the short fiction of DAVID BRIN

Brin's short stories and novellas have different rhythms and artistic flavor than his novels. Many are collected in INSISTENCE OF VISION, OTHERNESS and THE RIVER OF TIME; others have become part of anthologies. Some can be read here or downloaded to an ebook reader.

Insistence of Vision

Insistence of Vision

my newest published book

Here are vivid tales about possible tomorrows, from the keen eye and colorful pen of David Brin. Visit a chillingly plausible tomorrow, when prisoners may be sent to asteroidal gulags. Or experience an alien invasion like no other, confronting humanity with a stark and terrible choice. Also, might fantastically potent new beings emerge out of ourselves, as revealed in "Chrysalis"?
learn more here

novels of the future

Learn more about the novels that established Brin as one of the most popular and most important authors of Hard SF.
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WINNER: LOCUS Award for Best Collection, 1995

In this collection of 21 stories, humans and aliens encounter the secrets of the cosmos and of their own existence. In "The Giving Plague," a scientist discovers a new strain of virus. In "Dr. Pak's Preschool" a woman learns that her baby must work while still in the womb. In "Sshhh..." the arrival of benevolent aliens leads to frenzy, madness — and unimaginable joy.
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books of the here-and-now

Discover the book that established Brin's reputation as 'Mr. Transparency.'
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The River of Time

The River of Time

Brin's first story collection

Contains twelve of David Brin's finest stories, including "The Crystal Spheres", which won the Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Short Story in 1985. Here are powerful tales of heroism and humanity, playful excursions into realms of fancy, and profound meditations on time, memory, and our place in the universe. Who guides our fate? And can we ever hope to wrest control for ourselves?
learn more here

short stories and novellas

The Crystal Spheres

The Crystal Spheres

winner of the 1985 Hugo Award

In a universe filled with habitable worlds, why have we had no contact with extra-terrestrial intelligence? "The Crystal Spheres" offers a fantastic explanation for the Great Silence. Instead of being late-comers — might humanity have come upon the scene too early? This haunting tale (part of The River of Time) was voted one of the "most beautiful of the eighties." Available for purchase at Amazon's kindleAmazon, Smashwords, and Apple's iTunes.

The Tumbledowns of Cleopatra Abyss

The Tumbledowns of Cleopatra Abyss

read for free on this website

Today's public imagination has been captured by the exploration of Mars. But once that desert planet had a rival for the imagination of science fiction readers and writers — back when the oceans of Venus, our sister world, stirred our spirits! Read "The Tumbledowns of Cleopatra Abyss," an adventure tale of a Venus that just-might-be (also included in Insistence of Vision).



the most intimate battlefield of all

In "Piecework," the most sophisticated "engineering" process on Earth is pregnancy among mammals — especially among humans. There is already talk of using goats and cattle to produce industrial products instead of milk, to bring to term organic machines, programmed in eggs and developed in the womb. Might poor women be induced to rent out their wombs for industrial "piecework"? Available for purchase at Apple's iTunes, Amazon's kindlePiecework, and Smashwords.



read for free on this website

"Aficionado" (an excerpt from Existence) takes you on a wild rocket ride — the new sport of the super-rich in 2050. Hacker Sander is spoiled, temperamental and a champion rock-jock, expert at the game of Space War ... till a crash landing throws him into lethal peril. His sole hope? A tribe of strangely savvy sea creatures, with a secret need of their own.

Reality Check

Reality Check

read for free on this website

Do you ever get that sense of déjà vu? How would you recognize if you were living in a computer simulation? Perhaps this isn't your first time. "Reality Check" (also included in Insistence of Vision) first appeared in the March 16, 2000, issue of the science journal Nature and was selected for the Year's Best SF 6 Anthology, edited by David G. Hartwell. It's available to read for free here, but if you prefer, download it for free at Smashwords or Amazon's kindleReality Check.

The Loom of Thessaly

The Loom of Thessaly

included in The River of Time

Who guides our fate? And can we ever hope to wrest control for ourselves? In this novella, "The Loom of Thessaly," classical mythology merges with impudent modern spirit into a science fiction legend that speculates upon the nature of reality. Available for purchase at Apple's iTunes, Amazon's kindleAmazon US kindle, and Smashwords.

Stones of Significance

Stones of Significance

included in Insistence of Vision

"Stones of Significance" was written in response to a challenge: Is it possible to write a story that is set after the singularity when humans have effectively become gods? The creation of vastly superior new minds will have one of two consequences. Either humanity will be left in the dust ... or else we will find a way to go along with the ride! Available for purchase at Amazon's kindleAmazon, Smashwords, and Apple's iTunes.

