Questions tagged [short-stories]

Questions about stories with a fully developed plot, themes, and characters, but significantly shorter and less detailed than a novel.

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What did Mr Waterby's definition of "genius" mean?

I’m reading “The Set of Poe”, a 1903 short story by George Ade. The context: Mr. Waterby wanted to buy a set of Poe, but his wife didn’t like that idea and advised him not to buy. He were upset and ...
3 votes
1 answer
129 views

Where did Mrs Waterby get the money in George Ade's "The Set of Poe"?

I’m reading “The Set of Poe”, a 1903 short story by George Ade. The context: Mr. Waterby wanted to buy a set of Poe, but his wife didn’t like that idea and advised him not to buy. He were upset and ...
17 votes
1 answer
3k views

Short Story About a Woman Saving up to Buy a Gift?

I think I read a short about a woman who is trying to save up for a gift, and realized that she doesn't have enough money to buy her husband anything significant. While she is looking at her saved ...
3 votes
1 answer
110 views

Short story where foreign student doesn't know the word "Apologize"

I read this short story in 2006-2010. Would like to find it. My memory is fuzzy but it was probably in my school library, and may have been a textbook, but not a class assignment for me; so middle-...
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3 votes
0 answers
97 views

Marxist reading of Gogol's "The Overcoat"?

The Wikipedia page about Gogol's short story "The Overcoat" is full of [citation needed] notices. The following sentence in particular caught my eye: A Marxist reading of the text would ...
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2 votes
0 answers
78 views

Writing style in Isaac Asimov's short story "Nightfall"

I just finished reading the short story "Nightfall" by Isaac Asimov. For some reason, Asimov's writing style reminded me vaguely of the young adult romance novels I used to read in my teens. ...
2 votes
0 answers
56 views

Short story from the 1990s about a transgender Native American in the 1800s

I've been searching for a short story I read, I believe in the early 1990s, where the main character was a Native American (possibly female) with a transgender female friend from the same tribe, and ...
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

Looking for a sci-fi short about a super computer that deduced that humour was an alien experiment

I read it back in the early 90’s, it may have been in a collection of short stories. At the end the scientists tried to remember a joke but couldn’t and if they read a printed joke it wasn’t funny…
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4 votes
1 answer
131 views

Is there a translation or summary of Lem's short story "Crystal Ball"?

Fiasco, published in 1987, was Stanisław Lem's final science fiction novel. The opening chapter is set on Titan, and as noted in this question, seems rather separated from the remainder of the novel. ...
3 votes
1 answer
642 views

Maupassant, "j'ai en effet pour amie Mme Rosset", is this a typo?

One of Maupassant's stories in the Gallimard edition contains the following sentence. Ma chère petite, j'ai en effet pour amie Mme Rosset, que je connais depuis six ans et que j'aime beaucoup; j'...
3 votes
1 answer
722 views

When does the short story "The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork" of the "InCryptid" series take place?

When does the short story "The Recitation of the Most Holy and Harrowing Pilgrimage of Mindy and Also Mork" take place in the chronological order of the InCryptid series? The InCryptid ...
5 votes
0 answers
63 views

Why call them the "little pointy hours"?

This is the start of James Parker's "An Ode to Being Read To", which is in October 2022's The Atlantic. I fixed my insomnia with whiskey and audiobooks. Seriously. I was a terrible non-...
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3 votes
1 answer
53 views

Difference between "emperor" and "living emperor" in Kafka's "The Great Wall of China"

This is a quote from "The Great Wall of China" by Franz Kafka. What's the difference between "emperor" and "living emperor"? Our land is so huge, that no fairy tale can ...
2 votes
0 answers
45 views

Explain a quote from "The Great Wall of China" by Franz Kafka

Can anyone explain the following quote from the short story "The Great Wall of China" by Franz Kafka: First, one must realize that at that time certain achievements were brought to fruition ...
10 votes
1 answer
345 views

Looking for a science fiction short story about aliens harvesting heat from a probe

Around 2005 I remember reading a short story about an Earth probe that landed on another planet with aliens on it. The alien race determined seniority by the amount of heat they accumulated, which ...
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1 vote
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38 views

Children's short story where prehistoric childen have to cross a predator's territory

This was a short story in a children's magazine in the English language in the USA about 1960. Possibly in Jack and Jill. I am not certain whether this was before or after we moved in November 1961. ...
1 vote
1 answer
63 views

What was Gheria trying to say?

