"Anything out of the ordinary?" Yes, if you'd like, every week!
December 24, 2021 8:29 AM   Subscribe

The short, light fantasy story "Scales and Fire" by Jeff Soesbe features a dragon who needs to track down who tried to poison her. "After I roasted the apothecary, his wife started talking." It's in Abyss and Apex, which you can follow via RSS feed. In fact, while I'm at it....

If you want a fresh and frequent supply of short speculative stories, start using a feedreader/RSS reader and follow the links below! In the cases where I couldn't find a syndication/RSS/Atom link for a site, I mention their email newsletter or a similar way to follow them. And I use Dreamwidth to subscribe to and read my feeds, so in some cases I also link to the magazines' Dreamwidth ("DW") feeds.

First: some "maybe you've heard of these" magazines. They are more prominent, some of them have actual marketing efforts, you run into their stories more often on ballots for awards such as the Hugos and the Nebulas, and you're a little more likely to run into the names of more well-known authors. Many of these also regularly produce audio versions of some or all of the fiction they publish. All of them are Science Fiction Writers of America qualifying markets which means they pay authors what SFWA has determined to be a pro rate for their fiction. And, as I recall, all the stuff they publish is free to read online.
Now, to highlight podcasts that are also magazines. These podcasts publish short stories as audio and as text (except when they don't have the rights to reproduce the text of a reprinted story). Some are also SFWA-qualifying markets. Also, StarshipSofa (site) is a podcast that I think only produces audio, and does not publish the stories in text.

OK, now for the "not enough people know about these!" magazines. They publish in text. You can read most or all of the published work for free online. Several of them are SFWA-qualifying markets, and some have specific remits.

Magazines that are on some kind of hiatus but might start publishing again in the future and I hope they do: Hey, they publish sf/f sometimes: There are a lot of these, of course! A few publishers of literary stories that I've particularly enjoyed:
To find more syndication feeds or email newsletters you can find and subscribe to, check the list of Science Fiction Writers of America qualifying markets or look through the Submission Grinder. For instance, FIYAH: Literary Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, which this year won the Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine, publishes fiction in digital issues for sale, and you can use their feed to remind you when a new issue is available.

[Of course people who have favorite online venues that publish free-to-read genre stories should (IMO) recommend them in the comments! I thought about including Granta (site; fiction category) & MIT Technology Review, but they have article limits or paywalls or similar.]

Some sources of short fiction recommendations, highlighting noteworthy individual stories: This is the last of my daily story recommendation MeFi posts this year, and possibly ever. Happy reading and please post stuff you like to the MeFi front page!
posted by brainwane (17 comments total) 65 users marked this as a favorite
(By the way, I'll be reading a bunch of Yuletide stories starting tomorrow; jump in!)
posted by brainwane at 8:30 AM on December 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

What a gift!
Thank you, brainwane, truly. You've shown me so many new authors that I now get to share with others!
posted by Acari at 8:40 AM on December 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

Thank you for all your short fiction posts, brainwane. If this really is the last one, you’ve done enough. But I hope you continue to occasionally share new favorites. Thanks for this post, too -- I appreciate the "teach a man to fish” approach. There’s a lot to get in to here.
posted by Rinku at 9:18 AM on December 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

This is a great list, brainwane. You hit on some of the major SF/F magazines I dig (and have on my submission list). Of course, this is to say nothing of awesome print-only publications, few as they may be, and/or the archives of defunct magazines worth checking out. (I call dibs on that post!)

A few others I'd add to this excellent overview:

The Arcanist
The Dark
The Deadlands
Three-Lobed Burning Eye
posted by xenization at 9:51 AM on December 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

My cup runneth over.
posted by Wretch729 at 10:18 AM on December 24, 2021

Terrific post as always. Heapings of delicious thanks.
posted by Obscure Injoke at 10:39 AM on December 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

brainwane, I can tell we must have been very, very good this year, because this is a magnificent gift to receive.

Thank you for all the excellent feed links in this thread; for the suggestion to use RSS feeds to find all those wonderful new stories to come; and for the dozens of posts you've made highlighting some of the best of these works.

You have given us so much, brainwane, and I am truly grateful!
posted by kristi at 10:49 AM on December 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

It sounds too final but I can’t resist saying “so long and thanks for all the fics”
posted by moonmilk at 11:09 AM on December 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

Thanks, brainwane! A few more sources for the list:

Omenana - African / African Diaspora SF
Bourbon Penn - positioned as weird lit
The Cafe Irreal - typically very short weird/surreal/absurdist/magic realist stories

IIRC Granta's free content remains free--if nothing's changed, I've found it easier to scan for SF than, say, the New Yorker. Other literary sites with occasional SF or stuff strange enough to count include Conjunctions, Guernica, Catapult, Hazlitt, The White Review, Electric Literature, Center for the Art of Translation, Words without Borders, etc.
posted by Wobbuffet at 11:54 AM on December 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

Oh, I see LitHub Daily yesterday mentioned another source that launched Dec. 3: Flourish Fiction, "diverse writers with diverse knowledge of climate solutions to share hopeful visions for the future." So far, 2 out of 3 stories are from the founders, interviewed here.
posted by Wobbuffet at 12:39 PM on December 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Neglect The Dread Machine at your peril.

(Also, not to poop on the main link, did Wendy Delmater ever walk back her support for the Sad Puppies? I've avoided Abyss & Apex ever since then, even though they were one of my earlier publication venues.)
posted by Scattercat at 9:30 PM on December 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Thank you for all the stories, and authors, I would never have encountered on my own; you’ve got me reading short F/SF fiction again for the first time in years!
posted by librosegretti at 10:10 PM on December 29, 2021 [1 favorite]

In my posts in 2021 I tried to specifically mention when a piece of short fiction had been published in 2021, to make it easier for people thinking about award nominations. Ladybusiness is again spearheading a Hugo Award recommendation spreadsheet which (by the time I got to it) already mentioned a few stories I posted about here -- "Comments on Your Provisional Patent Application for An Eternal Spirit Core", "Mr. Death", "One Hundred Seconds to Midnight", "Proof by Induction", and "For Future Generations". I added "A Luxury Like Hope" and "The Notary of No Republic". Anyone can edit - feel free to add stuff you think others should consider!

That's also a good source for learning what short stories people liked in pay-to-read magazines such as Asimov's or in anthologies such as It Gets Even Better: Stories of Queer Possibility.

(I also added myself to the sheet for people to consider for Best Fan Writer.)

librosegretti: I'm so glad! People are writing and publishing so much great stuff; it's really neat to get to share and enjoy it. Hope you follow a magazine or two and keep finding good stuff!
posted by brainwane at 7:12 AM on January 3, 2022

Eugenia Triantafyllou's recommendation list for 2021.
posted by brainwane at 5:20 AM on January 15, 2022

Recommendations by Jennifer Shelby.
posted by brainwane at 10:21 AM on January 19, 2022

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