What makes a perfect story?
Sometimes, a short story?
Is all you need:
People sometimes mistake short stories for trifles, wee vignettes that are over before they start. But there’s a reason why many of the best movies are based on short fiction rather than novels: a short story is just the right length to blow your mind. Here are 18 science fiction and short stories that rock our world.
1) “The Last Question” by Isaac Asimov
This is one of the all-time great idea-driven stories, and it’s one that manages to be both cosmic and poignant. In 2061, humans create the first truly awesome supercomputer, Multivac, and decide to ask it how the net amount of entropy in the universe could be reduced. This turns out to be kind of a tricky question, and it takes rather a long time to get a satisfactory answer. This story contains all of Asimov’s penchant for big-picture storytelling, in one brilliant dose. Amazon/Powells
2) “The Daemon Lover” by Shirley Jackson
Everybody thinks of “The Lottery” as Jackson’s all-time great short story, but as Joyce Carol Oates says in her introduction to Jackson’s collected stories, this one is actually “deeper, more mysterious, and more disturbing.” A woman is engaged to be married, but she can’t remember what her fiance looks like. And when she goes looking for him, she can’t find him — it’s a great gothic horror story, but also a beautifully written look at aging and vulnerability. You can listen to Jackson reading it here. Amazon/Powells
3) “The Janitor on Mars” by Martin Amis
Basically, there’s a robot living on Mars, but it’s been programmed not to reveal itself to Earth people until we’ve changed the atmosphere of our planet enough that we are already doomed to extinction. This happens in 2049, and the encounter with an ancient, extraterrestrial machine, which calls itself the “janitor,” causes a worldwide sensation. The janitor on Mars reveals the three billion year history of Martian civilization, and why it ended suddenly. Meanwhile, back on Earth, a boy named Timmy has been raped so violently he’s in the school infirmary — and the school janitor suspects the principal did it. The juxtaposition between the huge-picture “end of civilizations” stuff and the personal, small-scale stuff is just brilliant. Amazon/Powells
[Read More – See All 18 Perfect Short Stories, Here!]
And before I forget?
Gotta add one!