I’m reading “No such thing as a vampire” by Richard Matheson (Link - Caution: There's a large scary skull picture on this website). In the paragraph below (bold emphasis added), I don’t understand ...
1 vote
1 answer
60 views

What does "The people know that and are waiting for it" mean?

I’m reading “No such thing as a vampire” by Richard Matheson (Link- Caution: There's a large scary skull picture in this website). I have a problem and need some help. In the paragraph below, I don’t ...
2 votes
0 answers
44 views

Short story about two people writing back and forth and they can't stop because it's not polite to not respond

I can't remember where I read this. It's a short story about two people writing back and forth. They can't stop because it's not polite to not respond. I think it ends with
9 votes
1 answer
446 views

"The Interesting Vocation of . . . ?" — a mystery about a man with memory loss & an evil secret society that lives in mirrors

Science fiction short story or novelette, 1960 thru 1970s, a mystery about a man with memory loss & an evil secret society that lives in mirrors, the conclusion being that the man is an art critic ...
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3 votes
0 answers
51 views

Looking for a short story or essay - "At 80" written by a man at the end of his life about the experience of aging

It's by a man in his 80's and he reflects on the experience of aging. I am almost positive the title was "At 80" but might have been "At Eighty" and might have had a subtitle. I ...
1 vote
1 answer
26 views

Why does Avrom Wolf say he'll never tell his story again in Singer's "The Wager"?

In Isaac Bashevis Singer's short story "The Wager", the "guest", Avrom Wolf, tells his hosts of a bet when he was a kid that wound up with two people dead. The story leaves off ...
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3 votes
2 answers
81 views

Meaning of 'yellow down' in the sentence

The others looked at me, I know for sure, with more envy than fear, and I even suspected one of them was going to tell on me to my dad. Was I doing the right thing? But there was no time for ...
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0 votes
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32 views

English short story about a highway man. Possible quote "one good turn deserves another"

The story starts with an old man and his cook/caretaker lady in his home. I seem to remember that is was not a rich house, but well to do. It is supper time and it is raining heavily outside. I think ...
4 votes
0 answers
42 views

What are the "Globe" and "Park" in "Phyllis and Rosamond" by Virginia Woolf?

I'm reading Virginia Woolf's short story "Phyllis and Rosamond" and, well, here's the opening passage: In this very curious age, when we are beginning to require pictures of people, their ...
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0 votes
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42 views

Which science fiction story ends with the word INSECTS (or similar) instead of the end?

I'm looking for a story in which the last natural things on earth are behind doors or have been bought and there are just a few things left. What there is plenty are insects. I would like to find out ...
1 vote
0 answers
25 views

Why does "Your Ad Could Go Here" state that the Orange Revolution lasted for three weeks?

The Orange Revolution protests were called for on November 21, 2004 in response to election fraud in their 2004 Presidential election. Eventually, the Supreme Court ordered a re-vote on December 26, ...
0 votes
0 answers
29 views

Is "An Album for Gustav" referring to the author's language skills?

In An Album for Gustav, Oksana Zabuzhko tals When people ask me this question and I try to answer, every time I feel like I come up against a solid wall inside myself, a profound lack of desire to ...
5 votes
0 answers
36 views

Short Story Identification with a dragon at a well and a princess raised as a boy

Trying to find a short story I remember reading in elementary school, so it was written early 2000s the latest. It was part of an anthology, but I can't remember any of the other stories in it, though ...
1 vote
1 answer
44 views

Was Milena's husband evading taxes?

At one point in I, Milena, Milena's husband (who is a photographer) complained that someone had swindled him. When Milena suggested taking them to court, he said What court, are you kidding? On what ...
7 votes
1 answer
4k views

Why are Santa Barbara, Denver, and Dallas held up as examples of the glamorous high life?

From I, Milena in Your Ad Could Go Here, Did they (the women [who appeared on Milena's show], not the moths - although who could say with confidence what a moth is thinking?) Perhaps dream that by ...
2 votes
1 answer
94 views

What is the name of the short story about the woman whose new husband steals her money by climbing onto the roof of a bus?

I am trying to find a short story whose title and author I forget. The story is written in English and it is about a newly-wed (or soon-to-be-wed) man who scams his wife/fiancée out of her money (or ...
5 votes
1 answer
78 views

What is an Akhmatovian nose?

I, Milena by Oksana Zabuzhko (in Your Ad Could Go Here) contains the following quote: If anyone has forgotten, let me remind you: Milena talked to jilted women. There were old ones among them and ...
3 votes
0 answers
58 views

What does Borges want to convey with this theme in his work?

