Here’s another Name That Story challenge for our readers, sent in by another reader looking for the title of a story read long ago.

Do any of you out there know the title to this story?
Read the rest of this entry

Here’s another Name That Story challenge for our readers, sent in by another reader looking for the title of a story read long ago. In fact – this time you get 2 challenges from the same reader!

Do any of you out there know the titles to these stories?
Read the rest of this entry

Here’s another Name That Story challenge for our readers, sent in by another reader looking for a long-forgotten book title.

Do any of you out there know the title to this book?

I’m looking for a large format illustrated SF book I ran across in the late ’70s. It was not exactly a graphic novel, as its pictures were not hand drawings but rather photographs. But it was also not quite what would have been called a “photonovel” or “fotonovel” then, because, if I remember right, the text of the story ran alongside the photos and had its own integrity. That is, the book didn’t consist mainly of photos with word balloons, but rather was a complete written text accompanied by extensive photographs. The photos were heavily processed, with tinting and filtering and the like.

The book had the *feel* of the kind of book that Heavy Metal Publications put out at the time, though all my investigations suggest it wasn’t a Heavy Metal book.

From what I remember of the content, the story was a space opera of the Han-Solo-with-a-blaster type, and I assume the book was conceived in the immediate aftermath of the success of “Star Wars.”

My most vivid memory of the visuals was that a major secondary character in the story was a humanoid lizard with white skin. Sort of like an albino Sleestak (of “Land of the Lost” fame). If I remember right, one of the final images in the story was a close-up of this white lizard-creature confronting the main character with a blaster.

I’d love to track this graphic-photonovel-SF-story-thing down. Although its story was, as you can gather, pretty meat-and-potatoes stuff, its overall look and feel were quite interesting, and about as ’70s as you can get.

If any readers can help me track this down, I’d be most grateful.

- Ken J.


Can you name this book?

Can You Name This Story? (Part 32)

Here’s another Name That Story challenge for our readers, sent in by another reader looking for the title of a story read long ago.

Do any of you out there know the title to this story?

I’m looking for a book that should have existed about at least the late 50′s or early 60′s, if not earlier.

The basics of the plot that I remember is: A young lonely boy finds a small horseshoe shaped object (I think on a beach) and takes it home. After some cleaning, it is revealed that it has a word written on it with unusual pronounciation. He tries several times to pronounce the word, and nothing happens. After a particulaly bad day at school, he returns home and, in a fit of depression, attempts to pronounce the word again. This time, however, he succeeds, and the small talisman grows to become a large horseshoe shaped doorway. He goes thru it to appear in a fantasy world where he learns many things that, upon reappearing in his room, help him with his school troubles.

This reminds me of the much later book The Neverending Story because of the single lonely boy and his trip to and from a fantasy world, but could not have been (I think…) the book given to me by a teacher in Grade School in the late 50′s or early 60′s.

This is not any of Edith Nesbit’s books, despite the similar plot to one that has four kids and a strange creature going thru a similar portal to Ancient Rome.

This book got me started on a road to a great love of Sci-Fi/Fantasy and I’d appreciate it very much if anyone can help me find it.

Yours with great hopes…

- Bruce G.


Can you name this story?

Can You Name This Story? (Part 31)

Here’s another Name That Story challenge for our readers, sent in by another reader looking for the title of a story read long ago.

Do any of you out there know the title to this story?

Back in the late 60′s I fell sick during a 10-day trip from TX to the Adirondacks of NY. The pause occurred in Berwyn PA, and the day I spent ill, everyone else got to go visit historic Valley Forge. Because I did not get to go, the family friends we were visiting in Berwyn brought me back a sci-fi ‘magazine’ of short stories – sort of like Astounding or Asimov’s or World’s of If… things like that. Anyway, there was one story in there that I fell in love with (and wish I could find again.)

