Science Fiction Short Stories


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On the other hand, because so many short stories exist, and because some are free online, numerous short stories are available for a wide range of courses in professional military education. The second potential issue is that the sheer volume of short stories may deter someone who wants to explore the genre but does not know where to start.

What follows is a list of some of the short stories I use, and how they relate to key strategic concepts. This is only a starting point and necessarily omits several good stories that achieve many of the strategic benefits highlighted by Ryan and Finney. One persistent question across these stories is whether advanced technology can act as a substitute for strategy or strategic thinking.


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Arthur C. It is a story every strategist and procurement officer should read. This is one of the first readings in my electives and a recommendation to all my students, whether they enjoy reading science fiction or not. In contrast to stories of military selflessness that pervade science fiction, this story highlights the trade-off every society faces in sacrificing the few for the good of the many. Whether it is a Marxist interpretation of workers sacrificing for the wealthy or those in the military asked to risk everything for the security and prosperity of the rest of society, each reader comes away with different lessons and perspectives on how the story applies to strategic decision-making.

Related to the topic of revolution is the question this story raises about why people do not challenge the status quo, even when they think it is wrong. Specifically, it highlights the importance of communicating, but doing so in a way that allows others to understand what constitutes success and therefore the larger purpose of their activities. It deals with a time after the singularity, when humanity has created machines that can think and reproduce, and even produce smarter machines.

Although aliens destroy humanity, the more durable and smarter beings—the legacy of humanity—survive and continue to evolve into more sophisticated machines. Aside from the genius of the author writing even before the technological advances of the Second World War, the story engages with civil-military relations, where humans are the civilian leadership and machines are the military warfighters.

Bradbury wrote this in the early Cold War, when fears of nuclear annihilation were high. Read without that historical context, one bleak perspective on the story is that nature will be more content once humanity is gone. Supernova Rhythm Pages Fraknoi, Andrew. Neural Alchemist Pages Roberts, Tedd. Hidden Variables Pages Brody, Jed. Upside the Head Pages Lingen, Marissa. Betelgeuse Pages Wheeler, J. Sticks and Stones Pages Osborn, Stephanie.

Fixer Upper Pages Choi, Eric. Spreading the Seed Pages Johnson, Les. Show next xx. Read this book on SpringerLink. Recommended for you.


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  • Read The Ingenious Patriot. Milton is a garbage collector who dreams of a better life. As an orphan, he hopes a relative will show up and take him where he belongs. One day he's visited by an agent from Probability Central. The captain of a vessel is told he must obey the edict of the Sreen. He refuses angrily and demands to speak with them. The Intermediaries assure him this is impossible. The Sreen are advanced and powerful. The captain's subordinate urges him to listen. Read Upstart. He doesn't like the name; it draws attention to itself.

    Their goal is to set up a permanent armed base on the moon. Read Project Hush. Lon and Jeni flee into the hills. A spaceship with an invasion force has landed in the valley, one of many in the past months. Radio communication is down and the cities have fallen. Read The Hunters. Morcheck attended a party last night. Another attendee, Owen-Clark, said he thinks Morcheck's wife needs a checkup; her reflexes have slowed. Morcheck is upset but has to admit that Myra hasn't been at her best lately. He prefers Modern women to the Primitives.

    Read The Perfect Woman. George Lidders is a charter member of the Egg-of-the-Month Club. He doesn't have anything going on in his life—he lives alone in the desert and rarely talks to anyone. Eggs are his one bright spot.

    Very Short Science Fiction Stories Online

    On Thursday he walks into Phoenix hoping for his latest package. Emory sits at his drawing board, working hard to meet a deadline. His doorbell rings but he ignores it. The visitor is persistent. He opens Emory's door without permission. The man claims to be an android from the twenty-fifth century. It has been raining on Venus for the past seven years. In a classroom, a group of children are excitedly looking out the window. Scientists have calculated that the sun is going to come out today. Margot, one of students, remembers the sun from her time on Earth.

    The others doubt her story, and start to doubt the scientists prediction. This is a popular selection for middle school students, but can be enjoyed by adult readers as well. Read All Summer in a Day. The city of Omelas celebrates its Festival of Summer. The citizens are happy. They have no king, military, or slaves. The fairy-tale quality of life in the city is hard to believe. For those who doubt, the narrator adds one more detail of city life. Murray Templeton is working in a laboratory when he's overcome with pain. When it dissipates, he sees others in the room around his body, looking agitated.

    11 Sci-Fi Short Stories You Can Read For Free Right Now

    He's looking down on the scene. As an atheistic physicist, he's a bit surprised. This story can be read as a complement to The Last Question, which appears in the regular length section above. It also stands on its own. Read The Last Answer.

    20 Most Influential Science Fiction Short Stories of the 20th Century

    Arnold and Webb are walking up a hill, discussing the possible consequences of a theory of infinite worlds. Webb believes there's another Arnold and Webb on infinite worlds just like Earth, walking up a hill. Read The Other Tiger.

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