Favorite short stories

Any old topic will do, I suppose.

Favorite short stories

Postby Omphalos » Mon May 30, 2011 7:09 pm

Suppose someone gave you a chance to put together an anthology of your favorite short stories. What would you include? (feel free to go with a theme if you like) I haven't quite put a book's worth of stuff together yet, but here are some stories I would include:

Tourists, by Robert Silverberg. Mankind is plagued by a race of inchoate aliens who have the ability to jump inside of and take over our bodies at will. Humans typically remember nothing of the drunken debauchery that ensues, but one such recent victim has feelings of love for a woman he thinks he hooked up with.

Lot & Lot's Daughter, by Ward Moore. A desperate man abandons his wife and son and escapes into the wilderness with his young daughter as the US is nuked. In the second story we see that he is keeping his daughter barefoot and pregnant, as she plots her escape with a pack of feral boys. Strong stuff fot the 1950s when it was published.

Sandkings, by George RR Martin. A sadistic trader in rare off-world animals may have met his match in the Sandkings, a race of semi intelligent hive insects who tend to view their captors as either benovelent gods who are worshipped or evil demons who must be eradicated.

We Who Stole The Dream, by James Tiptree, Jr. A race of brave, noble and beautiful slaves revolt and escape the tyrannical reach of humans, only to start a new cycle of death and isolation when they arrive home and learn that they are different even among their own kind.

Crystal Spheres, by David Brin. Humans escape from the solar system only to make a fateful discovery about the survivability of intelligent races.

Story Of Your Life, by Ted Chiang, a linguist makes her mark in science and learns how to commune with her dead daughter when aliens arrive and teach her their languages.
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby Nekhrun » Mon May 30, 2011 8:17 pm

I love the short stories in Neil Gaiman's collections Smoke & Mirrors and Fragile Things.

In addition to those, I like:

The Last Question by Asimov: http://www.multivax.com/last_question.html

Harrison Bergeron by Vonnegut: http://www.tnellen.com/cybereng/harrison.html

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: (way down the page) http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/6695/pg6695.txt

Most things by Washington Irving

A Modest Proposal by Swift: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/1080
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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby Hunchback Jack » Tue May 31, 2011 10:59 am

I've always had a fondness for By His Bootstraps by Heinlein.

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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby Omphalos » Tue May 31, 2011 11:11 am

That, and All You Zombies by Heinlein. I like them both.
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby Robspierre » Wed Jun 01, 2011 6:45 pm

All you Zombies
By His Bootstraps
Solution Unsatisfactory all by Heinlein

Sandkings George R.R. Martin

The Cold Equations Tom Godwin

The Star Arthur C. Clarke A spaceship finds a system that went supernova and wiped out the alien civilization in the system. The star, was the one that was seen to herald the birth of Christ.

Weyr Search Anne McCaffrey

Johnny Mnemmonic
Red Star, Winter Orbit
Burning Chrome all by William Gibson

That's it for the moment.....

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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby Omphalos » Wed Jun 01, 2011 9:53 pm

I loved The Star. Forgot about it earlier. I'd also add Seargant Chip by Bradley Denton.
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby Sev » Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:31 am

Are we talking strictly SF here? If not, then mine would include:

"Beyond the Black River" by Robert E. Howard
"The Dark Eidolon" by Clark Ashton Smith
"The Shadow Over Innsmouth" by H.P. Lovecraft
"Shambleau" by C.L. Moore
"A Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury
"Autofac" by Philip K. Dick
and "The Iron Chancellor" by Robert Silverberg" for a bit of black humour.

Those are just for starters...
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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby SandRider » Fri Jun 03, 2011 2:24 pm

I guess my list would be "classic" American & Brit Lit type stuff ...
altho I've read some really good short fiction by recent authors,
I can't help but reserve judgement on the "literary" merits for atleast
20 years or so ... but I very much admire anyone who can pull
off a good short - it is the most difficult of all literary forms; to
set out characters and resolve a plot with meaning and importance,
in only a few pages ? ... tough stuff, Maynard ...

altho I don't remember being overly-impressed with the plots, I do
remember being knocked-down by Margret Atwood's introduction and
development of characters in her shorts ... I had always been a gushing
devotee to her poetry, but was kinda scared to dive into her short fiction,
because I had her on such a high pedestal, was horribly and madly in love
with her for many, many years ... I did not want to come to her shorts and
find her talents lacking ... but when I did, it was even more painful - her
short fiction had all the emotion and beauty of her poetry, and I started to
pack up and move to Toronto ....

I guess I have a hard time with the word "favorite" .... some piece of writing
might move me or impress me in a way that is only a direct result of some
personal bend ... and I find it hard to be objective to the actual literary merits
of such a work ... I don't recall the name, will now have to dig thru the shelves
to find it, but one of Atwood's shorts brought tears to my eyes, and I later shared
it (as one of my "favorites") with a young English Major I was corrupting ... she
"liked" the story, agreed with my assessment of its' emotional power, but then
sorta de-constructed it too much, using that English Major Mojo, and pointed out
some major flaws that I most likely would have seen myself, had I not been so
enamored with the author .... then, sometime after that, this same girl started
talking trash about Christina Rossetti's poetry, and I fed her some mushrooms
and pushed her out of the truck somewhere in the desert between Elko & Carlin ....


