This is a non-comprehensive list of short stories with significant science fiction
elements. Due to the large number of short stories this list is limited to stories that have done one of the following:
- Defined a sub-genre of science fiction.
- Founded an important science fiction series.
- Been the first to introduce a science fiction concept.
- Won major science fiction or general fiction awards.
- Topped a major bestseller list.
- Been important to the field of science fiction in another way.
Intelligent animals Genius of the Species
(1956) by R. Brentor : First use of technology to induce intelligence in catsSheena 5
(2000) by Stephen Baxter : About a genetically modified squid
- see also Big Dumb ObjectConstruction Shack (1973) by Clifford D. Simak : Pluto's status as a planet changes on the discovery it's artificial. When Simak wrote the story Pluto was still considered a planet by astronomers and the public.
Non 3-Dimensional Space Flatland
(1884) by Edwin A. Abbott
: A classic tale of a two-dimensional being meeting 'A Sphere' “—And He Built a Crooked House—”
(1941) by Robert A. Heinlein
: Story of a house that extends into the fourth dimension, much to the puzzlement of its occupants. Tangents
(1986) by Greg Bear
: Story of a mathematician encountering and discussing beings living in four spatial dimensions.
(1939) by Isaac Asimov
: First Robot story by Isaac Asimov, published in the September 1940 issue of Super Science Stories
(1942) by Isaac Asimov
: First story to list the Three Laws of Robotics
, published in the March 1942 issue of Astounding
.The Quest for St. Aquin
(1951) by Anthony Boucher
: First, and possibly only, time a robot is portrayed as canonized theologian
Time Travel The Chronic Argonauts
(1895) by H.G. Wells
: Probably the very first significant time travel story ever.Vintage Season
(1946) by C. L. Moore
: Time-travelling tourists from the future seen from a perspective contemporary to the writer's era.A Sound of Thunder
(1952) by Ray Bradbury
: This story revolves around a business called Time Safari, Inc. Time Safari promises to take people back in time so they can hunt prehistoric animals, such as Tyrannosaurus rex. In order to avoid a time paradox, they are very careful to leave history undisturbed on the principle that even the slightest change can cause major changes in the future." — All You Zombies — "
) by Robert A. Heinlein
: A story featuring a neatly tangled set of time travel paradoxes.Hawksbill Station
(1968) by Robert Silverberg
: The Station in the title is a prison colony created in the pre-Cambrian era by means of a time machine invented by an eponymous Dr. Hawksbill.A Little Something For Us Tempunauts
(1975) by Philip K. Dick
: US time travellers, tempunauts, find that instead of travelling 100 years into the future, they have gone merely a few days.Fire Watch
(1982) by Connie Willis
: The story of a time-travelling "historian" who goes back to The Blitz in London. He's annoyed by this as he had spent years preparing to travel with St. Paul and gets sent to St. Paul's Cathedral, in London, instead. Winner of the 1983 Hugo Award
and a Nebula Award
.Ripples in the Dirac Sea
(1988) by Geoffrey A. Landis
: The affecting story of a scientist seesawing inescapably through time, this brilliant work effectively deconstructs most time-travel stories that came before. Winner of the 1989 Nebula Award
for best short story.
(1981) by Vernor Vinge
: One of the first stories to flesh out the idea of cyberspace.Burning Chrome
(1982) by William Gibson
: A story of computer crackers. "(Learning About) Machine Sex"
(1988) by Candas Jane Dorsey
: A young female hacker invents "wet-ware", which is software and hardware that can plug into the human body. Sexual elements are important as per title.
(Note: This list may be more appropriate as a list of Significant Science Fiction Themes)
Award winning short stories
The two main awards given in American science fiction are the Hugos
and the Nebulas
. Complete lists of the short stories that won these awards are at Hugo Award for Best Short Story
and Nebula Award for Best Short Story