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The 111 Greatest Science Fiction Stories

While the long forms of writing, namely novels, dominate the speculative fiction field, the short form has played an enormous role in its development. During much of the so-called Golden Age of science fiction, the short story ruled, feeding the many periodicals established for the burgeoning market of readers. Most of those specialized magazines are gone now, but writers in the field continue to hone their craft by writing stories for publication in periodicals, anthologies and their own collections.

For our purposes we define short stories as generally having fewer than 17,500 words. A prose work longer than that is usually called a novella or a novel. Some literary awards also recognize a "novelette" category for stories with at least 7,500 words, but that's too complicated for us. If you can read it in less than an hour, it's likely a short story.

Latest update: May 2, 2024

1809
"The Conquest of the Earth by the Moon"
Washington Irving
United States, story
1816
"The Sandman"
E.T.A. Hoffmann
France, story
1835
"The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall"
United States, story
1874
"The Tachypomp"
Edward Page Mitchell
United States, story
1881
"The Clock That Went Backward"
Edward Page Mitchell
United States, story
1885
"The Great Keinplatz Experiment"
Arthiur Conan Doyle
England, story
 
"The Crystal Man"
Edward Page Mitchell
United States, story
1896
"In the Abyss"
H.G. Wells
England, story
1897
"The Crystal Egg"
H.G. Wells
England, story
 
"The Star"
H.G. Wells
England, story
1918
"The Red One"
Jack London
United States, story
1934
"Twilight"
John W. Campbell
United States, story
 
"A Martian Odyssey"
Stanley G. Weinbaum
United States, story
1936
"Devolution"
Edmond Hamiliton
United States, story
1937
"Call Me Joe"
Poul Anderson
United States, story
1938
"Helen O'Loy"
Lester del Rey
United States, story
1940
"Robbie"
United States, story
 
"The Roads Must Roll"
United States, story
1941
"Nightfall"
United States, story
 
"Microcosmic God"
Theodore Sturgeon
United States, story
1942
"Foundation"
Isaac Asimov
United States, story
 
"The Twonky"
Lewis Padgett
United States, story
 
"The Weapon Shop"
A.E. Van Vogt
United States, story
1943
"Mimsy Were the Borogroves"
Lewis Padgett
United States, story
1944
"Arena"
Fredric Brown
United States, story
 
"City"
Clifford D. Simak
United States, story
 
"Huddling Place"
Clifford D. Simak
United States, story
1945
"First Contact"
Murray Leinster
United States, story
1947
"With Folded Hands..."
Jack Williamson
United States, story
1948
"Mars Is Heaven!"
Ray Bradbury
United States, story
 
"The Lottery"
Shirley Jackson
United States, story
 
"That Only a Mother"
Judith Merrill
United States, story
 
"Scanners Live in Vain"
Cordwainer Smith
United States, story
1949
"Dark they Were, And Golden-Eyed"
United States, story
1950
"There Will Come Soft Rains"
Ray Bradbury
United States, story
 
"The Veldt"
Ray Bradbury
United States, story
 
"The Little Black Bag"
C.M. Kornbluth
United States, story
 
"Coming Attraction"
Fritz Leiber
United States, story
 
"Born of Man and Woman"
Richard Matheson
United States, story
1951
"The Quest for St. Aquin"
Anthony Boucher
United States, story
1952
"Surface Tension"
James Blish
United States, story
 
"A Sound of Thunder"
United States, story
1953
"It's a Good Life"
Jerome Bixby
United States, story
 
"A Work of Art"
James Blish
United States, story
 
"The Nine Billion Names of God"
Arthur C. Clarke
England, story
 
"A Sauceer of Loneliness"
Theodore Sturgeon
United States, story
1954
"Fondly Fahrenheit"
United States, story
 
"The Father-Thing"
Philip K. Dick
United States, story
 
"The Cold Equations"
Tom Godwin
United States, story
1955
"Tunnel Under the World"
Frederik Pohl
United States, story
 
"Allamagoose"
Eric Frank Russell
England, story
1956
"The Last Question"
Isaac Asimov
United States, story
 
