1. "The Girl Who Was Plugged In" by James Tiptree, Jr.
This is my ultimate favorite short story -- the story I think about when I think of the short story format. It means many things to the Science Fiction realm and many things to gender studies in literature as well -- but it means a lot of things to me personally that I can't even begin to discuss.
In the story, a young girl living in an unspecified future time period leads a lackluster life and becomes chosen to be a "god" like creature in the eyes' of her society -- a celebrity. In this future, everything is controlled by corporations, and P. Burke (the protaganist) is eventually chosen to become a "remote," using a much more "beautiful" body via a link in her brain (which remains in the original P.Burke).
She leads a whole knew life where she is worshiped and finds love -- everything she couldn't possibly imagine. But what happens when her two worlds collide? There are lots of echos of the future cyberpunk scene as well, this story is highly recommended by me!
Trivia: James Tiptree Jr. was actually the alias for Alice B. Sheldon. She won the Hugo award for Best Novella in 1974 for this piece.
Surely, you probably already reading this one at some point or another. Possibly, you've seen an adaptation. This one is a classic. It centers on a mysterious lottery whose purpose is unclear until the end when the twist of fate is revealed. Is this really a Lottery one wants to win?
Shirley Jackson is on of my favorite authors so I had to include her in this list. In our library's collection we have The Haunting of Hill House by Jackson, another one that is recommended by me! Feel free to check it out any time!
3. "Love is the Plan the Plan is Death" by James Tiptree, Jr.
Just one more by Tiptree, I promise. Although, she has a great collection of short stories -- I'd recommend looking into the collection Her Smoke Rose Up Forever which our library does not currently own, but it can be obtained via Interlibrary Loan inquiries.
This story in particular centers around a large alien creature and its intelligent yet futile quest to deny its nature.
4." '—All You Zombies—' " by Robert Heinlen
This one is a mindbender, which is why I like it so much. It involved a man, a woman, and time travel. It will leave you with many questions, I can promise you that. This story cannot be spoken of much, you just have to read it.
5. "Fisher of Men" by Hannu Rajaniemi:
This is the newest story on my list, from a recently published collection of fiction by one of my favorite authors Hannu Rajaniemi. He's written fantastic Science Fiction work, but my particular favorite in the collection explores the world of Finnish mythology. Also, mermaids -- I love mermaids.
A modern man finds himself ensnared by a beautiful lady of mysterious origin. It turns out he's not the only one to have been ensnared, how will he find his way out?
Rajaniemi's collected fiction has lots of stories like this, either excellent modern tales entwined with Finnish mythology or great science fiction in the vein of his other work, of which I am a huge fan.
Tell me about your favorite short stories! - Linda
Some great short story collections in our library:
Dangerous Women (with work from George R.R. Martin!))
Killer Year... Stories to Die For...(with Lee Child!)
Rogues (also featuring George R.R. Martin).
Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury (edited by Sam Weller)
The Selected Stories of Franz Kafka (I love Franz Kafka!)
The Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Time Travelers Almanac (edited by Ann VanderMeer).
Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaman
USA Noir: Best of Akashic Noir (includes one of my faves Megan Abbott
...and many more!