Saturday, March 14, 2020

Favorite Science Fiction Short Stories: First Draft

I've been playing around with re-reading favorite science fiction short stories and seeing if there's anything that has managed to elude me over the years. (Or at least I've totally forgotten if I did read it.) It's not always as easy as it seems as if it should be to track down individual short stories--at least legally. But that's a story for another day.

Anyway, my initial list (sorted chronologically) is below. A few rules I set for myself:
  • One story per author. Certainly there are many on this list for which I could effortlessly reel off multiple deserving entries.
  • I didn't worry about exact definitions. There are stories here that are longer than the science fiction awards definition of a short story.
  • I didn't cut a lot of slack for popular older stories that require a lot of historical perspective to appreciate today.
  • I also didn't include authors who I like for their novels but don't have any short stories I'm aware of that really wowed me. 
  • I tried to pick stories that work well in isolation. For example, while I really like Larry Niven's Known Space stories, I think "Inconstant Moon" is probably his best standalone story.
Who am I missing? Are there any of my picks that you think are really off?

The Machine StopsE. M. Forster1909

A Martian OdysseyStanley G. Weinbaum1934

Microcosmic GodTheodore Sturgeon1941

The Weapon ShopA. E. van Vogt1942

Mimsy were the BorgovesLewis Padgett (pseudonym)1943

A Logic Named JoeMurray Leinster1946

The LotteryShirley Jackson1948

Scanners Live in VainCordwainer Smith1950

There Will Come Soft RainsRay Bradbury1950

Surface TensionJames Blish1952

It's a Good LifeJerome Bixby1953

Fondly FahrenheitAlfred Bester 1954
The StarArthur C. Clarke1955
The Last QuestionIsaac Asimov1956
All You ZombiesRobert Heinlein1959

Flowers for Algernon (short story)Daniel Keyes1959

A Rose for EcclesiastesRoger Zelazny1963
Repent, Harlequin!' Said the TicktockmanHarlan Ellison1965
Light of Other DaysBob Shaw1966
We Can Remember it for you WholesalePhilip K. Dick1966

Aye, and GomorrahSamuel Delany1967

Inconstant MoonLarry Niven1973

Ender's Game (short story)Orson Scott Card1977
SandkingsGeorge R. R. Martin1979
The Gernsback ContinuumWilliam Gibson1981
True NamesVernor Vinge1981
Buffalo Gals, Won't You Come Out TonightUrsula Le Guin1987

Bears Discover FireTerry Bisson1990

Even the QueenConnie Willis1992
Story of your LifeTed Chiang1998

No comments: