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Best Short Story of All Time

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    1
    Story of Your Life

    Story of Your Life

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    Story of Your Life is a science fiction short story by Ted Chiang. It was the winner of the 2000 Nebula Award for Best Novella as well as the 1999 Sturgeon award. The major themes explored by this tale are determinism, language, and an interesting take on the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis. Dr. Louise Banks is enlisted by the military to communicate with a race of radially-symmetrical aliens who initiated first contact with humanity. Woven through the story are remembrances of her daughter. The heptapods have two distinct forms of language. Heptapod A is their spoken language, which is described as having free word order and many levels of center-embedded clauses. Understanding Heptapod B, the written language of the aliens, is central to the plot. Unlike its spoken counterpart, Heptapod B has such complex structure that a single semagram cannot be excluded without changing the entire meaning of a sentence. When writing in Heptapod B, the writer knows how the sentence will end. The phenomenon of Heptapod B is explained by the alien's understanding of mathematics and Fermat's Theory of Least Time. Dr. Banks's understanding of the heptapods' writing system affects the way she perceives time
    7.78
    9 votes
    2
    The Fall of the House of Usher

    The Fall of the House of Usher

    • Characters: Roderick Usher
    • Genre: Gothic fiction
    "The Fall of the House of Usher" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. The legend opens with the unnamed narrator arriving at the house of his friend, Roderick Usher, having received a letter from him in a distant part of the country complaining of an illness and asking for his help. Although Poe wrote this short story before the invention of modern psychological science, Roderick's pathagens can be described according to its terminology. They include a form of sensory overload known as hyperesthesia (hypersensitivity to light, sounds, smells, and tastes), hypochondria (an excessive preoccupation or worry about having a serious illness), and acute anxiety. It is revealed that Roderick's twin sister, Madeline, is also ill and falls into cataleptic, deathlike trances. The narrator is impressed with Roderick's paintings, and attempts to cheer him by reading with him and listening to his improvised musical compositions on the guitar. Roderick sings "The Haunted Palace", then tells the narrator that he believes the house he lives in to be [sentience|sentient], and that this sentience arises from the arrangement of the masonry and vegetation surrounding it. Roderick later informs the
    7.00
    8 votes
    3
    The Beach of Falesá

    The Beach of Falesá

    "The Beach of Falesá" is a short story by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson. It was first published in the Illustrated London News in 1892, and later published in book form in the short-story collection Island Nights' Entertainments (1893). It was written after Stevenson moved to the South Seas island of Samoa just a few years before he died there. The story is told in the first person by John Wiltshire, a British copra trader on the fictional South Sea island of Falesá. Upon arriving on the island, he meets a rival trader named Case, who (in an apparently friendly gesture) arranges for him to be "married" to a local girl named Uma in a ceremony designed to impress the natives but to be completely non-binding in the view of Europeans. Wiltshire soon discovers that Uma has a taboo attached to her which causes all the other natives to refuse to do business with him, to Case's profit. He also hears rumors of Case having been involved in the suspicious deaths of his previous competitors. Although realising that he has been tricked, Wiltshire has genuinely fallen in love with Uma, and has their marriage legalised by a passing missionary. Wiltshire gradually learns that Case's
    7.00
    7 votes
    4
    The Defenders

    The Defenders

    "The Defenders" is a 1953 science fiction short story by American author Philip K. Dick, and the basis for Dick's 1964 novel The Penultimate Truth. It is one of several of his short stories to be expanded into a novel. In 1956, the story was adapted for the radio program X Minus One by George Lefferts. The story deals with the Cold War era. It depicts a future history where nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union had occurred years ago and the American people are living in subterranean cities to avoid radiation. The Americans are told that the war is still continuing on the irradiated surface, fought on their behalf by soldier-like robots. The end of the story reveals that contrary to what Americans thought, the war has ended long ago and the robots have been maintaining a peace with the Soviets for many years. They had not informed the subterranean dwellers as they thought them too immature and belligerent to understand the futility of war. A team of American soldiers who had forced their way to the surface in order to observe a supposed Soviet attack discover the truth, and meet with a similar Soviet team brought by the robots to begin peace talks. The story
    8.60
    5 votes
    5
    The Adventure of the Illustrious Client

    The Adventure of the Illustrious Client

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Illustrious Client", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes. Sir James Damery comes to see Holmes and Watson about his illustrious client's problem (the client's identity is never revealed to the reader, although Watson finds out at the end of the story). It would seem that old General de Merville's young daughter Violet has fallen madly in love with the roguish and sadistic Austrian Baron Adelbert Gruner, whom both Damery and Holmes are convinced is a murderer. The victim was his last wife, of whose murder he was acquitted owing to a legal technicality and a witness's untimely death. She met her end in the Splügen Pass. Violet has a very strong will, and will not hear a word spoken against the Baron. He has even told her about his chequered past, but always spinning the tales to make himself appear the hapless victim. Holmes also finds out from Damery that the Baron has expensive tastes, is a collector, and a recognised authority on Chinese pottery. This will prove to be useful information later. Holmes's first step is to go
    7.33
    6 votes
    6
    The Cask of Amontillado

    The Cask of Amontillado

    • Genre: Horror
    "The Cask of Amontillado" (sometimes spelled "The Casque of Amontillado") is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in the November 1846 issue of Godey's Lady's Book. The story is set in a nameless Italian city in an unspecified year (possibly in the 18th century) and is about the narrator's deadly revenge on a friend whom he believes has insulted him. Like several of Poe's stories, and in keeping with the 19th-century fascination with the subject, the narrative revolves around a person being buried alive—in this case, by immurement. As in "The Black Cat" ,and "The Tell-Tale Heart", Poe conveys the story through the murderer's perspective. Montresor tells the story of the day that he took his revenge on Fortunato, a fellow nobleman, to an unspecified person who knows him very well. Angry over some unspecified insult, he plots to murder his friend during Carnival when the man is drunk, dizzy, and wearing a jester's motley. He baits Fortunato by telling him he has obtained what he believes to be a pipe (about 130 gallons, 492 litres) of a rare vintage of Amontillado. He claims he wants his friend's expert opinion on the subject. Fortunato goes with Montresor to the wine
    7.17
    6 votes
    7
    The Adventure of the Stockbroker's Clerk

    The Adventure of the Stockbroker's Clerk

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Stockbroker's Clerk" is one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is the fourth of the twelve collected in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes in most British editions of the canon, and third of eleven in most American ones (owing to the omission of the "scandalous" "Adventure of the Cardboard Box"). The story was first published in Strand Magazine in March 1893 and featured seven illustrations by Sidney Paget. A young clerk, Hall Pycroft, consults Holmes with his suspicions concerning a company that has offered him a very well-paid job. Holmes, Watson and Pycroft travel by train to Birmingham, where the job is initially to be based, and Pycroft explains that he was recently made redundant from a stockbroking house. He eventually secured a new post with another stockbrokers, Mawson and Williams, in Lombard Street in the City. Before taking up the job, he was approached by Arthur Pinner, who offered him a managership with a newly-established hardware distribution company, to be based in France. Pycroft is sent to Birmingham to meet Pinner's brother and company co-founder, Harry Pinner. He is offered a very
    7.00
    6 votes
    8
    Silver Blaze

    Silver Blaze

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "Silver Blaze", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle ranked "Silver Blaze" 13th in a list of his 19 favourite Sherlock Holmes stories. One of the most popular Sherlock Holmes short stories, "Silver Blaze" focuses on the disappearance of the titular race horse (a famous winner) on the eve of an important race and on the apparent murder of its trainer. The tale is distinguished by its atmospheric Dartmoor setting and late-Victorian sporting milieu. It also features some of Conan Doyle's most effective plotting, hinging on the "curious incident of the dog in the night-time:" Sherlock Holmes and his friend Dr. Watson travel by train to Dartmoor, summoned to investigate a crime that has convulsed the newspapers: the disappearance of the great race horse Silver Blaze and the murder of the horse's trainer, John Straker. Inspector Gregory has already arrested a man in connection with John Straker's murder by the time Holmes and Watson arrive at King's Pyland, the Dartmoor stable owned by Colonel Ross, from which Silver Blaze is missing. The suspect is
    8.00
    5 votes
    9
    A Descent into the Maelstrom

    A Descent into the Maelstrom

    • Genre: Sea story
    "A Descent into the Maelström" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. In the tale, a man recounts how he survived a shipwreck and a whirlpool. It has been grouped with Poe's tales of ratiocination and also labeled an early form of science fiction. Inspired by the Moskstraumen, it is couched as a story within a story, a tale told at the summit of a mountain climb in Lofoten, Norway. The story is told by an old man who reveals that he only appears old—"You suppose me a very old man," he says, "but I am not. It took less than a single day to change these hairs from a jetty black to white, to weaken my limbs, and to unstring my nerves." The narrator, convinced by the power of the whirlpools he sees in the ocean beyond, is then told of the "old" man's fishing trip with his two brothers a few years ago. Driven by "the most terrible hurricane that ever came out of the heavens", their ship was caught in the vortex. One brother was pulled into the waves; the other was driven mad by the horror of the spectacle, and drowned as the ship was pulled under. At first the narrator only saw hideous terror in the spectacle. In a moment of revelation, he saw that the Maelström is a beautiful and awesome
    6.83
    6 votes
    10
    Shikari in Galveston

    Shikari in Galveston

    • Genre: Alternate history
    Shikari in Galveston is an alternate history short story written by S. M. Stirling. It is a prequel to The Peshawar Lancers. Shikari in Galveston takes place in Texas a century after a meteor shower devastated North America and Europe. The disaster led to a society in Texas that has evolved into a mixture of Native American and European society. The British Empire, or the Angrezi Raj, has been expanding its influence into the area using Galveston as a base. British cavalry officer Eric King, is assembling a hunting party which includes the revenge seeking Sonjuh, who lost her family to the cannibals and Robre, a young hunter of the Cross Plains tribe who hopes to earn a rare rifle from King. Meanwhile Russian agents plan to incite a tribe of cannibals to destroy the British allied tribes of former Texas. Accompanying Shikari in Galveston in Worlds That Weren't was an afterword by Stirling entitled Why Then, There. Stirling makes it clear that he uses alternate history to write adventure fiction in the tradition of Edgar Rice Burroughs and H. Rider Haggard, fiction that can no longer be set in the explored, post-colonial world. The character Robre is inspired by Robert E.
    6.83
    6 votes
    11
    The Dead

    The Dead

    • Genre: Short story
    "The Dead" is the final short story in the 1914 collection Dubliners by James Joyce. It is the longest story in the collection and is often considered the best of Joyce's shorter works. At 15,672 words it has also been considered a novella. It was made into a film also entitled The Dead in 1987, directed by John Huston. In 1999 it was adapted into a musical by Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey. Christopher Walken starred in the original production. Gabriel Conroy, Gretta Conroy, Kate and Julia Morkan, and Bartell d'Arcy are all alluded to in James Joyce's later work, Ulysses, though no character from "The Dead" makes a direct appearance in the novel. The story centres on Gabriel Conroy on the night of the Morkan sisters' annual dance and dinner in the first week of January 1904, perhaps the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6). Typical of the stories in Dubliners, "The Dead" develops toward a moment of painful self-awareness; Joyce described this as an epiphany. The narrative generally concentrates on Gabriel's insecurities, his social awkwardness, and the defensive way he copes with his discomfort. The story culminates at the point when Gabriel discovers that, through years of marriage,
    6.83
    6 votes
    12
    The Little Match Girl

    The Little Match Girl

    • Genre: Short story
    The Little Match Girl (Danish: Den Lille Pige med Svovlstikkerne, meaning "The little girl with the matchsticks") is a short story by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen. The story is about a dying child's dreams and hope, and was first published in 1845. It has been adapted to various media including animated film, and a television musical. On a cold New Year’s Eve, a poor girl tries to sell matches in the street. She is freezing badly, but she is afraid to go home because her father will beat her for not selling any matches. She takes shelter in a nook and lights the matches to warm herself. In their glow, she sees several lovely visions including a Christmas tree and a holiday feast. The girl looks skyward, sees a shooting star, and remembers her deceased grandmother saying that such a falling star means someone died and is going into Heaven. As she lights the next match, she sees a vision of her grandmother, the only person to have treated her with love and kindness. She strikes one match after another to keep the vision of her grandmother nearby for as long as she can. The child dies and her grandmother carries her soul to Heaven. The next morning, passers-by find
    6.83
    6 votes
    13
    The People of the Black Circle

    The People of the Black Circle

    • Genre: Fantasy
    "The People of the Black Circle" is one of the original novellas about Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine in three parts over the September, October and November 1934 issues. Howard earned $250 for the publication of this story. It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan kidnapping a regal princess of Vendhya (pre-historical India) and foiling a nefarious plot of world domination by the Black Seers of Yimsha. Due to its epic scope and atypical Hindustan flavor, the story is considered an undisputed classic of Conan lore and is often cited by Howard scholars as one of his best tales. It is also one of the few Howard stories where the reader is treated a deeper insight on magic and magicians beyond the stereotypical Hyborian depiction as demon conjurer-illusionist-priests. This Conan story is set in mythical Hyborian versions of India-Pakistan (then united) and Afghanistan (Vendhya and Ghulistan respectively). The death of Bunda Chand, King of Vendhya, via a curse channelled to his soul through a lock of his hair leads to the ascension of his sister, Devi Yasmina, who vows to get revenge
    6.83
    6 votes
    14
    Mugby Junction

    Mugby Junction

    Mugby Junction was a set of short stories by Charles Dickens written in 1866. It was first published in a Christmas edition of the magazine All The Year Round. It includes the famous ghost story The Signalman concerning a spectre seen beside a tunnel entrance. The signal-man of the title tells the narrator of a ghost that has been haunting him. Each spectral appearance precedes, and is a harbinger of, a tragic event on the railway on which the signalman works. The signalman's work is at a signalbox in a deep cutting near a tunnel entrance on a lonely stretch of the line, and he controls the movements of passing trains. When there is danger, his fellow signalmen alert him via telegraph and alarms. Three times, he receives phantom warnings of danger when his bell rings in a fashion that only he can hear. Each warning is followed by the appearance of the spectre, and then by a terrible accident. The first accident involves a terrible collision between two trains in the tunnel. It is likely that Dickens based this incident on the Clayton Tunnel rail crash that occurred in 1861, five years before he wrote the story. Readers in 1866 would have been familiar with this major disaster. The
    7.80
    5 votes
    15
    The God in the Bowl

    The God in the Bowl

    • Genre: Horror
    "The God in the Bowl" is one of the original short stories featuring the sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard but not published during his lifetime. It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan robbing a temple museum only to be ensnared in bizarre events and be deemed the prime suspect in a murder mystery. The story first saw publication in September 1952 in Space Science Fiction and has been reprinted many times since. One night in the Nemedian municipality of Numalia, the second largest Nemedian city, Conan enters a fantastic establishment: a great museum and antique house which laymen call the Temple of Kallian Publico. In the midst of robbing this temple museum, Conan finds himself embroiled in a murder investigation when the strangled corpse of the temple's owner and curator, Kallian Publico, is found by a night watchman. Though the Cimmerian is the prime suspect, the investigating magistrate, Demetrio, and the prefect of police, Dionus, show remarkable forbearance, allowing Conan not only to remain free, but also to keep his unsheathed sword while their nervous men search the shadowy premises. It was a
    7.80
    5 votes
    16
    The Black Cat

    The Black Cat

    • Genre: Horror
    "The Black Cat" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. It was first published in the August 19, 1843, edition of The Saturday Evening Post. It is a study of the psychology of guilt, often paired in analysis with Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart". In both, a murderer carefully conceals his crime and believes himself unassailable, but eventually breaks down and reveals himself, impelled by a nagging reminder of his guilt. The story is presented as a first-person narrative using an unreliable narrator. He is a condemned man at the outset of the story. The narrator tells us that from an early age he has loved animals. He and his wife have many pets, including a large black cat named Pluto. This cat is especially fond of the narrator and vice versa. Their mutual friendship lasts for several years, until the narrator becomes an alcoholic. One night, after coming home intoxicated, he believes the cat is avoiding him. When he tries to seize it, the panicked cat bites the narrator, and in a fit of rage, he seizes the animal, pulls a pen-knife from his pocket, and deliberately gouges out the cat's eye. From that moment onward, the cat flees in terror at his master's approach. At first, the narrator
    8.75
    4 votes
    17
    The Martian Way

    The Martian Way

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    "The Martian Way" is a science fiction novella by Isaac Asimov. It was first published in the November 1952 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction and reprinted in the collections The Martian Way and Other Stories (1955), The Best of Isaac Asimov (1973), and Robot Dreams (1986). It was also included in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two (1973) after being voted one of the best novellas up to 1965. Mario Esteban Rioz and Ted Long are both Scavengers, Mars-born humans who scour space for the spent lower stages of spacecraft. Rioz has been doing the work his whole life, but his partner for his current six-month trip puzzles him—a former mining engineer who gave up a comfortable, well-paying desk job in the Martian iron mines for the hardscrabble life of a Scavenger. He doesn't understand Long's philosophical musings on what he calls "the Martian way". Rioz is tense because the trip has been unprofitable. He chews Long out for wasting power listening to some Grounder (Earth-born) politician named John Hilder making a speech. As Rioz listens to the speech, he realizes that Hilder is saying that Earth's settlements on Mars, Venus, and the Moon are useless drains on Earth's economy,
    7.40
    5 votes
    18
    Power Play

    Power Play

    • Characters: Jihan, Froth Daughter
    Power Play is a short story set in the Thieves' World shared fictional universe. Power Play appears in the book "Soul of the City," (Thieves World #8) by Lynn Abbey, C.J. Cherryh, and Janet Morris.
    8.50
    4 votes
    19
    Sanctuary is for Lovers

    Sanctuary is for Lovers

    • Characters: Kama, 3rd Commando
    • Genre: Speculative fiction
    Sanctuary is for Lovers is a story in the Thieves' World shared fictional universe and the Sacred Band of Stepsons fictional universe. Sanctuary is for livers first appears in "Blood Ties," Thieves' World Book 9.
    8.50
    4 votes
    20
    Young Goodman Brown

    Young Goodman Brown

    • Genre: Short story
    "Young Goodman Brown" (1835) is a short story by American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne. The story takes place in 17th century Puritan New England, a common setting for Hawthorne's works, and addresses the Calvinist/Puritan belief that humanity exists in a state of depravity, exempting those who are born in a state of grace. Hawthorne frequently attempts to expose the hypocrisy of Puritan culture in his literature. In a symbolic fashion, the story follows Young Goodman Brown's journey into self-scrutiny which results in his loss of faith. The story begins at dusk in Salem, Massachusetts, as young Goodman Brown leaves Faith, his wife of three months, for an unknown errand in the forest. Faith pleads with her husband to stay with her but he insists the journey into the forest must be completed that night. In the forest he meets a man, dressed in a similar manner to himself and bearing a resemblance to himself. The man carries a black serpent-shaped staff. The two encounter Mistress Cloyse in the woods who complains about the need to walk and, evidently friendly with the stranger, accepts his snake staff and flies away to her destination. Other townspeople inhabit the woods that night,
    6.33
    6 votes
    21
    The Adventure of the Dancing Men

    The Adventure of the Dancing Men

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Dancing Men", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle ranked "The Adventure of the Dancing Men" third in his list of his twelve favorite Holmes stories. Mr. Hilton Cubitt of Ridling Thorpe Manor in Norfolk visits Sherlock Holmes and gives him a piece of paper with this mysterious sequence of stick figures. The little dancing men are at the heart of a mystery which seems to be driving his young wife Elsie to distraction. He married her about a year ago, and until recently, everything was well. She is American, and before the wedding, she asked her husband-to-be to promise her never to ask about her past, as she had had some “very disagreeable associations” in her life, although she said that there was nothing that she was personally ashamed of. Mr. Cubitt swore the promise and, being an honourable English gentleman, insists on living by it, which is one of the things causing difficulty at Ridling Thorpe Manor. The trouble began when Elsie received a letter from the United States, which evidently disturbed her, and she threw
    9.67
    3 votes
    22
    Lobo

    Lobo

    • Genre: Short story
    "Lobo the King of Currumpaw" is the first story of author Ernest Thompson Seton's 1898 book Wild Animals I Have Known. Seton based the book on his experience hunting wolves in the Southwestern United States. Lobo was an American wolf who lived in the Currumpaw valley in New Mexico. During the 1890s, Lobo and his pack, having been deprived of their natural prey by settlers, turned to the settlers' livestock. The ranchers tried to kill Lobo and his pack by poisoning carcasses, but the wolves removed the poisoned pieces and threw them aside. They tried to kill the wolves with traps and by hunting parties but these efforts also failed. Ernest Thompson Seton was tempted by the challenge and the alleged $1,000 bounty for capturing Lobo, the leader of the pack. Seton tried poisoning five baits, carefully covering traces of human scent, and setting them out in Lobo's territory. The following day all the baits were gone, and Seton assumed Lobo would be dead. Later, however, he found the five baits all in a pile covered in other "evidence" for which Lobo was responsible. Seton bought new, specialized traps and carefully concealed them in Lobo's territory, but he later found Lobo's tracks
    7.20
    5 votes
    23
    The Devil and Daniel Webster

    The Devil and Daniel Webster

    • Characters: Devil
    • Genre: Fantasy
    "The Devil and Daniel Webster" is a short story by Stephen Vincent Benét. This retelling of the classic German Faust tale is based on the short story "The Devil and Tom Walker", written by Washington Irving. Benet's version of the story centers on a New Hampshire farmer who sells his soul to the Devil and is defended by Daniel Webster, a fictional version of the famous lawyer and orator. The story was published in 1937 by Farrar & Rinehart. In 1938, it appeared in The Saturday Evening Post and won an O. Henry Award that same year. The author would adapt it in 1938 into a folk opera with music by Douglas Stuart Moore, a fellow alumnus of Yale University, member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and winner of a Pulitzer Prize. Benét also worked on the screenplay adaptation for the 1941 RKO Pictures film. A local farmer, Jabez Stone, is plagued with unending bad luck, causing him to finally swear that "it's enough to make a man want to sell his soul to the devil!" Stone is visited the next day by a stranger, who later identifies himself as "Mr. Scratch" and makes such an offer (in exchange for seven years of prosperity), to which Stone agrees. After the seven years, Stone
    7.20
    5 votes
    24
    The Adventure of the Dying Detective

    The Adventure of the Dying Detective

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Dying Detective", in some editions simply titled "The Dying Detective", is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Together with seven other stories, it is collected as His Last Bow. Dr. Watson is called to 221B Baker Street to tend Holmes, who is apparently dying of a rare Asian disease contracted while he was on a case at Rotherhithe. Watson is shocked, having heard nothing about his friend’s illness. Mrs. Hudson says that he has neither eaten nor drunk anything in three days. Upon arriving, Watson finds Holmes in his bed looking very ill and gaunt indeed, and Holmes proceeds to make several odd demands of Watson. He is not to come near Holmes, for the illness is highly contagious. He will seek no help save from the man whom Holmes names. He will wait until six o’clock before Holmes names him. When Watson objects and tries to leave for help, Holmes musters enough strength to leap out of bed, and lock the door, taking the key. So, Watson is forced to wait. Holmes seems delirious at times. Watson examines several objects in Holmes’s room while he waits. Holmes has a fit when Watson touches one item, a
    8.25
    4 votes
    25
    The Adventure of the Cardboard Box

    The Adventure of the Cardboard Box

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Cardboard Box" is one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is the second of the twelve Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes in most British editions of the canon, and second of the eight stories from His Last Bow in most American versions. The story was first published in the Strand Magazine in 1892. The tale begins when Miss Susan Cushing of Croydon receives a parcel in the post which contains two severed human ears packed in coarse salt. Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard suspects a prank by three medical students whom Miss Cushing was forced to evict because of their unruly behaviour. The parcel was sent from Belfast which is where one of the former boarders was from. Holmes, however, upon examining the parcel himself, is convinced that they are dealing with a serious crime. He reasons that a medical student with access to a dissection laboratory would likely use something other than plain salt to preserve human remains and would be able to make a neater incision than the rough hack used on these ears. Also, the address on the package itself, roughly written and with a spelling correction, suggests to Holmes a
    6.17
    6 votes
    26
    Empire of the Ants

    Empire of the Ants

    "Empire of the Ants" is a 1905 short story by H. G. Wells, which inspired a film of the same title in 1977. The story involves an explorer who is dispatched to South America to investigate reports of intelligent ants destroying a colony. It was published in 1905 in The Strand Magazine.
    7.00
    5 votes
    27
    The Miller's Prologue and Tale

    The Miller's Prologue and Tale

    • Genre: Fabliau
    "The Miller's Tale" (Middle English: The Milleres Tale) is the second of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (1380s-1390s), told by the drunken miller Robyn to "quite" (requite) "The Knight's Tale". The Miller's Prologue is the first "quite" that occurs in the tales (to "quite" someone is to make repayment for a service, the service here being the telling of stories). The general prologue to The Canterbury Tales describes the Miller, Robyn, as a stout and gracious churl fond of wrestling. In the Miller's Prologue, the pilgrims have just heard and enjoyed "The Knight's Tale", a classical story of courtly love, and the host asks the Monk to "quite" ("follow" or "repay") with a tale of his own. However, the Miller insists on going next. He claims that his tale is "noble", but reminds the other pilgrims that he is quite drunk and cannot be held accountable for what he says. He explains that his story is about a carpenter and his wife, and how a clerk "hath set the wrightes cappe" (that is, fooled the carpenter). Osewold the Reeve, who had originally been a carpenter himself, protests that the tale will insult carpenters and wives, but the Miller carries on anyway. "The Miller's Tale"
    8.00
    4 votes
    28
    Averroes's Search

    Averroes's Search

    • Genre: Fantasy
    "Averroës's Search" (original Spanish title: "La Busca de Averroes") is a 1947 short story by the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. Originally published in the magazine Sur, it was later included in his second anthology of short stories, El Aleph. The story imagines the difficulty of Averroës, the famed Islamic philosopher and translator, in translating Aristotle's Poetics because (in the story) he didn't understand what a play was, owing to the absence of live theatrical performances from Averroës' cultural milieu, in contrast to that of ancient Greece. Ironically, in the story, Averroës casually observes some children play-acting, then later hears a traveler ineptly describe an actual theatrical performance he once saw in a distant land, but still fails to understand that the tragedies and comedies of which Aristotle writes are a kind of performance art, rather than merely literature. The process of writing the story is meant to parallel the events in the story itself; Borges writes in an afterword to the story that his attempt to understand Averroës was as doomed as Averroës's attempt to understand drama. "I felt that the work mocked me, foiled me, thwarted me. I felt that
    6.80
    5 votes
    29
    The Necklace

    The Necklace

    • Genre: Short story
    "The Necklace" or "The Diamond Necklace" (French: La Parure) is a short story by Guy de Maupassant, first published in 1884 in the French newspaper Le Gaulois. The story has become one of Maupassant's popular works and is well known for its ending. It is also the inspiration for Henry James's short story, "Paste". It has been dramatised as a musical by the Irish composer Conor Mitchell; it was first produced professionally by Thomas Hopkins and Andrew Jenkins for Surefire Theatrical Ltd at the Edinburgh Festival in 2007. "The Necklace" tells the story of Madame Mathilde Loisel and her husband Charles. Mathilde always imagined herself in a high social position with wonderful jewels. However she has nothing and marries a low paid clerk who tries his best to make her happy. Through lots of begging at work Charles is able to get two invitations to the Ministry of the Public Instruction party. Mathilde then refuses to go, for she has nothing to wear. Her husband is upset to see her displeasure and, using money that he was saving to buy a rifle, gives Mathilde 400 francs and lets his wife buy a dress that suits her. Mathilde goes out and buys a dress, but even with the dress Mathilde is
    6.80
    5 votes
    30
    The Golden Fleece

    The Golden Fleece

    • Characters: Tiresias
    In Greek mythology, the Golden Fleece (Greek: Χρυσόμαλλον Δέρας Chrysómallon Déras; Georgian: ოქროს საწმისი) is the fleece of the gold-hair winged ram, which can be procured in Colchis. It figures in the tale of Jason and his band of Argonauts, who set out on a quest by order of King Pelias for the fleece in order to place Jason rightfully on the throne of Iolcus in Thessaly. The story is of great antiquity – it was current in the time of Homer (eighth century BC) – and, consequently, it survives in various forms, among which details vary. Thus, in later versions of the story, the ram is said to have been the offspring of the sea god Poseidon and Themisto (less often, Nephele or Theophane). The classic telling is the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes, composed in mid-third century BC Alexandria, recasting early sources that have not survived. Another, much less-known Argonautica, using the same body of myth, was composed in Latin by Valerius Flaccus during the time of Vespasian. Athamas the Minyan, a founder of Halos in Thessaly but also king of the city of Orchomenus in Boeotia (a region of southeastern Greece), took as his first wife the cloud goddess Nephele, by whom he had
    9.00
    3 votes
    31
    Tidal Moon

    Tidal Moon

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    "Tidal Moon" is a science fiction short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum and Helen Weinbaum that first appeared in the December 1938 issue of Thrilling Wonder Stories and was reprinted in the collection Interplanetary Odysseys (2006). Sam Moskowitz stated that Stanley G. Weinbaum completed only a page and a half of the story before his death, and that his sister Helen Weinbaum completed the story on her own. "Tidal Moon" is the only story by Weinbaum to take place on Ganymede. In Weinbaum's Solar System, Jupiter radiates enough heat to create Earthlike environments on the Galilean moons. Ganymede, the third Galilean satellite, has a subarctic climate, large bodies of water, and a six month rotation period. Due to Jupiter's tidal pull, every spot on Ganymede's surface is inundated with water every three months except a small area of the south pole where the human settlement of Hydropole is located. The Ganymedian natives, the Nympus, grow a mosslike plant called cree which is ordinarily red, but which turns blue when exposed to the ammonia in Ganymede's atmosphere. The blue moss is collected by human traders in the employ of Cree, Inc. who travel among the native villages on an aquatic
    7.75
    4 votes
    32
    MS. Found in a Bottle

    MS. Found in a Bottle

    • Genre: Short story
    "MS. Found in a Bottle" is an 1833 short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe. The plot follows an unnamed narrator at sea who finds himself in a series of harrowing circumstances. As he nears his own disastrous death while his ship drives ever southward, he writes an "MS.", or manuscript telling of his adventures which he casts into the sea. Some critics believe the story was meant as a satire of typical sea tales. Poe submitted "MS. Found in a Bottle" as one of many entries to a writing contest offered by the weekly Baltimore Saturday Visiter. Each of the stories was well liked by the judges but they unanimously chose "MS. Found in a Bottle" as the contest's winner, earning Poe a $50 prize. The story was then published in the October 19, 1833, issue of the Visiter. An unnamed narrator, estranged from his family and country, sets sail as a passenger aboard a cargo ship from Batavia (now known as Jakarta, Indonesia). Some days into the voyage, the ship is first becalmed then hit by a Simoon (a combination of a sand storm and hurricane) that capsizes the ship and sends everyone except the narrator and an old Swede overboard. Driven southward by the magical Simoon towards the
    7.50
    4 votes
    33
    The Spectacles

    The Spectacles

    • Characters: Adolphus Simpson
    • Genre: Comedy
    "The Spectacles" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, published in 1844. It is one of Poe's comedy tales. The narrator, 22-year old Napoleon Buonaparte, changes his last name from "Froissart" to "Simpson" as a requirement to inherit a large sum from a distant cousin, Adolphus Simpson. At the opera he sees a beautiful woman in the audience and falls in love instantly. He describes her beauty at length, despite not being able to see her well; he requires spectacles but, in his vanity, "resolutely refused to employ them." His companion Talbot identifies the woman as Madame Eugenie Lalande, a wealthy widow, and promises to introduce the two. He courts her and proposes marriage; she makes him promise that, on their wedding night, he will wear his spectacles. When he puts on the spectacles, he sees that she is a toothless old woman. He expresses horror at her appearance, and even more so when he learns she is 82 years old. She begins a rant about a very foolish descendant of hers, one Napoleon Bonaparte Froissart. He realizes that she is his great-great-grandmother. Madame Lalande, who is also Mrs. Simpson, had come to America to meet her husband's heir. She was accompanied by a much
    7.50
    4 votes
    34
    A Legend of Old Egypt

    A Legend of Old Egypt

    • Genre: Short story
    "A Legend of Old Egypt" (Polish: "Z legend dawnego Egiptu") is a short story by Bolesław Prus, originally published January 1, 1888, in New Year's supplements to the Warsaw Kurier Codzienny (Daily Courier) and Tygodnik Ilustrowany (Illustrated Weekly). It was his first piece of historical fiction and later served as a preliminary sketch for his only historical novel, Pharaoh (1895), which would be serialized in the Illustrated Weekly. "A Legend of Old Egypt" and Pharaoh show unmistakable kinships in setting, theme and denouement. The centenarian pharaoh Ramses is breathing his last, "his chest... invested by a stifling incubus [that drains] the blood from his heart, the strength from his arm, and at times even the consciousness from his brain." He commands the wisest physician at the Temple of Karnak to prepare him a medicine that kills or cures at once. After Ramses drinks the potion, he summons an astrologer and asks what the stars show. The astrologer replies that heavenly alignments portend the death of a member of the dynasty; Ramses should not have taken the medicine today. Ramses then asks the physician how soon he will die; the physician replies that before sunrise either
    10.00
    2 votes
    35
    The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

    The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

    "The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber" is a short story by Ernest Hemingway. Set in Africa, it was published in the September 1936 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine concurrently with "The Snows of Kilimanjaro". The story was eventually adapted to the screen as the Zoltan Korda film The Macomber Affair (1947). Francis Macomber and his wife Margaret (usually referred to as "Margot"), are on a big-game safari in Africa, guided by professional hunter Robert Wilson. Earlier, Francis had panicked when a wounded lion charged him. Margot mocks Macomber for this act of cowardice, and it is implied that she sleeps with Wilson. The next day the party hunt buffalo. Macomber and Wilson hunt together where the pair shoot 3 buffalo. Two of the buffalo are killed, but the first buffalo was only wounded and has gone into the bush. Macomber now feels confident, and he and Wilson proceed to track the wounded animal, paralleling the circumstances of the previous day's lion hunt. When they find the buffalo, it charges Macomber. Although he stands his ground and fires at it, his shots are too high. Wilson fires at the beast as well, but it keeps charging. Macomber kills the buffalo at the last second.
    10.00
    2 votes
    36
    Pillar of Fire

    Pillar of Fire

    • Characters: Abarsis
    • Genre: High fantasy
    "Pillar of Fire" is a story in the Thieves' World shared fictional universe and the Sacred Band of Stepsons universe. "Pillar of Fire" is also the second of two stories written by Janet Morris in the Thieves' World book, "Soul of the City" (Abbey, Cherryh, Morris; 1986). "Hell to Pay" brings to a conclusion Thieves' World # 8 with the destruction of the Nisbisi globe of power, the imprisoning of the sorcerers Roxane and Haught, and the freeing of Niko's body from demonic possession and, with the help of Abarsis and Ischade, the freeing of his rest-place from invaders, and the preparation of Arton and Gyskouras for the trip to Bandara.
    8.67
    3 votes
    37
    Shadows in Zamboula

    Shadows in Zamboula

    • Genre: Horror
    "Shadows in Zamboula" is one of the original stories by Robert E. Howard about Conan the Cimmerian, first published in Weird Tales in 1935. Its original title was "The Man-Eaters of Zamboula". The story takes place over a night in Zamboula, with political intrigue amidst streets filled with roaming cannibals. It features the character Baal-pteor, one of the few humans in the Conan stories to be a physical challenge for the main Cimmerian character himself. Despite a warning received in the Suq by an elderly desert nomad, Conan stays the night in a cheap tavern in Zamboula, run by Aram Baksh. As night falls, a black Darfarian cannibal enters to drag him away to be eaten. All of the Darfar slaves in the city are cannibals who roam the streets at night. As they only prey on travellers, the people of the city tolerate this and stay locked securely in their homes, while nomads and beggars make sure to spend the night at a comfortable distance from its walls. This night, however, Conan finds a naked woman chasing through the streets after her deranged lover; Conan rescues them from an attack by the cannibals. She tells him that she tried to secure her lover's unending affection via a
    8.67
    3 votes
    38
    The Adventure of Black Peter

    The Adventure of Black Peter

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of Black Peter" is a Sherlock Holmes story by Arthur Conan Doyle. This tale is in the collection The Return of Sherlock Holmes, but was published originally in 1904 in the Strand Magazine and Collier's. Forest Row in the Weald is the scene of a gruesome harpoon murder, and a young police inspector, Stanley Hopkins, asks Holmes, whom he admires, for help. Holmes has already determined that it would take a great deal of strength and skill to run a man through with a harpoon and embed it in the wall behind him. Peter Carey, the 50-year-old victim and former master of the Sea Unicorn of Dundee, was a most unpleasant man, especially when he was drunk. He had a reputation for being violent, even having been prosecuted once for assaulting the local vicar. His daughter is actually glad that he is dead. She and her mother have endured years of abuse from the old whaler and sealer, who moreover had some remarkably peculiar habits. He did not sleep in the family house, but in an outhouse that he built some distance from the house, and which he decorated to look like a sailor’s cabin on a ship. This is where he was found harpooned. Hopkins could find no footprints or other
    8.67
    3 votes
    39
    Mold of the Earth

    Mold of the Earth

    "Mold of the Earth" (Polish: "Pleśń świata") is one of the shortest micro-stories by the Polish writer Bolesław Prus. The story was published on 1 January 1884 in the News Year's Day issue of the Warsaw Courier (Kurier Warszawski). The story comes from a several years' period of pessimism in the author's life. That pessimism had been caused by the situation of Poland (which nine decades earlier, upon the completion of the Partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, had ceased to exist as an independent country) and by the 1883 failure of Nowiny (News), a Warsaw daily that Prus had been editing for less than a year. The story is set adjacent to the Temple of the Sibyl on the grounds of the old Czartoryski estate in Puławy. The Temple had been erected in the late 18th century by Princess Izabela Czartoryska as a museum and patriotic memorial to the late Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Next to the Temple is a boulder, overgrown with molds, which at a certain moment magically transforms into a globe. In his one-and-a-half-page micro-story, Prus identifies human societies with colonies of molds that contest the surface of the globe. He thus provides a metaphor for the competitive
    6.40
    5 votes
    40
    The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual

    The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual" is a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle, featuring his fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. The story was originally published in Strand Magazine in 1893, and was collected later in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Unlike the majority of Holmes stories, the main narrator is not Doctor Watson, but Sherlock Holmes himself. With Watson providing an introduction, the story-within-a-story is a classic example of a frame tale. It is one of the earliest recorded cases investigated by Holmes, and establishes his problem solving skills. "The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual" shares elements with two Edgar Allan Poe tales: "The Gold Bug" and "The Cask of Amontillado". In 1927, Conan Doyle ranked the story at 11th place on his top 12 Holmes stories list. The story did better in a 1959 chart produced by the Baker Street Journal, ranking 6th out of 10. In the story, Holmes recounts to Watson the events arising after a visit from a university acquaintance, Reginald Musgrave. Musgrave visits Holmes after the disappearance of two of his domestic staff, Rachel Howells, a maid, and Richard Brunton, the longtime butler. The pair vanished after Musgrave had
    6.40
    5 votes
    41
    Markheim

    Markheim

    "Markheim" is a short story by Robert Louis Stevenson, originally prepared for the Pall Mall Gazette in 1884, but published in 1885 in The Broken Shaft: Tales of Mid-Ocean as part of Unwin's Christmas Annual. The story was later published in Stevenson's collection The Merry Men and Other Tales and Fables (1887). The story opens in an antique store, with Markheim wishing to buy a Christmas present for a woman he will soon marry. The dealer presents him with a mirror but Markheim takes fright at his own reflection, claiming that no man wants to see what a mirror shows him. Markheim is strangely reluctant to end the transaction, but when the dealer insists that Markheim must buy or leave, Markheim consents to stop tarrying and review more goods. The dealer turns his back to replace the mirror, and Markheim pulls out a knife and stabs him to death. Markheim spends some minutes recovering his nerve, when he hears someone moving about upstairs, though he knows the servant has taken the day off and no one should be there. He reassures himself that the outer door is locked, then searches the dead body for keys and goes to the upper rooms where the dealer lived to look for money. As he
    7.25
    4 votes
    42
    Snow White

    Snow White

    "Snow White" is a German fairy tale known in many countries in Europe. The best known is a German version collected by the Brothers Grimm in 1812 as German: Schneewittchen und die sieben Zwerge, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (or Dwarves). The German version features such elements as the magic mirror, the poisoned apple, the glass coffin, and the seven dwarfs, who were first given individual names in the Broadway play Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1912) and then given different names in Walt Disney's 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The Grimm story, which is commonly referred to as "Snow White", should not be confused with the story of "Snow White and Rose Red", another fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm (in German "Schneeweißchen", rather than "Schneewittchen"). In the Aarne-Thompson folklore classification, tales of this kind are grouped together as type 709, Snow White. Others of this kind include "Bella Venezia", "Myrsina", "Nourie Hadig" and "Gold-Tree and Silver-Tree". The English translation of the definitive edition of the Grimms' Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Berlin 1857), tale number 53, is the basis for the English translation by D. L. Ashliman. Once
    7.25
    4 votes
    43
    The Death of Ivan Ilyich

    The Death of Ivan Ilyich

    The Death of Ivan Ilyich (Russian: Смерть Ивана Ильича, Smert' Ivana Ilyicha), first published in 1886, is a novella by Leo Tolstoy, one of the masterpieces of his late fiction, written shortly after his religious conversion of the late 1870s. The novel tells the story of the death, at age 45, of a high-court judge in 19th-century Russia. Living what seems to be a good life, his dreadful relationship with his wife notwithstanding, Ivan Ilyich Golovin injures his side while hanging up curtains in a new apartment intended to reflect his family's superior status in society. Within weeks, he has developed a strange taste in his mouth and a pain that will not go away. Several expensive doctors are consulted, but beyond muttering about blind gut and floating kidneys, they can neither explain nor treat his condition, and it soon becomes clear that Ivan Ilyich is dying. The second half of the novel records his terror as he battles with the idea of his own death. "I have been here. Now I am going there. Where? ... No, I won't have it!" Oppressed by the length of the process, his wife, daughter, colleagues, and even the physicians, decide in the end not to speak of it, but advise him to stay
    7.25
    4 votes
    44
    The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate

    The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate

    • Genre: Short story
    The Merchant and the Alchemist's Gate is a fantasy novelette by Ted Chiang originally published in 2007 by Subterranean Press and reprinted in the September 2007 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction. It won the 2008 Hugo Award for Best Novelette and the 2008 Nebula Award for Best Novelette. The story follows Fuwaad ibn Abbas, a fabric merchant in the ancient city of Baghdad. It begins when he is searching for a gift to give a business associate and happens to discover a new shop in the marketplace. The shop owner, who makes and sells a variety of very interesting items, invites Fuwaad into the back workshop to see a mysterious black stone arch which serves as a gateway into the future, which the shop owner has made by the use of alchemy. Fuwaad is intrigued, and the shop owner tells him three stories of others who have traveled through the gate to meet and have conversation with their future selves. When Fuwaad learns that the shop keeper has another gate in Cairo that will allow people to travel even into the past, he makes the journey there to try to rectify a mistake he made twenty years earlier.
    7.25
    4 votes
    45
    The Callistan Menace

    The Callistan Menace

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    "The Callistan Menace" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. It first appeared in the April 1940 issue of Astonishing Stories and was reprinted in the 1972 collection The Early Asimov. It was the second story written by Asimov, and the oldest story of his still in existence. Asimov came up with the idea for the story, which he called "Stowaway", after his first meeting with John W. Campbell on 21 June 1938. When his first story, "Cosmic Corkscrew," was rejected by Campbell on the 23rd, Asimov started writing "Stowaway". He finished the first draft on the 28th, and the final draft on 10 July. He submitted "Stowaway" to Campbell in person during another visit on the 18th. Suspecting that Campbell would reject it, Asimov spent the subway ride home coming up with the plot for a third story, "Marooned Off Vesta". Campbell did indeed reject "Stowaway", based on the story's "general air of amateurishness, constraint, forcing". On 3 August Asimov submitted the story to Thrilling Wonder Stories. When Thrilling Wonder rejected it, Asimov mailed the story to the offices of Amazing Stories in Chicago, which also rejected it. In the summer of 1939, following the sale of some later
    8.33
    3 votes
    46
    The Chronic Argonauts

    The Chronic Argonauts

    • Genre: Time travel
    "The Chronic Argonauts" is a short story written by H. G. Wells. First published by the Royal College of Science in 1888, it is the first well-developed use of a machine constructed to travel through time (a "time machine") in science fiction, as it predates Wells's more famous time traveling novel, The Time Machine, by 7 years. This brief story begins with a third-person account of the arrival of a mysterious inventor to the peaceful Welsh town of Llyddwdd. Dr. Moses Nebogipfel takes up residence in a house sorely neglected after the deaths of its former inhabitants. The main bulk of the story concerns the apprehension of the simple rural folk who eventually storm the inventor's "devilish" workshop in an effort to repay supposed witchery. Nebogipfel escapes with one other person—the sympathetic Reverend Elijah Ulysses Cook—in what is later revealed to be a time machine. The next part picks up with an unnamed "Author" character discovering the dazed Reverend Cook returned from unbelievable exploits after having been missing for three weeks. The remainder of the story is the Reverend's short retelling (again in the third-person) of the events that took place that night and the
    8.33
    3 votes
    47
    The Man Who Planted Trees

    The Man Who Planted Trees

    The Man Who Planted Trees (French title L'homme qui plantait des arbres), also known as The Story of Elzéard Bouffier, The Most Extraordinary Character I Ever Met, and The Man Who Planted Hope and Reaped Happiness, is an allegorical tale by French author Jean Giono, published in 1953. It tells the story of one shepherd's long and successful singlehanded effort to re-forest a desolate valley in the foothills of the Alps in Provence throughout the first half of the 20th century. The tale is quite short—only about 4000 words long. It was composed in French, but first published in English. The story begins in the year 1910, when this young man is undertaking a lone hiking trip through Provence, France, and into the Alps, enjoying the relatively unspoiled wilderness. The narrator runs out of water in a treeless, desolate valley where only wild lavender grows and there is no trace of civilization except old, empty crumbling buildings. The narrator finds only a dried up well, but is saved by a middle-aged shepherd who takes him to a spring he knows of. Curious about this man and why he has chosen such a lonely life, the narrator stays with him for a time. The shepherd, after being
    8.33
    3 votes
    48
    Wake of the Riddler

    Wake of the Riddler

    • Characters: Zip
    • Genre: Historical fantasy
    "Wake of the Riddler" is a story by Janet Morris in the Thieves' World shared fictional universe and the Sacred Band of Stepsons fictional universe. "Wake of the Riddler" first appears in Thieves' World 10, "Aftermath" (Asprin and Abbey, eds.; 1987).
    8.33
    3 votes
    49
    The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor

    The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the tenth of the twelve stories collected in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The story was first published in Strand Magazine in April 1892. The story served as the very loose basis for the made-for-television film The Eligible Bachelor starring Jeremy Brett as Holmes, Edward Hardwicke as Watson and Simon Williams as Lord Robert St Simon, the screenplay of which turned St Simon into a villainous "Bluebeard" character who had married and disposed of a series of wealthy women before marrying Hatty Doran. The story entails the bride of the fictional Lord Robert St. Simon disappearing on the day of their marriage. She attends (and participates in) the wedding, but disappears from the reception. The events of the wedding day are most perplexing to Lord Robert as it seemed to him that his bride, Miss Hatty Doran of San Francisco, was full of enthusiasm about their impending marriage. St. Simon tells Holmes that he noticed a change in the young lady's mood just after the wedding ceremony. She was uncharacteristically sharp with him. The only obvious
    9.50
    2 votes
    50
    Description of a Struggle

    Description of a Struggle

    "Description of a Struggle" (German: "Beschreibung eines Kampfes") is a short story by Franz Kafka. It contains the dialogues "Conversation with the Supplicant" ("Gespräch mit dem Beter") and "Conversation with the Drunk" ("Gespräch mit dem Betrunkenen") "Description of a Struggle" is one of Kafka's earliest stories that was not destroyed and is usually the earliest included in collections of his work. (His oldest surviving work of fiction is "Shamefaced Lanky and Impure in Heart," which he wrote a few years earlier and which only survived because it was included in a letter to his friend Oskar Pollak.) Kafka began the story in 1904 at the age of 20 and worked on it on and off until 1909. It is also notable for being the story that Kafka first showed to his friend Max Brod and which convinced Brod that Kafka should further pursue his writing. Brod liked the story so much that he mentioned Kafka as an example of "the high level reached by [today's] German literature" in a theatre review of his, this before Kafka had even been published. Brod eventually convinced Kafka to submit his work to Franz Blei's literary journal Hyperion, which published a short fragment of the story in its
    7.00
    4 votes
    51
    The Adventure of the Priory School

    The Adventure of the Priory School

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Priory School", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle ranked "The Adventure of the Priory School" tenth in his list of his twelve favorite Holmes stories. Holmes receives a visit from Dr. Thorneycroft Huxtable, the founder and principal of a preparatory school called Priory School in Northern England. He beseeches Holmes to come back to Mackleton with him to look into the kidnapping of one of his pupils. The boy's father, the Duke of Holdernesse, has offered a reward of £5000 to anyone who can tell him where his son, the ten-year-old Lord Saltire, is, and a further £1000 to anyone who can tell him who his kidnappers are. James Wilder, the Duke's personal secretary, has also been indiscreet enough to mention something to Huxtable about the young Lord's unhappy home life. His parents no longer live together, his mother having moved to Southern France. Wilder has said that Lord Saltire's sympathies were with his mother in these matters. Upon arrival at the school, though, Lord Saltire seemed to be quite happy, and in his
    7.00
    4 votes
    52
    The Thing on the Doorstep

    The Thing on the Doorstep

    • Genre: Horror
    "The Thing on the Doorstep" is a short story written by H. P. Lovecraft, part of the Cthulhu Mythos universe of horror fiction. It was written in August 1933, and first published in the January 1937 issue of Weird Tales. Two novels suggested as inspirations for "The Thing on the Doorstep" are Barry Pain's An Exchange of Souls (1911), about a scientist's invention that allows him to switch personalities with his wife, and H. B. Drake's The Remedy (1925; published in the U.S. as The Shadowy Thing), in which a character with the power of mind-transference comes back from the dead by possessing the body of an injured friend. The story is divided into 7 chapters: Daniel Upton, the story's narrator, begins by telling that he has killed his best friend, Edward Derby, and that he hopes his account will prove that he is not a murderer. He begins by describing Derby's life and career. He then tells of Asenath Waite, and how Derby and she wed. A few years later, people start to notice a change in Derby's abilities. He confides in Upton, telling him strange stories of Asenath, and how he believes her father, Ephraim Waite, may not actually be dead. Upton is called to pick up Derby who has been
    7.00
    4 votes
    53
    Twice-Told Tales

    Twice-Told Tales

    Twice-Told Tales is a short story collection in two volumes by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The first was published in the spring of 1837, and the second in 1842. The stories had all been previously published in magazines and annuals, hence the name. Hawthorne was encouraged to collect these previously anonymous stories by friend Horatio Bridge, who offered $250 to cover the risk of the publication. Many had been published in The Token, edited by Samuel Griswold Goodrich. When the works became popular, Bridge revealed Hawthorne as the author in a review he published in the Boston Post. The title, Twice-Told Tales, was based on a line from William Shakespeare's The Life and Death of King John (Act 3, scene 4): "Life is as tedious as a twice-told tale, / Vexing the dull ear of a drowsy man." The book was published by the American Stationers' Company on March 6, 1837; its cover price was one dollar. Hawthorne had help in promoting the book from Elizabeth Peabody. She sent copies of the collection to William Wordsworth as well as to Horace Mann, hoping that Mann could get Hawthorne a job writing stories for schoolchildren. After publication, Hawthorne asked a friend to check with the local
    7.00
    4 votes
    54
    Ligeia

    Ligeia

    • Characters: Ligeia
    • Genre: Horror
    "Ligeia" is an early short story by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1838. The story follows an unnamed narrator and his wife Ligeia, a beautiful and intelligent raven-haired woman. She falls ill, composes "The Conqueror Worm", and quotes lines attributed to Joseph Glanvill (which suggest that life is sustainable only through willpower) shortly before dying. After her death, the narrator marries the Lady Rowena. Rowena becomes ill and she dies as well. The distraught narrator stays with her body overnight and watches as Rowena slowly comes back from the dead – though she has transformed into Ligeia. The story may be the narrator's opium-induced hallucination and there is debate whether the story was a satire. After the story's first publication in The American Museum, it was heavily revised and reprinted throughout Poe's life. The unnamed narrator describes the qualities of Ligeia, a beautiful, passionate and intellectual woman, raven-haired and dark-eyed, that he thinks he remembers meeting "in some large, old decaying city near the Rhine." He is unable to recall anything about the history of Ligeia, including her family's name, but remembers her beautiful
    8.00
    3 votes
    55
    The Adventure of the Empty House

    The Adventure of the Empty House

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Empty House", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Public pressure forced Conan Doyle to bring the sleuth back to life, and explain his apparently miraculous survival of a deadly struggle with Professor Moriarty. Doyle ranked "The Adventure of the Empty House" sixth in his list of his twelve favorite Holmes stories. The empty house across from Baker St flat has a clear view of a wax Holmes, which is bait for Colonel Sebastian Moran, a surviving lieutenant of Moriarty. In April 1894, Watson (now a widower) checks 427 Park Lane where a young gambler, the Honorable Ronald Adair, was shot in a closed room on the 30th of March. He bumps into a wizened old book collector, who follows him home to his Kensington practice study then drops his disguise - it is Holmes. Holmes apologizes for the deception needed to outwit his enemies, and describes his three years' exploits. He needed funds, so he confided in his brother Mycroft, who had preserved Sherlock Holmes' rooms. After a roundabout route, they wait two hours until around midnight
    8.00
    3 votes
    56
    The Adventure of the Reigate Squire

    The Adventure of the Reigate Squire

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Reigate Squire", also known as "The Adventure of the Reigate Squires" and "The Adventure of the Reigate Puzzle", was one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle ranked "The Adventure of the Reigate Squire" twelfth in his list of his twelve favorite Holmes stories. Watson takes Holmes to a friend's estate near Reigate in Surrey to rest after a rather strenuous case in France. Holmes finds that his services are needed here, but he also finds that his recent illness serves him well. His host is Colonel Hayter. There has recently been a burglary at the nearby Acton estate in which the thieves stole a motley assortment of things, even a ball of twine, but nothing terribly valuable. Then one morning, the Colonel's butler tells news of a murder at another nearby estate, the Cunninghams'. The victim is William Kirwan, the coachman. Inspector Forrester has taken charge of the investigation, and there is one physical clue: a torn piece of paper found in William's hand with a few words written on it. Holmes takes an instant interest in
    8.00
    3 votes
    57
    The Vengeance of Nitocris

    The Vengeance of Nitocris

    "The Vengeance of Nitocris" is a short story by Tennessee Williams, written when Williams was 16 years old, and published in Weird Tales in its August, 1928 issue. The story is a "surprisingly lurid" tale of loosely historical fiction, based on the account of the semi-legendary female pharaoh Nitocris found in Herodotus. Williams was paid thirty-five dollars for the story by Weird Tales; it was his first piece of stand-alone published fiction. Robert E. Howard's "Red Shadows", the story that introduced Solomon Kane, was the cover story. Nitocris is the sister of an unnamed pharaoh. When a bridge the pharaoh built across the Nile collapses, the pharaoh extinguishes the sacred fires of Osiris, defiles a temple with hyena sacrifices, and as a result dies at the hands of an angry mob of priests and citizens. Nitocris, now the empress, takes revenge for the execution of her brother for sacrilege by inviting his judges to a banquet in a magnificent temple she has constructed, feigning only a desire to atone for his offenses. In fact, the new temple is an elaborate death trap. Once they have gathered, she opens a sluice gate and allows the water of the Nile to drown them all, and takes a
    8.00
    3 votes
    58
    —All You Zombies—

    —All You Zombies—

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    ""—All You Zombies—"" is a science fiction short story by Robert A. Heinlein. It was written in one day, July 11, 1958, and first published in the March 1959 issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine after being rejected by Playboy. The story involves a number of paradoxes caused by time travel. In 1980, it was nominated for the Balrog Award for short fiction. ""—All You Zombies—"" further develops themes explored by the author in a previous work: "By His Bootstraps", published some 18 years earlier. Some of the same elements also appear later in The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (1988), including the Circle of Ouroboros and the Temporal Corps. "'—All You Zombies—'" chronicles a young man (later revealed to be intersex) taken back in time and tricked into impregnating his younger, female self (before he underwent a sex change); he thus turns out to be the offspring of that union, with the paradoxical result that he is his own mother and father. As the story unfolds, all the major characters are revealed to be the same person, at different stages of her/his life. The story involves an intricate series of time-travel journeys. It begins with a young man speaking to the narrator,
    8.00
    3 votes
    59
    The Shadow of the Vulture

    The Shadow of the Vulture

    • Genre: Short story
    "The Shadow of the Vulture" is a short story by Robert E. Howard, first published in The Magic Carpet Magazine, January 1934. The story introduces the character of Red Sonya of Rogatino, who later became the inspiration for the popular character Red Sonja, archetype of the chainmail-bikini clad female warrior. Unlike Howard's better-known fantasy work, "The Shadow of the Vulture" is historical fiction, set in the 16th century. It uses the career of sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (also known as Sultan Suleiman I), the aftermath of the Battle of Mohács (1526) and the later Siege of Vienna of 1529 as a backdrop for imaginary characters and events. In Istanbul, the Ottoman sultan Suleiman the Magnificent sends home the members of an Austrian diplomatic envoy whom he has kept imprisoned for nine months. He recognizes one of the members, however; a knight by the name of Gottfried von Kalmbach, who had seriously wounded him during the Battle of Mohács. The sultan’s grand vizier Ibrahim entrusts the widely-feared soldier, Mikhal Oglu, with hunting down von Kalmbach and retrieving his head. Mikhal Oglu and his warriors raid the countryside between the Ottoman empire and Vienna in
    5.17
    6 votes
    60
    Gil Braltar

    Gil Braltar

    • Genre: Short story
    Gil Braltar is a satirical short story by Jules Verne parodying British colonialism. It was first published together with The Flight to France as a part of Voyages Extraordinaires series (The Extraordinary Voyages) in 1887. The story is set in British fortress and colony Gibraltar. A man, a Spaniard named Gil Braltar, dresses up as a monkey and becomes leader of a group of monkeys living there (Barbary Macaque). He incites attack on the fortress. The attack, initially successful, is foiled by a British general. This general is so ugly that the monkeys believe he was one of them and obey him when he leads them out. Verne's conclusion is that in the future only the ugliest generals will be sent to Gibraltar to keep the colony in British hands.
    6.75
    4 votes
    61
    The Black Stranger

    The Black Stranger

    • Genre: Horror
    "The Black Stranger" is one of the stories by Robert E. Howard about Conan the Cimmerian, it was produced in the 1930s but not published in his lifetime. When the original Conan version of the story failed to find a publisher, Howard re-wrote "The Black Stranger" into a piratical Terence Vulmea story. The original version of the story was later rewritten by L. Sprague de Camp, into a different Conan story, and published in Fantasy Magazine for February 1953. It was retitled "The Treasure of Tranicos" for book publication later the same year. Its first hardbound publication was in King Conan, published by Gnome Press, and its first paperback publication was in Conan the Usurper, published by Lancer Books in 1967. It was republished together with an introduction and two non-fiction pieces on the story and on Howard by de Camp and illustrations by Esteban Maroto as The Treasure of Tranicos by Ace Books in 1980. Howard's original version of the story was first published in 1987 in Echoes of Valor and more recently in the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 2: The Hour of the Dragon (Gollancz, 2001) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume Three (1935-1936) (Del Rey Books, 2005). The story
    6.75
    4 votes
    62
    The Minister's Black Veil

