a depiction of a common futuristic subway setting in science fiction short stories

Science Fiction

short stories

Our Directory of Science fiction short stories

Science Fiction, aka Sci Fi or Sci-Fi, is one of the genres of storytelling that we offer at Lore Publication. All the science fiction short stories available on our website are free to read and enjoy – to keep exceptional fiction accessible to all.

Be it a character study set in a dystopian scifi world to the daily struggles of a scientist trying to invent the warp drive, at Lore, we are interested in it all. If you love to write or to read science fiction in any capacity, then this is the place to be.

For the short story category on Lore, we focus on publishing works of fiction in the 1000 – 3000 word range. We love to hear from writers that have yet to publish, are new to publishing and writers from under-represented communities across the world. Our goal is to share thought-provoking, inspiring fiction for readers while giving writers a platform to tell their story their way.

If you are here to read, don’t forget to check out the author links listed at the bottom of each story to check out more of their work. They’ll appreciate it and so will we!

Got a story you’re just itching to share with the world? Want to have your story featured here on our directory for all to enjoy? Take a look at our submissions page for more information about what we are looking for in a story. We welcome submissions from all walks of life – veteran or new writers alike.

sci fi short story

‘Child’s Play’ By Stewart Storrar

Set in the mid-22nd century, two boys delve into the world of holographic gaming. But their game isn’t how it first seems.

Written by Scottish writer Stewart Storrar.

Check back soon for more!

More About Short Science FIction Stories

So, when Lore talks about sci-fi short stories, what do we mean? For us at Lore, what separates a sci fi short story from other similar genres will likely differ from what other people consider sci fi – and that’s perfectly fine! There are hundreds of professional writers that debate this sort of question all the time. Different perspectives on the genre fuel a healthy debate about what constitutes sci fi and what doesn’t. The intrinsic idea of what sci fi is, however, remains a true driving force behind any kind of sci fi.

However, it is important to consider personal experience when we consider what sci fi is and isn’t. But this extends to any sci fi in any format, be it literature or otherwise. How a person is exposed to sci fi and the kind of stories they grow up with with often heavily skew what sci fi is to them. These are all valid experiences and we’re not here to gatekeep.

Maybe Star Wars and the terror of Darth Vader’s looming menace was your first ever taste of the genre. Or maybe the adventures of Captain Picard in Star Trek The Next Generation was what you enjoyed growing up. Even stories such as Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper from the 2000AD universe loosely fit the sci fi genre in a multitude of ways.

It is difficult to condense sci fi into one way or notion, so we’ve decided to consider the following definitions here at Lore to give our readers and writers a better understanding of what we look for in a sci fi story:

What defines Sci fi fiction?

To help identify what we mean by sci fi fiction here on Lore, we’ll cite two definitions:

science fiction noun sahyuhns fik-shuhn

1. a form of fiction that draws imaginatively on scientific knowledge and speculation in its plot, setting, theme, etc.

Dictionary.com, 2022

science fiction uncountable noun /ˈsaɪəns ˈfɪk.ʃən/

(informal sci-fi); (also SF)

books, films, or cartoons about an imagined future, especially about space travel or other planets

Cambridge Dictionary, 2022

To define what we mean by sci fi, we tend to focus on some key points from those two definitions:

  • the involvement of imagination and the imaginary
  • the emphasis on current scientific knowledge
  • emphasis on the future
  • emphasis on speculative prediction

These key points are fundamental to identifying what makes a sci fi story, well, a work of sci fi. There needs to be an element of the current scientific knowledge with an emphasis on the future or speculative prediction.

Does Lore publish cross-genre sci fi?

Certainly! Cross-genre sci fi opens up the imagination to all sorts of sub-genres that incorporate some of the best elements of other genres into a story. A great example of cross-genre sci fi is Star Wars, which is considered to be a sci fi fantasy story by most. Other examples could be Judge Dredd for it’s satirical dystopia with supernatural elements.

If you do decide to submit a cross-genre sci fi story to us, be sure your story has a primary focus on the sci fi elements mentioned above!

What are types of science fiction short story?

If we were to list all the types of sci fi short story, we’d be here for a long time and we’d still be likely to miss a few. There’s an abundance of types or sub-genres of scifi stories out there, but some common types are:

  • Sci Fi Fantasy
  • Dystopian Sci Fi
  • Hard Sci Fi
  • Soft Sci Fi
  • Time Travel Sci Fi
  • Utopian Sci Fi
  • Post Apocalyptic Sci Fi

The only true limit is your imagination!

What Do You Mean By Soft Sci Fi?

When we reference ‘soft sci fi’ we refer to how far away technology is from our current scientific understanding. For instance, Star Wars would be deemed a very ‘soft’ sci fi story due to how far removed the technology and sci fi elements are from their world to our own.

Examples of ‘soft’ sci fi are:

  • Star Wars
  • Star Trek
  • Judge Dredd
  • Rogue Trooper
  • Halo

What Do You Mean By Hard Sci Fi?

When talking about ‘hard sci fi’ we’re referring to science fiction stories that are very similar to our own world and contain technology that isn’t wholly unattainable – or features aspects about their sci fi world that are closer to reality than fantasy.

Examples of ‘hard’ sci fi could be:

  • Black Mirror
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Jurassic Park
  • The Martian
  • Blade Runner

What Are Common Sci Fi Sub-genres?

Science fiction is a vast genre that contains a a wide spread of different sub-genres – so many that it would be impossible to list every single one. However, there are a few common sub-genres that have proven time and time again to be popular by both writers and readers, such as:

  • Post-apocalyptic sci fi; these are stories that focus on how a world functions after an apocalypse.
  • Alien Invasion sci fi; this is as it sounds. These kinds of stories are about alien invaders (usually extra-terrestrial).
  • Science Fantasy; a story that fuses tropes from both the fantasy and sci fi genres but remains primarily science fiction driven. While its up for debate whether this is a genre in its own right, it deserves a place on this list.
  • Cyberpunk sci fi; this type of science fiction tends to focus on a future where society is very technologically evolved but not very socially evolved; and thus, people often have a low standard of living.
  • Time travel sci fi; these kinds of stories often deal with travelling through time as a core fundamental that drives the plot, no matter if it is forward or backward in time.
  • Alternate History sci fi; this is the kind of science fiction that delves into what our world may look like if certain historical events happened differently.
  • Dystopian science fiction; these types of stories will focus on a futuristic world or society that is worse than where we are now, usually in part due to technology or facilitated by technology.
  • Utopian science fiction; this is the inverse of dystopian stories. These stories focus on how much better a futuristic world is due to technology or because of it.
  • Horror Science Fiction; this sub-genre, much like science fantasy, is a blend of science fiction and horror tropes. Again, this could be considered a genre in its own right as opposed to a sub-genre but it demands a spot on this list.
  • Space Opera; this is a form of science fiction that has a primary focus on space travel, societies in space, or space conflict.

While this is by no means an exhaustive list (as there are plenty of other niche sub-genres out there), these encompass the majority of the sub-genres of science fiction you’ll likely encounter. Some notable mentions are biopunk sci fi, slipstream sci fi, cosmic horror, military sci fi, urban sci fi, tech-noir sci fi, space westerns, social science fiction, Isekai, mundane science fiction and recursive science fiction.

Got a submission?

If you have a submission of scifi short fiction and want to get it featured on Lore, then check out our submissions page for more information. We are delighted to read wonderful works of fiction from writers all across the world! We encourage everyone to submit and begin finding readers through our website and network.

FAQs About Science Fiction Short Stories