Basically, the narrator was from one planet in our solar system that got into a fight with another planet. The battle they fought was basically reduced to ‘throwing rocks’ at each other – cratering the two planets surfaces. The winning planet (the good guys) escaped destruction when they shifted their planet’s orbit such that they ended up orbiting Earth and becoming our Moon when they were captured by earth’s gravitational pull. (The huge meteor craters on Earth were the result of enemy ‘misses’.) The losing planet was eventually pulverized – becoming the Asteroid Belt. If I remember correctly, the narrator escapes from their planet (now our Moon) my making his way to Earth.

- Rob B.


Can you name this story?

Can You Name This Story? (Part 30)

Here’s another Name That Story challenge for our readers: Do any of you out there know the title to this story?

I haven’t read [this], but I remember reading a review about 5 years ago and thinking it sounded like something I want to read. I think the review was in Locus. It was a description of a novel about radio astronomers getting signals from a dying civilization. (Sounds like James Gunn’s classic THE LISTENERS so far, but it’s not that one.) The ET signals were from a witness to the system’s impending destruction (by nova, I think). The witness was described by the reviewer as a mix of a new anchor, stand-up comic, and performance artist. My Swiss-cheese slice of a memory thinks this novel might be by Jack McDevitt, but I wouldn’t swear to it. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Grateful for any help tracking it down.

- Tom M.


Can you name this story?

Can You Name This Story? (Part 30)

Another Name That Story challenge for our readers: Do any of you out there know the title to this story?

The story is a report from a World Science Fiction convention in the early 21st(?) century. A nuclear war has set technology back to the 19th century levels (sailing ships and carriages are mentioned) and so it takes weeks if not months for SF fans and readers to get together. The story talks about various works being written by authors, and their misadventures in getting to the convention. A mention of pirates capturing or killing a prominent female science fiction author is mentioned.

The main thrust of the story is that the nuclear war and regression of civilization has inadvertently rejuvenated science fiction, making it the literature of the times for everyone, the repository of hopes and dreams and imagination.



Can you name this story?

Can You Name This Story? (Part 29)

Another Name That Story challenge for our readers: Do any of you out there know the title to this story?

I read book years ago about a pianist who due to multiple seizures at a young age had his brain split in half.

As an adult each part of his brain had its own name and personality and the pianist half of his brain had to negotiate with the other side to perform.

Ends up that the other half of the pianist brain is a secret agent, and at times would take over the body.

Story ends with the guy winning the girl of his dreams, but the girl was in love with the secret agent side and not the pianist side.

So far Google hasn’t been much help since I can’t remember the title or author.

Every time I see your story challenge it reminds me of the the story so I decided to see if you or your readers can help.

Thanks,
- Jon


Can you name this story?

Can You Name This Story? (Part 28)

Another Name That Story challenge for our readers: Do any of you out there know the title to this story?

I’m looking for the title (or author) for a story that’s been bugging my mind for awhile. It’s a great story and I’ll be as detailed as I can without spoiling it if you haven’t read it.

It centers around an archaeological survey of an alien base on the moon. The base is deserted and the team can’t figure out who built it or what happened to them. The main character discovers a device which is a carving tool about the size of a large pen. He uses it to carve something but it falls to the floor and drills a hole down through the floor. There’s also a time travel element in there…

- Aaron


Can you name this story?

Can You Name This Story? (Part 27)

Another Name That Story challenge for our readers: Do any of you out there know the title to this story?

I have been searching here and there for the title of a science fiction book that I read as a child back in the 1960′s.

The plot is that scientists split an atom in a laboratory and control the explosion with super magnets that will not allow the explosion to expand very much. The explosion starts a small universe. They are able to use high power telescopes to peer into this universe as it unfolds. Eventually life begins on various planets. They focus on one.

The book is about life on this planet as it unfolds and beings evolve into a sophisticated society that travels around the universe in space ships. The story ends when the civilization becomes so advanced they build a spaceship that breaks out of the small universe into our universe.