    The Minister's Black Veil

    • Genre: American Gothic Fiction
    "The Minister's Black Veil" is a short story written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It was first published in the 1836 edition of The Token and Atlantic Souvenir, edited by Samuel Goodrich. It later appeared in Twice-Told Tales, a collection of short stories by Hawthorne published in 1837. The story begins with the sexton standing in front of the meeting-house, ringing the bell. He is to stop ringing the bell when the Reverend Mr. Hooper comes into sight. However, the congregation is met with an unusual sight: Mr. Hooper is wearing a black semi-transparent veil that obscures all of his face but his mouth and chin from view. This creates a stir among the townspeople, who begin to speculate about his veil and its significance. As he takes the pulpit, Mr. Hooper's sermon is on secret sin and is "tinged, rather more darkly than usual, with the gentle gloom of Mr. Hooper's temperament". This topic concerns the congregation who fear for their own secret sins as well as their minister's new appearance. After the sermon, a funeral is held for a young lady of the town who has died. Mr. Hooper stays for the funeral and continues to wear his now more appropriate veil. It is said that if the veil
    6.75
    4 votes
    63
    An End to Dreaming

    An End to Dreaming

    • Characters: Askelon of Meridian
    • Genre: Speculative fiction
    "An End to Dreaming" is the first story written by Janet Morris in the Sacred Band of Stepsons fictional universe. "An End to Dreaming" preceded the introduction by Morris of her characters Cime and Askelon, the archipelago of Meridian, and their milieu into the Thieves' World shared fictional universe, where shes wrote, together and with co-writers, ten short works of fiction and stories and nine novels in The Sacred Band literary series.
    9.00
    2 votes
    64
    Bon-Bon

    Bon-Bon

    • Genre: Short story
    "Bon-Bon" is a comedic short story by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in December 1832 in the Philadelphia Saturday Courier. Originally called "The Bargain Lost", the story follows a man named Pierre Bon-Bon, who believes himself a profound philosopher, and his encounter with the devil. The humor of the story is based on the verbal interchange between the two, which satirizes classical philosophers including Plato and Aristotle. The devil reveals he has eaten the souls of many of these philosophers, intriguing Bon-Bon. The story, which received moderate praise, was originally submitted by Poe as "The Bargain Lost", and was his entry to a writing contest. Though none of the five stories he submitted won the prize, the Courier printed them all, possibly without paying Poe for them. This early version of the story has many differences from later versions, which Poe first published as "Bon-Bon" in 1835. Pierre Bon-Bon is a well-known French restaurant owner and chef, known both for his omelettes and for his metaphysical philosophies. The narrator describes him as profound and a man of genius, as even the man's cat knew. Bon-Bon, who has "an inclination for the bottle", is drinking on
    9.00
    2 votes
    65

    Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption

    Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption is a novella by Stephen King, from his collection Different Seasons (1982), subtitled Hope Springs Eternal. It was adapted for the screen in 1994 as The Shawshank Redemption, which was nominated for seven Academy Awards in 1994, including Best Picture. In 2009, it was adapted for the stage as the play The Shawshank Redemption. Andy Dufresne is arrested for the double murder of his philandering wife and her lover. He is sent to Shawshank Prison for life. At the prison, he meets a prisoner named Red, who specializes in getting prisoners items from the outside world. As a free man, Andy had been a rockhound, so he asks Red to get him a rock hammer, a tool he uses to shape the rocks he finds in the exercise yard into small sculptures. One of the next items he orders from Red is a large poster of Rita Hayworth. When taking the order, Red reflects that Andy is uncharacteristically excited about the poster, but does not think more of it at the time. One spring day, Andy and Red and some other prisoners are tarring a roof when Andy overhears a particularly nasty guard griping over the amount of tax he will have to pay on a sum of money bequeathed to
    9.00
    2 votes
    66
    The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton

    The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton" is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes and was published in 1904. According to William S. Baring-Gould's timeline of the Sherlock Holmes canon, the events of Milverton occurred in 1899. This was nine years after the strange death of Charles Augustus Howell, the real-life inspiration for the character of Milverton (see below). Holmes is hired by the débutante Lady Eva Blackwell to retrieve compromising letters from a blackmailer: Milverton, who causes Holmes more revulsion than any of the 50-odd murderers in his career. Milverton is "the king of blackmailers" and he makes his living out of blackmail. He demands £7,000 (about $700,000 in 2010) for the letters, which would cause a scandal that would break off Lady Eva's engagement. Holmes offers £2,000, all Lady Eva can pay, but Milverton insists on £7,000. It is worth £2,000 to him to make an example of Lady Eva. Holmes resolves to recover the letters by whatever means necessary, as Milverton has placed himself outside the bounds of morality. Holmes
    9.00
    2 votes
    67
    The Fish, the Fighters, and the Song- girl

    The Fish, the Fighters, and the Song- girl

    • Characters: Cassander
    • Genre: Historical high fantasy
    The book "the Fish, the Fighters and the Song-girl" contains a novelette by the same name. Both the story "the Fish the Fighters and the Song-girl" and the book are part of the Sacred Band of Stepsons universe, and some portions of it are part of the Thieves World shared fictional universe as well. In the book, the Sacred Band of Stepsons treks north into unexplored country and on its travels, the veteran warriors tell the new recruits stories of their time serving in Sanctuary, the town they've just left. The book contains five canonical Sacred Band of Stepsons tales from the Thieves' World(R) series, and nine other stories never published elsewhere. This anthology is the second in the two-volume "Sacred Band Tales" set of early short stories (the first volume is called "Tempus with his right-side companion Niko) about the Sacred Band of Stepsons, both in Sanctuary(R) and beyond.
    9.00
    2 votes
    68
    The Five Orange Pips

    The Five Orange Pips

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Five Orange Pips", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the fifth of the twelve stories in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The story was first published in The Strand magazine in November 1891. Conan Doyle later ranked the story seventh in a list of his twelve favourite Sherlock Holmes stories. A young Sussex gentleman named John Openshaw has a strange story: in 1869 his uncle Elias Openshaw had suddenly come back to England to settle on an estate at Horsham, West Sussex after living for years in the United States as a planter in Florida and serving as a Colonel in the Confederate Army. Not being married, Elias had allowed his nephew to stay at his estate. Strange incidents have occurred; one is that although John could go anywhere in the house he could never enter a locked room containing his uncle's trunks. Another peculiarity was that in March 1883 a letter postmarked from Pondicherry, India arrived for the Colonel inscribed only "K.K.K." with five orange pips enclosed. More strange things happened: Papers from the locked room were burnt and a will was drawn up leaving the estate to John Openshaw. The Colonel's
    9.00
    2 votes
    69
    The Haunted House

    The Haunted House

    The Haunted House is a story published in 1859 for the weekly periodical All the Year Round. It was "Conducted by Charles Dickens", with contributions from others. It is a "portmanteau" story, with Dickens writing the opening and closing stories, framing stories by Dickens himself and five other authors: "The Mortals in the House" (Charles Dickens) "The Ghost in the Clock Room" (Hesba Stretton) "The Ghost in the Double Room" (George Augustus Sala) "The Ghost in the Picture Room" (Adelaide Anne Procter) "The Ghost in the Cupboard Room" (Wilkie Collins) "The Ghost in Master B's Room" (Charles Dickens) "The Ghost in the Garden Room" (Elizabeth Gaskell) "The Ghost in the Corner Room" (Charles Dickens) The story appeared in the Extra Christmas Number on 13 December 1859. Dickens began a tradition of Christmas publications with A Christmas Carol in 1843 and his Christmas stories soon became a national institution. The Haunted House was his 1859 offering. Dickens's opening story, The Mortals in the House, is the strongest of the collection and demonstrates his mastery of storytelling and characterisation. When the narrator sees a deserted house from his railway carriage he becomes
    9.00
    2 votes
    70
    Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius

    Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" is a short story by the 20th century Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. The story was first published in the Argentine journal Sur, May 1940. The "postscript" dated 1947 is intended to be anachronistic, set seven years in the future. The first English-language translation of the story was published in 1961. In the story, an encyclopedia article about a mysterious country called Uqbar is the first indication of a massive conspiracy of intellectuals to imagine (and thereby create) a world known as Tlön. Relatively long for Borges (approximately 5,600 words), the story is a work of speculative fiction. One of the major themes of "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" is that ideas ultimately manifest themselves in the physical world and the story is generally viewed as a parabolic discussion of Berkeleian idealism — and to some degree as a protest against totalitarianism. "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" has the structure of a detective fiction set in a world going mad. Although the story is quite short, it makes allusions to many leading intellectual figures both in Argentina and in the world at large, and takes up a number of themes more typical of a novel of ideas.
    9.00
    2 votes
    71
    Black Colossus

    Black Colossus

    • Genre: Horror
    "Black Colossus" is one of the original short stories starring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine, June 1933. Howard earned $130 for the sale of this story. It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan leading the demoralized army of Khoraja against an evil sorcerer named Natokk, "the Veiled One." This story formed part of the basis for the later Conan novel, The Hour of the Dragon. A powerful wizard named Thugra Khotan is awoken from his three-thousand year sleep by an audacious yet unlucky Zamoran thief named Shevatas (he does not survive the experience). Thugra wakes with dreams of world domination. He assumes the name Natohk, the Veiled One, gathers an army of desert tribes and sets out to conquer the Hyborian nations. However, the tiny kingdom of Khoraja stands in his way, a country presently ruled by the lithesome Yasmela, sister of the king, who is himself a captive of neighbouring Ophir. In dread of Natohk's pending invasion, Yasmela turns for advice to the nigh-forgotten god of her ancestors, Mitra, and is told to venture into the streets and
    5.80
    5 votes
    72
    Herbert West--Reanimator

    Herbert West--Reanimator

    • Characters: Herbert West
    • Genre: Horror
    "Herbert West—Reanimator" is a short story by American horror fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft. It was written between October 1921 and June 1922. It was first serialized in February through July 1922 in the amateur publication Home Brew. The story was the basis of the 1985 horror film Re-Animator and its sequels, in addition to numerous other adaptations in various media. The story is the first to mention Lovecraft's fictional Miskatonic University. It is also notable as one of the first depictions of zombies as scientifically reanimated corpses, with animalistic and uncontrollable temperament. According to his letters, Lovecraft wrote the story as a parody of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. He drops in numerous Frankenstein references (even hinting at the poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, as Shelley did). Lovecraft claimed to be unhappy with the work, writing it only because he was being paid five dollars for each installment. Moreover, he disliked the requirement that each installment end with a cliffhanger, which was unlike his normal style. He also had to begin each installment with a recap of the previous episode. Lovecraft scholar S. T. Joshi claims that "Herbert
    5.80
    5 votes
    73
    A House to Let

    A House to Let

    "A House to Let" is a short story by Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, Elizabeth Gaskell and Adelaide Anne Procter. It was originally published in 1858 in the Christmas edition of Dickens' Household Words magazine. Each of the contributors wrote a chapter and the story was edited by Dickens. "A House to Let" was the first collaboration between the four writers, although Collins and Dickens had worked with Procter on previous Christmas stories for the magazine in 1854, 1855, and 1856. The four authors would write together again in 1859's "The Haunted House" which appeared in the extra Christmas number of All the Year Round, the successor to Household Words which Dickens had started after a dispute with his publishers. In a letter to Collins from 6 September 1858, Dickens outlined his idea for a Christmas story. He originally envisioned the story being written by himself and Collins with his plot outline fleshed out by Collins, but was later to invite Gaskell and Procter to contribute chapters. Dickens and Collins wrote the first chapter, "Over the Way", and the last chapter "Let at Last" together, and each of the writers wrote one of the intervening chapters: Gaskell "The Manchester
    7.67
    3 votes
    74
    Jack and the Beanstalk

    Jack and the Beanstalk

    Jack and the Beanstalk is an English folktale. The tale is closely associated with the tale of Jack the Giant-killer, and is known under a number of versions. Benjamin Tabart's moralized version of 1807 is the first appearance in print, but "Felix Summerly" (Henry Cole) popularized it in The Home Treasury (1842), and Joseph Jacobs rewrote it in English Fairy Tales (1890). Jacobs's version is most commonly reprinted today and is believed to more closely adhere to the oral versions than Tabart's, because it lacks the moralizing of that version. In the Jacobs version of the story Jack is a young lad living with his widowed mother. Their only means of income is a cow. When this cow stops giving milk one morning, Jack is sent to the market to sell it. On the way to the market he meets an old man who offers to give him "magic" beans in exchange for the cow. Jack takes the beans but when he arrives home without money, his mother becomes furious and throws the beans out the window and sends Jack to bed without supper. As Jack sleeps, the beans grow into a gigantic beanstalk. Jack climbs the beanstalk and arrives in a land high up in the sky where he follows a road to a house, which is the
    7.67
    3 votes
    75
    The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb

    The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the ninth of the twelve stories collected in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The story was first published in Strand Magazine in March 1892. In his narration, Dr. Watson notes that this is one of only two cases which he personally brought to the attention of Sherlock Holmes. The story, set in 1889, mainly consists of a young London consultant hydraulic engineer, Mr. Victor Hatherley, recounting strange happenings of the night before, first to Dr. Watson, who dresses the stump where Mr. Hatherley's thumb has been cut off, and then to Sherlock Holmes himself. Hatherley had been visited in his office by a man who identified himself as Colonel Lysander Stark. He offered Hatherley a commission at a country house, to examine a hydraulic press used, as Stark explains, to compress fuller's earth into bricks. Stark warned Hatherley to keep the job confidential, offering him 50 guineas (£52 10s, an enormous sum at the time, worth over 4000 GBP today). Hatherley felt compelled to take this work, despite his misgivings, as his business was newly
    7.67
    3 votes
    76
    The Devil and Tom Walker

    The Devil and Tom Walker

    "The Devil and Tom Walker" a short story by Washington Irving that first appeared in his 1824 collection of stories titled Tales of a Traveller, as part of the "Money-Diggers" section. The story is very similar to that of the ancient German legend of Faust. Stephen Vincent Benét drew much of his inspiration for "The Devil and Daniel Webster" from this tale. The story starts with the legend of Kidd the Pirate. It is rumored that Kidd had a large treasure that he buried in a forest to keep it safe. Kidd made a deal with the devil in return for protection of his money. The devil's conditions are unknown. Kidd died never to return to his money and the devil has protected it ever since. Tom Walker is a greedy and selfish miser of a man who cherishes money more than his Wife. They lived in a tarnished looking house, that had stood long and had an air of starvation. This is until he takes a walk in the swamp at an old Indian fortress and starts up a conversation with the Devil incarnate (referred to as "Old Scratch" in the story). "Scratch" is shown as a lumberjack or a woodsman chopping down trees, each with a prominent and wealthy colonialist name branded on the tree trunk. One rotted
    7.67
    3 votes
    77
    The Eternal Adam

    The Eternal Adam

    The Eternal Adam (French: L'Éternel Adam) is a short novelette by Jules Verne recounting the progressive fall of a group of survivors into barbarism following an apocalypse. Although the story was drafted by Verne in the last years of his life, it was greatly expanded by his son, Michel Verne. The story is set in a far future in which an archaeologist deciphers the preserved journal of a survivor to total destruction of civilisation. The discovery comes in the midst of philosophical controversies on the origin of humankind, between those that believe in the existence of a unique ancestor and those that do not. The journal describes the struggle for survival of a small group and the futility of the accumulated knowledge in the group. The conclusion of the novel implies that the unique ancestor is the survivor whose journal was discovered, and that civilisation is doomed to eternal fall and rebirth. The Eternal Adam Summary page for publications of this title at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
    7.67
    3 votes
    78
    The Man That Was Used Up

    The Man That Was Used Up

    • Genre: Short story
    "The Man That Was Used Up," sometimes subtitled "A Tale of the Late Bugaboo and Kickapoo Campaign," is a short story and satire by Edgar Allan Poe. It was first published in 1839 in Burton's Gentleman's Magazine. The story follows an unnamed narrator who seeks out the famous war hero John A. B. C. Smith. He becomes suspicious that Smith has some deep secret when others refuse to describe him, instead remarking only on the latest advancements in technology. When he finally meets Smith, the man must first be assembled piece by piece. It is likely that in this satire Poe is actually referring to General Winfield Scott, veteran of the War of 1812, the Mexican–American War, and the American Civil War. Additionally, Poe is questioning the strong male identity as well as how humanity falls as machines become more advanced. An unnamed narrator meets the famous Brevet Brigadier General John A. B. C. Smith, "one of the most remarkable men of the age." Smith is an impressive physical specimen at six feet tall with flowing black hair, "large and lustrous" eyes, powerful-looking shoulders, and other essentially perfect attributes. He is also known for his great speaking ability, often boasting
    7.67
    3 votes
    79
    The Phoenix on the Sword

    The Phoenix on the Sword

    • Genre: Horror
    "The Phoenix on the Sword" is one of the original short stories about Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine December 1932. The tale was a rewrite of the unpublished Kull story, "By This Axe I Rule!" with long passages being identical. The Conan version of the story was republished in the collections King Conan (Gnome Press, 1953) and Conan the Usurper (Lancer Books, 1967). It has most recently been republished in the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 2: The Hour of the Dragon (Gollancz, 2001) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume One (1932-1933) (Del Rey, 2003). It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and details Conan foiling a nefarious plot to unseat him as king of Aquilonia. "The Phoenix on the Sword" begins with a middle-aged Conan of Cimmeria attempting to govern the turbulent kingdom of Aquilonia. Conan has recently seized the bloody crown of Aquilonia from King Numedides whom he strangled upon his throne; however, things have not gone well, as Conan is more suited to swinging a broadsword than to signing official documents with a stylus. The people of Aquilonia, who originally welcomed Conan as
    7.67
    3 votes
    80
    The Scarlet Citadel

    The Scarlet Citadel

    • Genre: Horror
    "The Scarlet Citadel" is one of the original short stories starring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine circa January 1933. It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns a middle-aged Conan battling rival kingdoms, being captured through treachery and escaping from an eldritch dungeon via unexpected aid. The story includes Tsotha-lanti who is an evil wizard whose sorcerous arts help ensnare King Conan. The story was republished in the collections King Conan (Gnome Press, 1953) and Conan the Usurper (Lancer Books, 1967). It has more recently been published in the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 2: The Hour of the Dragon (Gollancz, 2001) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume One (1932-1933) (Del Rey, 2003). "The Scarlet Citadel" was the second Conan story to be printed by Weird Tales magazine and involves an older, wiser Conan as king of Aquilonia. King Conan receives a call for help from Amalrus, the ruler of neighbouring Ophir, who claims that Stradabonus, the king of Koth, is threatening his border. When Conan marches to the aid of Amalrus with five thousand
    7.67
    3 votes
    81
    William Wilson

    William Wilson

    • Genre: Short story
    "William Wilson" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1839, with a setting inspired by Poe's formative years outside of London. The tale follows the theme of the doppelgänger and is written in a style based on rationality. It also appeared in the 1840 collection Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque, and has been adapted several times. The story follows a man of "a noble descent" who calls himself William Wilson because, although denouncing his profligate past, he does not accept blamefor his actions, saying that "man was never thus [...] tempted before". After several paragraphs, the narration then segues into a description of Wilson's boyhood, which was spent in a school "in a misty-looking village of England". William meets another boy in his school who shared the same name, who had roughly the same appearance, and who was even born on exactly the same date — January 19 (which was also Poe's birthday). William's name (he asserts that his actual name is only similar to "William Wilson") embarrasses him because it sounds "plebeian" or common, and he is irked that he must hear the name twice as much on account of the other William. The boy also dresses like
    7.67
    3 votes
    82
    Le Chef-d'œuvre inconnu

    Le Chef-d'œuvre inconnu

    Le Chef-d’œuvre inconnu (English "The Unknown Masterpiece") is a short story by Honoré de Balzac. It was first published in the newspaper L'Artiste with the title "Maître Frenhofer" (English: "Master Frenhofer") in August 1831. It appeared again later in the same year under the title "Catherine Lescault, conte fantastique." It was published in Balzac's Études philosophiques in 1837 and was integrated into the La Comédie humaine in 1846. At the most fundamental level, "Le Chef-d’œuvre inconnu" is a reflection on art. Young Nicolas Poussin, as yet unknown, visits the painter Porbus in his workshop. He is accompanied by the old master Frenhofer who comments expertly on the large tableau that Porbus has just finished. The painting is of Mary of Egypt, and while Frenhofer sings her praises, he hints that the work seems unfinished. With some slight touches of the paintbrush, Frenhofer transforms Porbus' painting such that Mary the Egyptian appears to come alive before their very eyes. Although Frenhofer has mastered his technique, he admits that he has been unable to find a suitable model for his own masterpiece, La Belle noiseuse, on which he has been working for ten years. This future
    10.00
    1 votes
    83
    Queen of the Black Coast

    Queen of the Black Coast

    • Genre: Fantasy
    "Queen of the Black Coast" is one of the original short stories about Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine circa May 1934. It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan becoming a notorious pirate and plundering the coastal villages of Kush alongside Bêlit, a head-strong femme fatale. Due to its epic scope and atypical romance, the story is considered an undisputed classic of Conan lore and is often cited by Howard scholars as one of his most famous tales. Howard earned $115 for the sale of this story to Weird Tales and it is now in the public domain. The story begins in an Argos port where Conan forcefully demands passage aboard a sail barge, the Argus, which is casting off for southern waters to trade beads, silks, sugar and brass-hilted swords to the black kings of Kush. The captain of the barge reluctantly agrees to Conan's request for passage only after several threats of violence. The captain is soon informed that Conan is fleeing the civil authorities of Argos due to a court dispute in which Conan refused to betray the whereabouts of a casual friend to a fascistic magistrate
    10.00
    1 votes
    84
    The Land Ironclads

    The Land Ironclads

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    Written by H. G. Wells, "The Land Ironclads" is a short story that originally appeared in the December 1903 issue of the Strand Magazine and set in a war similar to the First World War. The Ironclads are 100-foot-long (30 m) machines with remote controlled guns and accommodation for 42 soldiers, including 7 officers. The story is one of those responsible for Wells' reputation as a "prophet of the future", as the eponymous machines seem to anticipate the tanks of World War I. His rather sketchy battle between countrymen and townsmen also carries echoes of the Boer War and his 1898 novel The War of the Worlds, which also features a struggle between technologically uneven protagonists. The story opens with a war correspondent and a young lieutenant surveying the calm of the battlefield and reflecting upon the war. The two opposing sides are dug into trenches, each waiting for the other to attack, and the men on the war correspondent's side are confident in their coming victory. They believe that they will win because they are all strong outdoor-types - men who know how to use a rifle and fight - while their enemies are towns people ... "a crowd of devitalized townsmen ... They're
    10.00
    1 votes
    85
    The Pit and the Pendulum

    The Pit and the Pendulum

    • Genre: Short story
    "The Pit and the Pendulum" is a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe and first published in 1842 in the literary annual The Gift: A Christmas and New Year's Present for 1843. The story is about the torments endured by a prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition, though Poe skews historical facts. The narrator of the story describes his experience of being tortured. The story is especially effective at inspiring fear in the reader because of its heavy focus on the senses, such as sound, emphasizing its reality, unlike many of Poe's stories which are aided by the supernatural. The traditional elements established in popular horror tales at the time are followed, but critical reception has been mixed. The tale has been adapted to film several times. The story takes place during the Spanish Inquisition. At the beginning of the story an unnamed narrator is brought to trial before various sinister judges. Poe provides no explanation of why he is there or for what he has been arrested. Before him are seven tall white candles on a table, and, as they melt, his hopes of survival also diminish. He is condemned to death and finds himself in a pitch black compartment. At first the prisoner thinks
    10.00
    1 votes
    86
    The Tree

    The Tree

    • Characters: Kalos
    • Genre: Horror
    "The Tree" is a short story by American horror fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft, written in 1920 and first published in the October 1921. This story came early in Lovecraft's writing career, and is generally considered to be within his "Macabre" phase. Lovecraft's inspiration for the story likely came in part from the book The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen, published in 1890. Of particular note is Machen's depiction of Pan as a power of nature. "The Tree" was first published in The Tryout, 7, No. 7 (October 1921), [3-10]. "The Tree" is told in past tense, in third person objective. The location of the story is Mount Maenalus, in Arcadia, Greece, a mountain which was a "chosen haunt" for the Greek God Pan. The story opens with a vivid description of the olive grove, and a fearful, human-like olive tree within it. The story then introspectively turns several years back, recalling the famous sculptors Kalos and Musides, whose works were praised throughout the known world. One day, the Tyrant of Syracuse invited Kalos and Musides to compete in the creation of "a wonder of nations and a goal of travelers". While working on their sculptures, Kalos fell ill, much to the dismay of Musides.
    10.00
    1 votes
    87
    Unlighted Lamps

    Unlighted Lamps

    • Genre: Short story
    "Unlighted Lamps" is a short story by Sherwood Anderson. It was published in the 1921 collection The Triumph of the Egg. The story takes place in the fictional town of Huntersburg, Illinois, in June 1908. After learning from her father, Doctor Lester Cochran, on the evening before that he is suffering from a heart disease and might die at any moment, 18 year old Mary Cochran takes a walk around the small town, thinking about her future. Her father had told her that he would be leaving her only very little money after he dies, suggesting her to "make plans for the future". He says this in a cold and toneless way, as he has never shown any real affection or warmth. Being fascinated by the atmosphere, she walks through the new factory district where the workers of the new furniture industry live, finally reaching a decayed orchard of an abandoned farm, a place she frequently visits to hide out and be alone. She thinks about her dreams to move to Chicago one day, as she feels uncomfortable with the small-town gossip around her mother leaving town with another man when she was a baby. She is disturbed in her reflections when Duke Yetter, a young man, appears after following her which
    10.00
    1 votes
    88
    Eleonora

    Eleonora

    • Characters: Eleonora
    • Genre: Short story
    "Eleonora" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1842 in Philadelphia in the literary annual The Gift. It is often regarded as somewhat autobiographical and has a relatively "happy" ending. The story follows an unnamed narrator who lives with his cousin and aunt in "The Valley of the Many-Colored Grass," an idyllic paradise full of fragrant flowers, fantastic trees, and a "River of Silence." It remains untrodden by the footsteps of strangers and so they live isolated but happy. After living like this for fifteen years, "Love entered" the hearts of the narrator and his cousin Eleonora. The valley reflected the beauty of their young love: The passion which had for centuries distinguished our race... together breathed a delirious bliss over the Valley of the Many-Colored Grass. A change fell upon all things. Strange, brilliant flowers, star-shaped, burst out upon the trees where no flowers had been known before. The tints of the green carpet deepened; and when, one by one, the white daisies shrank away, there sprang up in place of them, ten by ten of the ruby-red asphodel. And life arose in our paths; for the tall flamingo, hitherto unseen, with all gay flowing
    6.50
    4 votes
    89
    The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall

    The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall

    • Genre: Short story
    "The Unparalleled Adventure of One Hans Pfaall" (1835) is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe published in the June 1835 issue of the monthly magazine Southern Literary Messenger, and intended by Poe to be a hoax. Poe planned to continue the hoax in further installments, but was upstaged by the famous Great Moon Hoax which started in the August 25, 1835 issue of the New York Sun daily newspaper. Poe later wrote that the flippant tone of the story made it easy for educated readers to see through the supposed hoax. The story opens with the delivery to a crowd gathered in Rotterdam of a manuscript detailing the journey of a man named Hans Pfaall. The manuscript, which comprises the majority of the story, sets out in detail how Pfaall contrived to reach the moon by benefit of a revolutionary new balloon and a device which compresses the vacuum of space into breathable air. The journey takes him nineteen days, and the narrative includes descriptions of the Earth from space as well as the descent to its fiery, volcanic satellite. Pfaall withholds most of the information regarding the surface of the moon and its inhabitants in order to negotiate a pardon from the Burgomaster for several
    6.50
    4 votes
    90
    The Vale of Lost Women

    The Vale of Lost Women

    • Genre: Horror
    "The Vale of Lost Women" is one of the original short stories about Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard, but not published during his lifetime. The story was first published in The Magazine of Horror for Spring, 1967, and republished in the collection Conan of Cimmeria (Lancer Books, 1967). It has most recently been republished in the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 1: The People of the Black Circle (Gollancz, 2000) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume One (1932-1933) (Del Rey, 2003). It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and details Conan rescuing a female Ophirean captive from the Bamula tribe on the (apparent) condition that he will receive sexual favors in return for this generosity. The story has been criticized for its racialism, sexism and lesbian homophobia. "The Vale of Lost Women" is another short story which, although included in the official lore of Conan the Cimmerian, was not published until long after the death of Robert E. Howard. The story begins with Livia, a soft and civilized woman, as a prisoner of the Bakalah jungle tribe, who have captured her and have killed the brother she was traveling with excruciating savage
    6.50
    4 votes
    91
    The Vampyre

    The Vampyre

    • Characters: Lord Ruthven
    • Genre: Horror
    "The Vampyre" is a short story or novella written in 1819 by John William Polidori which is a progenitor of the romantic vampire genre of fantasy fiction. The work is described by Christopher Frayling as "the first story successfully to fuse the disparate elements of vampirism into a coherent literary genre." "The Vampyre" was first published on 1 April 1819 by Henry Colburn in the New Monthly Magazine with the false attribution "A Tale by Lord Byron". The name of the work's protagonist, "Lord Ruthven", added to this assumption, for that name was originally used in Lady Caroline Lamb's novel Glenarvon (from the same publisher), in which a thinly-disguised Byron figure was also named Lord Ruthven. Despite repeated denials by Byron and Polidori, the authorship often went unclarified. The tale was first published in book form by Sherwood, Neely, and Jones in London, Paternoster-Row, in 1819 in octavo as The Vampyre; A Tale in 84 pages. The notation on the cover noted that it was: "Entered at Stationers' Hall, March 27, 1819". Initially, the author was given as Lord Byron. Later printings removed Byron's name and added Polidori's name to the title page. The story was an immediate
    6.50
    4 votes
    92
    8.50
    2 votes
    93
    The Happy Hypocrite

