The beauty of science fiction short stories is that we are able to make a trip to a different world in an hour or so and have the story completed in a single read. Many of the TV shows and movies we watch today find their roots in some classic stories created decades ago.
One of the most notable short stories of the 1950s was “The Minority Report.” While there are obviously some commonalities in the Tom Cruise movie, they are quite different overall. The short story takes us into the mind of a completely different character than the one played by Cruise in the movie. It presents a different approach to the dilemma and a completely different outcome.
“Am I Still There?” was published in 1963 and while only eight pages long, it brings to light some pretty interesting possibilities of our medical futures. Just a few minutes into the short story, we realize the subject of the story is four centuries old! Not only that, but the surgery of which he is preparing for is brain replacement surgery! The title comes from the fact that our hero is about to lose his final, original body part.
Time travel has become a major part of science fiction over the years and “For A Single Yesterday” uses this concept in a very unique way. The subject of this 1970s short story lives through a nuclear holocaust and is stuck in a place where he would rather not be for the rest of his life. To escape, he takes a magical drug that enables him to not just remember past memories, but actually relive them. One has to wonder if this was the inspiration for such TV shows as Quantum Leap.
“Cyberpunk” was ahead of its time and it did not even know it. Bruce Bethke wrote the story just as the computer and Internet world were about to explode in the 1980s. Mr. Bethke may have had a looking glass into the future, as quite a few happenings in this story actually unfolded in real life. He may not have gotten everything 100 percent, but he was not far off. Anyone who enjoys the cyberpunk genre will find this absolutely delightful.
Science fiction short stories have influenced both movies, TV shows, and actual novels. They may be brief, but they pack quite a bit of entertainment into those pages.