Similar Short Stories: Find a Story Like Another

This page offers short story suggestions that are similar in some way to other stories. I’ll indicate how the story is like the main one.

Stories Like “The Yellow Wallpaper”

As in “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the following three stories give a first-person account of a character’s perceptions of their mental condition.

“The Diary of a Madman” (or “Lunatic”) by Leo Tolstoy

The narrator has been evaluated before the provincial board, who have decided, contrary to the narrator’s opinion, that he isn’t mad. He can trace his current mental state to a few childhood incidents when he was confronted with the realities of strife and suffering. From adolescence until his current age of thirty-five, he lived normally—enjoying life’s pleasures, getting an education, securing employment, and marrying and having a family. One day, he travels with a servant to an estate he might purchase. Along the way, he suddenly feels everything is hateful and starts questioning his actions. His anguish only intensifies.

This story can be read in the preview of The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories(73% in) This story is also has a first-person narrator who relates how he perceives his condition.

“Flowers for Algernon” by Daniel Keyes

A mentally retarded man, Charlie, undergoes a procedure to vastly increase his intelligence. He’s thirty-seven and desperately wants to be smart. He keeps a diary of his progress and personal interactions.

Read here

The beginning of the novel version of this story can be read in the preview of Flowers for Algernon(14% into preview)

“The Diary of a Madman” by Nikolai Gogol

A middle-aged government clerk keeps a diary that includes the times he is marginalized by others, with his fanciful explanations for what’s really happening. His perceptions become increasingly outrageous as he loses grip on reality.

Read “The Diary of a Madman”

The following story gives us a character’s perceptions, but from the third-person.

“Silent Snow, Secret Snow” by Conrad Aiken

Paul, twelve-years-old, becomes distracted by something that happened a few days before. While home, he heard the postman’s footsteps but they were muffled; Paul thought they were muffled by snow. When he looked out the window, there was no snow. He can’t stop thinking about this “secret snow”, increasing his alienation from the world.

Stories Like “Harrison Bergeron”

The following story also has a government that wants to limit the abilities of its citizens.

“Examination Day” by Henry Slesar

Dickie Jordan has just turned twelve, so it’s time for him to take a Government mandated intelligence test. His parents don’t say much about it. His mother seems to be worried about Dickie’s performance, but his father says he’ll do fine.

Read “Examination Day”

The following story also has a government that strictly regulates its citizens, and a person who rebels.

“‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman” by Harlan Ellison

The Ones Who Keep The Machine Functioning Smoothly become aware of a disruption, the Harlequin, a man who pulls pranks that throw off their carefully planned schedule. This rebel is becoming a hero to some; they need to find out who he is. Being on time is of the utmost importance—it can even affect how long someone lives.

Read “Repent, Harlequin”

Stories Like “The Lottery”, “Button, Button”, “The Monkey’s Paw”, or “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

As with the stories listed above, the following stories all have unsettling or shocking endings.

“The Decapitated Chicken” by Horacio Quiroga

Mazzini and Berta have four developmentally disabled sons, aged eight to twelve. They spend most of the day sitting on a bench in their own filth. Their parents neglect them. Their relationship has deteriorated, as each wants to blame the other for their sons’ condition. They’re hesitant to have any more children.

This story can be read in the preview of The Decapitated Chicken and Other Stories.

“The Case of Lady Sannox” by Arthur Conan Doyle

Douglas Stone was one of the most famous surgeons in England, and an all-round talented person. He had a lot of money and spent lavishly. He was infatuated with Lady Sannox, a very beautiful married woman. His pursuit of her was interrupted one evening by a visit from a stranger, Hamil Ali, from Smyrna. His wife had suffered an accident, and he persuaded Dr. Stone to come operate on her immediately.

This story can be read in the preview of Capital Crimes: London Mysteries(15% in)

“It Was the Meat” by J. A. Taylor

A man on Earth gives an official statement on the Mars mission. He says it will eventually be finished. A member of the colonization team who’s watching the feed on Mars knows this isn’t true. He knows what really happened.

This story can be read in the preview of A Sci-Fi Shorts Anthology: Vol 2(55% in)

“To Serve Man” by Damon Knight

Earth is visited by the Kanamit, a half pig and half human alien race. They bring gifts—ways of increasing food production, power generation, and other helpful things. Some people question their altruism, so the Kanamit are subjected to a lie-detector.

This story can be read in the preview of The Best of Damon Knight(35% into preview)

“Click!” by Lawrence Block

After some time out hunting, in a manner of speaking, Dandridge returns to the mountain lodge for a drink. He starts talking to another man seated at the bar. They drink and discuss hunting, focusing on a feeling of disillusionment with it—the thrill is gone. Dandridge has found an interesting work around for this problem.

This story can be read in the preview of Enough Rope(81% in)

“The Chef” by Andy Weir

Doris wakes up in a hospital. Her doctor tries to find out what she can remember. She knows there was an explosion, and that she had been visiting her father, but is hazy on the other details. She can remember that she’s a professional chef, and she tells the doctor about her work.

Read “The Chef”

“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates

A rebellious fifteen-year-old girl encounters an older man in a parking lot. He later shows up at her place when she’s home alone to ask her to go for a ride with him.

Read “Where Are You Going . . .”

Stories Like “Lamb to the Slaughter” or “The Landlady”

Here are other stories with perfect crimes.