The Smartest Mob

The Smartest Mob

an excerpt from Existence

A complete novella, "The Smartest Mob" offers a full adventure-excerpt from Existence. A news reporter finds herself aboard a passenger Zeppelin that might — perhaps — have been turned into a weapon of terror. No one will listen — not the government or the Zep company. No one, that is, except a semi-random band of amateurs, scattered around the globe.

The Blackjack Generation

The Blackjack Generation

an excerpt from Existence

Here's an 'Interlidolude' from Existence that describes how we will keep our 'machine mind' offspring loyal to us humans.



a novella from the Uplift Universe

"Temptation" (read chapter 1 for free here) first appeared in Robert Silverberg's anthology Far Horizons: All New Tales from the Greatest Worlds of Science Fiction, and is included in the newest story collection, Insistence of Vision. This work features the adventures of a female dolphin on Jijo who must escape from two of her own kind and then penetrate a deeply dangerous ancient secret. This novella answers several unresolved riddles left over from Heaven's Reach. "Temptation" is also available as an audio podcast.

Tank Farm Dynamo

Tank Farm Dynamo

an unabashedly old-fashioned hard SF story

Can a science fiction story alter the course of something ponderous, like the space program? Perhaps. "Tank Farm Dynamo" sure tried! What if we found the nerve, the spirit and daring to use every resource — including those that NASA simply threw away — using science and technology as the central problem-solvers... with a twist. Available for purchase at Amazon's kindleAmazon US kindle, Smashwords, and Apple's iTunes.



an excerpt from Existence

Another novella-excerpt from Existence tells the story of a brave Chinese man trying to make a life in the flooded boundaries of Shanghai, who stumbles upon a great and terrible discovery, in "Shoresteading" (read for free here).

The Giving Plague

The Giving Plague

SECOND PLACE: 1989 Hugo Award for Best Short Story

"The Giving Plague" (which appears in Otherness) plunges into our modern fear — even deeper than nuclear war — of a virus that might wreak ruin on us all or change us immeasurably. It's available to read for free here, but if you prefer, download it for free at Smashwords, iTunes, Barnes & Noble's nook,or Amazon's kindleThe Giving Plague.

Those Eyes

Those Eyes

those little green men!

"Those Eyes," (which appeared in Otherness and is available to read for free here), takes you on a ride through the notion of UFOs following the tough gaze of a radio talk show host who challenges the nasty, skulking 'visitors' to come into the open and face us, eye to eye! (For a more scientific and technical approach to this issue, look at my SETI page.)

Gorilla My Dreams

Gorilla My Dreams

set in the Uplift Universe

In this humorous story set in the Uplift Universe, chimpanzees and dolphins are helping humans choose the next species for uplift when powerful alien starships arrive to wipe out all life on Earth. This comedy is available for purchase on Apple's iTunes, Amazon's kindleAmazon US kindle, and Smashwords.

Thor Meets Captain America

Thor Meets Captain America

nominated for a Hugo Award in 1987

"Thor Meets Captain America" (included in The River of Time) offers an alternate history exploring a chilling scenario: In this parallel world, the Nazis narrowly avoid defeat when they are championed by the gods of the Norse Pantheon. This story was later expanded into an award-winning graphic novel The Life Eaters, with artwork by Scott Hampton. "Thor Meets Captain America" is available for purchase at Amazon's kindleAmazon, Smashwords, and Apple's iTunes.

Dr. Pak's Preschool

Dr. Pak's Preschool

chilling and plausible

What if education could be extended into the womb? Will we get brilliant, well-balanced babies? Monsters? Or a frightening/hopeful combination of both? "Dr. Pak's Preschool" explores the bright and very dark possibilities when science meddles in the most intimate human act — bearing and delivering a child. Available for purchase on Apple's iTunes, Amazon's kindleDr. Paks Preschool, and Smashwords.



galaxies are bubbles

In "Bubbles," galaxies are not evenly distributed through expanding space. The "universe" is full of holes, emptiness, and Serena is stranded within that great emptiness. Will she spend eternity staring at unreachable galaxies strung at the fringes of monstrous cavities like flickers on the surface of a soap bubble?

The September 2011 issue Lightspeed Magazine (which originally published "Bubbles") also offers an audio recording of "Bubbles" read by science fiction great Harlan Ellison.

