Forrest J. Ackerman wrote not just the shortest science fiction story ever, but what may be the shortest SF story possible (if you ignore the title). The title is "Cosmic Report Card: Earth." The story is:


For this he was paid $100 for the initial sale, as well as for four more sales, so he was paid (he estimates) at a nominal $500 per word per sale, or $2500 per word for all five. Not bad for a night's work, especially in 1973.

Source: Mimosa 16, pp. 4-6

Michael E. Blake wrote what is definitely the shortest science fiction story ever, if you don't count the title and the footnote. The story has appeared in many SF collections; among others, "44 micro science fiction stories", prefaced by Isaac Asimov, and "100 Great Science Fiction Short Short Stories", where Blake appears alongside legendary authors such as Larry Niven, Friz Leiber, Roger Zelazny and Ben Bova.

The story has been published in several countries, and the translators must have worked a full five seconds at it, since the entire text is:

"Science fiction for telepaths" (1977)


1. Well, you know what I mean.

It seems that Blake's bibliography is composed mostly by short stories, such as Frost King, Goal Tending and The Foreigner. I hope that he wasn't paid on a "per word" basis for this little SF gem.

(CST approved, thanks to GrouchyOldMan, who wrote that the node is "technically compliant". We may be hitting a singularity in the original/quoted ratio.)

"Ye gods, we've created an uncontrolled fission reac—"

Postdated for BrevityQuest 2006.

14 very short science fiction stories


"Danger. Danger," droned the robot, unaware it referred to itself.

Mike ran in, shouting, "Wait!" but once again, Mike had already pushed the button.

The world ended. I looked around, wearily. "Not again ..."

8.5 minutes later, they, too, learned the fate of their yellow star.

Every eye at the house for the deaf shot wide open as ...

They stood wordlessly over what had once been Peterson. "But he never boarded the ship .."

"But what about the landing?" "You fool, there never was a landing!"

kthejoker: hold on, someone keeps knocking on my door
kthejoker: brb

The Zurkons sighed in relief; the bomb in the golden chalzar had gone unnoticed. For the Mizzloks, the 108th Offering of the Feast would be their last.

Jimmy McAllister was mad. Where had Beebo gone ... wait a minute. "There you are! Weird, didn't you have blue fur --?"

Among his strange creations, he heard the whirring hum of circuits -- no; singing?

None of Jackson's crew saw the predator slip onboard. How could they? They only saw the moss - not the rock ...

    /          tom fry     \
   /           was here     \
  /                6/1/86    \
 /                            \
 |                            |
 |                            |
 |                            |
 |           RIP              |
 |         THOMASON           |
 |           FRYE             |
 |                            |
 |       1799 - 1847          |
 |                            |
 |                            |
 |                            |
 |                            |
 |                            |

A single tear rolled down his scarred cheek as he watched his home planet from the deck. "Fire when ready."

"Where are we?"

"Not where - when."

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