The Rocking-Horse Winner, D.H. Lawrence
The Landlady, Roald Dahl
The Idealist, Frank O'Connor (Mike O'Donovan)
A Sunrise on the Veld, Doris Lessing
The Leader of the People, John Steinbeck
The Egg, Sherwood Anderson
The Outcasts of Poker Flat, Brett Harte
Mister Toussan, Ralph Ellison
We'll Never Conquer Space, Arthur C. Clarke (essay, not fiction, but one the most
important pieces of short-writings of the 20th Century)

"science-fiction" of a sort:
Follow My Fancy, Joan Aiken
History Lesson, Arthur C. Clarke (this is one Keith sodomized at 14)
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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby Robspierre » Fri Jun 03, 2011 4:15 pm

I'm a huge Poe fan, anything by him is good by me.

Any of Robert E. Howard's adventure writing, El Borak, Black Agnes, etc will rock your gourd right off.

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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby A Thing of Eternity » Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:23 pm

There's a Poe story I'd consider one of my favourite SF shorts, can't remember the name though.

My fav is probably Clarke's story I can never remember the name of with the pilot who goes to jupiter to check out the local animals after being severely injured in a LTA crash.

Oooo! Or wait, I know, tied for first place would be Scanners Live in Vain by Cordwainer Smith.

EDIT: Damnit, threeway tie for first place. If I HAVE to put them in order, I guess this one goes first because it's the most important one of the bunch. The Machine Stops by Forster.
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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby Omphalos » Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:31 am

The Clarke story is called A Meeting with Medusa.

Good call on The Machine Stops.
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

-James C. Harwood, Science Fiction Writer, Straight (March 5, 1956 - May 25, 2010)



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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby A Thing of Eternity » Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:07 am

The Machine Stops is probably the single most frighteningly prophetic story I've ever read. Forster foresaw everything that's just starting to happen in the last 10 years over a hundred years ago, the bloody telephone had barely been invented and he knew what the dangers could be down the road.
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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby Eyes High » Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:49 pm

A lot of the stories by Poe.

The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag by Heinlein

Several of the ghost stories in Tar Heel Ghosts.
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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby Hunchback Jack » Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:07 pm

Eyes High wrote:The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag by Heinlein


Another good Heinlein. Actually, the collection by the same name has a number of fine stories, IIRC.

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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby Eyes High » Wed Jun 08, 2011 1:22 pm

Hunchback Jack wrote:
Eyes High wrote:The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag by Heinlein


Another good Heinlein. Actually, the collection by the same name has a number of fine stories, IIRC.

HBJ



Agreed.

I've read that book, except the copy I have is titled 6XHeinlein.

My husband found it at one of the used book stores we frequent. Paid a whole 50 cents for it. :mrgreen:
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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby D Pope » Wed Jun 08, 2011 8:56 pm

I hate to admit it;
I've never been able to get Flowers For Algernon out of my head.
I'm accustomed to sqiggles of ink on paper making me think, frustrated that they can so easily manipulate my feelings.

I wish i'd never read it. That's not true, but. I don't know.
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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby Freakzilla » Thu Jun 09, 2011 2:01 pm

Was that a short story as well as a book? I read the book in school.
They were destroyed because they lied pretentiously. Have no fear that my wrath
will fall upon you because of your innocent mistakes.

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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby Omphalos » Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:52 pm

Freakzilla wrote:Was that a short story as well as a book? I read the book in school.


Yep. And a movie. I thought the novelette was the best of them all.
Something is about to happen, Hal. Something wonderful!

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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby Liege-Killer » Sat Jun 11, 2011 7:16 am

A few favorites that come to mind:

"To See the Invisible Man" -- Silverberg
"The Man Who Lost the Sea" -- Sturgeon
"Out of All Them Bright Stars" -- Kress

But there's probably lots of stuff I'm entirely forgetting. I'd probably throw in something by Sheckley, maybe some Tenn as well.
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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby SadisticCynic » Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:45 pm

I've never really read short stories, but William Gibson's Burning Chrome collection really blew me away. Fantastic.
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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby A Thing of Eternity » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:35 pm

Short stories can be some of the best stuff ever. I highly recommend the short works of both Frank Herbert and Arthur C Clarke. Clarke especially I actually think is better at short stories than novels, and Frank really nails them well.

There's something about the short format that lets different kinds of ideas be expressed, and lets the authors explore different writing styles and narrative voices.

Check out "passage for piano" or some such by FH, you'd hardly even believe he wrote it, reads like a totally different author in my opinion. More than any other work of his I think that short story showcases that he actually was a lot better at the craft of writing than people might think.
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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby lotek » Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:08 am

Robspierre wrote:Johnny Mnemmonic


Ow yeah !

You might have guessed I have a special fondness for this one ;)
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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby SadisticCynic » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:11 am

lotek wrote:
Robspierre wrote:Johnny Mnemmonic


Ow yeah !

You might have guessed I have a special fondness for this one ;)


:doh: I thought of that, and then forgot to ask.

I started buying more Herbert stuff again, so I'm sure I'll get to Eye (and others) eventually.
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Re: Favorite short stories

Postby Hunchback Jack » Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:42 pm

The Killing Stroke by Stephen Donaldson. A novella, actually, but really good.

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