8 Science Fiction Short Stories For Middle School

Science Fiction Short Stories

Young teenagers will love the dystopian themes, futuristic settings, and fantastical (at least, it was…) technology.

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  1. All Summer in a Day by Ray Bradbury — Nine-year-old Margot hasn’t seen the sun since she left Earth. Will she get to see the sun from Venus when it appears for the first time in 7 years, or will her classmates anger and jealousy get in the way?| Short Story Unit | Learn More…
  2. A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury — Imagine if you could go back in time to hunt dinosaurs. But there’s a catch. Make one wrong move, and you could change the present forever.
  3. There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury — Would the world come to an end if we ceased to exist? In this post-apocalyptic story, Bradbury contends that nature — and even some things we have created — may just carry on without us.
  4. The Veldt by Ray Bradbury — A blend of virtual reality and murder, this story foreshadows our current debate over our children’s reliance on video games.
  5. Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.  — What happens when a teenager takes on a society bent on standardizing everyone?
  6. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
  7. The Pedestrian by Ray Bradbury | This one isn’t so far-fetched these days. Just substitute TV with video game consoles or computers.
  8. The Last Dog by Katherine Paterson — In a future world, a young man’s love for his dog leads him to leave his sheltered life.


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About the author 

Michelle Boyd Waters, M.Ed.

I am a secondary English Language Arts teacher, a University of Oklahoma student working on my doctorate in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with an concentration in English Education and co-Editor of the Oklahoma English Journal. I am constantly seeking ways to amplify students' voices and choices.

    1. Thank you, Sunny! I’m glad I was able to help.

      I am still searching for more science fiction short stories, so if you find any more, I’d love to see them here.

      1. How about “Nightfall” by Asimov? Great story about people who never experienced darkness until ……

  1. These are all great stories, and I’m not denying Bradbury’s influence, but really, 5 of the 8 are Bradbury?
    I’m sure we could do better. For instance, one I read a million years ago as an 8th grade student that stuck with me was The Machine Stops, a 1909 story by, of all people, Howard’s End and A Passage to India author E. M. Forster.

    1. Thank you, Dave! I knew readers like you would come through for us. While I love science fiction, most of what I have read is in novel form, and/or not available for free online.

  2. I was delighted to find these. I also highly recommend “A Pail of Air,” by Fritz Leiber, “The Ugly Little Boy,” by Isaac Asimov, and “Star Bright,” by Mark Clifton. These are all in “Tomorrow’s Children,” an anthology by Isaac Asimov that is out of print. There are other great ones in there, too. My kids are fifth grade, so some stories are a bit over their heads.

  3. Hi actually I am a middle schooler and I couldn’t find any story that actually helped me sorry but the first four stories were very interesting

    1. Hi Jasan! I’m sorry the stories didn’t help you. Have you tried my list of 40 short stories? Perhaps one there will help.

  4. I once read a short story about a group of space explorers who crashed on a zoo-like planet where all of the animals lived in harmony. They try to fix the spaceship to leave, but some invisible force keeps breaking it while they sleep at night. Also, manna falls from the sky to feed them. They end up trapped there forever. For goodness sake, who wrote it and what is the title?! It’s driving me nuts!

  5. Hey there –

    what a great list. i have incredibly fond memories of my middle school mind (and some from a great literature teacher in high school) being jumpstarted for science fiction, and dystopian future stories from so many of these great pieces.

    i was excited to see Bradbury’s “There Will Come Soft Rains,” but was disappointed not to find Stephen Vincent Benét’s “By the Waters of Babylon,” or Stephen King’s “The Jaunt.”

    i think some of your readers would appreciate these two choice selections, as well!

    Thanks again!

    – Carl

  6. Interesting list, I would add Neil Gaiman’s ” Chivalry” and Anne McCaffrey ‘s ” The Smallest Dragonboy” they are both good mixes of sci-fi and fantasy.
    I wasn’t a big fan of “The Zoo”, but did enjoy Arthur Porges’ “The Ruum”
    Always looking for new and interesting stuff…

  7. Thinking about putting together a science fiction short story curriculum for advance rising fifth-graders. This is a useful list. I had forgotten about the Veldt, an amazing story!!

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