    The Happy Hypocrite

    The Happy Hypocrite: A Fairy Tale for Tired Men is a short story with moral implications, first published in a separate volume by Max Beerbohm in 1897. His earliest short story, The Happy Hypocrite first appeared in Volume XI of The Yellow Book in October, 1896. Beerbohm's tale is a lighter, more humorous version of Oscar Wilde's classic tale of moral degeneration, The Picture of Dorian Gray. The Happy Hypocrite tells the story of a man who deceives a woman with a mask in order to marry her. The book was published by John Lane at The Bodley Head, in New York and in London in 1897. In 1900 the story was produced as a stage show at the Royalty Theatre in London starring Frank Mills and Mrs Patrick Campbell. In 1936 the play was revived at His Majesty's Theatre starring Ivor Novello, Vivien Leigh, Isabel Jeans and Marius Goring. An edition with twelve illustrations by George Sheringham was published by John Lane in 1915. The protagonist is named Lord George Hell. A worldly man, he is a dandy, fond of gambling, drinking, womanizing, and the like. He is enjoying lavish outdoor entertainment in London with his lover, La Gambogi, when a young and innocent dancer named Jenny Mere performs
    8.50
    2 votes
    94
    The Man of the Crowd

    The Man of the Crowd

    • Genre: Short story
    "The Man of the Crowd" is a short story written by Edgar Allan Poe about a nameless narrator following a man through a crowded London, first published in 1840. The story is introduced with the epigraph, "Ce grand malheur, de ne pouvoir être seul"—a quote taken from The Characters of Man by Jean de la Bruyère. It translates to Such a great misfortune, not to be able to be alone. This same quote is used in Poe's earliest tale, "Metzengerstein". After an unnamed illness, the unnamed narrator sits in an unnamed coffee shop in London. Fascinated by the crowd outside the window, he considers how isolated people think they are, despite "the very denseness of the company around". He takes time to categorize the different types of people he sees. As evening falls, the narrator focuses on "a decrepit old man, some sixty-five or seventy years of age," whose face has a peculiar idiosyncrasy, and whose body "was short in stature, very thin, and apparently very feeble" wearing filthy, ragged clothes of a "beautiful texture". The narrator dashes out of the coffee shop to follow the man from afar. The man leads the narrator through bazaars and shops, buying nothing, and into a poorer part of the
    8.50
    2 votes
    95
    8.50
    2 votes
    96
    Carmen

    Carmen

    Carmen is a novella by Prosper Mérimée, written and first published in 1845. It has been adapted into a number of dramatic works, including the famous opera by Georges Bizet. According to a letter Mérimée wrote to the Countess of Montijo, Carmen was inspired by a story she told him on his visit to Spain in 1830. He said, "It was about that ruffian from Málaga who had killed his mistress, who consecrated herself exclusively to the public. [...] As I have been studying the Gypsies for some time, I have made my heroine a Gypsy." An important source for the material on the Romani people (Gypsies) was George Borrow's book The Zincali (1841). Another source may have been the narrative poem The Gypsies (1824) by Alexander Pushkin. The novella comprises four parts. Only the first three appeared in the original publication in the October 1, 1845 issue of the Revue des Deux Mondes (Robinson 1992); the fourth first appeared in the book publication in 1846. Mérimée tells the story as if it had really happened to him on his trip to Spain in 1830. Part I. While searching for the site of the Battle of Munda in a lonely spot in Andalusia, Mérimée meets a man who his guide hints is a dangerous
    7.33
    3 votes
    97
    Kaleidoscope in "K"

    Kaleidoscope in "K"

    Kaleidoscope in "K" is a short story by author A. J. Cronin, initially published in 1933 in Cosmopolitan magazine. All of the action unfolds within twelve hours in a London hospital, and the story centers around the conflict between a young surgeon, Dr. Barclay, and the hospital chief, Dr. Selby. A subplot is the rivalry between Barclay and a playboy physician, Dr. Preston, as they vie for the attentions of Miss Fanshawe, an attractive nurse. The story comes to a tense climax as Barclay prepares for a delicate brain operation, a revolutionary procedure to which Selby is opposed. The story was also printed in book form by various publishers, and it was also adapted into a 1934 film, Once to Every Woman. ‎
    7.33
    3 votes
    98
    Rip Van Winkle

    Rip Van Winkle

    • Genre: Short story
    "Rip Van Winkle" is a short story by the American author Washington Irving published in 1819, as well as the name of the story's fictional protagonist. Written while Irving was living in Birmingham, England, it was part of a collection entitled The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon. Although the story is set in New York's Catskill Mountains, Irving later admitted, "When I wrote the story, I had never been on the Catskills." The story of Rip Van Winkle is set in the years before and after the American Revolutionary War. In a pleasant village, at the foot of New York's Catskill Mountains, lives the kindly Rip Van Winkle, a colonial British-American villager of Dutch descent. Rip is an amiable though somewhat hermitic man who enjoys solitary activities in the wilderness, but is also loved by all in town—especially the children to whom he tells stories and gives toys. However, a tendency to avoid all gainful labor, for which his nagging wife (Dame Van Winkle) chastises him, allows his home and farm to fall into disarray due to his lazy neglect. One autumn day, Rip is escaping his wife's nagging, wandering up the mountains with his dog, Wolf. Hearing his name being shouted, Rip discovers
    7.33
    3 votes
    99
    The Adventure of the Abbey Grange

    The Adventure of the Abbey Grange

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Abbey Grange", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes wakes Doctor Watson up early one morning to rush to a murder scene at the Abbey Grange near Chislehurst. Sir Eustace Brackenstall has been killed, apparently by burglars. Inspector Stanley Hopkins believes that it was the infamous Randall gang, a father and two sons. Upon arrival at Abbey Grange, Lady Brackenstall is found resting with a purple swelling over one eye, the result of a blow during the previous night's incident. There are also two red spots on her arm. Her maid, Theresa Wright, who has been with her mistress since she was a girl, later tells Holmes that Sir Eustace inflicted those with a hatpin. Lady Brackenstall tells Holmes that her marriage was not happy. Sir Eustace Brackenstall was a violent, abusive alcoholic. Moreover, Lady Brackenstall found it hard to adjust to life in England after the freedom that she enjoyed in her native Australia, which she left 18 months before. She had been married for about a year. About 11 o'clock, Lady Brackenstall walked
    7.33
    3 votes
    100
    The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez

    The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. One wretched November night, Inspector Stanley Hopkins comes to see Holmes at 221B Baker Street to tell him of a murder that defies solution. The dead man is Willoughby Smith, secretary to Professor Coram, an old invalid. The murder happened at Yoxley Old Place near Chatham, Kent. The most perplexing thing about the case to Hopkins is that it is apparently motiveless. Willoughby Smith seems to have nothing untoward in his background, and not an enemy in the world. He was the third secretary to the professor, the former ones not having worked out. The murder weapon was a sealing-wax knife belonging to the professor. The maid found Smith, and the last words that he uttered as he lay dying were “The professor–it was she.” The professor, however, is a man. This same maid told Hopkins while he was at Yoxley that she had heard Smith leave his room and walk down to the study. She had been hanging curtains and did not actually see him, only recognizing his brisk step. The
    7.33
    3 votes
    101
    The Adventure of the Lion's Mane

    The Adventure of the Lion's Mane

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Lion's Mane", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes. It is notable for being narrated by Holmes himself, instead of by Dr. Watson (who does not appear in the story). Holmes is enjoying his retirement in Sussex when one day at the beach, he meets his friend Harold Stackhurst, the headmaster of a nearby preparatory school called The Gables. No sooner have they met than Stackhurst's science master, Fitzroy McPherson, staggers up to them, obviously in agony and wearing only an overcoat and trousers. He collapses, manages to say something about a "lion's mane", and then dies. He is observed to have red welts all over his back, administered by a flexible weapon of some kind, for the marks curve over his shoulder and round his ribs. Moments later, Ian Murdoch, a mathematics teacher, comes up behind them. He has not seen the attack, and has only just arrived at the beach from the school. Holmes sees a couple of people far up the beach, but thinks they are much too far away to have had anything to do with McPherson's death. Likewise,
    7.33
    3 votes
    102
    The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist

    The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is contacted by Miss Violet Smith of Farnham, Surrey about an unusual turn in her and her mother’s lives. Violet’s father has recently died, and left his wife and daughter rather poor. However, a notice appeared in the newspaper not much later inquiring as to their whereabouts. Answering it, they met Mr. Carruthers and Mr. Woodley, the former a pleasant enough man, but the latter a churl and a bully. They had come from South Africa where they had known Violet’s uncle Ralph Smith, who had now also died in poverty and apparently wanted to see that his relatives were provided for. This struck Violet as odd, since she and her family had not heard a word from Uncle Ralph since he went to South Africa 25 years ago. Carruthers and Woodley explained that before dying, Ralph had heard of his brother’s death and felt responsible for his survivors’ welfare. Carruthers began by offering Violet a job as a live-in music teacher for his ten-year-old daughter at £100 a year, about
    7.33
    3 votes
    103
    The Mad Moon

    The Mad Moon

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    The Mad Moon is a science fiction short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum that first appeared in the December 1935 issue of Astounding Stories. As was the case with his earlier stories "A Martian Odyssey" and "Parasite Planet", "The Mad Moon" showcases Weinbaum's talent for creating alien ecologies. "The Mad Moon" was the only Weinbaum story set on Io. In Weinbaum's Solar System, Jupiter radiates enough heat to create Earthlike environments on the Galilean moons. Io, the innermost Galilean satellite, has a tropical climate, so that the two human settlements are located at the poles, Junopolis in the north and Herapolis in the south. Extending partway around the equator are the Idiots' Hills, whose peaks extend beyond Io's dense but shallow atmosphere. (Weinbaum apparently didn't realize that Io is tidally locked, since he has Jupiter rise and set during the course of the story.) There are two intelligent races native to Io: first are the loonies, a humanoid race of only moderate intelligence with large balloonlike heads at the end of long, slim necks; second are the slinkers, small and ratlike with nasty tempers. (Members of the Harrison Expedition to Mars ran across a slinker in the
    7.33
    3 votes
    104
    The Overcoat

    The Overcoat

    "The Overcoat" (Russian: Шинель, translit. Shinel; sometimes translated as "The Cloak") is a short story by Ukrainian-born Russian author Nikolai Gogol, published in 1842. The story and its author have had great influence on Russian literature, as expressed in a quote attributed to Fyodor Dostoevsky: "We all come out from Gogol's 'Overcoat'." The story has been adapted into a variety of stage and film interpretations. The story centers on the life and death of Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin (Акакий Акакиевич Башмачкин), an impoverished government clerk and copyist in the Russian capital of St. Petersburg. Akaky is dedicated to his job as a titular councillor, taking special relish in the hand-copying of documents, though little recognized in his department for his hard work. Instead, the younger clerks tease him and attempt to distract him whenever they can. His threadbare overcoat is often the butt of their jokes. Akaky decides it is necessary to have the coat repaired, so he takes it to his tailor, Petrovich, who declares the coat irreparable, telling Akaky he must buy a new overcoat. The cost of a new overcoat is beyond Akaky's meagre salary, so he forces himself to live within a
    7.33
    3 votes
    105
    The Red-Headed League

    The Red-Headed League

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Red-Headed League" is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle. It first appeared in The Strand Magazine in August 1891, with illustrations by Sidney Paget. Conan Doyle ranked "The Red-Headed League" second in his list of his twelve favorite Holmes stories. It is also the second of the twelve stories in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, which was published in 1892. Jabez Wilson, a red-haired London pawnbroker, comes to consult Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. He tells them that some weeks before his young assistant, Vincent Spaulding, urged him to respond to a newspaper want-ad offering work to only red-headed male applicants. The next morning, Wilson had waited in a long line of fellow red-headed men, was interviewed and was the only applicant hired, because none of the other applicants had hair to match Wilson's red locks. Wilson, whose business mainly operates in evenings, was well-paid, receiving four pounds a week for several weeks (equal to £330 today); the work was obviously useless clerical work in a bare office. Finally one morning, a sign on the locked office door inexplicably announced that "THE RED-HEADED LEAGUE
    7.33
    3 votes
    106
    Iron Shadows in the Moon

    Iron Shadows in the Moon

    • Genre: Horror
    "Shadows in the Moonlight" is one of the original short stories starring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine in April 1934. Howard originally named his story "Iron Shadows in the Moon". It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan escaping to a remote island in the Vilayet Sea where he encounters the Red Brotherhood, a skulking creature, and mysterious iron statues. The story was republished in the collections Conan the Barbarian (Gnome Press, 1954) and Conan the Freebooter (Lancer Books, 1968). It has more recently been published in the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 1: The People of the Black Circle (Gollancz, 2000) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume One (1932-1933) (Del Rey, 2003). "Shadows in the Moonlight" (Howard's original title was "Iron Shadows in the Moon") is a moody story, and one of the better Conan novellettes. It begins a little unusually when a female lovely named Olivia, having fled captivity from the city of Akif, is chased down and cornered in a marsh, on the edge of the Vilayet Sea. Her pursuer and former master is a sadistic
    5.40
    5 votes
    107
    Beyond Lies the Wub

    Beyond Lies the Wub

    "Beyond Lies the Wub" is a science fiction short story by Philip K. Dick. It was his first published story, originally appearing in Planet Stories in July, 1952. Peterson, a crew member of a spaceship visiting Mars buys an enormous pig-like creature known as a "wub" from a native just before departure. Franco, his captain, is worried about the extra weight, but seems more concerned about its taste. However, after takeoff, the crew realizes that the wub is a very intelligent creature, capable of telepathy and maybe even mind control. Peterson and the wub spend time discussing mythological figures and the travels of Odysseus. Captain Franco, paranoid after an earlier confrontation with the Wub which left him paralyzed, bursts in and insists on killing and eating the wub. The crew becomes very much opposed to killing the sensitive creature after it makes a plea for understanding, but Franco still makes a meal out of him. At the dinner table, Captain Franco apologises for the "interruption" and resumes the earlier conversation Peterson had been having with the Wub - which has possessed the Captain's body. The theme of the Wub and immortality was revisited by Dick in his later short
    7.00
    3 votes
    108
    Bobok

    Bobok

    Bobok (Russian: Бобок) is a short story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky that first appeared in 1873. The title can be translated from the Russian as meaning "little bean," and in the context of the story is taken to be synonymous with "nonsense." The story is framed as an excerpt from the diary of a frustrated writer named Ivan Ivanovitch. One day he attends the funeral of a casual acquaintance and falls to contemplation in the graveyard. He hears the voices of the recently deceased and buried, and he listens to their conversation. They discuss card games and political scandals, and they have decided that the "inertia" of consciousness allows them to converse even while in the grave. As the deceased prepare to entertain themselves by revealing all of the shameful details of their earthly lives, Ivan Ivanovitch sneezes. The dead are silent afterward. Ivan Ivanovitch leaves the graveyard distressed that depravity exists even in the grave but hopeful that he may visit other cemeteries and finally have something to write about.
    7.00
    3 votes
    109
    Cinderella

    Cinderella

    • Characters: Cinderella
    "Cinderella", or "The Little Glass Slipper", (French: Cendrillon, ou La petite Pantoufle de Verre, Italian: Cenerentola, German: Aschenputtel, Dutch: Assepoester) is a folk tale embodying a myth-element of unjust oppression/triumphant reward. Thousands of variants are known throughout the world. The title character is a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances that are suddenly changed to remarkable fortune. The story was first published by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé in 1697. Although both the story's title and the character's name change in different languages, in English-language folklore "Cinderella" is the archetypal name. The word "cinderella" has, by analogy, come to mean one whose attributes were unrecognized, or one who unexpectedly achieves recognition or success after a period of obscurity and neglect. The still-popular story of "Cinderella" continues to influence popular culture internationally, lending plot elements, allusions, and tropes to a wide variety of media. The Cinderella theme may well have originated in classical antiquity. The Ancient Greek historian Strabo (Geographica Book 17, 1.33) recorded in the 1st century BC the tale
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    3 votes
    110
    Enoch Soames

    Enoch Soames

    Enoch Soames is a short story by the British writer Max Beerbohm. It appeared in the collection Seven Men (1919) and was originally published in the May 1916 edition of The Century Magazine. It is well known for its clever and humorous use of the ideas of time travel and pacts with the Devil. The story is also memorable for its complex combination of fact and fiction; though the hero Soames is a fictional character, the story is narrated by Beerbohm himself, and contains a written portrait of the real-life artist William Rothenstein, as well as countless references to contemporary events and places. As narrator, Beerbohm presents himself as a moderately successful young English essayist and writer in London during the 1890s. He purports to relate the fate of a friend of his named Enoch Soames, an utterly obscure, forgettable, miserable and unsuccessful English writer. Obsessed with the idea that he was a great author of literature and poetry and keenly curious about his sure future fame, Soames one day in 1897 makes a contract with the devil to be able to spend one afternoon (from 2:10 to 7 PM) in the Round Reading Room of the British Museum library exactly one hundred years in the
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    3 votes
    111
    Redemption Cairn

    Redemption Cairn

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    Redemption Cairn is a science fiction short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum that first appeared in the March 1936 issue of Astounding Stories. "Redemption Cairn" is the only Weinbaum story set on Europa. In Weinbaum's Solar System, in keeping with the then-current "near-collision" hypothesis of planetary formation, Jupiter radiates enough heat to create Earth-like environments on the Galilean moons. Europa is airless except for a depression on the Jupiter-facing side of the tidally locked moon, which holds a thin, but breathable atmosphere. This region is divided into a number of small valleys separated from each other by ridges rising above the atmosphere. The most widespread Europan species is the bladder bird, which carries its own air supply with it in an air sac, allowing it to cross over the airless peaks. Jack Sands, the story's narrator, is a spaceship pilot down on his luck. In September 2111, he is about to be evicted from a flophouse when he is recruited by his old friend Captain Harris Henshaw to co-pilot an expedition to Europa. Sands is one of only two survivors of a previous visit to the Jovian moon. The other was his drug-addled co-pilot Kratska, who crashed the
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    3 votes
    112
    The Diamond as Big as the Ritz

    The Diamond as Big as the Ritz

    The Diamond as Big as the Ritz is a novella by novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was first published in the June 1922 issue of The Smart Set magazine, and was included in Fitzgerald's 1922 short story collection Tales of the Jazz Age. Much of the story is set in Montana, a setting that may have been inspired by the summer that Fitzgerald spent near White Sulphur Springs, Montana in 1915. Orson Welles adapted the story into a radio play in 1945 and another version was presented three times on the program Escape between 1947 and 1949. A teleplay version was broadcast on Kraft Theatre in 1955. The story's sisters, Kismine and Jasmine, were portrayed by Lee Remick and Elizabeth Montgomery, who were unknowns of 20 and 22 at the time. Mickey Mouse no. 47 (Apr./May 1956) contains a retelling of Fitzgerald's story under the title The Mystery of Diamond Mountain, scripted by William F. Nolan and Charles Beaumont and illustrated by Paul Murry. John T. Unger, a teenager from the Mississippi River town of Hades, is sent to a private boarding school near Boston. During the summer he visits the homes of his classmates, the majority of whom are from wealthy families. In the middle of his sophomore
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    3 votes
    113
    The Masque of the Red Death

    The Masque of the Red Death

    • Characters: Prince Prospero
    • Genre: Gothic fiction
    "The Masque of the Red Death", originally published as "The Mask of the Red Death" (1842), is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. The story follows Prince Prospero's attempts to avoid a dangerous plague known as the Red Death by hiding in his abbey. He, along with many other wealthy nobles, has a masquerade ball within seven rooms of his abbey, each decorated with a different color. In the midst of their revelry, a mysterious figure disguised as a Red Death victim enters and makes his way through each of the rooms. Prospero dies after confronting this stranger, whose "costume" proves to have nothing tangible inside it; the guests also die in turn. The story follows many traditions of Gothic fiction and is often analyzed as an allegory about the inevitability of death, though some critics advise against an allegorical reading. Many different interpretations have been presented, as well as attempts to identify the true nature of the titular disease. The story was first published in May 1842 in Graham's Magazine. It has since been adapted in many different forms, including the 1964 film starring Vincent Price. It has been alluded to by other works in many types of media. The story takes
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    3 votes
    114
    The Frost Giant's Daughter

    The Frost Giant's Daughter

    • Genre: Fantasy
    "The Frost-Giant's Daughter" is one of the original short stories about Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard, but not published in his lifetime. It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and details Conan pursuing a spectral nymph across the frozen snows of Nordheim. Rejected as a Conan story by Weird Tales magazine editor Farnsworth Wright, Howard changed the main character's name to "Amra of Akbitana" and retitled the piece as The Gods of the North. "The Frost-Giant's Daughter" is, arguably, the earliest chronological story by Robert E. Howard in terms of Conan's life. The brief tale is set somewhere in frozen Nordheim, geographically situated north of Conan's homeland, Cimmeria. Conan is depicted by Howard as a youthful Cimmerian mercenary traveling among the golden-haired Aesir in a war party. Shortly before the story begins, a hand-to-hand battle has occurred on an icy plain. Eighty men ("four score") have perished in bloody combat, and Conan alone survives the battlefield where Wulfhere's Aesir "reavers" fought the Vanir "wolves" of Bragi, a Vanir chieftain. Thus, the story opens. Following this fierce battle against the red-haired Vanir,
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    4 votes
    115
    The Pool of the Black One

    The Pool of the Black One

    • Genre: Horror
    "The Pool of the Black One" is one of the original short stories starring the sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard. It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan becoming the captain of a pirate vessel and encountering a remote island with a mysterious pool that has powers of transmutation. First published in Weird Tales in 1933, the story was republished in the collections The Sword of Conan (Gnome Press, 1952) and Conan the Adventurer (Lancer Books, 1966). It has more recently been published in the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 1: The People of the Black Circle (2000) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume One (1932-1933) (Del Rey, 2003). "The Pool of the Black One," which appeared in Weird Tales magazine the month after "The Slithering Shadow," is a piratical adventure story and occurs in the Western Sea of the Hyborian Age. The story begins with Conan the Cimmerian, adrift at sea near the Barachan Isles, clambering aboard a pirate ship christened The Wastrel. After a terse conversation with the captain and a brawl with a Zingaran bully, Conan is begrudgingly accepted as a lowly member of the crew and is
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    4 votes
    116
    "—And He Built a Crooked House—"

    "—And He Built a Crooked House—"

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    ""—And He Built a Crooked House—"" is a science fiction short story by Robert A. Heinlein first published in Astounding Science Fiction in February 1941. It was reprinted in the anthology Fantasia Mathematica (Clifton Fadiman, ed.) in 1958 and in the Heinlein collection The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag in 1959. The story is about a mathematically inclined architect named Quintus Teal who has what he thinks is a brilliant idea to save on real estate costs by building a house shaped like the unfolded net of a tesseract. The title is a paraphrase of the nursery rhyme "There Was a Crooked Man". Quintus Teal, "Graduate Architect", while drinking with his friend Homer Bailey, bemoans the conservatism of American architecture. He wants architects to be inspired by topology and the Picard-Vessiot theory. The conversation turns to four-dimensional objects and he shows Bailey three-dimensional models made of toothpicks and clay, representing projections of a four-dimensional tesseract, the equivalent of a cube. Bailey is baffled, but when Teal constructs an "unfolded tesseract", a three-dimensional object, Bailey suggests building a house to that pattern. Teal, ever hungry for a
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    2 votes
    117
    The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

    The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the last of the twelve collected in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It was first published in Strand Magazine in June 1892. Violet Hunter visits Holmes, asking whether she should accept a job as governess; a job with very strange conditions. She is enticed by the phenomenal salary which, as originally offered, is £100 a year, later increased to £120 when Miss Hunter baulks at having to cut her long hair short (Her previous position paid £48 per year). This is only one of many peculiar provisos to which she must agree. The employer, Jephro Rucastle, seems pleasant enough, yet Miss Hunter obviously has her suspicions. She announces to Holmes, after the raised salary offer, that she will take the job, and Holmes suggests that if he is needed, a telegram will bring him to Hampshire, where Mr Rucastle's country estate, the Copper Beeches, is situated. After a fortnight, Holmes receives such a message, beseeching him to come and see her in Winchester. Miss Hunter tells them one of the most singular stories that they have ever heard. Mr Rucastle would
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    2 votes
    118
    The Adventure of the Crooked Man

    The Adventure of the Crooked Man

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Crooked Man", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle ranked "The Adventure of the Crooked Man" fifteenth in a list of his nineteen favourite Sherlock Holmes stories. Holmes calls on Watson late one evening to tell him about a case that he has been working on, and also to invite him to be a witness to the final stage of the investigation. Colonel James Barclay, of The Royal Mallows based at Aldershot Camp, is dead, apparently by violence, and his wife Nancy is the prime suspect. The Colonel’s brother officers are quite perplexed at the Colonel’s fate. Most of them have always believed that he and Nancy were a happy couple. They have observed over the years, however, that the Colonel seemed rather more attached to his wife than she to him. It also hasn’t escaped their notice that the Colonel sometimes had bouts of deep depression and moodiness for no apparent reason. As a married officer, the Colonel and his wife lived in a villa outside the camp at Aldershot, and one evening, Nancy went out in the evening with her next-door
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    2 votes
    119

    The Body

    The Body is a novella by Stephen King, originally published in King's 1982 collection Different Seasons and in 1986 adapted into the acclaimed film Stand by Me. Some changes were made to the plot of the film, including changing the setting date from 1960 to 1959 and the location of Castle Rock from the state of Maine to Oregon. The story takes place during the summer of 1960 in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine. After a boy from a neighbouring town named Ray Brower went missing and is presumed dead, Gordie Lachance and his three friends, Chris Chambers, Teddy Duchamp and Vern Tessio set out to find his body after telling their parents they will be camping out. During the course of their journey, the boys, who all come from abusive, dysfunctional families, come to grips with some of the harsh truths of growing up in a small factory town that does not seem to offer them much in the way of a future. In comparison to King's prior works, the narrative of The Body is complicated in that it is told in first person point of view by the now forty-something novelist Gordon Lachance. Most of the story is a straight retrospective of what happened, but comments, or entire chapters that
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    2 votes
    120
    The Boscombe Valley Mystery

    The Boscombe Valley Mystery

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Boscombe Valley Mystery", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the fourth of the twelve stories in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It was first published in the Strand Magazine in 1891. Lestrade summons Holmes to a community in Herefordshire, where a local land owner has been murdered outdoors. The deceased's estranged son is strongly implicated. Holmes quickly determines that a mysterious third man may be responsible for the crime, unraveling a thread involving a secret criminal past, thwarted love, and blackmail. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson take a train to Boscombe Valley, in Herefordshire. En route, Holmes reads the news and briefs Watson on their new case. Mr. John Turner, a widower and a major landowner who has a daughter named Alice, lives there with a fellow expatriate from Australia, Mr. Charles McCarthy, a widower who has a son named James. Charles has been found dead near Boscombe Pool. It was reported that he was there to meet someone. Two witnesses testify that they saw Charles walking into the woods followed by James, who was bearing a gun. Patience Moran, daughter of a lodge keeper, says she saw
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    2 votes
    121
    The Colour Out of Space

    The Colour Out of Space

    • Genre: Horror
    "The Colour Out of Space" is a short story written by American horror author H. P. Lovecraft in March 1927. In the tale, an unnamed narrator pieces together the story of an area known by the locals as the "blasted heath" in the wild hills west of Arkham, Massachusetts. Listening to the experiences of an old man by the name of Ammi Pierce, the narrator discovers that many years ago a meteorite crashed into lands then-owned by a farmer by the name of Nahum Gardner. Scientists were unable to determine its origins and the rock eventually shrank into nothingness, leaving something that is described "only by analogy", as a "colour". This "colour" infects the farmstead and drains the life force from anything living nearby; vegetation grows large, but tasteless, animals are driven mad and deformed into grotesque shapes, and the Gardner family members go insane or die one by one. After two weeks of no contact from the family, Pierce visits the site to find that the horror has destroyed the family and the house. Returning with six men to investigate the remains, Pierce witnesses the "colour" pour out of the well and blight everything that it touches before returning to the sky that spawned
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    2 votes
    122
    The Pirate

    The Pirate

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    "The Pirate" is a science fiction short story by Poul Anderson that first appeared in the October 1968 issue of Analog. "The Pirate" was a prequel to the earlier Psychotechnic League novel Star Ways (later retitled The Peregrine), and was the last story in the Psychotechnic series to be published. The story was included in the 1975 collection Homeward and Beyond and the 1982 collection Starship, and the timeline from the latter collection places the story in the year 3115. Trevelyan Micah, an agent of the Stellar Union's Coordination Service, is alerted to some suspicious activity on the part of Murdoch Juan, a Trader with whom Trevelyan has crossed paths before. Murdoch claims to be recruiting settlers for a newly-discovered planet he calls Good Luck. However, the cost of building housing and infrastructure for the settlers would make the settlement uneconomical for Murdoch, and the equipment he is loading aboard his ship, the Campesino, seems mismatched for the planet he describes. When the Campesino sets out, Trevelyan and his alien partner Smokesmith pursue in a smaller, faster ship called the Genji. They follow Campesino to an Earthlike world a hundred light years from the
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    2 votes
    123
    A Scandal in Bohemia

    A Scandal in Bohemia

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "A Scandal in Bohemia" was the first of Arthur Conan Doyle's 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories to be published in The Strand Magazine and the first Sherlock Holmes story illustrated by Sidney Paget. (Two of the four Sherlock Holmes novels – A Study in Scarlet and The Sign of the Four – preceded the short story cycle). Doyle ranked "A Scandal in Bohemia" fifth in his list of his twelve favourite Holmes stories.The story itself is basically a rewrite of Allan Poe's short story The Purloined Letter. While the currently married Dr. Watson is paying Holmes a visit, Holmes is called upon by a masked gentleman introducing himself as Count Von Kramm, an agent for a wealthy client. However, Holmes quickly deduces that he is in fact Wilhelm Gottsreich Sigismond von Ormstein, Grand Duke of Cassel-Felstein and the hereditary King of Bohemia. The King admits this, tearing off his mask. It transpires that the King is to become engaged to Clotilde Lothman von Saxe-Meiningen, a young Scandinavian princess, but the King's in-laws-to-be would not allow the marriage should any evidence of his former liaison with an American opera singer, Irene Adler, be revealed to them. Adler herself is threatening
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    1 votes
    124
    Bernice Bobs Her Hair