Toujours Voir

Toujours Voir

and more micro-stories

"Toujours Voir" is a specialty micro-story exactly 250 words long — which has been written in the logical artificial language "lojban" (then translated into English). It's an experiment in how complex an idea can be conveyed in the smallest number of words.
(In the mood for more micro-stories? In this Contrary Brin blog post David Brin published two new 250-word stories.)

anthologized BRIN

short stories and essays appearing in anthologies

The Tell

"The Tell" is available (and free to download!) in Future VisionsFuture Visions, original Science Fiction inspired by Microsoft.
learn more hereFuture Visions

A Need for Heroes

A story excerpted from Earth, "A Need for Heroes," appears in War Stories from the FutureWar Stories from the Future.
learn more hereWar Stories from the Future

Out of Time Synopsis

A synopsis proposal for the "Out of Time" series is included in The Synopsis TreasuryThe Synopsis Treasury: A Landmark Collection of Actual Proposals Submitted to Publishers.
learn more hereThe Synopsis Treasury


The essay "Sousveillance" appears in Between Ape and ArtilectBetween Ape and Artilect: Conversations with Pioneers of Artificial General Intelligence and Other Transformative Technologies.
learn more hereBetween Ape and Artilect

Transition Generation

The story "Transition Generation" appeared in HieroglyphHieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, an anthology inspired by Neal Stephenson's 2011 article "Innovation Starvation."
learn more hereHieroglyph

The Postman

The novella that inspired The Postman appears in Wastelands 2Wastelands 2: More Stories of the Apocalypse, edited by John Joseph Adams.
learn more hereWastelands 2

The Tumbledowns of Cleopatra Abyss

"The Tumbledowns of Cleopatra Abyss" is published in Old VenusOld Venus an anthology of stories about our "sister world," edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois.
learn more hereOld Venus

Banner of the Angels

"Banner of the Angels" is included in Extreme PlanetsExtreme Planet: A Science Fiction anthology of Alien Worlds, ed. David Conyers and David Kernot.
learn more hereExtreme Planets

Insistence of Vision

"Insistence of Vision" also appears in Twelve TomorrowsTwelve Tomorrows, visionary science fiction of the future inspired by today's newest technologies.
learn more hereTwelve Tomorrows

The Heavy Generation

"The Heavy Generation" appears in Starship CenturyStarship Century: Toward the Grandest Horizon, ed. by Gregory and James Benford. This anthology of science fiction and fact was inspired by the DARPA/NASA One Hundred Year Starship program.
learn more hereStarship Century

The Logs

"The Logs" is included in Shadows of the New SunShadows of the New Sun, ed. by J.E. Mooney and Bill Fawcett. Its stories were inspired by the vision of Gene Wolfe.
learn more hereShadows of the New Sun


"Shoresteading" is also included in GatewaysGateways, ed. by Elizabeth Anne Hull. Its collection of science fiction stories were inspired by SF great Frederik Pohl.
learn more hereGateways

Just a Hint

"Just a Hint" appears in Before They Were GiantsBefore They Were Giants, ed. by James L. Sutter. It collects the first published stories of fifteen award-winning science fiction authors.
learn more hereBefore They Were Giants

Eloquent Elephants Pine Away for the Moon's Crystal Forests

"Eloquent Elephants Pine Away for the Moon's Crystal Forests" is included in Space CadetsSpace Cadets, ed. by Mike Resnick; science fiction stories provoking memories of the Golden Age of Science Fiction.
learn more hereSpace Cadets

Sky Light

"Sky Light" appears in All Star Zeppelin Adventure StoriesAll Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories, ed. by David Moles and Jay Lake; stirring science fiction adventure stories paying homage to 1940's pulp SF tales.
learn more hereAll Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories


"Genji" is included in MurasakiMurasaki, ed. by Robert Silverberg; a shared-world anthology about what happens when ships bearing humans arrive in the Murasaki system.
learn more hereMurasaki

three variations on a short story

podcasting stories

podcasting stories

the return of oral story-telling

A number of free audio versions of Brin's stories have appeared at Starship Sofa:

  • Mars Opposition
  • Spheres
  • Fortitude
  • A Professor at Harvard
  • Temptation
  • Interzone Online has republished a reading-podcast audiobook of "The Giving Plague." Clear and dramatic and fun.



    a graphic short story

    When did America lose its knack for making things? Manufacturing is the root that all other projects sprout from... even the arts! The story "The Tinkerers" illuminates one community's response to that question. Thanks to the Metals Service Center Institute, it became a comic book that combines graphic art with a guided tour of history and tech, exploring how to win back the knack!

    The Dogma of Otherness

    The Dogma of Otherness

    Otherness includes essays

    This essay, about how attempting to communicate with dolphins is almost as frustrating as communicating with humans, first appeared in the book Otherness, a collection of essays and short stories on the theme of, strangely enough, otherness.

    a brief intro to science fiction author DAVID BRIN

    To learn more, visit his books page, or see his "about me" page or detailed biography.