"The Country of the Kind"
Damon Knight
United States, story
1957
"Tunesmith"
Lloyd Biggle, Jr.
United States, story
1958
"Who Can Replace a Man?"
Brian W. Aldiss
England, story
1959
"The Martian Crown Jewels"
Poul Anderson
United States, story
 
"'—All You Zombies—'"
Robert A. Heinlein
United States, story
 
"Flowers for Algernon"
Daniel Keyes
United States, story
1961
"Harrison Bergeron"
Kurt Vonnegut
United States, story
1963
"A Rose for Ecclesiastes"
Roger Zelazny
United States, story
1965
"'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman"
Harlan Ellison
United States, story
 
"The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth"
Roger Zelazny
United States, story
1966
"We Can Remember It for You Wholesale"
Philip K. Dick
United States, story
 
"Neutron Star"
Larry Niven
United States, story
1967
"Aye, and Gomorrah"
Samuel R. Delaney
United States, story
 
"I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream"
Harlan Ellison
United States, story
 
"Gonna Roll the Bones"
Fritz Leiber
United States, story
1968
"Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones"
Samuel R. Delany
United States, story
 
"Passengers"
Robert Silverberg
United States, story
1969
"Super-Toys Last All Summer Long"
Brian W. Aldiss
England, story
1970
"Slow Sculpture"
Theodore Sturgeon
United States, story
1971
"Inconstant Moon"
Larry Niven
United States, story
1972
"Goat Song"
Poul Anderson
United States, story
 
"Eurema's Dam"
R.A. Lafferty
Russia, story
 
"Roadside Picnic"
Arkady and Boris Strugatski
Russia, story
 
"The Word for World Is Forest"
Ursula K. Le Guin
United States, story
1973
"The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas"
Ursula K. Le Guin
Russia, story
1974
"Standing Woman"
Yasutaka Tsutsui
Japan, novel
1975
"Catch That Zeppelin!"
Roger Zelazny
United States, novel
 
"Home Is the Hangman"
Roger Zelazny
United States, novel
1976
"The Bicentennial Man"
Isaac Asimov
United States, story
1977
"Jeffty Is Five"
Harlan Ellison
United States, story
1979
"Sandkings"
George R.R. Martin
United States, story
1980
"Grotto of the Dancing Bear"
Clifford D. Simak
United States, story
1982
"Burning Chrome"
William Gibson
Canada, story
 
"Fire Watch"
Connie Willis
United States, story
1983
"Speech Sound"
Octavia E. Butler
United States, story
1984
"Bloodchild"
Octavia E. Butler
United States, story
1985
"Dogfight"
William Gibson, Michael Swanwick
Canada, United States, story
 
"Pots"
C.J. Cherryh
United States, story
 
"Snow"
John Crowley
United States, story
 
"Tourists"
Lisa Goldstein
United States, story
 
"A Clean Escape"
John Kessel
United States, story
 
"The Road Not Taken"
Harry Turtledove
United States, story
1986
"Tangents"
Greg Bear
United States, story
 
"Face Value"
Karen Joy Fowler
United States, story
 
"Rats"
James Patrick Kelly
United States, story
1988
"Shrödinger's Kitten"
George Alec Effinger
United States, story
1990
"Bears Discover Fire"
Terry Bisson
United States, story
1991
"They're Made Out of Meat"
Terry Bisson
United States, story
1992
"Even the Queen"
Connie Willis
United States, story
1993
"Georgia on My Mind"
Charles Sheffield
United States, story
1994
"The Martian Child"
David Gerrold
United States, story
1995
"One"
George Alec Effinger
United States, story
2001
"Hell Is the Absence of God"
Ted Chiang
United States, story
2007
"The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate"
Ted Chiang
United States, story
2008
"Exhalation"
Ted Chiang
United States, story
2009
"The Egg"
Andy Weir
United States, story
2016
"Seasons of Glass and Iron"
Amal El-Motar
Canada, story
2017
"Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience"
Rebecca Roanhorse
Canada, story
2020
"Two Truths and a Lie"
Sarah Pinsker
United States, story

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