    Bernice Bobs Her Hair

    "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" is a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald, written in 1920 and first published in the Saturday Evening Post in May of that year. It appeared shortly thereafter in the collection Flappers and Philosophers. The story was based on letters Fitzgerald sent to his younger sister, Annabel, advising her on how to be more attractive to young men. The original text was much longer, but Fitzgerald cut nearly 3000 words and changed the ending to make the story more attractive to publishers. The story concerns Bernice, a wealthy girl from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, who goes to visit her cousin Marjorie for the month of August. Marjorie feels that Bernice is a drag on her social life, and none of the boys want to dance with Bernice. Bernice overhears a conversation between Marjorie and Marjorie's mother where the younger girl complains that Bernice is socially hopeless. The next day, Bernice threatens to leave town, but when Marjorie is unfazed, Bernice relents and agrees to let Marjorie turn her into a society girl. Marjorie teaches Bernice how to hold interesting conversations, how to flirt with even unattractive or uninteresting boys to make herself seem more desirable, and
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    1 votes
    125
    Rain

    Rain

    Miss Thompson, later retitled as Rain, is a short story written by W. Somerset Maugham.
    9.00
    1 votes
    126
    Red Nails

    Red Nails

    • Genre: Horror
    "Red Nails" is the last of the stories about Conan the Cimmerian written by American author Robert E. Howard. A novella, it was originally serialized in Weird Tales magazine from July to October 1936. It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan encountering a lost city in which the degenerate inhabitants are proactively resigned to their own destruction. Due to its grim themes of decay and death, the story is considered a classic of Conan lore and is often cited by Howard scholars as one of his best tales. The story was republished in the collections The Sword of Conan (Gnome Press, 1952) and Conan the Warrior (Lancer Books, 1967). It was first published by itself in book form by Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Inc. in 1975 as volume IV of their deluxe Conan set. It has most recently been republished in the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 2: The Hour of the Dragon (Gollancz,2001) and The Conquering Sword of Conan (Del Rey, 2005) (published in the United Kingdom by Wandering Star as Conan of Cimmeria: Volume Three (1935-1936)), as well as The Best of Robert E. Howard, Volume 2: Grim Lands ( Del Rey, 2007). "Red Nails" begins in the jungles far to the south
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    1 votes
    127
    The Frost King Incident

    The Frost King Incident

    • Genre: Fantasy
    "The Frost King" was a short story about King Jack Frost written by 11-year-old Helen Keller. Keller's teacher, Anne Sullivan, had mentioned that the autumn leaves were "painted ruby, emerald, gold, crimson, and brown", and Keller, by her own account, imagined fairies doing the work. Keller wrote a story about how a cask of jewels, being transported by fairy servants, had melted in the sun and covered the leaves. As a birthday gift, Keller sent the story to Michael Anagnos, head of the Perkins School for the Blind, who published the story in The Mentor, the Perkins alumni magazine. It was picked up by The Goodson Gazette, a journal on deaf-blind education, based in Virginia. A friend of one of the Perkins teachers informed the Gazette that Keller's story was a reproduction of "Frost Fairies", from Margaret Canby's book Birdie and His Fairy Friends. The Gazette ran both stories and the editor commented he believed it a deliberate attempt at fraud by Keller's handlers. Keller insisted she had no memory of having read the book or having had it read to her, but passages in her letters from the period, which she describes as "dreams", strongly resemble other episodes in the book. In
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    1 votes
    128
    The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

    The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

    • Genre: Short story
    "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is a short story by Washington Irving contained in his collection The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent., written while he was living in Birmingham, England, and first published in 1820. With Irving's companion piece "Rip Van Winkle", "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is among the earliest examples of American fiction still read today. The story is set in circa 1790 in the Dutch settlement of Tarry Town (based on Tarrytown, New York), in a secluded glen called Sleepy Hollow. It tells the story of Ichabod Crane, who is a lean, lanky and extremely superstitious schoolmaster from Connecticut, who competes with Abraham "Brom Bones" Van Brunt, the town rowdy, for the hand of 18-year-old Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter and sole child of a wealthy farmer, Baltus Van Tassel. As Crane leaves a party he attended at the Van Tassel home on an autumn night, he is pursued by the Headless Horseman, who is supposedly the ghost of a Hessian trooper who had his head shot off by a stray cannonball during "some nameless battle" of the American Revolutionary War, and who "rides forth to the scene of battle in nightly quest of his head". Ichabod mysteriously disappears from
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    1 votes
    129
    A Case of Identity

    A Case of Identity

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "A Case of Identity" is one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and is the third story in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Set in 1887, the story revolves around the case of Miss Mary Sutherland, a woman with a substantial income from the interest on a fund set up for her. She is engaged to a quiet Londoner who has recently disappeared. Sherlock Holmes's detective powers are barely challenged as this turns out to be quite an elementary case for him, much as it puzzles Watson. The fiancé, Mr. Hosmer Angel, is a peculiar character, rather quiet, and rather secretive about his life. Miss Sutherland only knows that he works in an office in Leadenhall Street, but nothing more specific than that. All his letters to her are typewritten, even the signature, and he insists that she write back to him through the local Post Office. The climax of the sad liaison comes when Mr. Angel abandons Miss Sutherland at the altar on their wedding day. Holmes, noting all these things, Hosmer Angel's description, and the fact that he only seems to meet with Miss Sutherland while her disapproving youngish stepfather, James Windibank, is out of the country on
    6.67
    3 votes
    130
    Tiger! Tiger!

    Tiger! Tiger!

    "Tiger! Tiger!" is a short story by Rudyard Kipling. A direct sequel to "Mowgli's Brothers", it was published in magazines in 1893–94 before appearing as the third story in The Jungle Book (1894), following "Kaa's Hunting". The title is derived from William Blake's poem "The Tyger". After driving out the tiger Shere Khan, Mowgli leaves the wolf pack that has raised him and makes his way to a human village to be with his own (biological) kind. There he is adopted by a bereaved couple, Messua and her husband, who believe he is their long-lost son Nathoo. The village priest agrees to this because it will keep Messua's rich husband happy. For three months Mowgli learns human language and customs such as wearing clothes, ploughing, money and caste divisions, few of which impress him. He is also disrespectful to the village elders when they tell fanciful tales of the jungle, since he has first-hand experience of what the jungle is really like. This earns him the particular contempt of Buldeo, the village's chief hunter who claims that the tiger is the reincarnation of a lame money-lender. What is not fanciful is the 100-rupee reward for the tiger's skin. During this period, Mowgli
    6.67
    3 votes
    131
    The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter

    The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. The story was originally serialised in Strand Magazine in 1893. This story introduces Holmes's elder brother Mycroft. Doyle ranked "The Greek Interpreter" seventeenth in a list of his nineteen favourite Sherlock Holmes stories. On a summer evening, while engaged in in an aimless conversation that has come round to the topic of hereditary attributes, Doctor Watson learns that Sherlock Holmes, far from being a one-off in terms of his powers of observation and deductive reasoning, in fact has an elder brother whose skills, or so Holmes claims, outstrip even his own. As a consequence of this, Watson becomes acquainted with the Diogenes Club and his friend's brother, Mycroft. Mycroft, as Watson learns, does not have the energy of his younger brother and as a consequence is incapable of using his great skills for detective work: In spite of his inertia however, the elder Holmes has often delivered the correct answer to a problem that Sherlock has brought to him. On this
    5.75
    4 votes
    132
    Delenda Est

    Delenda Est

    "Delenda Est" is a short story written by Poul Anderson, part of his Time Patrol (1960) series. The title alludes to the Latin phrase Carthago delenda est ("Carthage must be destroyed") from the Third Punic War. Renegade time travelers meddle in the outcome of the Second Punic War, bringing about the premature deaths of Publius Cornelius Scipio and Scipio Africanus at the Battle of Ticinus in 218 BC, and thus creating a new timeline in which Hannibal destroys Rome in 210 BC. This meant that western European civilization came to be based on a Celtic-Carthaginian cultural synthesis (rather than Greco-Roman, as in actual history). This civilization discovered the western hemisphere, and created certain inventions (such as the steam engine) long before the corresponding events happened in actual history (partly since there was nothing corresponding to the fall of the Roman Empire), but overall technological progress has been slow, since most developments are arrived at through ad hoc tinkering (there is no scientific methodology of empirically testing rigorous theories). At the time of the story, Britain (Brittys), Ireland, France (Gallia) and Spain (Celtan) are under Celtic control,
    7.50
    2 votes
    133
    Frogs and Scientists

    Frogs and Scientists

    "Frogs and Scientists" is a short short story by science fiction author Frank Herbert. It appeared in the August-September 1979 edition of the anthology Destinies: The Paperback Magazine of Science Fiction and Speculative Fact edited by Jim Baen and later in Herbert’s 1985 short story collection Eye. Two frogs are counting minnows in a hydroponics pond when a human female comes to take a bath. The two frogs begin discussing the woman, and the frog Lapat tries to explain what is going on to the other frog, Lavu. Lapat tells Lavu about the use of clothing, his theory about the purpose of breasts, and the belief that the woman is there trying to attract a mate. When Lavu asks Lapat why he knows so much about humans, Lapat says "I pattern my life after the most admirable of all humans, the scientist." After Lapat explains what a scientist is, the frogs go back to counting minnows. When this short story was originally published in Destinies it was accompanied by two drawings by Alicia Austin. The drawings were not reprinted in Eye.
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    2 votes
    134
    The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet

    The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the eleventh of the twelve stories collected in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The story was first published in Strand Magazine in May 1892. A banker, Mr. Alexander Holder of Streatham makes a loan of £50,000 to a socially prominent client, who leaves the Beryl Coronet — one of the most valuable public possessions in existence — as collateral. Holder feels that he must not leave this rare and precious piece of jewellery in his personal safe at the bank, and so he takes it home with him to lock it up there. He is awakened in the night by a noise, enters his dressing room, and is horrified to see his son Arthur with the coronet in his hands, apparently trying to bend it. Holder's niece Mary comes at the sound of all the shouting and, seeing the damaged coronet, faints dead away. Three beryls are missing from it. In a panic, Mr. Holder travels to see Holmes, who agrees to take the case. The case against Arthur seems rather damning, yet Holmes is not convinced of his guilt. Why has Arthur clammed up? Why is he refusing to give a statement of any
    7.50
    2 votes
    135
    The Gold-Bug

    The Gold-Bug

    • Genre: Short story
    "The Gold-Bug" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. Set on Sullivan's Island, South Carolina, the plot follows William Legrand, who was recently bitten by a gold-colored bug. His servant Jupiter fears Legrand is going insane and goes to Legrand's friend, an unnamed narrator who agrees to visit his old friend. Legrand pulls the other two into an adventure after deciphering a secret message that will lead to a buried treasure. The story is often compared with Poe's "tales of ratiocination" as an early form of detective fiction. Poe became aware of the public's interest in secret writing in 1840 and asked readers to challenge his skills as a code-breaker. Poe took advantage of the popularity of cryptography as he was writing "The Gold-Bug", and the success of the story centers on one such cryptogram. The characterization of Legrand's servant Jupiter has been criticized as racist from a modern perspective, especially because his speech is written in dialect and because of his often-comical dialogue. Poe submitted "The Gold-Bug" as an entry to a writing contest sponsored by the Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper. His story won the grand prize and was published in three installments,
    7.50
    2 votes
    136
    The Tortoise and the Hare

    The Tortoise and the Hare

    The Tortoise and the Hare is one of Aesop's Fables and is numbered 226 in the Perry Index. The account of a race between unequal partners has attracted conflicting interpretations. It is itself a variant of a common folktale theme in which ingenuity and trickery (rather than doggedness) are employed to overcome a stronger opponent. The story concerns a hare who ridicules a slow-moving tortoise and is challenged by him to a race. The hare soon leaves the tortoise behind and, confident of winning, takes a nap midway through the course. When he awakes, however, he finds that his competitor, crawling slowly but steadily, has arrived before him. As in several other fables by Aesop, there is a moral ambiguity about the lesson it is teaching. Later interpreters have asserted that it is the proverbial 'the more haste, the worse speed' (Samuel Croxall) or have applied to it the Biblical observation that 'the race is not to the swift' (Ecclesiastes 9.11). In Classical times it was not the Tortoise’s plucky conduct in taking on a bully that was emphasised but the Hare’s foolish over-confidence. An old Greek source comments that 'many people have good natural abilities which are ruined by
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    137
    Vengeance is disappointing, always.

    Vengeance is disappointing, always.

    • Characters: Stormbringer
    In the Sacred Band of Stepsons universe and the Thieves' World shared fictional universe, during the story "Wizard Weather," Tempus tries to keep Stormbringer, father of all weather gods, from taking revenge because his daughter, Jihan, was jilted by her fiance, the demiurge, Askelon of Meridian.
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    138
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    139
    Red Dog

    Red Dog

    "Red Dog" is a Mowgli story by Rudyard Kipling. Written at Kipling's home in Brattleboro, Vermont between February and March 1895, it was first published as "Good Hunting: A Story of the Jungle" in The Pall Mall Gazette for July 29 and 30 1895 and McClure's Magazine for August 1895 before appearing under its definitive title as the 7th and penultimate story in The Second Jungle Book later the same year. It was also the penultimate Mowgli story to be written. Mowgli the feral child is about 16 years old and living contentedly with his brother wolves in the Seeonee jungle when the peace is disturbed by the arrival of Won-tolla, a battle-scarred wolf whose mate and cubs have been killed by dhole, the red dogs of the title. Won-tolla warns the Seeonee wolves that the dhole-pack will soon overrun their territory and urges the wolves to flee for their lives, but Mowgli persuades them to stay and defend their territory, vowing to fight beside them despite having previously been cast out of the pack. Later that night Mowgli meets Kaa, the huge old python, and tells him the news. Kaa does not believe that Mowgli and the pack will survive a direct assault by the dhole, and enters a trance to
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    140
    The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

    The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the seventh story of twelve in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The story was first published in Strand Magazine in January 1892. Watson visits his friend Holmes at Christmas time and finds him contemplating a battered old hat, brought to him by the commissionaire Peterson after it and a Christmas goose had been dropped by a man in a scuffle with some street ruffians. Peterson takes the goose home to eat it, but comes back later with a carbuncle. His wife has found it in the bird's crop (throat). Holmes makes some interesting deductions concerning the owner of the hat from simple observations of its condition, conclusions amply confirmed when an advertisement for the owner produces the man himself: Henry Baker. Holmes cannot resist such an intriguing mystery, and he and Watson set out across the city to determine exactly how the jewel, stolen from the Countess of Morcar during her stay at a hotel, wound up in a goose's crop. The man who dropped the goose, Mr. Henry Baker, clearly has no knowledge of the crime, but he gives Holmes valuable
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    4 votes
    141
    Jewels of Gwahlur

    Jewels of Gwahlur

    • Genre: Horror
    "Jewels of Gwahlur" is one of the original short stories starring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard. Set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age, it concerns several parties, including Conan, fighting over and hunting for the eponymous treasure in Hyborian Africa. The tale was first published in Weird Tales in 1935. Howard's original title for the story was "The Servants of Bit-Yakin". Robert E. Howard set the story in Hyborian Africa. The Teeth of Gwahlur are legendary jewels, kept in the abandoned city of Alkmeenon, in the country of Keshan "which in itself was considered mythical by many northern and western nations". Conan, following legends of this treasure, has travelled to Keshan and offered his services to train and lead Keshan's army against their neighbour, Punt. However, Thutmekri, a Stygian rogue with similar intentions, and his Shemitish partner, Zargheba, also arrive in the country with an offer of a military alliance with another of Punt's neighbours, Zembabwei, with some of the Teeth to seal their pact. The high priest of Keshan, Gorulga, announces that a decision on the matter can only be made after
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    3 votes
    142
    Metzengerstein

    Metzengerstein

    • Genre: Horror
    "Metzengerstein", also called "Metzengerstein: A Tale In Imitation of the German", was the first short story by American writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe to see print. It was first published in the pages of Philadelphia's Saturday Courier magazine, in 1832. The story follows the young Frederick, the last of the Metzengerstein family who carries on a long-standing feud with the Berlifitzing family. Suspected of causing a fire that kills the Berlifitzing family patriarch, Frederick becomes intrigued with a previously-unnoticed and untamed horse. Metzengerstein is punished for his cruelty when his own home catches fire and the horse carries him into the flame. "Metzengerstein" follows many conventions of Gothic fiction and, to some, exaggerates those conventions. Because of this, critics and scholars debate if Poe intended the story to be taken seriously or as a satire of Gothic stories. Regardless, many elements introduced in "Metzengerstein" would become common in Poe's future writing, including the gloomy castle and the power of evil. Because the story follows an orphan raised in an aristocratic household, some critics suggest an autobiographical connection with its author. The
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    3 votes
    143
    The Adventure of the Final Problem

    The Adventure of the Final Problem

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Final Problem" is a short story by Arthur Conan Doyle featuring his detective character Sherlock Holmes. It was first published in Strand Magazine in December 1893. It appears in book form as part of the collection The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle later ranked "The Final Problem" fourth on his personal list of the twelve best Holmes stories. This story, set in 1891, introduces Holmes's greatest opponent, the criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty. Holmes arrives at Dr. Watson's one evening in a somewhat agitated state and with grazed and bleeding knuckles. He has apparently escaped three murder attempts that day after a visit from Professor Moriarty, who warned Holmes to withdraw from his pursuit of justice against him to avoid any regrettable outcome. First, just as he was turning a street corner, a cab suddenly rushed towards him and Holmes just managed to leap out of the way in time. Second, while Holmes was walking along the street, a brick fell from the roof of a house, just missing the detective. He then called the police to search the whole area but could not prove that it was anything other than an accident. Finally, on his way to Watson's house, he was
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    3 votes
    144
    The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

    The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

    "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" is an 1865 short story by Mark Twain, his first great success as a writer, bringing him national attention. The story has also been published as "Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog" (its original title) and "The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County". In it, the narrator retells a story he heard from a bartender, Simon Wheeler, at the Angels Hotel in Angels Camp, California, about the gambler Jim Smiley. Twain describes him: "If he even seen a straddle bug start to go anywheres, he is bet you how long it would take him to get to—to wherever he going to, and if you took him up, he would foller that straddle bug to Mexico but what he would find out where he was bound for and how long he was on the road." "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" is also the title story of an 1867 collection of short stories by Mark Twain. Twain's first book, it collected 27 stories that were previously published in magazines and newspapers. Twain first wrote the title short story at the request of his friend Artemus Ward, for inclusion in an upcoming book. Twain worked on two versions but neither was satisfactory to him—neither got around to
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    145
    The Devil in Iron

    The Devil in Iron

    • Genre: Horror
    "The Devil in Iron" is one of the original stories by Robert E. Howard about Conan the Cimmerian, first published in Weird Tales in August 1934. Howard earned $115 for the publication of this story. The plot concerns the resurrection of a mythical demon due to the theft of a sacred dagger, and an unrelated trap that lures Conan to the island fortress roamed by the demon. Due to its plot loopholes and borrowed elements from "Iron Shadows in the Moon", some Howard scholars claim this story is the weakest of the early Conan tales. In "The Devil in Iron," an ancient demon, Khosatral Khel, is awakened on the remote island of Xapur due to the meddling of a greedy fisherman. Upon reawakening, Khel resurrects the ancient fortress which once dominated the island, including its cyclopean walls, gigantic pythons, and long-dead citizens. Meanwhile, Conan — a leader of the Vilayet kozaks — is tricked by the villainous Jehungir Agha into pursuing the lovely Octavia to the island of Xapur. Jehungir Agha plans for Conan to fall into a prepared trap on the island. The unforeseen resurrection of the island demon and its ancient fortress, however, interrupts these plans. When Conan arrives on Xapur,
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    3 votes
    146
    Upon the Dull Earth

    Upon the Dull Earth

    "Upon the Dull Earth" is a science fiction short story by Philip K. Dick, first published in November 1954 in Beyond Fantasy Fiction. By offering up the blood of a lamb, Silvia, the protagonist of Upon the Dull Earth, is able to summon creatures she identifies as angels. She thinks that the creatures are her ancestors and she is sure that one day she will join them. At the same time, though, it is not clear whether the creatures are really good, as Silvia thinks, or wicked. Their behavior and their relation with Silvia scare the girl's relatives and Rick, her boyfriend. Rick thinks that Silvia's behavior is very dangerous, as "the white-winged giants ... can sear [her] to ash". During a quarrel with Rick, the girl accidentally cuts herself. Independently from her will, Silvia's blood summons the creatures. Unable to control their power, the angel-like giants burn Silvia's body and leave only "a brittle burned-out husk". Unable to accept his lover's death, Rick tries to bring Silvia back, but in doing so he causes the degeneration and destruction of the world he lives in. The story also develops one of Dick's favorite themes, namely the definition of what is real. The reality we
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    3 votes
    147
    Chí Phèo

    Chí Phèo

    Chí Phèo is one of the most famous short stories written by Nam Cao. This story, which was first published in 1941 by New Life publisher, affirmed Nam Cao's talent and showed deeply human values. One day, when a man was catching eels, he accidentally found Chí Phèo naked and pale in a skirt, and then he was brought up by the villagers. Growing up, he became a kind, strong farmer and was a tenant of Bá Kiến. The young third wife of Bá Kiến often asked Chí Phèo to massage her legs. As a result, Bá Kiến was jealous of him, so he imprisoned him. After unlawful imprisonment of 7–8 years, Chí Phèo emerged a completely different person. He became a wicked monster of Vũ Đại village. Firstly he went to Ba Kien’s house intending to slit his face for what he had done. However, Bá Kiến sweet talked the gullible Chí Phèo to be his henchman. Chí Phèo became increasingly more cruel and was always intoxicated. One afternoon, as usual, Chí Phèo was both going and abusing but no one noticed to him. He was very angry, so he wanted to destroy something in any houses in this village. He went to Tu Lang’s house (Tu Lang was a cartomancer whose wife and son had left him) while this man was drinking wine
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    148
    Christmas on Ganymede

    Christmas on Ganymede

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    "Christmas on Ganymede" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. It was written in December 1940, first published in the January 1942 issue of Startling Stories, and reprinted in the 1972 collection The Early Asimov and the anthology Christmas on Ganymede and Other Stories, edited by Martin H. Greenberg. It was the twenty-sixth story written by Asimov, and the nineteenth to be published. In his autobiography In Memory Yet Green, Asimov had this to say about Christmas on Ganymede: "I was trying to be funny, of course. I had this terrible urge to be funny, you see, and had already indulged in humor in more than one story. Writing humor, however, is harder than digging ditches. Something can be moderately well written, or moderately suspenseful, or moderately ingenious, and get by in every case. Nothing, however, can be moderately humorous. Something is either funny, or it is not funny at all. There is nothing in between." "Christmas on Ganymede" was later included in an early Foundation Series timeline that was published in Thrilling Wonder Stories along with the story "The Portable Star". As the title indicates, the story is set on the Jovian moon Ganymede, the first story
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    149
    Little Herr Friedemann

    Little Herr Friedemann

    "Little Herr Friedemann" (orig. German Der kleine Herr Friedemann) is a short story by Thomas Mann. Initially appeared in 1896 in Die neue Rundschau. Appeared in 1898 in an anthology of Mann's short stories entitled collectively as Der kleine Herr Friedemann. Johannes Friedemann was dropped on his head as at birth. "It was the nurse's fault", the story begins. The nurse had been unable to overcome the effects of her daily glass of red wine, stout and methylated spirits intended for the coffee machine. He grows up deformed and hunchbacked. He falls in love as a young boy with a girl, only to find her kissing another behind a hedge. He then swears off love dedicating himself to self-improvement. He grows into a man who has taste in music, clothes, and literature. He is successful in his career and seemingly content. A military commander with a personable wife is stationed in Herr Friedemann's town. Frau Commandant von Rinnlingen destroys Herr Friedemann's content. He falls in love with her on sight, despite her lack of classic beauty. Herr Friedemannn and Frau von Rinnglingen make a deep connection, despite the brevity of their encounters and the constraints of society. Herr
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    1 votes
    150
    Skinners Room

    Skinners Room

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    Skinner's Room is a short story by William Gibson originally composed for Visionary San Francisco, a 1990 museum exhibition exploring the future of San Francisco. It features the first appearance in Gibson's fiction of "the Bridge", which Gibson revisited as the setting of his acclaimed Bridge trilogy of novels. In the story, the Bridge is overrun by squatters, among them Skinner, who occupies a shack atop a bridgetower. An altered version of the story was published in Omni magazine and subsequently anthologized. "Skinner's Room" was nominated for the 1992 Locus Award for Best Short Story. The story takes place in a near-future where the United States is in decline, having been negatively affected by some event referred to as the "devaluations." It is set in a decaying San Francisco in which the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge is closed and taken over by the homeless. The wealthy denizens of the city have retreated to gated-access enclaves. The room mentioned in the title is a shack built on top one of the bridge's towers. Skinner has lived on the bridge, and in his room, for a long time, and is accompanied by a girl with an interest in the history of the bridge town and who
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    1 votes
    151
    The Call of Cthulhu

    The Call of Cthulhu

    • Genre: Horror
    "The Call of Cthulhu" is a short story by American writer H. P. Lovecraft. Written in the summer of 1926, it was first published in the pulp magazine Weird Tales, in February 1928. Cthulhu Mythos scholar Robert M. Price claims the irregular sonnet "The Kraken", written in 1830 by Alfred Tennyson, is a major inspiration for H.P. Lovecraft's story, as both reference a huge aquatic creature sleeping for an eternity at the bottom of the ocean and destined to emerge from his slumber in an apocalyptic age. S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz cited other literary inspirations: Guy de Maupassant's "The Horla" (1887), which Lovecraft described in "Supernatural Horror in Literature" as concerning "an invisible being who...sways the minds of others, and seems to be the vanguard of a horde of extraterrestrial organisms arrived on earth to subjugate and overwhelm mankind"; and Arthur Machen's "The Novel of the Black Seal" (1895), which uses the same method of piecing together of disassociated knowledge (including a random newspaper clipping) to reveal the survival of a horrific ancient being. Price also notes that Lovecraft admired the work of Lord Dunsany, who wrote The Gods of Pegana (1905),
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    152
    The Planet of Doubt

    The Planet of Doubt

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    "The Planet of Doubt" is a science fiction short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum that was first published in the October 1935 issue of Astounding Stories. It is Weinbaum's third story featuring Hamilton Hammond and Patricia Burlingame, a sequel to "Parasite Planet" and "The Lotus Eaters". Following his expedition to the night side of Venus, the Smithsonian Institution appoints Hamilton "Ham" Hammond to head an expedition to Uranus. In Weinbaum's version of the Solar System, all of the gas giants generate significant amounts of infrared radiation, enough to produce Earthlike environments on the inner moons of Jupiter and Saturn and on the surface of Uranus itself. At the time "The Planet of Doubt" takes place at the turn of the 22nd century, the limited range of the spaceships ensures that Uranus can only be reached from the American base on Titan when Saturn reaches conjunction with Uranus, an event that occurs once every forty years. The Young expedition explored the planet's south pole in 2060; now Hammond takes his ship, the Gaea, to the north pole. Finding an ocean at the north pole, Hammond sends the Gaea spiraling southeast until they reach land. They find the surface of Uranus
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    153
    The Purloined Letter

    The Purloined Letter

    • Characters: Auguste Dupin
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Purloined Letter" is a short story by American author Edgar Allan Poe. It is the third of his three detective stories featuring the fictional C. Auguste Dupin, the other two being "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and "The Mystery of Marie Rogêt". These stories are considered to be important early forerunners of the modern detective story. It first appeared in the literary annual The Gift for 1845 (1844) and was soon reprinted in numerous journals and newspapers. The unnamed narrator is discussing with the famous Parisian amateur detective C. Auguste Dupin some of his most celebrated cases when they are joined by the Prefect of the Police, a man known as G—. The Prefect has a case he would like to discuss with Dupin. A letter has been stolen from the boudoir of an unnamed female by the unscrupulous Minister D—. It is said to contain compromising information. D— was in the room, saw the letter, and switched it for a letter of no importance. He has been blackmailing his victim. The Prefect makes two deductions with which Dupin does not disagree: The Prefect says that he and his police detectives have searched the Ministerial hotel where D— stays and have found nothing. They
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    154

    Apt Pupil

    • Genre: Horror
    Apt Pupil (1982) is a novella by Stephen King, originally published in the 1982 novella collection Different Seasons, subtitled "Summer of Corruption". Apt Pupil consists of 29 chapters, many of which are headed by a month. Set in a fictional suburb of San Diego in California called "Santo Donato", the story unfolds over a period of about four years, with most of the action taking place during the first year and the last months. It is the only novella in Different Seasons to be narrated in the third person. In 1974, Todd Bowden arrives at the doorstep of elderly German immigrant Arthur Denker, accusing him of being a wanted Nazi war criminal named Kurt Dussander. The old man initially denies the allegation, but eventually acknowledges his true identity. But rather than turning Dussander over to the proper authorities, Todd asks to hear highly detailed stories about his crimes, having recently become interested in the Holocaust. However, Todd still threatens Dussander with exposure should he refuse his demands. Over the next several months, Todd visits Dussander daily under the pretext of reading to him, all the while badgering him into revealing more details of his atrocities. Todd
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    155
    Rogues in the House

    Rogues in the House

    • Genre: Horror
    "Rogues in the House" is one of the original short stories starring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine circa January 1934. It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan inadvertently becoming involved in the power play between two powerful men fighting for control of a city. It was the seventh Conan story Howard had published. The story takes place in an unnamed city-state between Zamora and Corinthia during an apparent power struggle between two powerful leaders: Murilo, an aristocrat, and Nabonidus, the "Red Priest," a clergyman with a strong power base.After he is delivered a subtle threat by Nabonidus, Murilo learns of Conan's reputation as a mercenary and turns to him for help. Prior to the story's beginning, Conan killed a corrupt priest of Anu who was both a fence and a police informer, but was caught after he became intoxicated and a prostitute turned him in. Languishing in a jail and awaiting execution, Conan receives Murilo's visit and is proposed a bargain: in exchange for setting him free and getting him out of Corinthia with a bag of gold,
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    156
    The Belonging Kind

