Alex Davis, founder and organiser of Alt:Fiction festival, recommends

(CLASSIC: first published in The Illustrated Man, DoubleDay and Company)

Ray Bradbury for me is one of the great writers of short stories, not just within science fiction but within all literature, and this is one of the greatest examples of his deft skill. The story focuses very simply on two character on a long mission into space – one obsessed with forgetting his past and concentrating on now, and the other determined to recall the past he left behind. This is thoughtful science-fiction at its best, and expresses Bradbury’s beautiful manner of using language simply but masterfully.

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(MODERN: from Phobic and later Tiny Deaths, Comma Press)

I read a lot of modern short stories, and I struggle to find one that has stuck with me quite to this extent. The story set-up is that everybody receives a notification of when and how they are going to die, apart from our unfortunate narrator. The real action begins when people begin turning up at our lead character’s door, with letters saying that he’s going to kill them… The chaos brought about in society in giving everyone this knowledge is brilliantly portrayed, and Rob’s dry humour really permeates the piece. A fantastic story from one of the modern masters.

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