Reading the story is pure fun. The paradoxical logic was terribly clever. And as the story unfolded, it became obvious that it was perhaps the best time travel story I'd ever read. As a bonus, it's re-readable, despite the fact that the ending is not exactly forgettable. It's like re-reading an Agatha Christie novel. You remember whodunnit, but you want to see how you were tricked. But why is it in the top 10 science fiction short stories? Because it was one of the first science fiction stories to explore the time travel paradox.
Because it did so to extremes. The story is a flawless, step-by-step execution of the time travel paradox. Under the pen name Cordwainer Smith, Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger wrote a series of related short stories taking place in a futuristic world that is drawn with an eerie combination of cool, clinical precision and fairy tale lyricism. I've read a few, though, and the one that stands the test of time for me is "The Lady Who Sailed the Soul.
And one of the best sci-fi stories ever. Henry Bates wasn't just any Golden Age writer. He was the founding editor of the magazine that became Astounding Stories.
Science fiction legend Harlan Ellison ends his short time on Earth
His fiction went beyond the usual space operas of the time. But it did it so well. It was ahead of its time, delivering a postmodern lesson in the harm of self-importance that eventually became cliched, but at the time must have been awe-inspiring. And in truth, it inspired awe in me reading it from the timeframe of the new millennium, cynic though I am. Like so many others on this list, the suspense of the story would be compromised with too much revelation of plot. So if you're looking for a summary, I'm afraid you'll have to look elsewhere.
But suffice it to say a man and a robot come to Earth. Something bad happens.
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The robot begins to do something scary. And in the end, something good happens. And bad. Which is bittersweet. And powerful. In his day, author Will Jenkins pen name Murray Leinster wrote some incredible stories—in the good sense, not the bad sense—not the least of which was his most famous, "First Contact," and arguably his most fun, " A Logic Named Joe.
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It does. It should be here. But I chose "Pipeline to Pluto," because while more understated, it's more of a human story, with a larger-than-life lesson, and—are you sensing a trend? It's simply a more impressive literary feat.
It's anything but a space opera filled with glamour and adventure, though. The story describes a prosaic world of blue-collar transportation—freight, in fact. Like much Golden Age science fiction, the story, told through fast-paced narrative and dialogue, isn't concerned with conveying a political viewpoint or defending a special interest group. It's concerned with ideas: the concepts, possibilities, and ironies of a newly technological world unfolding for human beings possessed of universal flaws and compromised value systems. It's the good guys vs.
It's essentially modern and optimistically heroic. It's righteous in a good way. It's better than Terminator 2. And all of this won't make any sense to you unless you read it. Suffice it to say that if stories like "Pipeline to Pluto" were written today, I'd be out there reading them instead of writing this.
And it's not just because there's a [spoiler alert: do not read on if you don't want to know how it ends] happy ending. This list wouldn't be complete without "Flowers for Algernon," but I almost left it out. This Hugo Award-winning short story and literary classic is simply amazing. Unfortunately, it almost didn't make it onto my list of best science fiction short stories of all time, because I couldn't read it. I have no spine when it comes to Nazi stories, stories about human lab experiments, and stories about mental disability.
This one is not a Nazi story, but it has two out of three, and that's enough for me. But my husband insisted that if I wouldn't read it, at least it should go on this list. And so here it is. If you're stronger than me, and if you didn't already read it in school, read "Flowers for Algernon. So what do you think about my selections?
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What are your favorite short stories in the science fiction genre, past or present? Please leave a comment, and if you feel like it, say why you think it's the best. Dremer 6. Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. As for more modern sci-fi short stories there are actually quite a few, the problem is finding them! Moore and Henry Kuttner.
It is superior to Time Locker. Not a terrible list, though. Thanks for sharing. You had me at "By His Bootstraps", the very best time travel story of Needless to say, the rest of your selection is excellent. Sprague de Camp -- that last one being MY fave time-travel novella. Great list, but misses a lot of classics. I like, e. A Canticle for Leibowitz, perhaps because of the irony involved.
I like Nightfall as the premise is outstanding, but it is indeed a few page story pulled out to I enjoyed this hub and your selection of short stories. Of these authors however I only know Asimov and Heinlein. 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!
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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! 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? And, this is a very good read. You write science fiction the way it ought to be written. 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.
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