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Suggest a Story…

Kjartan writes in with a request to SF Signal’s resourceful readers:

Hi there, good people of the Internets!

I need your help. I have been given the task of finding a short story to translate for a small sf magazine in a foreign language. For each issue they have a theme and previously that theme has been religion, magic, games, or music, and the next issue will use ‘the body’ or simply ‘body’ as its theme. So far so good, the only problem is, I’m having a hard time finding good short stories (max 5000 words) about the body, or using the body as a central piece of the plot. Preferably stories that are online in one way or another, but that is not a requirement.

Can anyone help out?

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John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

23 Comments on Suggest a Story…

  1. Can it be classic scifi? REALLY classic scifi?


    The first thing that popped into my head was Ray Bradbury’s Chrysalis, which can be found in his S is for Space anthology. It was written in 1946.


  2. The story that immediately jumped to mind is “Spar” by Kij Johnson []


    It’s a Hugo nominee and a Nebula winner, and it’s quite short. It has to do with a human and an alien trapped together on a very small lifeboat. However, it’s also very disturbing and may not be suitable for your audience.


    Good luck!

  3. Thanx for your suggestion, it was an interesting story, but i fear you are right in that it may not be suitable for my purposes.


    Are there any good shorts about body modification out there? I would think perhaps there would be a couple good cyberpunksih stories where there is a question of how much of the original body is needed before one is calssified as a robot or something. Can anybody else help me with more suggestions? it would be much appreciated.

  4. Try here:

    There’s a search function and it’s based on categories.

    You’ll have to email any author and ask for permission, but they should be agreeable. Who doesn’t want their story published.

  5. I would suggest THE BODY POLITIC, by Clive Barker.  This can be found in his anthology THE INHUMAN CONDITION:

    It’s about a man who discovers his body is staging a revolution against him.. led by his evil left hand.

  6. [Removed as spam]

  7. Helloooo, what happened to my post? You’ll publish politlcal spam but you moderate my post? 

  8. Okay, now moderation seems to be turned off. My suggestion  – which I offered before anything else was posted – was Ray Bradbury’s 1946 (?) short story, Chrysalis. It is published in the anthology S is for Space. 

  9. It is against copyright law to translate and publish a story without permission.

    You have to contract the right or ask the permission of the author.

  10. Samuel, thanx, will check it out, i’m not worried about permission, the trouble is finding good stories.


    Walt, cool story! Unfortunately too long to fit into the magazine i’m working for. But that kind of story is exactely whaty i am looking for. Thanx.


    Steve, ?huh? not really helpful i think, but thanx for the effort

  11. Maria, i think i have that collection, will read it. Thanx.


    Marilynn, of course i will ask for permission before i do anything, but before i can ask permission, i need to find a story that fits with the magazines pofile and theme. We have been given permission by authors in the past, most of them for free, but a few have asked for, and recived, a small monetary compensastion for the rights to publish their story in our magazine.

  12. Mark McSherry // October 16, 2010 at 12:38 pm //

    A. E. van Vogt’s “The Enchanted Village”. Clocks in at 5,768 words.

  13. Mark, thanx. I will check it out


    Anyone else have some suggestions? Feel free to mention more stories 🙂 All suggestions are appreciated.


  14. Octavia Butler’s “Bloodchild”

    Clive Barker’s “In the Hills, The Cities”

    Michael Shea’s “The Autopsy”

    Stephen King’s “I Am the Doorway”

    Greg Egan’s “Learning to Be Me”

    Ted Chiang’s “Exhultation”

    Steve Gould’s “Deep Dark and Dirty Monoclonal Love”

    Brian Lumley’s “The Big C”

  15. shrike522 // October 16, 2010 at 3:43 pm //



    I do not have the book with me but I think that you should look up A is for Alien by Caitlin R. Kiernan. It has some excellent stories on body modification,but I’m not sure if they are under 5000 words.

    I would also like to suggest the classic short story by Damon Knight, The Handler.

  16. A while ago I posted an article on my website about short stories that contain altered human bodies.  As I went through them just now I discovered that only 2 of them meet your length requirements:

    Through Thy Bounty by Lucy A. Snyder – about a chef who is forced to cook humans as gourmet meals for ruthless aliens.

    Desertion by Clifford D. Simak – about the director of a Jovian survey dome who keeps losing men to Jupiter’s open atmosphere.

    Through Thy Bounty is no longer available online at Apex books, but it looks like you can get a good sample of it at Smashwords.

    Hope these help.

  17. well thank you everybody. It seemes to me that the combined power of the internets have once again come to the rescue. I am humbled by your many suggestions and i’m looking forward to reading them all.


    I think we will find a story among those now suggested, but feel free to continue suggesting, as i will keep following the comments here.


    Once again i am humbled and grateful for your help. Thank you very much.

  18. Jerry House // October 17, 2010 at 6:35 am //

    How about any one of David R. Bunch’s Moderan stories?  These short stories ran from 1959 to the seventies and dealt with humans replacing body parts with robotic/metal parts.  People either loved the stories or hated them:  were they flashy, meaningless, and plotless, or were they brilliant and literate attempts to explore an important subject?  (I’m siding with the brilliant camp.)  A list of stories and sources, of course, can be found on ISFDB.

  19. I would suggest checking out some stories by Jennifer Pelland.  Her recent collection is titled, Unwelcome Bodies, if that indicates anything.  Many of her stories are available online, including Captive Girl, which is a longer story, but might work for your purposes.  Should be noted anyway.  Great story.

  20. cryptonomico // October 18, 2010 at 8:38 pm //

    Long ago Escape Pod ran a story called, “Her” I believe. Check it out. Also, Don’t overthink it… go to Librivox.

  21. tobias s buckell // October 21, 2010 at 12:52 pm //

    Her is by Tobias S. Buckell (me) and you can hear it on Escape Pod:

    If you’re interested in translating it, drop me a line at




  22. Signal Victus Patrick Agbey. // November 2, 2010 at 6:07 pm //

    Please I will like to know your NAME?

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