First, here's a collection of stories that were recommended as great learning tools:
- Asimov, "Night Fall"
- Vylar Kaftan, "I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno"
- Connie Willis, "At the Rialto"
- James Patrick Kelly, "Think Like a Dinosaur"
- Michael Swanwick, "Edge of the World"
- Swanwick, "The Very Pulse of the Machine"
- Gene Wolfe, "The Eyeflash Miracles"
Second, a few notes on writing:
- Your teaser/elevator pitch should include the main character, their problem, and the tone
- Consider opening the story with people interacting and doing something
- Long chunks of exposition and description can be skipped; dialogue not so much
- Raise dramatic question in the opening scene
- End of scene needs some rise; not only ever a rise in tension (as in cliffhangers) but rise in emotion, stakes, diction
Third, some notes about thinking about the future, often by looking at our own past and present historical moment:
- In our world, X exists still, but our passion/relation to X changes; so we still have crossword puzzles but there's no crossword puzzle craze anymore
- Future may be mixed, just like the present--we can have advanced computer technology and still hold to the crackpot 18th century economic thinkers
- Singularity as single pop is very tidy, not like messy uneven development, which is more realistic