“The Two Bottles of Relish” by Lord Dunsany

A salesman tells a story that those in the know want to hush up. A woman, suspected of being murdered, completely disappeared. A man named Steeger was the prime suspect. He’s in possession of the money she had. He says she left the country. The salesman relates all the details to his flat mate, who has a knack for seeing what others miss.

This story, one of the most famous murder mysteries ever, can be read in the preview of The Black Lizard Big Book of Locked-Room MysteriesBut only if you’re ready.

“Chapter and Verse” by Jeffrey Deaver

Detective Silverman visits Reverend Lansing for his expertise. Silverman’s in charge of the county’s witness protection program. They’re protecting a man who’s going to testify against Tommy Doyle, a gang boss. They got word from an informant that a hit man has been hired to get rid of the witness. The informant was murdered before he could convey the details. Before dying, he was able to leave a note with a Bible verse on it.

This story can be read in the preview of More Twisted: Collected Stories Vol II(16% in)

“A Bad Night For Burglars” by Lawrence Block

A burglar is rifling through a drawer in the bedroom. He’s too distracted to hear the homeowner, Archer Trebizond, approaching from behind. He’s surprised, not just at being caught, but at the sight of a gun in Trebizond’s hand. The burglar has had a bad run of luck lately.

This story can be read in the preview of Enough Rope(7% in)

“Swiftwing 98” by Peter O’Donnell

Inspector Lestrade gives his new Detective Sergeant an assignment—prevent a woman, Eva Kossuth, from being murdered. She defected from Hungary and is coming to live in England. Her country believes she’s been a spy for the west. She’ll be arriving today by train, and they need to be prepared.

This story can be read in the preview of Daggers Drawn(24% in)

“The Perfect Murder” by Jeffrey Archer

A married man who’s having an affair sees another man leaving the home of his mistress. He confronts her about it and they argue, leading to an accident. He tips off the police, sending them after the man who just left.

Stories Like “The Pedestrian”

In these stories something normal is pathologized or a minor infraction is treated as a major offense.

“The Wheel” by John Wyndham

An old man is outside sitting on a stool doing a little work and getting sleepy. He is roused by a sound. When he locates the source he is shocked and panicked. It’s a young boy pulling a wooden box on wheels.

“Peter Skilling” by Alex Irvine

Peter Skilling wakes in a hospital with a robot attendant. He had fallen into a crevasse while mountain climbing. A few coincidences contributed to preserving his body and now he’s been revived through a new rejuvenation process. Peter tries to understand his situation, but it’s even more complicated than he first thought.

Stories Like “To Build a Fire”

The following story has a very similar plot line with a lone man traveling through the snow and cold.

“A Mountain Journey” by Howard O’Hagan

Dave Conroy pauses on the summit of the pass. He’s tired and his destination, a cabin, is still five miles away. Fortunately, it’s downhill from here so his skis will make the rest of the trip easier. He carries his food and other necessities along with his furs for the market. He realizes now he should have made camp two miles back and continued in the morning. He shouldn’t be traveling alone with so much to carry. Still, the worst of the trip is over, and soon he’ll be able to rest.

The following three stories also have characters battling for survival in the snow and cold.

“The Walk Up Nameless Ridge” by Hugh Howey

Over sixty thousand feet up Mount Mallory on the planet Eno, one of the three climbing teams rests. The narrator is ashamed to admit he doesn’t want either of the other teams to make it. He wants the glory of being the first to summit this mountain. Governments and alpine clubs gave up conquering it long ago. Now, individuals who have climbed the highest peaks on their own worlds try to immortalize themselves on Mount Mallory.

This story can be read in the preview of Machine Learning: New and Collected Stories(30% in)

“Father, Son, Holy Rabbit” by Stephen Graham Jones

A father and son are lost in a snow storm. They have no idea which way to go. They’re cold and hungry. The father only has a knife. It’s been days. One time, after waking up, the boy tells his father about a rabbit he dreamed. The thought keeps them going. The father goes out looking for the rabbit. (Summary)

“The White Silence” by Jack London

Mason, Ruth (his wife), and the Malamute Kid are on the Yukon trail, low on food, with a long trip in front of them. They know they will have to eat some of the dogs. They reach a high bank that proves difficult for the weakened dogs to climb.

Read “The White Silence”

Stories Like “The Gift of the Magi”

The following stories also have uplifting or moving twists.

“The Last Leaf” by O. Henry

A few tenants in an apartment building are painters/artists. One of the tenants gets pneumonia, and she can see a vine from her deathbed window. She says she’s going to die when the vine loses its last leaf.

This story can be read in the preview of 50 Greatest Short Stories(46% into preview)

“A Grain of Mustard Seed” by Ellis Peters

When they lived in Lahore, the narrator’s father, a Hindu, had a Muslim friend, Mahdar, who was a struggling shoemaker. Her father gave him some business and recommended him to others, which allowed him to get out of debt and save some money. Her father believed in God, and believed that people were inherently good. The troubles surrounding the partition of India, when hostilities broke out between Muslims and the Hindu/Sikh populations, caused a major change in their relationship.

This story can be read in the preview of The Lily Hand and Other Stories(29% in)

“The Queen’s Birthday Telegram” by Jeffrey Archer

Albert Webber receives a congratulatory telegram from the Queen on his 100th birthday. It’s a prized possession. He’s been a local celebrity for the past week. There have been interviews, pictures, and the meeting of some notables, including the mayor who also gave a speech at his party. Albert looks forward to when his wife, Betty, who’s ninety-seven, will receive her telegram.

This story can be read in the preview of And Thereby Hangs a Tale.

I’ll keep adding similar short stories as I find them.