    The Belonging Kind

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    The Belonging Kind is a science fiction short story; a collaboration between noted cyberpunk authors William Gibson and John Shirley. It was first published in the horror anthology Shadows 4 in 1981, later to be included along with several other stories in Gibson's collection Burning Chrome. It is a departure from the Sprawl universe in which several of Gibson's novels and stories are set, taking place in a setting much more like contemporary American life. The main character is Coretti, a dull, scholarly man who studies and teaches linguistics and social interaction theory. He sometimes visits bars to help dull the tedium, only choosing bars which have a low chance of putting him in social interaction. Coretti meets a woman in a bar who seems to fit perfectly there. He follows her to various other bars and clubs, watching as she constantly drinks and talks with a companion of hers, her appearance and clothing shifting to let her fit in wherever she goes. His performance at work suffers and his appetite decreases as he devotes all his time and resources to tracking the duo. Coretti spots the man secreting money from some kind of pocket, and realizes that he's discovered a new kind
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    157
    The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar

    The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar

    "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" is a short story by American author Edgar Allan Poe about a mesmerist who puts a man in a suspended hypnotic state at the moment of death. An example of a tale of suspense and horror, it is also, to a certain degree, a hoax as it was published without claiming to be fictional, and many at the time of publication (1845) took it to be a factual account. Poe toyed with this for a while before admitting it was a work of pure fiction in his "Marginalia". The narrator presents the facts of the extraordinary case of Valdemar which have incited public discussion. He is interested in Mesmerism, a pseudoscience involving bringing a patient into a hypnagogic state by the influence of magnetism, a process which later developed into hypnotism. He points out that, as far as he knows, no one has ever been mesmerized at the point of death, and he is curious to see what effects mesmerism would have on a dying person. He considers experimenting on his friend Ernest Valdemar, an author whom he had previously mesmerized, and who has recently been diagnosed with phthisis (tuberculosis). Valdemar consents to the experiment and informs the narrator by letter that he
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    2 votes
    158
    The Pavilion on the Links

    The Pavilion on the Links

    "The Pavilion on the Links" (1880) is a short-story by Robert Louis Stevenson. It was first published in Cornhill Magazine 42-43 (Sept-Oct 1880). A revised version was included in The New Arabian Nights (1882). The story was considered by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1890 as "the high-water mark of [Stevenson’s] genius" and "the first short story in the world’". Along with a number of other stories it was collected in a volume entitled The New Arabian Nights in 1882. This collection is seen as the starting point for the history of the English short story by Barry Menikoff .
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    159
    The Tower of the Elephant

    The Tower of the Elephant

    • Genre: Fantasy
    "The Tower of the Elephant" is one of the original short stories starring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard. It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan infiltrating a perilous tower in order to steal a fabled gem from an evil sorcerer named Yara. Due to its unique insights into the Hyborian world and atypical science fiction elements, the story is considered a classic of Conan lore and is often cited by Howard scholars as one of his best tales. In the Zamorian "thief city", called by some Arenjun, or the City of Thieves, a young Conan is drinking in a rowdy tavern when he overhears a fat Kothic rogue describing a fabulous jewel called the "Heart of the Elephant." The jewel is kept in an eponymous tower by an evil sorcerer named Yara. When Conan presses the rogue for more information, insults are traded and a fight ensues. As they begin to fight, a candle is knocked over by bewildered onlookers plunging the tavern into darkness. In the resulting confusion, Conan slays the Kothian and escapes into the nighted streets of the city. After this tavern brawl, the Cimmerian sets out to steal the
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    160
    Trends

    Trends

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    "Trends" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. It was first published in the July 1939 issue of Astounding Science Fiction and was reprinted in The Early Asimov (1972). "Trends" was the tenth story written by Asimov, the third to be published, and the first to appear in Astounding, then the leading science fiction magazine. The story had its genesis in research Asimov was conducting on behalf of an academic writing a book on social resistance to technological change. Asimov was particularly struck by a series of articles by Simon Newcomb from the early 20th century arguing that heavier-than-air flight was physically impossible. If there had been resistance to earlier technological change, then Asimov reasoned that there might be social resistance to spaceflight, which was a notion he had never encountered before in a science fiction story. In December 1938, Asimov wrote a story, which he originally titled "Ad Astra", that included resistance to a proposed flight to the Moon, submitting it to Astounding editor John W. Campbell on 21 December 1938. On 29 December 1938 Asimov received a letter from Campbell asking for a story conference. At the conference, Campbell said
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    161
    Valley of Dreams

    Valley of Dreams

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    Valley of Dreams is a science fiction short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum originally published in the November 1934 issue of Wonder Stories. "Valley of Dreams" was Weinbaum's second published story, and is a sequel to his first story, "A Martian Odyssey". Two weeks before the Ares is scheduled to leave Mars, Captain Harrison sends American chemist Dick Jarvis and French biologist "Frenchy" Leroy to retrieve the film Jarvis took before his auxiliary rocket crashed into the Thyle highlands the week before. Along the way, the Earthmen stop at the city of the cart creatures and the site of the pyramid building creature for Leroy to take some samples. After picking up the film canisters from the crashed rocket at Thyle II, the two men fly east to Thyle I to look for signs of the birdlike Martian, Tweel. Near a canal the men find a strange, deserted city thousands of years old. The buildings are inhabited by birdlike Martians of Tweel's species, including Tweel himself, and Jarvis and the Martian enjoy a happy reunion. Jarvis persuades Tweel to guide them through the city. In one building they come across a ratlike being hunched over a Martian book. Tweel angrily chases the rat-thing away
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    162

    Welcome to the Monkey House

    • Genre: Dystopia
    "Welcome to the Monkey House" is a Kurt Vonnegut short story that is part of the collection Welcome to the Monkey House. It is alluded to in God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater as one of Kilgore Trout's stories. In the not-so-distant future, a criminal mastermind named Billy the Poet is on the loose and on his way to Cape Cod. His goal is to deflower one of the hostesses at the Ethical Suicide Parlor in Hyannis. The world government runs the parlors and urges people to commit suicide to help keep the population of 17 billion stable. The government also suppresses the population’s sexual desire with drugs that numb them from the waist down. Despite a sting by the authorities, Billy the Poet outwits them and kidnaps six-foot blond hostess, Nancy McLuhan. McLuhan vows to fight Billy to the very end, but the drugs wear off, and when she is deflowered by Billy, her mind opens as well. Billy convinces her that sex and death aren’t the answer – birth control pills are. In the end, Billy lets Nancy go, but she is forever a changed woman. Nancy McLuhan: Nancy McLuhan is a Hostess working at the Federal Ethical Suicide Parlor of Hyannis. She unites all the skills and virtues a Suicide Hostess has
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    163
    A Christmas Memory

    A Christmas Memory

    "A Christmas Memory" is a short story by Truman Capote. Originally published in Mademoiselle magazine in December 1956, it was reprinted in The Selected Writings of Truman Capote in 1963. It was issued in a stand-alone hardcover edition by Random House in 1966, and it has been published in many editions and anthologies since. The largely autobiographical story, which takes place in the 1930s, describes a period in the lives of the seven-year-old narrator and an elderly woman who is his distant cousin and best friend. The evocative narrative focuses on country life, friendship, and the joy of giving during the Christmas season, and it also gently yet poignantly touches on loneliness and loss. Now a holiday classic, "A Christmas Memory" has been broadcast, recorded, filmed, and staged multiple times, in award-winning productions. "A Christmas Memory" is about a young boy, referred to as "Buddy," and his older cousin, who is unnamed in the story but is called Sook in later adaptations. The boy is the narrator, and his older cousin — who is eccentric and childlike — is his best friend. They live in a house with other relatives, who are authoritative and stern, and have a dog named
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    164
    I, Robot

    I, Robot

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    "I, Robot" is a science fiction short story by Eando Binder (nom de plume for Earl and Otto Binder) about a robot named Adam Link. It was published in the January 1939 issue of Amazing Stories, well before the related and more known book I, Robot (1950), a collection of short stories, by Isaac Asimov. Asimov was heavily influenced by the Binder short story. The story is a robot's confession. Some weeks earlier its builder, Dr. Charles Link, built it in the basement. Link teaches his robot to walk, talk and behave civilly. Link's housekeeper sees the robot just enough to be horrified by it, but his dog is totally loyal to it. The robot is fully educated in a few weeks, Link then names it Adam Link, and it professes a desire to serve any human master who will have it. Soon afterwards, a heavy object falls on Dr. Link by accident and kills him. His housekeeper instantly assumes that the robot has murdered Dr. Link, and calls in armed men to hunt it down and destroy it. They don't succeed; in fact, they provoke the robot to retaliate, both by refusing to listen to it and by accidentally killing Dr. Link's dog. Back at the house, the robot finds a copy of Frankenstein, which Dr. Link
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    165
    Indian Camp

    Indian Camp

    "Indian Camp" is a short story written by Ernest Hemingway. The story was first published in 1924 in Ford Madox Ford's literary magazine Transatlantic Review in Paris and republished by Boni & Liveright in the American edition of Hemingway's first volume of short stories In Our Time (1925). The first of Hemingway's stories to feature the semi-autobiographical character Nick Adams—a child in this story—"Indian Camp" is told from his point of view. In the story Nick Adams' father, a country doctor, has been summoned to a Native American or "Indian" camp to deliver a pregnant woman of her baby. At the camp, the father is forced to perform an emergency caesarean section using a jack-knife, with Nick as his assistant. Afterward, the woman's husband is discovered dead, having slit his throat during the operation. The story shows the emergence of Hemingway's understated style and his use of counterpoint. An initiation story, "Indian Camp" includes themes such as childbirth and fear of death which permeate much of Hemingway's subsequent work. When the story was published, the quality of writing was noted and praised, and scholars consider "Indian Camp" an important story in the Hemingway
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    3 votes
    166
    The Damned Thing

    The Damned Thing

    "The Damned Thing" is a short story written by Ambrose Bierce. It first appeared in Tales from New York Town Topics on December 7, 1893. This story focuses on how the human race takes their views of nature for granted, and how there may be things in the natural world that the human eye cannot see or the human ear cannot hear. "The Damned Thing" is written in four parts, each with a comical subtitle. The story begins in Hugh Morgan's cabin, where local men have gathered around the battered corpse of Hugh Morgan to hold an inquest concerning his death. William Harker, a witness to the death, enters and is sworn in by the coroner to relate the circumstances. William reads a prepared statement about a hunting and fishing outing undertaken with Morgan. He and Morgan encountered a series disturbances that Morgan referred to as "that damned thing". During the last encounter, Morgan fired his gun in fear, then fell to the ground and cried out in mortal agony. Harker saw his companion moving violently and erratically, while shouting and making disturbing cries. He thought Morgan was having convulsions because he didn't appear to be under attack. By the time Harker reached Morgan, Morgan was
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    3 votes
    167
    The Dancing Girl of Izu

    The Dancing Girl of Izu

    • Genre: Short story
    "The Dancing Girl of Izu" or "The Izu Dancer" (伊豆の踊子, Izu no odoriko) is a 1926 short story by the Japanese writer and Nobel Prize winner Yasunari Kawabata. The short story was first translated into English by Edward Seidensticker and published in an abridged form as "The Izu Dancer" in The Atlantic Monthly in 1955. A complete English translation of the story appeared in 1998. Kawabata's "The Izu Dancer" represent a lyric and elegiac memory of early love. The story is well known in Japan, and, today, part of the story's name, odoriko (which means "dancing girl") is used as the name of express trains to the Izu area. "The Dancing Girl of Izu" tells of the story between a young male student who is touring the Izu Peninsula and a family of traveling dancers he meets there, including their youngest girl on the onset of puberty. The student finds the naïve girl attractive even though he eventually have to part with the family after spending memorable time together. The story has been dramatized several times in Japan. Unless noted otherwise, all are talkies and in color. For each pair of stars, the female lead is named first.
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    3 votes
    168
    The Balloon-Hoax

    The Balloon-Hoax

    • Characters: Monck Mason
    "The Balloon-Hoax" is the title used in collections and anthologies of a newspaper article written by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1844. Originally presented as a true story, it detailed European Monck Mason's trip across the Atlantic Ocean in only three days in a gas balloon. It was later revealed as a hoax and the story was retracted two days later. The story now known as "The Balloon-Hoax" was first printed in The Sun newspaper in New York. The article provided a detailed and highly plausible account of a lighter-than-air balloon trip by famous European balloonist Monck Mason across the Atlantic Ocean taking 75 hours, along with a diagram and specifications of the craft. Poe may have been inspired, at least in part, by a prior journalistic hoax known as the "Great Moon Hoax", published in the same newspaper in 1835. One of the suspected writers of that hoax, Richard Adams Locke, was Poe's editor at the time "The Balloon-Hoax" was published. Poe had complained for a decade that the paper's Great Moon Hoax had plagiarized (by way of Locke) the basic idea from The Unparalleled Adventure Of One Hans Pfaall, one of Poe's less successful stories which also involved similar
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    3 votes
    169
    The Chronicles of Colonel Walter S Houghington III

    The Chronicles of Colonel Walter S Houghington III

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    The Chronicles of Sir Colonel Walter S Houghington III is a series of comical stories assembled as the "memoirs" of a pulp-style adventurer known as Sir Colonel Walter S Houghington III. The Chronicles of Walter S Houghington III began as a staged, one man show and first appeared in print on a freewebs page. The story now continues as a serial novella on blogspot. Houghington serves as the stories' first person narrator. The novella is broken up into Entries as though it were written as a diary. Most entries end on a cliffhanger when the heroes find themselves out of the frying pan and into the fire. Houghington often uses bombastic language and makes frequent use of onomatopoeia and alliteration. The world that he creates is all encompassing in terms of early 1900's thought and technology, but no direct moments, places, or times are given. Houghington often interjects short lessons on how to become an adventurer such as himself. These may be by way of a one line quip such as "It is inadvisable to engage in any form of physical violence when more than five hundred feet off the ground," to more in-depth tutorials such as the C.L.A.S.S. System of Escape or The Three G's; Guard, Gun,
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    2 votes
    170
    The Crows of Pearblossom

    The Crows of Pearblossom

    The Crows of Pearblossom is a children's book written by Aldous Huxley, the famous English novelist, essayist and critic. The story was originally published by Random House (1967) and illustrated by Barbara Cooney. A more recent picture book version (2011) was illustrated by Sophie Blackall and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers. This story, written Christmas of 1944, tells the story of Mr. and Mrs. Crow, who live in a cotton-wood tree at Pearblossom. Due to the Rattlesnake living at the bottom of the tree, Mrs. Crow's eggs are never able to hatch. After catching the snake eating her 297th egg that year (she does not work on Sundays), Mrs. Crow requests that Mr. Crow go into the hole and kill the snake. Thinking better of it, Mr. Crow confers with his wise friend, Mr. Owl. Mr. Owl bakes mud into two stone eggs and paints them to resemble Mrs. Crows eggs. These dummy eggs are left in the nest to trick the Rattlesnake, who unknowingly eats them the next day. When the eggs get to his stomach, they cause the Rattlesnake such pain, that he thrashes about, tying himself in knots around the branches. Mrs. Crow goes on to hatch "four families of seventeen children each" and "uses
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    2 votes
    171
    The Man with the Twisted Lip

    The Man with the Twisted Lip

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Man with the Twisted Lip", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the sixth of the twelve stories in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The story was first published in the Strand Magazine in December 1891. Doyle ranked "The Man with the Twisted Lip" sixteenth in a list of his nineteen favourite Sherlock Holmes stories. Dr. Watson is called upon late at night by a female friend of his wife. Her husband has been absent for several days and, as he is an opium addict, she is sure he has been indulging in a lengthy drug binge in a dangerous East End opium den. Frantic with worry, she seeks Dr. Watson's help in fetching him home. Watson does this, but he also finds his friend Sherlock Holmes in the den, disguised as an old man, trying to extract information about a new case from the addicts in the den. Mr. Neville St. Clair, a respectable and punctual country businessman, has disappeared. Making the matter even more mysterious is that Mrs. St. Clair is quite sure that she saw her husband at a second-floor window of the opium den, in Upper Swandam Lane, a rather rough part of town near the docks. He withdrew into the window
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    2 votes
    172
    The Premature Burial

    The Premature Burial

    • Genre: Horror
    "The Premature Burial" is a horror short story on the theme of being buried alive, written by Edgar Allan Poe and published in 1844 in The Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper. Fear of being buried alive was common in this period and Poe was taking advantage of the public interest. The story has been adapted to film. In "The Premature Burial", the first-person unnamed narrator describes his struggle with "attacks of the singular disorder which physicians have agreed to term catalepsy," a condition where he randomly falls into a death-like trance. This leads to his fear of being buried alive ("The true wretchedness," he says, is "to be buried while alive."). He emphasizes his fear by mentioning several people who have been buried alive. In the first case, the tragic accident was only discovered much later, when the victim's crypt was reopened. In others, victims revived and were able to draw attention to themselves in time to be freed from their ghastly prisons. The narrator reviews these examples in order to provide context for his nearly crippling phobia of being buried alive. As he explains, his condition made him prone to slipping into a trance state of unconsciousness, a disease that
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    2 votes
    173
    The Snowman

    The Snowman

    • Genre: Fairy tale
    "The Snowman" is a literary fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen about a snowman who falls in love with a stove. It was published by C.A. Reitzel in Copenhagen as Sneemanden on 2 March 1861. Andersen biographer Jackie Wullschlager describes the tale as a lyrical and poignant complement to Andersen's "The Fir-Tree" of December 1844. Wullschlager believes "The Snowman" was the product in part of Andersen’s "pining and discontent over" Harald Scharff, a handsome young dancer at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen. According to Wullschlager, the two men entered a relationship in the early 1860s that brought the poet "some kind of sexual fulfillment and a temporary end to loneliness." It was the only homosexual affair during Andersen's life that brought him happiness. "The Snowman" begins with its eponymous hero standing in the garden of a manor house watching the sun set and the moon rise. He is only a day old, and quite naive and inexperienced. His sole companion is a watchdog who warns him that the sun will make him run into the ditch. The dog senses a change in the weather, enters his kennel and goes to sleep. At dawn, the land is covered in frosty whiteness when a young couple enter
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    2 votes
    174
    A Very Short Story

    A Very Short Story

    "A Very Short Story" is a short story written by Ernest Hemingway. It was first published in as a vignette, or chapter, in the 1924 Paris edition titled In Our Time, and it later rewritten and added as a story to Hemingway's first American short story collection In Our Time, published by Boni & Liveright in 1925. In the story, a World War I soldier and a nurse named "Luz" fall in love as she tends to him over the course of three months in the hospital. They decide to marry, but when the soldier returns home to the United States, he receives a letter from Luz with the news that she has fallen in love with an officer. Later she writes that she has not married, but the soldier ignores her. The soldier contracts gonorrhea in a taxi from a sexual encounter shortly afterward. Hemingway based the story on his World War I affair with a nurse he met in Milan while recuperating in the hospital from leg injuries sustained at the Italian front.
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    1 votes
    175
    J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement

    J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement

    "J. Habakuk Jephson's Statement" is an 1884 short story by a then-young Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, loosely based on the real mystery of the abandonment of the Mary Celeste, published anonymously in the January 1884 issue of the respected Cornhill Magazine. One reviewer sought to attribute the story to Robert Louis Stevenson, while critics compared it to Edgar Allan Poe. Doyle changed the spelling of the ship from Mary to Marie Celeste. In 1887 it was included in the second volume, "Strange Stories of Coincidence and Ghostly Adventure," of the George Redway anthology, Dreamland and Ghostland. In 1890 it was published in The Captain of the Polestar and other tales. In 1922 it was included in the collection Tales of Pirates and Blue Water It was presented as an eye-witness account of the end met by those on the mysterious "ghost ship." Much to Doyle's astonishment, some, including the Boston Herald, took the story as a true account. Doyle's fictional story drew heavily on the original incident. Much of this story's fictional content, and the incorrect name, have come to dominate popular accounts of the incident.
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    1 votes
    176
    The Tell-Tale Heart

    The Tell-Tale Heart

    • Genre: Gothic fiction
    "The Tell-Tale Heart" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe first published in 1843. It is told by an unnamed narrator who endeavors to convince the reader of his sanity, while describing a murder he committed. (The victim was an old man with a blind "vulture eye", as the narrator calls it.) The murder is carefully calculated, and the murderer hides the body by dismembering it and hiding it under the floorboards. Ultimately the narrator's guilt manifests itself in an auditory hallucination: The narrator hears the man's heart still beating under the floorboards. It is unclear what relationship, if any, the old man and his murderer share. The narrator denies having any feelings of hatred or resentment for the man. He tells us: 'I loved the old man! He had never wronged me! He had never given me insult!'. He also denies the assumption that he killed for greed: 'Object there was none.', 'For his gold I had no desire.' It has been suggested that the old man is a father figure, the narrator's landlord, or that the narrator works for the old man as a servant, and that perhaps his "vulture eye" represents some sort of veiled secret, or power. The ambiguity and lack of details about the two
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    1 votes
    177
    A Witch Shall be Born

    A Witch Shall be Born

    • Genre: Horror
    "A Witch Shall Be Born" is one of the original stories by Robert E. Howard about Conan the Cimmerian. It was written in only a few days in spring of 1934 and first published in Weird Tales in 1934. The story concerns a witch replacing her twin sister as queen of a city state, which brings her into conflict with Conan who had been the captain of the queen's guard. Themes of paranoia, and the duality of the twin sisters, are paramount in this story but it also includes elements of the conflict between barbarism and civilization that is common to the entire Conan series. The novella as a whole is considered an average example of the series but one scene stands out. Conan's crucifixion early in the story in the second chapter ("The Tree of Death") is considered one of the most memorable scene in the entire series. A variation of this scene was included in the 1982 film Conan the Barbarian with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Queen Taramis of Khauran awakens one day to find an identical twin sister, Salome, staring her in the face. As a child, Salome was deemed a witch due to a crescent birthmark on her chest. This birthmark was believed to be a sign of evil, so she was left in the desert to
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    3 votes
    178
    Diary of a Madman

    Diary of a Madman

    Diary of a Madman (1835; Russian: Записки сумасшедшего, Zapiski sumasshedshego) is a farcical short story by Nikolai Gogol. Along with The Overcoat and The Nose, Diary of a Madman is considered to be one of Gogol's greatest short stories. The tale centers on the life of a minor civil servant during the repressive era of Nicholas I. Following the format of a diary, the story shows the descent of the protagonist, Poprishchin, into insanity. Diary of a Madman, the only one of Gogol's works written in first person, follows diary-entry format. Diary of a Madman centers on the life of Poprishchin, a low-ranking civil servant and titular counsellor who yearns to be noticed by a beautiful woman, the daughter of a senior official, with whom he has fallen in love. His diary records his gradual slide into insanity. As his madness deepens, he begins to suspect two dogs of having a love affair and believes he has discovered letters sent between them. Finally, he begins to believe himself to be the heir to the throne of Spain. When he is hauled off and maltreated in the asylum, the madman believes he is taking part in a strange coronation to the Spanish throne. Only in his madness does the lowly
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    3 votes
    179
    Red Star, Winter Orbit

    Red Star, Winter Orbit

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    "Red Star, Winter Orbit" is a short story written by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling in the 1980s. It was first published in Omni in July 1983, and later collected in Burning Chrome, a 1986 anthology of Gibson's early short fiction, and in Sterling's 1986 cyberpunk anthology Mirrorshades. The story is set in an alternate future where the Soviet Union controls most of the Earth's resources, especially oil. As a result of this the United States is no longer a dominant economic power on earth and the Soviets have won the space race. Science fiction critic Takayuki Tatsumi regards the story as a descriptive account of "the failure of the dream of space exploration", reminiscent of Ballard's "inner space/outer space" motif. Gibson scholar Tatiani Rapatzikou commented that the motif of the space station was used by the authors as a "symbol of the tension and uneasiness the characters or readers experience every time they deal with the artificiality of their technological world". The story takes place on the Soviet space station Kosmograd ("Cosmic City"), which consists of a number of Salyuts linked together. The station has both civilian and military roles; the military portion is a
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    3 votes
    180
    The Winter Market

    The Winter Market

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    "The Winter Market" is a science fiction short story written by William Gibson and published as part of his Burning Chrome short story collection. The story was commissioned in 1985 by Vancouver Magazine, who stipulated that Gibson – who at the time was "unquestionably the leading Vancouver author on the international literary scene" – set it in the city (thereby making it unique among the author's works). The market of the title was modelled on that of Granville Island, though in a state of bohemian decay. As the author commented in a 2007 blog post: "Vancouver's Granville Island, centered around Granville Island Market (produce and food fair) is a very successful (and pleasant) retrofit of an under-bridge urban island that previously was heavily industrial. When the story was written, the retrofit was recent, and I dirtied it up for requisite punky near-future effect." The story primarily concerns human relationships and their tenuous and problematic qualities by deploying the concept of technological immortality, in which one's consciousness is separated from the body and "uploaded" into a supercomputer, where it continues to think and function on its own. Characters in the
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    3 votes
    181

    Harrison Bergeron

    • Characters: Harrison Bergeron
    • Genre: Science Fiction
    "Harrison Bergeron" is a satirical and dystopian science-fiction short story written by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and first published in October 1961. Originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, the story was republished in the author's Welcome to the Monkey House collection in 1968. The satire is believed to be an anti-communism/socialism message. While there is disagreement regarding the political message of this short story, it has often raised questions about social equality. It is the year 2081. Because of Amendments 211, 212, and 213 to the Constitution, every American is fully equal, meaning that no one is smarter, better-looking, stronger, or faster than anyone else. The Handicapper General and a team of agents ensure that the laws of equality are enforced. The government forces citizens to wear "handicaps" (a mask if they are too handsome or beautiful, earphones with deafening radio signals to make intelligent people unable to concentrate and form thoughts, and heavy weights to slow down those who are too strong or fast). One April, fourteen-year-old Harrison Bergeron, a highly intelligent, handsome child, is taken away from his parents, George and Hazel,
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    2 votes
    182
    La Vénus d'Ille

    La Vénus d'Ille

    • Genre: Horror
    La Vénus d'Ille is a short story by Prosper Mérimée. It was written in 1835 and published in 1837. It tells the story of a statue of Venus that comes to life and kills the son of its owner, whom it believes to be its husband. The narrator, an archeologist, is visiting the town of Ille in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. A friend of his recommended him to M. de Peyrehorade, who is familiar with the Roman ruins in the area. When he arrives, he discovers that M. de Peyrehorade's son, Alphonse, is to be married to a certain Mademoiselle de Puygarrig, and the narrator is invited to the wedding. Meanwhile, M. de Peyrehorade shows the narrator his new discovery: a bronze statue of Venus Pudica. The narrator judges the statue to be very old and deciphers the inscription. Both men marvel at her fierce gaze; she is as frightening as she is beautiful. She also seems to be cursed: the man who found her had his leg broken, and another man who threw a stone at her was injured by the stone rebounding and striking him. Before the wedding, the groom decides to play a game of Paume, and he slips the wedding ring intended for his fiancée onto a finger of the statue. He wins the game, but
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    2 votes
    183
    Marooned Off Vesta

    Marooned Off Vesta

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    "Marooned Off Vesta" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. It was the third story written by Asimov, and the first to be published. Written in July 1938 when Asimov was 18, it was rejected by Astounding Science Fiction in August, then accepted in October by Amazing Stories, appearing in the March 1939 issue. Asimov first included it in his 1968 story collection Asimov's Mysteries, and subsequently in the 1973 collection The Best of Isaac Asimov. Marooned Off Vesta tells the story of three men who survive the wreck of the spaceship Silver Queen in the asteroid belt and find themselves trapped in orbit around the asteroid Vesta. They have at their disposal three airtight rooms, one spacesuit, three days' worth of air, a week's supply of food, and a year's supply of water. With typically Asimovian courage and ingenuity, the trapped men manage to use the limited resources at their disposal to rescue themselves. The description of their rescue is heavy with accurate portrayals of the physics and experiences involved with being in space, a theme that often re-emerges in Asimov's later works. In 1958, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the story's appearance, Asimov wrote
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    2 votes
    184
    Power Play

    Power Play

    • Characters: Molin Torchholder
    • Genre: Historical high fantasy
    Power Play is the opening story in the book-length compilation of stories, Soul of the City. Soul of the City is a book of tightly-connect stories written by Lynn Abbey, C.J. Cherryh, and Janet Morris and edited by Robert Lynn Asprin and Lynn Abbey that take place in the Thieves' World shared fictional universe.and the Sacred Band of Stepsons universe. In Power Play, Tempus and the Sacred Band of Stepsons return to Sanctuary at the bidding of Abarsis, patron shade of the Sacred Band and messenger of the gods, to see to "souls of yours and ours who must be released."
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    2 votes
    185
    The Adventure of the Resident Patient

    The Adventure of the Resident Patient

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Resident Patient", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle ranked "The Adventure of the Resident Patient" eighteenth in a list of his nineteen favourite Sherlock Holmes stories. Doctor Percy Trevelyan brings Holmes an unusual problem. Having been a brilliant student but a poor man, Dr. Trevelyan has found himself a participant in an unusual business arrangement. A man named Blessington, claiming to have some money to invest, has set Dr. Trevelyan up in premises with a prestigious address and paid all his expenses. In return, he demands three-fourths of all the money that the doctor’s practice earns, which he collects every evening, going over the books thoroughly and leaving the doctor five shillings and threepence (5/3d) of every guinea (21 shillings or 1 pound/1 shilling in pre-decimalized currency) from the day’s takings. Blessington is himself infirm, it turns out, and likes this arrangement because he can always have a doctor nearby. Everything has gone fairly well for the doctor since the arrangement began. Now,
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    2 votes
    186
    The Adventure of the Speckled Band

    The Adventure of the Speckled Band

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" is one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by Scottish author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is the eighth of the twelve stories collected in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It is one of four Sherlock Holmes stories that can be classified as a locked room mystery. The story was first published in Strand Magazine in February 1892, with illustrations by Sidney Paget. It was published under the different title "The Spotted Band" in New York World in August 1905. Doyle later revealed that he thought this was his best Holmes story. Doyle wrote and produced a play based on the story. It premiered at the Adelphi Theatre, London on 4 June 1910, with H. A. Saintsbury as Sherlock Holmes and Lyn Harding as Dr. Grimesby Roylott. The play, originally called The Stonor Case, differs from the story in several details, such as the names of some of the characters. A young woman named Helen Stoner consults the detective Sherlock Holmes about the suspicious death of her sister, Julia. One night, after conversing with her twin sister about her upcoming wedding day, Julia screamed and came to the hallway where Helen came out to see her, in Julia's dying
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    2 votes
    187
    The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

