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  1. #1
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    Seeking "soft" sci-fi short stories...

    Hello! If anyone has a spare second, I'm hoping to get some suggestions.

    I'm looking for short stories in the "soft" science fiction and speculative fiction genre, which focus heavily on character and social/human issues, and not so much on hard science. Particularly stories which focus on one main character and take place on a small scale (i.e. no space opera or interstellar battlefields, but more grounded, and contemporary). "Dying Inside" by Silverberg and "The Speed of Dark" by Moon come to mind as novel examples...

    Since it's mostly short stories I'm looking for, maybe you can suggest a collection by particular authors or anthologies...? I'll take novel suggestions, too, if you'd like. Thanks

  2. #2
    Kelly Link- Magic for Beginners

    Short stories are my reading of choice, and I absolutely loved this one.

  3. #3
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Ray Bradbury

    His "There Will Come Soft Rains" is still one of my favorite short stories even though I read it eons ago.

    Bujold's "Mountains of Mourning" probably fits your description though the series is regarded as space opera by most people.

    http://www.baenebooks.com/10.1125/Ba...0002.htm?blurb

    psik

  4. #4
    Way Too Human
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    I'm currently reading The Year's Best Science Fiction: Tenth Annual Collection edited by Gardner Dozois (1993). I've only read the first two stories, but they fit your description perfectly. The first two stories are definetly social statements that had me thinking "where's the SF?". However the first story is based on the moon with some technology, but the story is a social one.

    Heres an Amazon link:

    http://www.amazon.com/Years-Best-Sci...ref=pd_vtp_b_4

  5. #5
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    EllenS, I've never heard of Kelly Link. Looking forward to discovering a new writer.

    Hackr, I know that Bradbury story. I remember reading it way back in the day when I first discovered him. I'll have to re-visit.

    Lazerus, great recommendation there. I have a few of those Year's Best collections, but not back that far. I'll have to check that one out and maybe a few around the early 90's.

    Thanks for the suggestions! Any more?

  6. #6
    Registered User odo's Avatar
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    Two come to my mind:

    * "Tying Knots", by Ken Liu. I love Liu's stories and this one is especially good. Available online: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/liu_01_11/

    * "Standard Loneliness Package", by Charles Yu. What if you could outsource your pain? Available online: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fi...iness-package/

  7. #7
    "Staying Behind" by Ken Liu: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/liu_10_11/

    I'll actually go ahead and suggest Clarkesworld magazine in general. It's a great magazine and the stories are usually very well done.
    Last edited by tinker; February 7th, 2012 at 09:30 PM. Reason: typo

  8. #8
    Registered User odo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tinker View Post
    "Staying Behind" by Ken Liu: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/liu_10_11/

    I'll actually go ahead and suggest Clarkesworld magazine in general. It's a great magazine and the stories are usually very well done.
    I agree completely. I love Clarkesworld and "Staying Behind" is one the best stories they have published this year.

  9. #9
    Live Long & Suffer psikeyhackr's Avatar
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    Voyage from Yesteryear by James P. Hogan is social hard sci-fi.

    http://www.troynovant.com/Grube/Hoga...esteryear.html

    http://www.jandysbooks.com/sfbooks/vygystr.html

    psik

  10. #10
    An exemplary collection is The Persistence of Vision by John Varley.

  11. #11
    Try the stories about "The People" by Zenna Henderson
    Unaccompanied Sonata a short story by Orson Scott Card. Loathe most of his stuff, but this early story really impressed me and is very lo-SF
    Vermilion Sands JG Ballard Probably my favourite collection of short stories ever.
    Novels:
    Day of the Triffids, Trouble with Lichen, et al John Wyndham
    Pavane Keith Roberts
    On the Beach Neville Shute
    Empty World, The Prince in Waiting John Christopher (RIP)
    Atomised Michel Houllebecq
    The Final Programme Michael Moorcock
    Last edited by Hitmouse; February 9th, 2012 at 02:45 PM.

  12. #12
    Check out Elizabeth bear's Tideline, great story:

    http://www.asimovs.com/_issue_0805/Tideline.shtml

    "Last Contact" by Steven Baxter is also good - it's available through the Wayback Machine:

    http://web.archive.org/web/200807250...st-contact.asp (click "Impatient" if it hangs and you'll get the story)
    Last edited by phil_geo; February 9th, 2012 at 03:06 PM.

  13. #13
    An oldie: "The Moon Moth" by Jack Vance. This is one of the most wonderful short s.f. stories I've ever read.

    Your mention of Silverberg reminds me of his story, "Passengers." Excellent and in its way, frightening.

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned Ursula K. Le Guin. She has largely specialized in "soft" science fiction. And her short stories are generally terrific.


    Randy M.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for all the great suggestions.

    I've read EVERYTHING by Le Guin. Good call on that, Randy. Anything similar to her work I'd definitely be interested in.

    Clarkesworld has been recommended to me several times, so I'll certainly be keeping my eye on that site.

    I'd also be into non-romance urban fantasy, if anyone knows of some good stories in that genre.

    I'm working on a project and all of these suggestions are awesome. I welcome more. Thanks!

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by dc1099 View Post

    I'd also be into non-romance urban fantasy, if anyone knows of some good stories in that genre.

    The Good Fairies of New York
    Martin Millar (I think)

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