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10 Greatest Shortest Scifi Stories Ever Written [Lit]

Wired Magazine asked some of the leading writers in scifi, fantasy, and horror to create stories in just six words. The results are awesome, and here are the ten best.

1. Epitaph: Foolish humans, never escaped Earth. - Vernor Vinge
2. It cost too much, staying human. - Bruce Sterling
3. Computer, did we bring batteries? Computer? - Eileen Gunn
4. The baby’s blood type? Human, mostly. - Orson Scott Card
5. Kirby had never eaten toes before. - Kevin Smith
6. Husband, transgenic mistress; wife: “You cow!” - Paul Di Filippo
7. Epitaph: He shouldn't have fed it. - Brian Herbert
8. Dinosaurs return. Want their oil back. - David Brin
9. Machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time - Alan Moore
10. Lie detector eyeglasses perfected: Civilization collapses. - Richard Powers
And here are my own humble submissions:

"The time machine works," said Hitler. - Nigel G. Mitchell
The monster is right behind you. - Nigel G. Mitchell

Check out my scifi thriller, Dead Links at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009VPRCI8/ UPDATE: The original draft was deleted, this is the new version.

What do you think of the stories? Which one was your favorite? Do you have a six-word story to share? Let us know in the comments.


  1. All very good - but the late great Forrest J. Ackerman (Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine) may have beaten them with the shortest science fiction story of all time. I now present it in its entirety. Cosmic Report Card - Earth: F.

  2. thank you... for this list... i now want to share the shortest horror book with you...

    Last Man On Earth "There was a knock at the door"...

  3. Card's line wins it for me. Your first one is chilling, Nigel.
    Tell Maurice we're thinking about him.

  4. These kind of things make me grumpy. They aren't really "stories"; they're prompts. They ask you to fill in all the details of the who, what, when, and where which to my mind does not qualify as writing a complete story.

  5. Those are really interesting. 2, 3, and 9 are my favorites.

  6. Pat, you can make that argument. But I would say the fact that you are able to imagine a "who, what, when, and where" from just six words is what makes these great.

  7. Alex, he's still been reading the blog

  8. Jeremy, that was awesome. Should've been on the list


Thanks for commenting!.