I love this story. It’s so well written. Does it ring any bells?

Bernie


Can you name this story?

Can You Name This Story? (Part 26)

Another Name That Story challenge for our readers: Do any of you out there know the title to this story?

I have been searching for a science fiction story that I read in the 1980′s or early 1990′s. I posted the search on the UK Science Fiction & Fantasy chronicles network quite a while ago, but no one has identified it. So if you happen to recognize this story, I would be quite happy:

A detective pursues a Moriarty-like kidnapper (except that later you find out that the woman who was kidnapped was cooperating with the evil criminal). The “proper” detective is confronted with loosened morals and groundlessness. The abyss in space that he is eventually marooned in becomes a metaphor for the contemporary postmodern world in which there is nothing certain. Computer-generated 3D simulacra on the ship start to fade at the end of the story. They are without substance, presumably a representation of the protagonist’s loss of any sense of substance.

Cheers — David


Can you name this story?

Jonathan C. has a challenge for our readers with 2 story descriptions looking for titles.

Do any of you out there know the title to these stories?

Both are short stories I read as a teenager back in the early 1970s so the stories must be older than that.

Story 1 – A man lives his life in a disjointed way (a little bit like _Slaughter House 5_ or _The Time Travelers Wife_) but what he can do is to keep a diary, and so as the story progresses he changes his future. He then meets a woman who he discovers also lives her life in a jumbled time-line way. Together they manipulate their own timelines. The final lines of the story have the two as newly born babies in cots next to each other and both reach out to each other.

Story 2 – A man boards a metro underground railway train to find the end of the rail line. The journey goes on and on, and on, and then he finds he is approaching the stop from where he left but coming from the other direction. (The implication being that the world is one big city.)


Can you name these stories?

Can You Name This Story? (Part 24)

Our own Fred Kiesche is relaying a challenge from Nyrath concerning a story description looking for a title.

Do any of you out there know the title to this story?

I’m looking for a SF short story, geared torward adolescents, where the plot entailed a controlling society where a boy goes out of his way to systematically act anti-social. The two major plot devices are that males and females are chemically tied together for mating/marriage (society picks appropriate matches), and the fact that each individual is given their “lifelong earnings” at age 18. The reason the boy goes anti-social is so that he can get out of the chemical mate-matching so that he can marry the girl he loves and gives up his money to do so. Which by this point in this society is unheard of.”


Can you name this story?

Can You Name This Story? (Part 23)

Another reader writes in with a story description looking for a title.

Do any of our readers out there know the title of this story?

Back in the 80′s I remember reading in Analog or Asimov a series of short stories about a world with plant based wormholes, known as syntei or synthei. This completely reshaped the world in terms of evolution. There were carnivorous plants that had their roots and guts safely underground while their mobile predators stalked the world. Add to this a lost human colony that settled the world hundreds or thousands of years ago, and rediscovery by an expedition from the greater universe that promptly underestimates the locals and gets in trouble. One of the stories involved the local equivalent to the circus, the other a great escape from slavery enforced by the use of little wormholes.

Can anyone help me identify the stories and their author?

Thanks in advance.

- Trey


Can you name this story?

Can You Name This Story? (Part 22)

Our own Andrew Liptak has a challenge for our readers with story description looking for a title.

Do any of you out there know the title to this story?

It was published in the mid-90s, and is a science fiction YA novel about virtual reality and a game that two kids are playing. If I remember correctly, they’re stuck in the game until they finish it. There’s a castle, as well as wolves that attack them at one point. I can’t remember the title or author, but I have a vague recollection of the cover: it’s got a person with VR goggles looking down from the right, (there might be a castle on it) and there’s some yellows, greens and reds for some of the color – maybe purple.

Ring a bell?


Can you name this story?

