Tobias Wolff's "A Mature Student" (A); Playboy, September 2007; non-genre: Outstanding story about the psychology & environment that create torturing security men - of the kind that were in news some time back in US military's torture camps in Iraq & Afghanistan.
- * Mike Resnick's "Merry Bunta!" (A); download; Subterranean magazine, Fall 2007; non-genre, humor: Lucifer falls in love, & goes to great lengths to win his lady love.
- * [novelette] A Bertram Chandler's "Familiar Pattern" (A); download; Astounding, August 1959 (as by George Whitley); science fiction: An illustration of European colonization pattern of some centuries ago - "the chance contact,
the trader, the missionary, the incident, and the gunboat", ...
- [novelette] Clifford D Simak's "The Big Front Yard"; Astounding, October 1958; 1959 Hugo winner; science fiction: When aliens introduced humans into the cosmic community of rational beings.
- [novella] Isaac Asimov's "The Martian Way" (A); Galaxy, November 1952: Martian colonists, to get an upper hand in a diplomatic row with earth, have worked out technology to move an iceberg from a ring of Saturn to Mars (to meet their water needs)!
- Jack Vance's "Meet Miss Universe" (A); Fantastic Universe, March 1955; science fiction, humor: There are a lot of dissatisfied souls at the conclusion of multi-species Galactic Beauty Contest.
- * [novelette] Raccoona Sheldon's "The Screwfly Solution" (A); download; Analog, June 1977; science fiction: Insects are to humans what humans are to these aliens!
- * Kij Johnson's "The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change" (A); download; Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (Ed)'s "Coyote Road, Trickster Tales", July 2007: What if animals could speak? Very moving accounts of man/dog relations - told from the perspective of dogs. Added to my best of the year 2007 list.
- * John G Hemry's "Small Moments in Time" (A); download; Analog, December 2004; science fiction: A man in a position to act faces a terrible dilemma.
- David Brin's "The Smartest Mob" (A); Jim Baen's Universe, #11 (February 2008); hard sf: A terrorist attack is foiled, by electronically summoning an online mob of helpful amateurs, experts, & hangers ons.
- * Greg Egan's "Steve Fever" (A); download; MIT Technology Review, November/December 2007; science fiction: An autonomous self-replicating robot swarm is on an impossible mission - to resurrect its dead creator!
- Alfred Bester's "Adam and No Eve" (A); Astounding, September 1941' science fiction: A maniacal inventor inadvertently uses a new discovery & ends up destroying all life on earth. But there is a way yet for earth to rebuild life - only there won't be any more humans.
- * Katherine Maclaine's "All Kinds of Reasons" (A); download; Strange Horizons, 3 September 2007; science fiction: Ability to choose the best baby among many possible ones leads to extreme emotional turmoil for a man.