In many of his works, Borges uses a "final twist" in which two characters exchange their role. For example in the short story Three versions of Judas the life of a theologian who analyses ...
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7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Sci-Fi story where someone rubs their hand over a space stone and falls into a trance

I read this story decades ago, and suddenly recalled, looking at my kid scrolling on his phone. Somebody visits a guy who returned from a space exploration. "What did you bring?" - "...
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7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Was a pumpkin a symbol of rejection of a suitor?

From The Tale of the Guelder Rose Flute in Your Ad Could Go Here: Hannusia honestly did not feel she was being too choosy with the lads - she always refused the matchmakers, who, during the first ...
2 votes
0 answers
50 views

Looking for an anecdote / a story about two men enjoying to read sillently reading in the library while their spouses are chatting

I am looking for a written version of an anecdote I heard as a child. Two married couples meet regularly. The women spend the evenings chatting; their husbands withdraw to the library, sipping a ...
3 votes
0 answers
50 views

Short story about trading shares of people as financial instruments

A few years ago I read an excellent short story that I've been looking for ever since. Here's what I can remember: In this story's world it was common for people to sell shares of themselves (or ...
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1 vote
1 answer
33 views

Did Effie receive insulin shock therapy?

At the school reunion in Girls, one former classmate recounted having seen Effie: Last summer, Marinka says, by accident, on the street, "I didn't recognize her." She says that you, Effie, ...
2 votes
1 answer
72 views

When did the Soviet government start admitting that people were killed in Afghanistan?

Early on in the Soviet war in Afghanistan, the Soviet government went to great lengths to cover up the exact nature of the war, telling everyone that the troops were planting trees, building bridges, ...
1 vote
0 answers
33 views

Was pigskin leather easier to acquire in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic than cattle leather?

In Girls (part of Your Ad Could Go Here), Darka's mother had the "little joy" of getting a leather coat: Everything that followed in her life was fine with her: marriage, poverty, children, ...
6 votes
1 answer
306 views

What is a "more bankable nationality"?

The short story Girls by Oksana Zabuzhko (in Your Ad Could Go Here) features Darka meeting a girl of apparently high social status: Rivka... smelled of homemade vanilla cookies, vacations at a spa in ...
1 vote
1 answer
43 views

Second-person Damon Runyon stories

Which of Damon Runyon's writings are written completely using the second person point of view? One example of this is A Change of Heart by Michel Butor . I heard John Sayles refer to Damon Runyon ...
1 vote
0 answers
31 views

Short story about a traveling vampire cage fighter

I remember reading an intriguing story about a vampire fighting in cages across the country, sort of a supernatural MMA. It appeared (I think) online in the magazine Dark Recesses Press in 2008. I've ...
7 votes
1 answer
737 views

Help finding a book/short story about a man who comes back from the dead and finds himself in a world that's forgotten fear

Back in high school (around the late 2010s) we were given a story to read as part of our English class. I don't remember the name, just the major plot points. The story begins with the narration of a ...
2 votes
1 answer
92 views

Comedy mystery short story involving an inept detective, stolen diamonds, and a baby's rattle

I remember reading this as a short story in an anthology, probably in the early 1990s. My parents had a lot of books with crime stories in them, as well as humor anthologies, so that unfortunately ...
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1 vote
0 answers
32 views

Latin America (Brazil?) short stories. Just recall fragments: A lone traveler

The protagonist, a traveler to some distant town narrating the stories. In some of them, he sees another figure on the horizon, shadowing him. In one of the stories (an early one in the collection) ...
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0 votes
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65 views

Why doesn't the author use quote marks here to signal imagination?

I’m reading the short story “The ticket” in the magazine “Prism International”, written by Emil A. Draitser. It’s a story about a boy named Roma, who wants others stop looking him as a baby. (Link - ...
15 votes
1 answer
3k views

Story about a man who bets his head but not his neck with the devil

I remember a story about a man who bets "his head" with the devil and loses. I do not remember what the wager actually was. The devil is ready to chop the man's head off with an axe, but the ...
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1 vote
0 answers
71 views

What is the name of German-language horror or crime pulp novel series from late 80s/early 90s?

Back in the very early 90s, my father worked in Germany. The previous tenant in his apartment left some 80s/early-90s 7" vinyls, floppy discs and some horror/crime stich-bound short novels. ...

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