Ask the guy who is pretty good at SF Story Identification

The bit about a time belt that was left outside to molder for many years before being found again was in Downtiming the Night Side by Jack Chalker. None of the rest of what you mentioned was in that book.

I skimmed through it, and it didn’t feel familiar.

Larry Niven short? One of his barroom tales, some aliens come in and hand out some pills that instantly teach your occupations, like spaceship captain.

That’s not one of his main bar series (Draco’s Tavern) - it’s The Fourth Profession "

In N-space, yes?

Yes (and several other collections)


No problem!

Technically SciFi since I believe Deep Blue Sea stole all of its ideas from it, but a book written in the 80s that was an obvious Jaws rip-off set in then current day but the gimmick was it was 3-4 hyper intelligent sharks who escape from some research lab by a mega corporation and wreck havoc on the Florida coast. The sharks can somehow communicate and coordinate with each other and use this to ambush everything that’s sent against them. The hero is part of an oceanic research group who want to stop the sharks from potentially breeding while the bad guys (besides the sharks) are the mega corporation goons who just want to get the sharks back intact and are willing to use the Ocean Research group as bait.

Oh yeah the book also does the thing where one chapter is human perspective the next chapter is shark perspective.


OK, there was a story I read decades ago, perhaps the 80’s? Society was falling apart because no one wanted to have to deal with folks who were different than them. Ethnicities, religions, so on, started fighting, one guy even shot someone because he had brown eyes instead of blue. Towards the end two exhausted combatants face each other and wonder what has this all been for? It seems they may be ready to lay down arms, then a woman approaches them and asks if they’ve considered ending “the war with ourselves” She hands them each a little self immolation kit. As the story ends the two guys look out into the darkness and a see a lot of little fires going.

I’ve been thinking of this story because it seems like these days so many folks don’t want to tolerate differences, especially in politics. But I have no idea of the title or author.

All the Last Wars At Once by George Alec Effinger

Previously identified here

For some guy named @Baker

That isn’t the only time I’ve forgotten I’ve already asked a question. I think I’m an idiot.

Baker, I’m sorry for chuckling at your expense. I only laugh because I do the same damn thing.

Seriously, I don’t mind the chuckling. I have a memory that leaks like a sieve.

What did you say your name was again…?

Someone has sent an E-mail to a group I’m in asking if any of us know about the following plot point. It’s in a book that they read perhaps 30 years ago, which is a science fiction story about a future society where everyone has to clean up an area of soil, perhaps a square meter. They think that “mile high” might have been in the title but aren’t sure.

We know people on the same mailing list apparently.

Another short story. Mankind has encountered an alien race that is able to duplicate artifacts perfectly, which led to the collapse of industry as humans simply copied specimens. However, for some reason which I’ve forgotten the aliens can’t copy anymore (or the copies turn to rock or so). The main character witnesses one of the last aliens attempting to copy an object, but failing, and the alien is killed by an angry mob. Then someone else determinedly starts to whittle a rock into a blunt knife (like in the stone age), saying that we need to start over again.

I’ve read it in the 80s, but can’t remember anything else. I have a vague mental picture of a desolate planet entirely covered in the residue of the alien’s products, like some kind of asphalt.