    The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

    "The Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily" (German title: "Das Märchen") is a fairy tale by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe published in 1795 in Friedrich Schiller's German magazine Die Horen (The Horae). It portrays in imaginative form Goethe's impressions of Schiller's On the Aesthetic Education of Man in a series of Letters. The story revolves around the crossing and bridging of a river, which represents the divide between the outer life of the senses and the ideal aspirations of the human being. The tale begins with two will-o'-the-wisps who wake a ferryman and ask to be taken across a river. The ferryman does so, and for payment, they shake gold from themselves into the boat. This alarms the ferryman, for if the gold had gone into the river, it would overflow. He demands as payment: three artichokes, three cabbages, and three onions, and the will-o'-the-wisps may depart only after promising to bring him such. The ferryman takes the gold up to a high place, and deposits it into a rocky cleft, where it is discovered by a green snake who eats the gold, and finds itself luminous. This gives the snake opportunity to study an underground temple where we meet an old man with a lamp which
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    2 votes
    188
    Pigs is Pigs

    Pigs is Pigs

    Pigs Is Pigs is a story written by Ellis Parker Butler. First published as a short story in The American Magazine in September 1905, "Pigs is Pigs" went on to dozens of printings as a book and in anthologies over the next several decades. Railway agent Mike Flannery wants to charge the livestock rate for a shipment of two guinea pigs and refuses to accept the lower pet rate, saying "pigs is pigs." Flannery believes that the "guinea" is an indication of the pigs' national origin. He argues that they should bear the higher freight charge of 30¢ for livestock, rather than the lower 25¢ for domestic pets. In support of this, he submits that if they were "dago pigs" or "paddy pigs", there would be no question of the animals' status. Because the customer refuses to accept delivery, Flannery is forced to feed and house what he now calls the "dago pigs" in his office, until he receives permission from his superiors to return the pigs to the company warehouse. By this time, the guinea pigs have reproduced geometrically in Flannery's station house. After returning all the descendants, Flannery resolves to charge the lower rate for any future livestock. The story is credited by Robert A.
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    189
    The Emperor's New Clothes

    The Emperor's New Clothes

    • Genre: Fairy tale
    "The Emperor's New Clothes" (Danish: Kejserens nye Klæder) is a short tale by Hans Christian Andersen about two weavers who promise an Emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. When the Emperor parades before his subjects in his new clothes, a child cries out, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!" The tale has been translated into over a hundred languages. "The Emperor’s New Clothes" was first published with "The Little Mermaid" in Copenhagen by C. A. Reitzel on 7 April 1837 as the third and final installment of Andersen's Fairy Tales Told for Children. The tale has been adapted to various media, including the musical stage and animated film. A vain Emperor who cares for nothing hires two swindlers who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or "hopelessly stupid". The Emperor cannot see the clothing himself, but pretends that he can for fear of appearing unfit for his position; his ministers do the same. When the swindlers report that the suit is finished, they mime dressing him and the Emperor marches in procession before his subjects, who play
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    190
    The Adventure of the Norwood Builder

    The Adventure of the Norwood Builder

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Norwood Builder", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the second tale from The Return of Sherlock Holmes. The story was first published in Strand Magazine in 1903 with original illustrations by Sidney Paget. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are visited by "the unhappy John Hector McFarlane", a young lawyer from Blackheath who has been accused of murdering one of his clients, a builder called Jonas Oldacre. McFarlane explains to Holmes that Oldacre had come to his office only the day before and asked him to draw up his will in legally appropriate terms. McFarlane saw to his surprise that Oldacre was making him the sole beneficiary, and heir to a considerable bequest at that. McFarlane could not imagine why, although Oldacre claimed that it was due to a prior relationship with McFarlane's mother, which gaving him reliable knowledge that McFarlane could be trusted, and a lack of any biological relatives for him to leave his assets to. This business took McFarlane to Oldacre's house in Norwood where some documents had to be examined for legal purposes. These were kept in the safe where the murder allegedly
    4.67
    3 votes
    191
    A Martian Odyssey

    A Martian Odyssey

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    "A Martian Odyssey" is a science fiction short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum originally published in the July 1934 issue of Wonder Stories. It was Weinbaum's first published story, and remains his best known. It was followed four months later by a sequel, "Valley of Dreams". These are the only stories by Weinbaum set on Mars. Early in the 21st century, nearly twenty years after the invention of atomic power and ten years after the first lunar landing, the four-man crew of the Ares has landed on Mars in the Mare Cimmerium. A week after the landing, Dick Jarvis, the ship's American chemist, sets out south in an auxiliary rocket to photograph the landscape. Eight hundred miles out, the engine on Jarvis' rocket gives out, and he crash-lands into one of the Thyle regions. Rather than sit and wait for rescue, Jarvis decides to walk back north to the Ares. Just after crossing into the Mare Chronium, Jarvis comes across a tentacled Martian creature attacking a large birdlike creature. He notices that the birdlike Martian is carrying a bag around its neck, and figuring it for an intelligent being, saves it from the tentacled monstrosity. The rescued creature refers to itself as Tweel. Tweel
    6.00
    1 votes
    192
    By the Waters of Babylon

    By the Waters of Babylon

    "By the Waters of Babylon" is a post-apocalyptic short story by Stephen Vincent Benét first published July 31, 1937, in The Saturday Evening Post as "The Place of the Gods". It was republished in 1943 in The Pocket Book of Science Fiction, and was adapted in 1971 into a one-act play by Brainerd Duffield. Set in a future following the destruction of industrial civilization, the story is narrated by a young man who is the son of a priest. The priests of John’s people (the hill people) are inquisitive people associated with the divine. They are the only ones who can handle metal collected from the homes (called the "Dead Places") of long-dead people whom they believe to be gods. The plot follows John’s self-assigned mission to get to the Place of the Gods. His father allows him to go on a spiritual journey, but does not know he is going to this forbidden place. John journeys through the forest for eight days and crosses the river Ou-dis-sun. Once John gets to the Place of the Gods, he feels the energy and magic there. He sees a statue of a "god" — in point of fact, a human — that says "ASHING" on its base. He also sees a building marked "UBTREAS". After being chased by dogs and
    6.00
    1 votes
    193
    Frritt-Flacc

    Frritt-Flacc

    "Frritt-Flacc" is a horror short story by Jules Verne. It was first published in December 1884 in the magazine Le Figaro illustré and then in 1886 together with the novel The Lottery Ticket as a part of The Extraordinary Voyages series. The first English translation was published in 1892 in The Strand Magazine. Frritt expresses the sounds of a roaring hurricane and flacc the sound of falling streams of water during a rainstorm. Trifulgas, a physician, lives in unnamed coastal area. He is rich and works only for the rich. One night, during a storm, a girl knocks at the door. Her father, a poor fisherman, is dying. Since she has no money Trifulgas goes back to sleep. Soon someone knocks again. It is a woman whose husband is dying. She has some money but not enough so the doctor goes back to sleep. The storm becomes worse when another one knocks. The mother of a fisherman with heart attack has enough money—their house was sold shortly ago. The doctor follows her. A look on the dying man horrifies Trifulgas—it is he who lies in the bed. In spite of all effort, Trifulgas dies under his own hands. as "Dr. Trifulgas: A Fantastic Tale" (trans. unknown) as "The Ordeal of Dr. Trifulgas"
    6.00
    1 votes
    194
    Paladin of the Lost Hour

    Paladin of the Lost Hour

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    "Paladin of the Lost Hour" is the second segment of the seventh episode from the first season (1985–1986) of the television series The New Twilight Zone, as well as a novelette by script-writer Harlan Ellison. An old man standing at a grave, apparently grieving, is suddenly attacked by a couple of muggers. The man screams that someone must protect him. One of the muggers takes the only thing the man had—a pocket watch that starts to glow and burns the hand of the mugger. It floats through the air back to the old man, while another man visiting the grounds helps him. The old man, who reveals his name is Gaspar, wants to talk to Billy, the man who helped him. They go to Billy's apartment and talk about what happened at the cemetery. He goes there to visit his "girl" and Billy was visiting a friend's grave. Billy must go to work and lets Gaspar stay so Gaspar can rest. Billy gets home to find Gaspar still in the apartment and cooking dinner. Billy discovers that Gaspar is homeless and dying. He offers to let Gaspar stay, and Gaspar discovers that Billy was visiting the grave of a man he fought with in the Vietnam War. They watch the news to discover how close a nuclear war could be,
    6.00
    1 votes
    195
    Run, Melos!

    Run, Melos!

    Run, Melos! (走れメロス, Hashire Merosu) is a Japanese short story by Osamu Dazai. Published in 1940, "Run, Melos!" is a widely read classic in Japanese schools. The story is a reworking of Friedrich Schiller's ballad Die Bürgschaft, which tells the story of Moerus and Selinuntius (who have lent their names to Dazai's characters as well), originally Damon and Pythias. Schiller's version is based on an ancient Greek legend recorded by the Roman author Gaius Julius Hyginus. The most prominent theme of "Run, Melos!" is unwavering friendship. Despite facing hardships, the protagonist Melos does his best to save his friend's life, and in the end his efforts are rewarded. Melos is a naïve young shepherd with a sense of equity. The land in which he lives is ruled by Dionys, a tyrant king who because of his distrust of people, has killed many people and even his own family members. When Melos hears about the King's deeds one day, he becomes enraged. He decides to assassinate the King, and so he sneaks into the castle with a knife, but is caught and arrested. Melos pleads with the King to postpone his execution and give him three days so that he can attend his younger sister's wedding. The King
    6.00
    1 votes
    196
    Ship of Fools

    Ship of Fools

    "Ship of Fools" is a short story written by Ted Kaczynski in prison and published in 1999 in which various people, representing oppressed groups in American society, squabble about living conditions aboard a ship, in spite of the fact that its course towards the North Pole presents ever-increasing danger. The cabin boy warns of their impending doom and calls for a few of them to charge the deck and oust the captains. However, he is dismissed as a violent, unrealistic fascist and ignored. The story concludes abruptly: They pushed him away and went back to grumbling about wages, and about blankets for women, and about the right to suck cocks, and about how the dog was treated. The ship kept sailing north, and after a while it was crushed between two icebergs and everyone drowned. The story could be interpreted as an allegory of Kaczynski's vision of how society is progressing as outlined in his manifesto entitled "Industrial Society and Its Future". Prior to Kaczynski's "Ship of Fools", there was a moralistic poem written in 1494 by Sebastian Brant titled Das Narrenschiff (Ship of Fools), which in turn inspired a painting of the same name by Hieronymus Bosch, as well as a novel
    6.00
    1 votes
    197
    Shades

    Shades

    "Shades" (Polish: "Cienie") is one of Bolesław Prus' shortest micro-stories. Written in 1885, it comes from a several years' period of pessimism in the author's life caused partly by the 1883 failure of Nowiny (News), a Warsaw daily that he had been editing less than a year. Prus, the "lamplighter" who had striven to dispel darkness and its attendant "fear, error and crime," had failed to sufficiently interest the public in his "observatory of societal facts," Nowiny. "Shades" is one of several micro-stories by Bolesław Prus that were inspired partly by 19th-century French prose poetry. Prus scholar Zygmunt Szweykowski writes: Prus' micro-story "Shades" comprises two successive parts. The first half evokes the above-described atmosphere of dread, via Prus' description of an eternal contest between light and darkness. The second half of the micro-story pictures the efforts of one of a number of nameless lamplighters to dispel the darkness, for as long as his limited lifespan permits.
    5.00
    2 votes
    198
    The Adventure of the Second Stain

    The Adventure of the Second Stain

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Second Stain", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle ranked "The Adventure of the Second Stain" eighth in his list of his twelve favorite Holmes stories. Lord Bellinger, the Prime Minister, and Trelawney Hope, the Secretary of State for European Affairs, come to Holmes in the matter of a document stolen from Hope's dispatch box, which he kept at home in Whitehall Terrace when not at work. If divulged, this document could bring about very dire consequences for all Europe, even war. They are loath to tell Holmes at first the exact nature of the document's contents, but when Holmes declines to take on their case, they tell him that it was a rather injudicious letter from a foreign potentate. It disappeared from the dispatch box one evening when Hope was out for four hours. No-one in the house knew about the document, not even the Secretary's wife, with whom he will not discuss his work. None of the servants could have guessed what was in the box. Holmes decides to begin with some spies known to him, and is then astonished to
    5.00
    2 votes
    199
    Wars don’t bring lasting peace, only lasting death.

    Wars don’t bring lasting peace, only lasting death.

    • Characters: Enlil, Storm God of the Armies
    • Genre: epic fantasy
    In the Sacred Band of Stepsons universe, during the book "The Fish the Fighters and the Song-girl," Tempus reflects on the nature of conflict while the Sacred Band of Stepsons head north into unknown realms.
    5.00
    2 votes
    200
    The Adventure of the Yellow Face

    The Adventure of the Yellow Face

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Yellow Face", one of the 56 short Sherlock Holmes stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is the third tale from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. It was first published in Strand Magazine in 1893 with original illustrations by Sidney Paget. One of Doyle's sentimental pieces, the story is remarkable in that Holmes' deduction during the course of it proves incorrect. (Nevertheless, the truth still comes out.) According to Dr. Watson: "...where he failed it happened too often that no one else succeeded... Now and again, however, it chanced that even when he erred the truth was still discovered." It has been remarked Doyle's sympathetic treatment of interracial marriage could be considered extraordinarily liberal because, at that time, anti-miscegenation laws were in effect in several countries. The story is written and set in the United Kingdom, a country with no anti-miscegenation laws, though not without racial prejudice. As is evident from the story, in British society of the time, having contracted an interracial marriage and having a mixed race child was not in any way illegal — but still was treated as a shameful secret to be kept closely
    4.33
    3 votes
    201
    The Gernsback Continuum

    The Gernsback Continuum

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    "The Gernsback Continuum" is a short story by William Gibson about a photographer who has been given the assignment of photographing old, futuristic architecture. This architecture, although largely forgotten at the time of the story, embodied for the generation that built it their concept of the future. The titular "Gernsback" alludes to Hugo Gernsback, a Pulp magazine science fiction publisher during the early 20th century. By using this title Gibson contrasts the future envisaged during Gernsback's style of science fiction and the present, "cyberpunk" era that Gibson was establishing. The story was published in Gibson's Burning Chrome anthology. During his assignment to photograph 1930s era futuristic architecture, Parker begins to realize a "continuum," an alternative reality containing the possible future of the world represented by the architecture he is photographing – a future that could have been, but was not, thereby contrasting modernism to postmodern reality. Parker's glimpses of this fantastical utopian future, characterised by massive multi-lane highways, giant zeppelins and Aryan inhabitants become increasingly frequent and disturbing until, on the advice of a
    4.33
    3 votes
    202
    Arthur Jermyn

    Arthur Jermyn

    • Genre: Horror
    "Facts Concerning the Late Arthur Jermyn and His Family" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft, written in 1920. The story was first published in the journal The Wolverine in March and June of 1921. To Lovecraft's distaste, the story was retitled "The White Ape" when it appeared in Weird Tales in 1924; subsequent reprintings titled it "Arthur Jermyn" until the corrected publishing in Dagon and Other Macabre Tales in 1986. In a letter, Lovecraft described the story's surprising impetus: Somebody had been harassing me into reading some work of the iconoclastic moderns — these young chaps who pry behind exteriors and unveil nasty hidden motives and secret stigmata — and I had nearly fallen asleep over the tame backstairs gossip of Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio. The sainted Sherwood, as you know, laid bare the dark area which many whited village lives concealed, and it occurred to me that I, in my weirder medium, could probably devise some secret behind a man's ancestry which would make the worst of Anderson's disclosures sound like the annual report of a Sabbath school. Hence Arthur Jermyn. Critic William Fulwiler suggests that the plot of "Arthur Jermyn" may have been inspired by Edgar
    4.50
    2 votes
    203
    But We Try Not to Act Like It

    But We Try Not to Act Like It

    "But We Try Not to Act Like It" is a short story by Orson Scott Card. It appears in his short story collection Maps in a Mirror. It was first published in the August–September 1979 edition of Destinies The Paperback Magazine Of Science Fiction And Speculative Fact. The story begins when the protagonist goes to the television office to complain about not being able to turn off his TV, as it disturbs him in his attempts to read, his preferred activity. He is told he'll only be allowed to turn the TV off if he makes some friends or develops a sexual relationship. The story follows his attempts to change his social status and his reactions to the daily soap operas to which he is unwillingly subjected. The story's title refers to the program office's slogan: "We may be the only television company in town, but we try not to act like it."
    4.50
    2 votes
    204
    Cheater

    Cheater

    • Characters: Han Tzu
    • Genre: Science Fiction
    "Cheater" is a story by Orson Scott Card set in his Ender's Game universe. It tells the story of how "Hot Soup" Han Tzu got into Battle School. It appears in Card's Webzine InterGalactic Medicine Show. "Cheater" is the story of Han Tzu as a child. Han Tzu was born in Nanyang, China and was a descendent of Yuan Shikai, a great Chinese general. From a very young age, Han Tzu's father would play with him every day. It was his wish that Han Tzu would become a great general and bring glory back to China. When he got a little older, tutors began to come to his house to play games with him. After a while, Han Tzu discovered that the games were actually to prepare him for a test. One day, his tutor began teaching Han Tzu games from a list that his father had provided. When the testers from the International Fleet showed up to give Han Tzu the test, he figured out that his father was cheating. Han Tzu didn't want to pretend to be the best so he answered all the questions wrong. The next day, the people from the International Fleet showed up at Han Tzu's house and arrested his father for cheating but decided to test Han Tzu again, thus discovering how smart he really is. In addition to the
    4.50
    2 votes
    205
    Parasite Planet

    Parasite Planet

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    "Parasite Planet" is a science fiction short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum originally published in the February 1935 issue of Astounding Stories. It was Weinbaum's fourth published story, and the first to be set on Venus. He quickly followed it up with a sequel called "The Lotus Eaters". In the story, tidal locking keeps one side of Venus perpetually facing the Sun. This side of the planet is a barren desert. Towards the planet's twilight region the temperature drops below the boiling point of water and the Hotlands begin: an area of the planet inhabited by native life forms, all of them parasitic to a greater or lesser degree. "A thousand different species, but all the same in one respect; each of them was all appetite. In common with most Venusian beings, they had a multiplicity of both legs and mouths; in fact, some of them were little more than blobs of skin split into dozens of hungry mouths, crawling on a hundred spidery legs." The air of the Hotlands is hazy with spores which instantly infest any life-form unfortunate enough to have its skin pierced, and at the top of the Venusian food chain is the doughpot, a mass of fast-moving undifferentiated protoplasm that absorbs every
    4.50
    2 votes
    206
    The Knight's Tale

    The Knight's Tale

    "The Knight's Tale" (Middle English: The Knightes Tale) is the first tale from Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. The story introduces many typical aspects of knighthood such as courtly love and ethical dilemmas. The story is written in iambic pentameter end-rhymed couplets. Cousins Arcita and Palamon, who are nephews of King Creon of Thebes, have a close brotherly bond. They are captured and imprisoned by Theseus, duke of Athens following his intervention against Creon. Their cell is in the tower of Theseus's castle which overlooks his palace garden. In prison Palamon wakes early one morning in May, to see Emily (Emelia) in the courtyard; his moan is heard by Arcita, who then too wakes to see Emily, and falls in love with her as well. The competition brought about by this love causes them to hate each other. After some years, Arcita is released from prison through the good offices of Theseus's friend Pirithoos, and then returns to Athens in disguise and enters service in Emily's household. Palamon eventually escapes by drugging the jailer and while hiding in a grove overhears Arcita singing about love and fortune. They begin to duel with each other over who should get Emily,
    4.50
    2 votes
    207
    Toomai of the Elephants

    Toomai of the Elephants

    "Toomai of the Elephants" is a short story by Rudyard Kipling from The Jungle Book about a young elephant-handler. Little Toomai is a little boy, and his father's name is Big Toomai. Big Toomai is the driver of Kala Nag (which means Black Snake). One day, Kala Nag hears the call of the wild from a far-away elephant, and he takes up Little Toomai in his trunk and sets off for an adventure Little T will never forget. The story was filmed in 1937 as Elephant Boy directed by Robert J. Flaherty and Zoltan Korda starring Sabu Dastagir.
    4.50
    2 votes
    208
    A Predicament

    A Predicament

    • Characters: Signora Psyche Zenobia
    "A Predicament" is a humorous short story by Edgar Allan Poe, usually combined with its companion piece "How to Write a Blackwood Article." It was originally titled "The Scythe of Time". The bizarre story follows a female narrator, Signora Psyche Zenobia. This is unusual for Poe, whose only other female voice is in the poem "Bridal Ballad". While walking through the city with her 5-inch-tall (130 mm) poodle Diana and 3-foot-tall (0.91 m) black servant Pompey, she is drawn to a large Gothic cathedral. As she makes her way into the steeple, she ponders life and the metaphor of surmounting stairs: At the steeple, Zenobia sees a small opening that she wishes to look through. Standing on Pompey's shoulders, she pushes her head through the opening and realizes she is in the face of a giant clock. As she gazes out at the city beyond, she soon finds that the sharp minute hand has begun to dig into her neck. Slowly, the minute hand decapitates her, which it will do for the remainder of the story. At one point, pressure against her neck causes her eye to fall and roll down into the gutter and then into the streets below. She is annoyed not so much that she has lost her eye but at "the
    5.00
    1 votes
    209
    Chaucer's Tale of Sir Topas

    Chaucer's Tale of Sir Topas

    Sir Thopas is a story in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales published in 1387. In Canterbury Tales, there is a character named Geoffrey Chaucer. Chaucer's portrait of himself is unflattering and humble. He presents himself as a reticent, maladroit figure who can barely summon a tale to mind. In comparison to the other travelers in the group, Chaucer the character is reluctant to speak, but when he does tell a tale, it is a rather frivolous burlesque very different from what went before. Sir Thopas is the story in tail rhyme of a child knight who goes on a quest to find his elf-queen but is waylaid by the giant Sir Oliphant (elephant). He runs back to his merry men for a feast of sweets and to ready for a battle with his giant foe. The tale is interrupted by the Host, though, for its tail rhyme format and is never finished. The tale is a parody of romances, with their knights and fairies and absurdities, and Chaucer the author satirizes not only the grandiose, Gallic romances, but also the readership of such tales. The tale is a hodgepodge of many of the popular stories of the time which even apes their simple rhymes, a style Chaucer uses nowhere else. Elements of deliberate anticlimax
    5.00
    1 votes
    210
    Croesus and Fate

    Croesus and Fate

    Croesus and Fate is a short story by Leo Tolstoy that is a retelling of a Greek legend, classically told by Herodotus, about the king Croesus. It was first published in 1886 by Tolstoy's publishing company The Intermediary. Tolstoy's version is shorter than that by Herodotus, and Tolstoy's characterization of Croesus was designed to parallel the titular character in his 1886 novella The Death of Ivan Ilych. Croesus is a rich king in ancient Greece who is quite enamored with his own wealth. When the wise man Solon comes to visit his kingdom, Croesus asks Solon if he had ever seen greater opulence than his own. Solon replies that birds like peacocks are incomparable in their beauty. Croesus disagrees, and he tries to impress Solon with a list of vanquished foes and claimed territories. Solon still disagrees, telling Croesus that the happiest man he had ever met was a peasant in Athens. He explains that the peasant worked hard, raised a family, and was content with what he had. Croesus takes this as an insult and Solon leaves. Soon after Solon's departure, tragedy befalls Croesus. His oldest son is killed in a hunting accident, and then Emperor Cyrus invades. Cyrus' army is
    5.00
    1 votes
    211
    Down in the Bottomlands

    Down in the Bottomlands

    Down in the Bottomlands is a novella written by Harry Turtledove. It takes place in an alternative history in which the Atlantic Ocean did not reflood the Mediterranean Sea 5.5 million years ago in the Miocene Epoch, as it did in our history. The Mediterranean Basin thus remains dry to the present day in this time line, as a vast sunken desert called the Bottomlands, averaging nearly two kilometers below mean sea level, with summer temperatures reaching well above 40°C and with little or no rainfall. The story concerns a field biologist working at "Trench Park" named Radnal vez Krobir. He is a citizen of Tartesh, a Homo neanderthalensis nation which seems to take in much of the west part of the Bottomlands and what in the real world is France and Spain. He is doing a two-year stint as a field guide to tourists from his and other nations who are visiting the Park to see the plants and animals there. During one of those tours, a military officer of the "Kingdom of Morgaf" (real-world Britain and Ireland) is killed by one of the other tourists in his party. Radnal must call higher authorities to investigate the matter, and in the course of their investigation, they determine that the
    5.00
    1 votes
    212
    Flight on Titan

    Flight on Titan

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    Flight on Titan is a science fiction short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum that first appeared in the January 1935 issue of Astounding Stories. It was the third story published by Weinbaum, the first to appear in Astounding, and the only story by him set on Saturn's largest moon, Titan. In Weinbaum's Solar System, in accordance with the then-accepted near-collision hypothesis of planetary formation, the gas giants radiate enough heat to bring their inner satellites up to Earthlike temperatures. Being over 600,000 miles from Saturn, Titan receives only a third of its heat from its primary. Titan's temperature is comparable to Earth's Arctic regions, ranging from just above freezing during the day to eighty below zero Fahrenheit during the nine-hour-long nights. Due to Saturn's tidal pull, Titan is also subject to 100 mph winds, which blow from east to west during half of the moon's sixteen-day revolution around its primary, and west to east during the other half, only dying down for half an hour in between each shift in direction. Despite all this, Titan has a flourishing Arctic ecosystem, at the top of which is a seal-like native race of modest intelligence. The natives have developed
    5.00
    1 votes
    213
    Once Upon a Time in the North

    Once Upon a Time in the North

    • Genre: Fantasy
    Once Upon a Time in the North, a fantasy novella by Philip Pullman (first published on 3 April 2008 in the United Kingdom) functions as a prequel to Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. The premise of the story involves the meeting of Iorek Byrnison and Lee Scoresby — an incident originally expected to appear in The Book of Dust: Pullman has remarked that in addition to Once Upon a Time in the North and The Book of Dust, a small green book about Will may appear some day: The Guardian carried an "exclusive" extract from the book under the heading Winds of Chance on 22 March 2008. The book launch took place on 31 March in Oxford during the Oxford Literary Festival. Over 700 fans massed in Oxford Town Hall to hear Philip Pullman speak to Today programme presenter James Naughtie about his new novella. Lee Scoresby, a 24 year old young Texan aeronaut, and his dæmon, the jackrabbit Hester, make a rough landing in Novy Odense, a harbour town on an island in the White Sea, in Muscovy. After paying for the storage of their balloon, Lee and Hester make their way into town, where Lee notes with surprise the presence of bears: some working, some just loitering about. He enters a bar to get
    5.00
    1 votes
    214
    Rebati

    Rebati

    Rebati (Oriya: ରେବତୀ), the famous Oriya short story by Fakir Mohan Senapati, is considered as the first Oriya modern short story, Fakir Mohan Senapati (1843–1918), the prime figure of modern Oriya Fiction, was considered the Vyasakabi or founder poet of Oriya language. Fakir Mohan was born and brought up in the coastal town of Balasore and known primarily as the father of modern Oriya prose fiction. He was one of the first to introduce Social Realism in literature at least 25 years before British Rule, much earlier than the October Revolution of Russia. He was also one of the leading writers to attack British Rule through his poignant satirical remarks. At the dawn of the 19th century Orissa suffered decisive defeats at the hands of the Bengalis, who supported British Rule, and the decline of the socioeconomic structure of Orissa, in order to make the state a dark region. Madhusudan Das (popularly known as Madhu Babu in Orissa), Fakir Mohan, and Radhanath Ray are some of the personalities who fought against the attempts of the Bengalis to marginalize and even replace the Oriya language, culture, and even history with their own. Rebati is the story of a young innocent girl whose
    5.00
    1 votes
    215
    The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter

    The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Missing Three-Quarter", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. It was originally published in Strand Magazine in 1904 with illustrations by Sidney Paget. Mr. Cyril Overton of Trinity College, Cambridge wants to find Godfrey Staunton, key rugby team player needed for match tomorrow against Oxford. Pale and bothered earlier, Staunton left his hotel about half past ten in the evening with a bearded man who came with a devastating note, toward Strand, and vanished. Overton wired to Cambridge and his friend's wealthy miserly uncle and nearest kin Lord Mount-Jameserly 80ish, without success. Holmes questions the porter, who overheard one word, "time". At six o’clock, the porter brought Staunton a telegram, saw him write a reply, but was told Staunton would send reply himself. On the blotter, Holmes finds a partial impression "Stand by us for God’s sake”, revealing danger and more people involved. He puts other papers in his pocket. Lord Mount-James visits, aghast at possibility of kidnapping for extortion. At the telegraph office,
    5.00
    1 votes
    216
    The Case of Charles Dexter Ward

    The Case of Charles Dexter Ward

    • Characters: Yog-Sothoth
    • Genre: Horror
    The Case of Charles Dexter Ward is a short novel (51,500 words) by H. P. Lovecraft, written in early 1927, but not published during the author's lifetime. Set in Lovecraft's hometown of Providence, Rhode Island, it was first published (in abridged form) in the May and July issues of Weird Tales in 1941; the first complete publication was in Arkham House's Beyond the Wall of Sleep collection (1943). The novel tells the story of young Charles Dexter Ward, who in 1918 becomes embroiled in the past, due to his fascination with the history of his wizard ancestor, Joseph Curwen (who had left Salem for Providence in 1692, and acquired notoriety for his haunting of graveyards, his apparent lack of aging, and his chemical experiments). Ward physically resembles Curwen, and attempts to duplicate his ancestor's Qabalistic and alchemical feats, eventually locating Curwen's remains and by means of his "essential Saltes", resurrecting him. Ward's doctor, Marinus Bicknell Willett, becomes enmeshed in Ward's doings, investigating Curwen's old Pawtuxet bungalow which Ward has restored. The horrors of what Willett finds, and the crux of the identities of Ward and Curwen, form the hinge of horror on
    5.00
    1 votes
    217
    The Lotus Eaters

