Science Fiction Futures
Selected examples of SF short stories
from the journal Nature
This is the index page to a series of SF short stories (of between 850 and 950 words) written by top SF authors as well as science writers and even scientists. These stories first appeared in the journal Nature and are presented here as free access with permission of Nature and the respective authors. The selection of the Future stories is Concatenation's but sadly there are too many really good ones for us to reproduce here so you will just have to check out Naure (facing inside back cover) each week at your nearest college library.
A new story will be added each season (Spring - March; Summer - July; and Autumn - November; and also, sometimes, before Christmas).
This link is an introduction to this series. Links to the individual stories are listed below:-
- The Cleverest Man in the World: Problem Solved by Tony Ballantyne
Falling with a broken parachute! What to do? Why, call the cleverest man in the world!
And as for the author, he becomes the first 'Futures' author to have had two stories selected by us!
Why not check out his novels Blood and Iron,
- Takeaway by Tony Ballantyne
Working in a Chinese takeaway is a competitive business, especially in a multi-species community...
- Harnessing the Brane-Deer by Robert Billing
A Royal Air Force base sees a bit of a Christmas prang. What ho... (Ho, ho, ho...)
- Reality Check by David Brin
There are all sorts of realities in SF but what really is real?
- What's Expected Of Us by Ted Chiang
Sending signals through time is fun but there is a down side...
- Last of the Guerrilla Gardeners by David Clements
When big business controls the intellectual property rights to biological species, will gardening become as much a
political act as a hobby...? Now, Dave Clements is not just a scientist into SF (just the sort of person for
whom Concatenation is primarily (but not solely) aimed), he has contributed a non-fiction, science
article to us before (see 'The Hidden History of the Universe').
So it was a delight when -- during our annual sift at Christmas -- it just happened that his story got short-listed
as our selection of one of the best published by Nature the previous year. Them's the breaks. Enjoy.
- Birthday Surprises by Erika Cule
Short Story. A hard SF biology tale from a biochemist exploring nature and/or nurture.
- A Brief History of Death Switches by David Eagleman
As the end of the World nears, and there are few humans left, will there be an afterlife? Sort of…
- A Perfect Drug by Dan Erlanson
Creating and bringing a new pharmaceutical to market is very expensive and fraught with difficulty. But the new drug Paxpharma was something else...
- Goliath by Bruce W. Ferguson
A giant asteroid is discovered heading for Earth, but is humanity up to averting an extinction event?
- Are We Not Men by Henry Gee
It turns out that the human family is quite large...
- Health tips for traveller by David W. Goldman
When travelling to other worlds it is best to ensure you have taken all the precautions necessary for a healthy visit.
- Speak, Geek by Eileen Gunn
So a dog's a man's best friend, but their may be a flipside to species uplift...
- Press '1' to begin by Nye Joell Hardy
The growth of internet communication, sites like Concatenation, social sites, chat rooms and so forth,
has a downside: personal skills could suffer... Knock, knock...
- Ringing Up Baby by Ellen Klages
Involving a child in the parental decision to have another is always best, isn't it?
- Subject to Change by Joseph Lachance
A hard SF physics tale from a biologist as to the Universe's nature.
- The Invisible Hand by Allan M. Lees
So how is science really conducted and can one person alter the direction of research in many countries?
- Succussion by Steven Longworth
Record-breaking global health has an unlikely cause and an equally odd solution. ('Solution!' geddit? Oh, read the story.)
- Perchance To Dream by Robert A. Metzger
Out of sight, out of mind. Reality and illusion can catch up with you when old...
- A New Note For Nat by Gareth Owens
Being a hypersonic rock star is great... until you get too old.
- Invisible: The path to immortality by Joao Ramalho-Santos
Short Story (1 page PDF). Having a scientific breakthrough, getting published and hence recognition, you might think was a path to immortality... Not any more... (This is one that may well resonate with our scientist regulars.)
- A Better Mousetrap by Mike Resnick
Pest control in a high-tech space station surely needs to be high tech itself... Doesn't it?
- Dark They Were, And Strange Inside by Vaughan Stanger
Internet dating in the multiverse is not as great as it sounds...
- Homo Sapiens Declared Extinct by Bruce Sterling
The last human on Earth dies and so it is time to pause for a moment of reflection.
- Grandfather Paradox by Ian Stewart
Sometimes you have to go back in time to kill your own grandfather just to stay alive...
A great twist on a the classic science gedanken paradox.
- Maxo Signals by Charles Stross
There is a new and unfortunate solution to the Fermi paradox. The aliens are there, but better not return their call.
- NPG’S Policy on Authorship: Important change to submission criteria by Jordan Suchow
In the future the science journal Nature changes its policy in a way that will concern humans as they will no longer be able to submit work for publication.
- IRC: A Helping Hand by Julian Tang
What if your computer was not only connected to the internet but something else entirely?
Feel like writing a Futures story? See the author guidelines.
Still hungry for more science fiction stories?
The check out the 'forthcoming books' sections of our seasonal Science Fiction News page.
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