Can You Name This Story? (Part 21)

SF Signal readers, your sf story knowledge is legendary to the point where we get specific request for you to name stories with remembered plots but forgotten titles. Like this one from Ian Watson via Marty Halpern…

Do any of you out there know the title to this story?

I’m trying to find the title and author of a story, but I only have a few details: the story is possibly from 30-plus years ago, possibly written by a woman. In the story lots of people all have the same wonderful dream, so they write it down as fiction and mail it to a magazine, which suddenly receives all these wonderful, moving, beautiful, and identical tales.

Anything come to mind?


Can you name this story?

Can You Name This Story? (Part 20)

Rocky writes in to challenge our readers with story description looking for a title.

Do any of you out there know the title to this story?

The book uses a “flashback” theme, going from present to distant past and back several times. It starts out with divers searching an under sea mountain ridge and finding something I would call a vault or bunker. No one has seen anything like it before so they decided to break into it to see what’s inside. Flashback. About 10,000 years before, aliens had invaded the earth just about when civilization was starting. The aliens had the ability to control humans by mentally inflicting pain on them to get them to do their bidding. They basically enslaved all the humans to keep the aliens alive and well treated. The aliens then discover a great tectonic plate movement (or something similar) was about to destroy where they lived so they built this vault for protection. Unfortunately, only one of the aliens made it to the vault before disaster struck. The area where they lived sank into the sea killing everything except this one alien in the vault. The vault was set up to put the alien into stasis so it could survive for millennium.

Flash forward again. The divers break into the vault but unknown to them is the alien is immediately brought back to life if the vault is opened. The alien senses the divers and takes control of them forcing them to bring it to their ship. The alien analyzes the situation and realizes much time has passed since he entered the vault and that he is alone on the planet. To survive, he has to get off. Through this pain control method he learns from the people on the boat that humans are going into space now. So he forces them to head for Cape Canaveral. Along the way they see a passenger ship (cruise ships didn’t exist when the book was written) and as he needs more humans to make his plan work, the alien then takes over the passenger ship.

I wasn’t able to finish the book so I don’t know if the alien made it off the planet. The book was a paperback with a picture of the aliens controlling humans. The alien was a rather large leathery looking thing weighing about a ton to me. The alien was being carried by humans walking over other humans forced to lay down to make a bridge over a gully.

Any information you can find or supply about this old book would be greatly appreciated. I sure would like to read it once more before I leave this ball.


Can you name this story?

Can You Name This Story? (Part 19)

Sam writes to challenge our readers with story description looking for a title.

Do any of you out there know the title to this story?

I read a book when younger about a post apocalyptic world were different groups had survived only because of their genetically engineered changes.

The protagonist is of a group that have gills (if I recall, he also had some mystical training that let him walk a road of some kind that resulted in teleportation), and their enemies were a group lead by a red lizard man.

I think there may have been a sequel written, but I read this book nearly 20 years ago, and I have no clue what the title was (I think the cover had a red lizard headed humanoid in a desert setting).


Can you name this story?

Can You Name This Story? (Part 17)

John Klima writes in with another story description looking for a title.

Do any of our readers out there know the title of this story?

I need help finding the title and author of a science fiction story. The basic plot goes like this: A guy finds a graffiti-covered box (looks like a telephone box or a power box) in the woods and realizes it is a puzzle. He opens layer after layer of the box to find harder puzzles that involve high math and even chemistry. He eventually is stymied and gives up. Turns out the box is an alien test to see if we are ready for first contact.


Can you name this story?

Another reader writes in with a story description looking for a title.

Do any of our readers out there know the title of this story? Warm up your memories…this is a tough one with few details:

I’m nearly 60 years old, so the SF I’m talking about is pretty old. In any case, here goes: Many, many years ago, I read a book where a traveler to another planet wrote “2 + 2 = 4″ in the sand, and the sane shifted until the inscription read “2 + 2 ~ 4.” Any idea of the book I’m looking for?
- Steve O.


Can you name this story?

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