    The Lotus Eaters

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    "The Lotus Eaters" is a science fiction short story by Stanley G. Weinbaum originally published in the April 1935 issue of Astounding Stories. "The Lotus Eaters" was Weinbaum's fifth published story, and is a sequel to "Parasite Planet". A month after the events in "Parasite Planet", Hamilton "Ham" Hammond and Patricia Burlingame are married, and thanks to Burlingame's connections, the two have been commissioned by the Royal Society and the Smithsonian Institution to explore the night side of Venus. There they find a species of warm-blooded mobile plants with a communal intelligence that Burlingame nicknames Oscar. Oscar is very intelligent, quickly picking up English from Hammond and Burlingame. The humans learn that the Oscar beings reproduce by releasing clear bubbles full of gaseous spores. When the bubbles burst, the spores come to rest on another Oscar being, eventually grow into another individual, and bud off. In “Parasite Planet”, the vicious, night-dwelling Triops noctivivans used these bubbles to attack Hammond and Burlingame, since the spores have a soporific effect on humans. The humans are horrified to learn that, being plants, the Oscar beings have no survival
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    The Murders in the Rue Morgue

    The Murders in the Rue Morgue

    • Characters: Auguste Dupin
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe published in Graham's Magazine in 1841. It has been recognized as the first detective story; Poe referred to it as one of his "tales of ratiocination". Two works that share some similarities predate Poe's stories, including Das Fräulein von Scuderi (1819) by E.T.A. Hoffmann and Zadig (1748) by Voltaire. C. Auguste Dupin is a man in Paris who solves the mystery of the brutal murder of two women. Numerous witnesses heard a suspect, though no one agrees on what language was spoken. At the murder scene, Dupin finds a hair that does not appear to be human. As the first true detective in fiction, the Dupin character established many literary devices which would be used in future fictional detectives including Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. Many later characters, for example, follow Poe's model of the brilliant detective, his personal friend who serves as narrator, and the final revelation being presented before the reasoning that leads up to it. Dupin himself reappears in "The Mystery of Marie Rogêt" and "The Purloined Letter". The story surrounds the baffling double murder of Madame L'Espanaye and her daughter in
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    The Nose

    The Nose

    • Genre: Absurdist fiction
    "The Nose" (Russian: Нос) is a satirical short story by Nikolai Gogol. Written between 1835 and 1836, it tells of a St. Petersburg official whose nose leaves his face and develops a life of its own. The story is in three parts: On the 25th of March, a barber, Ivan Yakovlevich, finds a nose in his bread during breakfast. With horror he recognizes this nose as that of one of his regular customers, Collegiate Assessor Kovalyov (known as 'Major Kovalyov'). He tries to get rid of it by throwing it in the Neva River, but he is caught by a police officer. At the onset of “The Nose,” Major Kovalyov awakens to discover that his nose is missing, leaving a smooth, flat patch of skin in its place. His nose is already pretending to be a human. He finds and confronts it in the Kazan Cathedral, but from its clothing it is apparent that the nose has acquired a higher rank in the civil service than he and refuses to return to his face. Kovalyov visits the newspaper office to place an ad about the loss of his nose, but is refused. Kovalyov returns to his flat, where the police officer who caught Ivan finds him and returns the nose (which he caught at a coach station, trying to flee the city).
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    The Adventure of the Gloria Scott

    The Adventure of the Gloria Scott

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the 'Gloria Scott,'" one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. This story is related mainly by Holmes rather than Watson, and is the first case to which Holmes applied his powers of deduction, having treated it as a mere hobby until this time. In his college days, Holmes spent a month with his friend, Victor Trevor, at his father's estate in Norfolk. While there, Holmes amazed his host, Victor's father, who was a Justice of the Peace and a landowner besides. He had made his fortune in the goldfields in Australia. One of Holmes's deductions was that the elder Mr. Trevor was once connected with someone with the initials J. A. whom he wanted to forget. His host then passed out on the table. Holmes had touched a sore spot, and possibly did not believe the old man's explanation once he had come back to himself that J. A. had been an old lover. Holmes perceived that he was making his host uncomfortable and decided to take his leave. The evening before he did this, another old man suddenly appeared at the house causing the elder Mr. Trevor to
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    The Adventure of the Six Napoleons

    The Adventure of the Six Napoleons

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Six Napoleons", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard brings Holmes a seemingly trivial problem about a man who shatters plaster busts of Napoleon. One was shattered in Morse Hudson’s shop, and two others, sold by Hudson to a Dr. Barnicot, were smashed after the doctor’s house and branch office had been burgled. Nothing else was taken. In the former case, the bust was taken outside before being broken. Holmes knows that Lestrade’s theory about a Napoleon-hating lunatic must be wrong. The busts in question all came from the same mould. Why is he breaking them? The next day, Lestrade calls Holmes to a house where there has been yet another bust-shattering, but there has also been a murder. Mr. Horace Harker found the dead man on his doorstep after investigating a noise. His Napoleon bust was also taken by a burglar entering through a window. It, too, was from the same mould. Also, a photograph of a rather apish-looking man is found in the dead man’s pocket. The fragments of Harker's bust are in
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    The Canterville Ghost

    The Canterville Ghost

    "The Canterville Ghost" is a popular short story by Oscar Wilde, widely adapted for the screen and stage. It was the first of Wilde's stories to be published, appearing in the magazine The Court and Society Review in February 1887. It was later included in a collection of short stories entitled Lord Arthur Savile's Crime and Other Stories in 1891. The story of the Canterville Ghost takes place in an old English country house, Canterville Chase, which has all the accoutrements of a traditional haunted house. Descriptions of the wainscotting, the library paneled in black oak, and the armor in the hallway characterize the Gothic setting and help Wilde clash the Old World with the New. Typical of the style of the English Decadents, the gothic atmosphere reveals the author’s fascination with the macabre. Yet he mixes the macabre with comedy, juxtaposing devices from traditional English ghost stories such as creaking floorboards, clanking chains, and ancient prophecies with symbols of modern American consumerism. Wilde’s Gothic setting helps emphasize the contrast between cultures—setting modern Americans in what could arguably be a classic symbol of British history—and underscores the
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    The Garden of Forking Paths

    The Garden of Forking Paths

    • Genre: Fantasy
    "The Garden of Forking Paths" (original Spanish title: "El Jardín de senderos que se bifurcan") is a 1941 short story by Argentine writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges. It is the title story in the collection El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan (1941), which was republished in its entirety in Ficciones (Fictions) in 1944. It was the first of Borges's works to be translated into English when it appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine in August 1948. According to Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort, "The concept Borges described in 'The Garden of Forking Paths'—in several layers of the story, but most directly in the combination book and maze of Ts'ui Pên—is that of a novel that can be read in multiple ways, a hypertext novel. Borges described this in 1941, prior to the invention (or at least the public disclosure) of the electromagnetic digital computer. Not only did he arguably invent the hypertext novel—Borges went on to describe a theory of the universe based upon the structure of such a novel." Borges's vision of "forking paths" has been cited as inspiration by numerous new media scholars, in particular within the field of hypertext fiction. The story takes the form of a
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    The Great Simoleon Caper

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    "The Great Simoleon Caper" is a short story by Neal Stephenson that appeared in TIME Domestic SPECIAL ISSUE, Spring 1995 Volume 145, No. 12 (March 1, 1995). It deals with concepts familiar to Stephenson's fans: encryption, digital currency and distributed republics. It appears to be set in a United States that precedes the events in Stephenson's novel Snow Crash, using an early version of his Metaverse. In the story, the protagonist is an underemployed mathematician who resides in the house of his brother's family in Chicago. The brother, owner of an advertising agency, has won a large contract to create ads for "Simoleons," a form of non-governmental electronic "currency." To launch the product, they plan to give away 27 million Simoleons to the winners of a contest. The contest is based on the long-used format of "guess the number of jelly beans in the container," with Chicago's Soldier Field and 26 other football stadiums being the containers. The brother asks the mathematician ("hero") to do the calculations needed. He complies with the request, using the calculator function of the family's advanced set-top box to speed the long math. Some time later, while taking a rest break
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    The Oval Portrait

    • Genre: Horror
    "The Oval Portrait" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe involving the disturbing circumstances surrounding a portrait in a chateau. It is one of his shortest stories, filling only two pages in its initial publication in 1842. The tale begins with an injured narrator seeking refuge in an abandoned mansion in the Apennines, with no explanation for his wound. He spends his time admiring the works of art decorating the strangely-shaped room and perusing a volume which "purported to criticize and describe" the paintings. He eventually discovers a painting which shocks him with its extreme realism, which he refers to as "absolute life-likeliness of expression". He spends a moment ("for an hour, perhaps", the reader is told) in silent awe of it until he cannot bear to look any more, then consults the book for an explanation. The remainder of the story is a selection from this book discussing how the painting was created — a story within a story. The book explains that the picture was painted by an eccentric artist depicting his young wife, but that he grew obsessed with his painting to the point that he paid no attention to the woman he was painting. When he finishes the painting he is
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    The Queen of Spades

    The Queen of Spades

    "The Queen of Spades" (Russian: Пиковая дама; translit. Pikovaya dama) is a short story by Alexander Pushkin about human avarice. Pushkin wrote the story in autumn 1833 in Boldino and it was first published in the literary magazine Biblioteka dlya chteniya in March 1834. The character of the Countess was inspired by Princess Natalya Petrovna Galitzine (Princesse Moustache). The story was the basis of the operas The Queen of Spades (1890) by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, La dame de pique (1850) by Fromental Halévy and Pique Dame (1865) by Franz von Suppé (the overture to the Suppé work is all that remains in today's repertoire). It has been filmed various times, the most notable version being a 1949 film by the same name directed by Thorold Dickinson. Hermann, an ethnic German, is an officer of the engineers in the Imperial Russian army. He constantly watches the other officers gamble, but never plays himself. One night, Tomsky tells a story about his grandmother, an elderly countess. Many years ago, in France, she lost a fortune at cards, and then won it back, with the secret of the three winning cards, which she learned from the notorious Count of St. Germain. Hermann becomes obsessed
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    Aladdin

    Aladdin

    Aladdin (Arabic: علاء الدين‎, ʻAlāʼ ad-Dīn, IPA: [ʕalaːʔ adˈdiːn]; meaning, "glory of religion") is a Middle Eastern folk tale. It is one of the tales in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights), and one of the most famous, although it was actually added to the collection by Antoine Galland (see sources and setting). Aladdin is an impoverished young ne'er-do-well in a Chinese town, who is recruited by a sorcerer from the Maghreb, who passes himself off as the brother of Aladdin's late father Qaseem, convincing Aladdin and his mother of his goodwill by apparently making arrangements to set up the lad as a wealthy merchant. The sorcerer's real motive is to persuade young Aladdin to retrieve a wonderful oil lamp from a booby-trapped magic cave of wonder. After the sorcerer attempts to double-cross him, Aladdin finds himself trapped in the cave. Fortunately, Aladdin retains a magic ring lent to him by the sorcerer. When he rubs his hands in despair, he inadvertently rubs the ring, and a jinni, or "genie", appears, who takes him home to his mother. Aladdin is still carrying the lamp, and when his mother tries to clean it, a second, far more powerful genie appears, who is
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    Berenice

    Berenice

    "Berenice" is a short horror story by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in the Southern Literary Messenger in 1835. The story follows a man named Egaeus who is preparing to marry his cousin Berenice. He has a tendency to fall into periods of intense focus during which he seems to separate himself from the outside world. Berenice begins to deteriorate from an unnamed disease until the only part of her remaining healthy is her teeth, which Egaeus begins to obsess over. Berenice is buried, and Egaeus continues to contemplate her teeth. One day Egaeus wakes up from a period of focus with an uneasy feeling, and the sound of screams in his ears. A servant startles him by telling him Berenice's grave has been disturbed, and she is still alive; but beside Egaeus is a box containing 32 blood-stained teeth and a poem about "visiting the grave of my beloved." Contemporary readers were horrified by the story's violence and complained to the editor of the Messenger. Though Poe later published a self-censored version of the work he believed he should be judged solely by how many copies were sold. The narrator, Egaeus, is a studious young man who grows up in a large gloomy mansion with his cousin
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    Beyond the Black River

    Beyond the Black River

    • Genre: Fantasy
    "Beyond the Black River" is one of the original short stories about Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine circa 1935. The story was republished in the collections King Conan (Gnome Press, 1953) and Conan the Warrior (Lancer Books, 1967). It has more recently been published in the anthology The Mighty Swordsmen (Lancer Books, 1970), and the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 2: The Hour of the Dragon (Gollancz, 2001) and Conan of Cimmeria: Volume Three (1935-1936) (Del Rey, 2005). It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan fighting the savage Hyborian Picts in the unsettled lands beyond the infamous Black River. Due to its unique elements and atypical frontier setting, the story is considered an undisputed classic of Conan lore and is often cited by Howard scholars as one of his best tales. (From Conan The Warrior, ISBN 0-441-11465-2) The Forward to the story tells of his travels to Punt with Muriela, refers to a scam perpetrated against worshippers of an ivory goddess and then on to Zembabwei, where he joins a trading caravan on its way to Shem. Around 40 now, Conan visits his
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    Dagon

    Dagon

    • Genre: Horror
    "Dagon" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft, written in July 1917, one of the first stories he wrote as an adult. It was first published in the November 1919 edition of The Vagrant (issue #11). After reading Lovecraft's juvenilia in 1917, W. Paul Cook, editor of the amateur press journal The Vagrant, encouraged Lovecraft to resume writing fiction. That summer, Lovecraft wrote two stories: "The Tomb" and "Dagon". The story was inspired in part by a dream he had. "I dreamed that whole hideous crawl, and can yet feel the ooze sucking me down!" he later wrote. Critic William Fulwiler indicates that Lovecraft may have been influenced by Irvin S. Cobb's "Fishhead", a story about a strange fish-like human. Fulwiler has also suggested that Lovecraft took the story's theme of "an ancient prehuman race that will someday rise to conquer humanity" from Edgar Rice Burroughs' At the Earth's Core (1914). The story mentions Piltdown Man, which had not been exposed by the scientific community as a fraud and hoax at the time of writing. The story is the testament of a tortured, morphine-addicted man who plans to commit suicide over an incident that occurred early on in World War I when he was a
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    Dogfight

    Dogfight

    • Genre: Cyberpunk
    "Dogfight" is a short story written by Michael Swanwick and William Gibson, and first published in Omni in July 1985. A lonely ex-shoplifter who suffers from a neural block preventing him from returning to his hometown of Washington, D.C., finds a female friend, whose parents have set a neural block on her to protect her virginity – a sort of a mental chastity belt. He becomes enthralled by a new video game – Fokkers & Spads – where he engages in dogfights as a World War I fighter pilot and, with help from his female friend (a gifted hacker of both hardware and software) becomes one of the best fighters. To beat the very best fighter, though, he betrays and hurts his newfound friend only to find himself alone again after his victory over the crippled war-veteran Tiny.
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    Drama in Mexico

    Drama in Mexico

    A Drama in Mexico (French: Un drame au Mexique) is a historical short story by Jules Verne. In a letter to his father Verne wrote that it "is but a simple adventure-story in the style of Cooper which I am locating in Mexico." The story was first published in July 1851 under the title "The First Ships of the Mexican Navy" ("L'Amérique du Sud. Etudes historiques. Les Premiers Navires de la Marine Mexicaine") in Musée des familles with three illustrations by Eugène Forest and Alexandre de Bar. The revised version with six illustrations by Férat was published in 1876 together with the novel Michel Strogoff as a part of the Voyages Extraordinaires series. The first English translation by W. H. G. Kingston was published in 1876. In 1825, off the islands of Guam on a passage from Spain, Lieutenant Martinez, and his associates plot a mutiny on board of two Spanish warships. Conspirators murder Captain Don Orteva, take command of the ships, and plan to sell them to the republican government in Mexico. But on arrival in Acapulco, Lieutenant Martinez and Jose are forced to embark on a cross-country trip to Mexico City that proves fatal to both. as "The Mutineers: A Romance of Mexico"
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    Eve's Diary

    Eve's Diary

    Eve's Diary is a comic short story by Mark Twain. It was first published in the 1905 Christmas issue of the magazine Harper's Bazaar, and in book format in June 1906 by Harper and Brothers publishing house. It is written in the style of a diary kept by the first woman in the Judeo-Christian creation story, Eve, and is claimed to be "translated from the original MS." The "plot" of this novel is the first-person account of Eve from her creation up to her burial by, her mate, Adam, including meeting and getting to know Adam, and exploring the world around her, Eden. The story then jumps 40 years into the future after the Fall and expulsion from Eden. It is one of a series of books Twain wrote concerning the story of Adam and Eve, including 'Extracts from Adam's Diary,' 'That Day In Eden,' 'Eve Speaks,' 'Adam's Soliloquy,' and the 'Autobiography of Eve.' Eve's Diary has a lighter tone than the others in the series, as Eve has a strong appreciation for beauty and love. The book may have been written as a posthumous love-letter to Mark Twain's wife Olivia Langdon Clemens, or Livy, who died in June 1904, just before the story was written. Mark Twain is quoted as saying, "Eve's Diary is
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    Fading Voices

    Fading Voices

    "Fading Voices" (Polish: "Milknące głosy") is an 1883 short story by the Polish writer Bolesław Prus, the leading representative of Realism in 19th-century Polish literature. "Fading Voices" was first published, under the title "Fading Echoes" ("Milknące echa"), in the New Year's 1883 issue (no. 1) of the Warsaw daily Nowiny (News), which was then being edited by Bolesław Prus. (News would fold a year after Prus assumed its editorship.) The story was reprinted in Kraj (The Country), issue 1/2 of January 21, 1883. In December 1885, "Fading Voices" was one of fourteen short stories by Prus to appear in volume I of his Szkice i obrazki (Sketches and Pictures), published by Warszawska Spółka Nakładowa (Warsaw Publishing Company). In late November 1897, an inexpensive four-volume jubilee edition of Prus' Pisma (Writings) was brought out by Wawelberg and Rotwand. One of the 17 stories included in volume III was "Fading Voices." "Fading Voices" continues to be reprinted in anthologies of Prus' works and in general Polish anthologies. A French Army colonel (a Pole whose name is never given) in late 1871 retires from military service. He is a veteran of "five military campaigns," which may
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    Mutineers of the Bounty

    Mutineers of the Bounty

    • Genre: Historical fiction
    Mutineers of the Bounty (French: Les Révoltés de la Bounty) is a short story by Jules Verne. The story is based on British documents about the Mutiny on the Bounty and was published in 1879 together with the novel The Begum's Fortune (Les cinq cents millions de la Bégum), as a part of the series Les Voyages Extraordinaires (The Extraordinary Voyages). Unlike many authors covering the topic, Verne concentrates on the deposed captain of the Bounty, William Bligh. After mutineers forced Bligh into the Bounty's 23-foot launch on April 28, 1789, he led loyal crew members on a 6,710 kilometer journey to safety, reaching Timor 47 days later. The original text was written by Gabriel Marcel (1843–1909), a geographer from the National Library of France. Jules Verne’s work was proofreading. Verne bought the rights to the text for 300 francs.
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    New Rose Hotel

    New Rose Hotel

    • Genre: Cyberpunk
    "New Rose Hotel" is a short story by William Gibson, first published in 1984 in Omni and later included in his 1986 collection Burning Chrome. Set in the near future, the story provides the reader with a glimpse into the niche criminal market of corporate defections. Huge megacorporations control and dominate entire economies. Their wealth and competitive advantage reside in the human capital of their employees and the intellectual property they produce. Corporations jealously guard their most valuable employees and go to great expense to keep them safe and happily productive. There is little point in traditional corporate espionage as new products are developed at a lightning pace. There is no time to capitalize on the intelligence acquired from a rival firm. Here is where the protagonists of the story come into play, setting themselves up as shady middle-men in the world of corporate defections. Key scientists are cajoled, lured, bribed, and blackmailed into leaving their firms. The story follows two corporate extraction agents, the narrator and Fox, who are quickly betrayed after a successful operation. After they are betrayed by a partner, they are hunted by their former
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    The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans

    The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans" is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is one of eight stories in the cycle collected as His Last Bow, and is the second and final appearance of Mycroft Holmes. Doyle ranked "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans" fourteenth in a list of his nineteen favourite Sherlock Holmes stories. The monotony of thick smog-shrouded London is broken by a sudden visit from Holmes’s brother Mycroft. He has come about some missing, secret submarine plans. Seven of the ten pages — three are still missing — were found with Arthur Cadogan West’s body. He was a young clerk in a government office at Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, whose body was found next to the Underground tracks near the Aldgate tube station, his head crushed. He had little money with him (although there appears to have been no robbery), theatre tickets, and curiously, no Underground ticket. The three missing pages by themselves could enable one of Britain’s enemies to build a Bruce-Partington submarine. It seems clear that Cadogan West fell from a train and that he stole the plans meaning to sell them, but the mystery is truly
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    The Adventure of the Naval Treaty

    The Adventure of the Naval Treaty

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Naval Treaty", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle ranked "The Adventure of the Naval Treaty" nineteenth in a list of his nineteen favourite Sherlock Holmes stories. Dr. Watson receives a letter, which he then refers to Holmes, from an old schoolmate, now a Foreign Office employee from Woking who has had an important naval treaty stolen from his office. It disappeared while Mr. Percy Phelps had stepped out of his office momentarily late in the evening to see about some coffee that he had ordered. His office has two entrances, each joined by a stairway to a single landing. The commissionaire kept watch at the main entrance. There was no-one watching at the side entrance. Phelps also knew that his fiancée's brother was in town and that he might drop by. Phelps was alone in the office. Phelps pulled the bell cord in his office to summon the commissionaire, and to his surprise the commissionaire's wife came up instead. He worked at copying the treaty that he had been given while he waited. At last, he went to see the
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    The Adventure of the Three Students

    The Adventure of the Three Students

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Three Students", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes finds himself in a famous university town (probably either Oxford or Cambridge) when a tutor and lecturer of St Luke's College, Mr. Hilton Soames, brings him an interesting problem. Someone got into Soames’s office and had a look at the galley proofs of an exam he was going to give. Soames had gone to a friend’s for tea and locked his office. When he came back an hour later, he found a key in the lock. His servant, Bannister, forgot his key after he found Soames was gone for tea. Nevertheless, the proofs were found out of place, with one near the window, another on the floor, and the last still on the desk. Bannister swears that he did not touch the papers. Interestingly, Holmes can tell Soames which of the papers was in which place. Soames’s desire is to uncover the cheater and prevent him from taking the exam, since it is for a sizeable scholarship. Fortunately there are only three students who will take the exam, all of which live above him in the same
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    The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger

    The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 12 stories in the cycle collected as The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is visited by Mrs. Merrilow, a landlady from South Brixton who has an unusual lodger who never shows her face. She saw it once accidentally and it was hideously mutilated. This woman, formerly very quiet, has recently taken to cursing in the night, shouting “Murder, murder!” and “You cruel beast! You monster!” Also, her health has taken a turn for the worse, and she is wasting away. Mrs. Merrilow has brought this case to Holmes’s attention as her tenant, Mrs. Ronder, will not involve the clergy or the police in something that she would like to say. She has told her landlady to mention Abbas Parva, knowing that Holmes would understand the reference. Indeed he does. It was a most tragic case in which a circus lion somehow got loose and savaged two people, one of whom was killed, and the other badly disfigured. The latter is apparently this lodger. The former was her husband. Holmes could make little of the case at the time, but perhaps if someone had actually hired
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    The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge

    The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge

    • Characters: Sherlock Holmes
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge" is one of the fifty-six Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Arthur Conan Doyle. One of eight stories in the cycle collected as His Last Bow, it is a lengthy, two-part story consisting of "The Singular Experience of Mr. John Scott Eccles" and "The Tiger of San Pedro", which on original publication in The Strand bore the collective title of "A Reminiscence of Mr. Sherlock Holmes". Holmes is visited by a perturbed proper English gentleman, John Scott Eccles, who wishes to discuss something “grotesque”. No sooner has he arrived at 221B Baker Street than Inspector Gregson also shows up, along with Inspector Baynes of the Surrey Constabulary. They wish a statement from Eccles about the murder near Esher last night. A note in the dead man’s pocket indicates that Eccles said that he would be at the victim’s house that night. Eccles is shocked to hear of Aloysius Garcia’s beating death. Yes, he spent the night at Wisteria Lodge, Garcia’s rented house, but when he woke up in the morning, he found that Garcia and his servants had all disappeared. He was alone in an empty house. He last remembers seeing Garcia at about one o’clock in the
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    The Green Leopard Plague

    The Green Leopard Plague

    • Genre: Science Fiction
    The Green Leopard Plague is a 2004 novella by Walter Jon Williams that won the Nebula Award, and was nominated for the Hugo Award. It is based on the idea of a genetically engineered virus that allows people to photosynthesize food, leading the world to an agalmic society, where there are no more food shortages. It begins in the far future with a mermaid who makes her living by searching old archives. She is approached by a customer who wants her to find information on the man who founded the theoretical background on which their civilization is based, John Terzian. It is eventually revealed that he was involved in the release of the photosynthesis virus. The story then veers back and forward between his story and the mermaid's.
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    The Mystery of Marie Roget

    The Mystery of Marie Roget

    • Characters: Auguste Dupin
    • Genre: Detective fiction
    "The Mystery of Marie Rogêt", often subtitled A Sequel to "The Murders in the Rue Morgue", is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe written in 1842. This is the first murder mystery based on the details of a real crime. It first appeared in Snowden's Ladies' Companion in three installments, November and December 1842 and February 1843. Poe's detective character C. Auguste Dupin and his sidekick the unnamed narrator undertake the unsolved murder of Marie Rogêt in Paris. The body of Rogêt, a perfume shop employee, is found in the Seine River and the media take a keen interest in the mystery. Dupin remarks that the newspapers "create a sensation... [rather] than to further the cause of truth." Even so, he uses the newspaper reports to get into the mind of the murderer. Dupin uses his skills of ratiocination to determine that a single murderer was involved who dragged her by the cloth belt around her waist before dumping her body off a boat into the river. Finding the boat, Dupin suggests, will lead the police to the murderer. The narrative is based upon the actual murder of Mary Cecilia Rogers. Rogers was presumably born in Lyme, Connecticut in 1820, though her birth records have not
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    The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

    The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

    The Nutcracker and the Mouse King (German: Nussknacker und Mausekönig) is a story written in 1816 by E. T. A. Hoffmann in which young Marie Stahlbaum's favorite Christmas toy, the Nutcracker, comes alive and, after defeating the evil Mouse King in battle, whisks her away to a magical kingdom populated by dolls. In 1892, the Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and choreographers Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov turned Alexandre Dumas père's adaptation of the story into the ballet The Nutcracker, which became one of Tchaikovsky's most famous compositions, and perhaps the most popular ballet in the world. Hoffmann's story begins on Christmas Eve at the Stahlbaum house. Marie, seven years old, and her brother Fritz, eight, sit outside the parlor speculating about what kind of present their godfather Drosselmeier, who is a clockmaker and inventor, has made for them. They are at last allowed into the parlor, where they receive many splendid gifts, including Drosselmeier's, which turns out to be a clockwork castle with mechanical people moving about inside it. However, as the mechanical people can only do the same thing over and over without variation, the children quickly tire of it.
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    The Shadow Kingdom

    The Shadow Kingdom

    • Genre: Sword and sorcery
    "The Shadow Kingdom" by Robert E. Howard is the first of Howard's Kull stories, set in his fictional Thurian Age. It was first published in the pulp magazine Weird Tales in August 1929. The story introduces Kull himself, the setting of Valusia, the supporting character Brule the Spear-slayer and the Serpent Men (who do not appear in any other work by Howard but were adopted by later authors for derivative works and inclusion in the Cthulhu Mythos). The story starts shortly after the Atlantean barbarian Kull has conquered Valusia and become its King. Kull is invited to a feast by the Pictish ambassador to Valusia, Ka-nu the Ancient. Despite the fact that the Picts are the ancient enemies of the Atlanteans, Ka-nu confides in Kull and tells him to expect the arrival of Brule the Spear-slayer later. In the early night, Brule climbs into Kull's bed chamber, identifying himself with a "bracelet of gold representing a winged dragon coiled thrice, with three horns of ruby on the head" that had been shown to Kull at the feast. Brule explains that Kull's life is in danger and shows him secret passages that riddle the palace. Through these Kull sees that the guards outside his room are all
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    248
    The Signal-Man

    The Signal-Man

    "The Signal-Man" is a short story by Charles Dickens, first published as part of the Mugby Junction collection in the 1866 Christmas edition of All the Year Round. The railway signal-man of the title tells the narrator of a ghost that has been haunting him. Each spectral appearance precedes a tragic event on the railway on which the signalman works. The signalman's work is at a signalbox in a deep cutting near a tunnel entrance on a lonely stretch of the railway line, and he controls the movements of passing trains. When there is danger, his fellow signalmen alert him by telegraph and alarms. Three times, he receives phantom warnings of danger when his bell rings in a fashion that only he can hear. Each warning is followed by the appearance of the spectre, and then by a terrible accident. The first accident involves a terrible collision between two trains in the tunnel. It is likely that Dickens based this incident on the Clayton Tunnel crash that occurred in 1861, five years before he wrote the story. Readers in 1866 would have been familiar with this major disaster. The second warning involves the mysterious death of a young woman on a passing train. The final warning is a
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    249
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    Xuthal of the Dusk

    Xuthal of the Dusk

    • Genre: Horror
    "The Slithering Shadow" is one of the original short stories starring the fictional sword and sorcery hero Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in the September 1933 issue of Weird Tales magazine. The story's original title was "Xuthal of the Dusk". It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan finding a lost city in a remote desert and encountering therein a Lovecraftian-esque demon known as Thog. The story was republished in the collections The Sword of Conan (Gnome Press, 1952) and Conan the Adventurer (Lancer Books, 1966). It has more recently been published in the collections The Conan Chronicles Volume 1: The People of the Black Circle (Gollancz, 2000) as "The Slithering Shadow" and in Conan of Cimmeria: Volume One (1932-1933) (Del Rey, 2003) under its original title, "Xuthal of the Dusk." Conan the Cimmerian and Natala the Brythunian are the sole survivors of Prince Almuric's army which swept through the Lands of Shem and the outlands of Stygia. With a Stygian host on its heels, the prince's army had cut its way through the kingdom of Kush, only to be annihilated on the edge of the southern desert. From
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