    DAVID BRIN author


    David Brin's science fiction novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages. They range from bold and prophetic explorations of our near-future to Brin's Uplift series, envisioning galactic issues of sapience and destiny (and star-faring dolphins!). Learn More

    shorter fiction

    Short stories and novellas have different rhythms and artistic flavor, and Brin's short stories and novellas, several of which earned Hugo and other awards, exploit that difference to explore a wider range of real and vividly speculative ideas. Many have been selected for anthologies and reprints, and most have been published in anthology form. Learn More

    Contrary Brin blog

    Since 2004, David Brin has maintained a blog about science, technology, science fiction, books, and the future — themes his science fiction and nonfiction writings continue to explore. Learn More

    social media influencer

    Who could've predicted that social media — indeed, all of our online society — would play such an important role in the 21st Century — restoring the voices of advisors and influencers! Lively and intelligent comments spill over onto Brin's social media pages. Learn More

    DAVID BRIN scientist


    David Brin's Ph.D in Physics from the University of California at San Diego (the lab of nobelist Hannes Alfven) followed a masters in optics and an undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Caltech. Every science show that depicts a comet now portrays the model developed in Brin's PhD research. Learn More

    transparency expert

    Brin's non-fiction book, The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Freedom and Privacy?, continues to receive acclaim for its accuracy in predicting 21st Century concerns about online security, secrecy, accountability and privacy. Learn More

    speaker & consultant

    Brin speaks plausibly and entertainingly about trends in technology and society to audiences willing to confront the challenges that our rambunctious civilization will face in the decades ahead. He also talks about the field of science fiction, especially in relation to his own novels and stories. To date he has presented at more than 200 meetings, conferences, corporate retreats and other gatherings.Learn More

    future/tech advisor

    Brin advises corporations and governmental and private defense- and security-related agencies about information-age issues, scientific trends, future social and political trends, and education. Urban Developer Magazine named him one of four World's Best Futurists, and he was cited as one of the top 10 writers the AI elite follow. Past consultations include Google, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, and many others. Learn More

    other points of departure

    visit other pages on this website

    pages about DAVID BRIN

  • latest news and activities
  • information about DAVID BRIN
  • public speaking and consulting & popular topics
  • speaking/consulting references and testimonials & a list of past appearances
  • lists of interviews and podcasts
  • video interviews and talks
  • Brin's presskit and complete biography
  • traditional media and social media
  • Brin quotes
  • pages about science fiction

  • Brin's novels and books
  • Brin's short stories and novellas
  • all about Brin's uplift universe
  • a selection of book reviews
  • Brin's advice for new writers
  • Brin reviews sci fi films — including The Postman
  • a compilation of great sf books to read
  • recommended sf films
  • science fiction that teaches
  • nonfiction explorations

  • The Transparent Society
  • privacy, security, accountability and transparency
  • designing and crafting our amazing 21st Century
  • predicting and projecting our near and far future
  • leading and following our politics and economy
  • keeping track of changes in science and technology
  • scanning our sky for habitable (inhabited?) worlds
  • an ornery, contrary blog, and other insightful rants!

    Do not enter if you want a standard "Party" line! Contrary Brin's community pokes at too-rigid orthodoxies, proposing ideas and topics that fascinate and infuriate.


    A few spacetime anomalies and side-trips, for your entertainment.

    Questions? Concerns? Email Me

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    endorsements and recommendations

    praise for Brin's science fiction

    "Extrapolation of the highest and most subtle order."
    — Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine

    praise for Insistence of Vision

    "David Brin excels at the essential craft of the page turning, which is to devise an elegantly knotted plot that yields a richly variegated succession of high-impact adventures undergone by an array of believably heroic characters."
    — Entertainment Weekly

    praise for The River of Time

    "This is one of my favourite short stories by any author, both for the unique concept of time as a true river with tributaries and currents, and for its tight execution. It made me stop and consider the linearity of time in an entirely new way."
    — customer review

    praise for Otherness

    "Brin is a fervently iconoclastic writer who loves to pick up a really neat new idea and take it all the way to the logical limit."
    — Interzone

    final thoughts ...

    ... for this page, at least ...

    DAVID BRIN's six-word stories

    In 2006, Wired Magazine asked a group of authors to write a six-word story for an article. I sent a batch, and they chose:
    "Vacuum collision. Orbits diverge. Farewell, love." The rest?

    • "Dinosaurs return. Want their oil back."
    • "Bang postponed. Not Big enough. Reboot."
    • "Temporal recursion. I'm dad and mom?"
    • "Time Avenger's mistaken! It wasn't me..."
    • "Democracy postponed. Whence franchise? Ask Diebold..."
    • "Cyborg seeks egg donor, object ___."
    • "Deadline postponed. Five words enough...?"
    • "Metrosexuals notwithstanding, quiche still lacks something."
    • "Brevity's virtue? Wired saves adspace. Subscribe!"
    • "Death postponed. Metastasized cells got organized."
    • "Microsoft gave us Word. Fiat lux?"
    • "Mind of its own. Damn lawnmower."
    • "Singularity postponed. Datum missing. Query Godoogle?"