More Short Stories Online

Short stories are the form in which many writers hone their craft. And while each year’s Best American Short Stories and Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy anthologies compile some of the best of that year, they don’t highlight all of what gets published and is worthy of note. So much depends on who edits an edition in any given year, and no group of editors can read everything. Here are some online journals offering short stories to read online; you can be your own judge of what the best stories are!

Agni cover imageAgni, co-edited by Sven Birkerts and William Pierce, publishes literary fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essays, interviews, and reviews, and has a reputation for publishing emerging as well as established writers. Check out this recent piece: “A Viral Exchange, Under Lockdown” by Charles Bardes and Tom Sleigh. Continue reading “More Short Stories Online”

Book Bingo: Books You Can Finish Reading in a Day!

 – Posted by Eric G.

This summer The Seattle Public Library, in partnership with Seattle Arts & Lectures, is Finished Reading in a Dayexcited to offer a summer reading program for adults called Summer Book Bingo! In order to help you along on your quest to complete your bingo sheet, we have pulled together some book suggestions based on each category. Stay tuned for more throughout the summer!

Today’s Book Bingo category is “You Finish Reading in a Day.” For the sake of consistency, the books I picked are around 200 pages or less, with some having significantly less. Therefore, each of these could theoretically be finished in one day, barring any outside distractions or obligations. Personally I am a very slow reader who has a penchant for dense, emotionally-grueling literary fiction, so if you’re like me your mileage may vary!

Speaking of literary novels, I recently read Justin Torres’ acclaimed We the Animals (144 pp.), a succinct story that packs a punch. You could also try A Mercy by Toni Morrison (224 pp.) or The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (163 pp.). Continue reading “Book Bingo: Books You Can Finish Reading in a Day!”

So many books, so little time! 

By Diane

At times, relief is looking at my bedside table and finding a nice thin book on the stack. And so much the better when it turns out to be an exceptional read!

One such a rare find was This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash. In a little over 200 pages, Cash makes you care deeply about a range of characters, but especially about sisters Easter and Ruby. Their already unfortunate life in foster care is interrupted by the appearance of Wade, a wayward father whose trail of misdeeds result in a long line of folks trying to This Dark Road to Mercyfind, hurt, and make him pay. Now he’s convincing his daughters to start a new life together. Next you’re caring about the girls’ guardian ad litem, Brady Walsh, whose dark past threatens to overwhelm him in his search for the girls. You even care about Wade, who started it all but has his own vulnerability and decisions to account for. The ending is masterful and fully satisfying for a reader wanting the best for all—except the really bad guys looking for the $1.4 million dollars, of course. Continue reading “So many books, so little time! “

Science Fiction Friday: Little grenades of ideas

I’ve read a number of articles, essays and blogs over the past six months describing the apparent slow death of short fiction. Once the cornerstone of science fiction, and a major component of modern literature in general, it does seem like fewer people are reading short stories these days. Whenever I give reading suggestions to patrons, it’s only one out of every ten who will say they are open to a great collection of short stories.

I happen to love short stories. My RSS feed (and mailbox!) is filled with fantastic short fiction from the likes of Lightspeed, Electrric Velocipede, Asimov’s, Analog and Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine. I love how self-contained and open to possiblities science fiction and fantasy short stories can be. So much is left to the imagination to fill in the world-building blanks. Paolo Bacigalupi once described short fiction as “little grenades of ideas,” which I absolutely love. With that in mind, here are some recent short story collections that are worth your time and positively exploding with ideas and possibilities


It’s no secret to anyone who will listen to me gush for a hot minute that I love Fredrick Pohl, and it looks like I’m not alone! This collection of new short fiction covers a wide range of subject matters, though all are written in homage to the diverse short fiction over Pohl’s long, illustrious career. Luminaries such as Neil Gaiman, David Brin and Connie Willis all take a crack at writing a story Pohl-style, and the results are a win across the board. A loving tribute to a sci-fi legend.

Walking the CloudsWaslking the Clouds

A unique and titillatting collection of science fiction written by indigenious authors, from North America to Australia. Vibrant and inimitable tales from some truly talented voices in the world of science fiction.


Lightspeed magazine short story collectionLightspeed: Year One

As I mentioned earler, Lightspeed is an online science fiction and fantasy magazine and it has a proven track record of publishing some of the best stories of any genre. Their stories are as eclectic as their writers; as they put it:

“From near-future, sociological soft SF, to far-future, star-spanning hard SF—and fantasy: from epic fantasy, sword-and-sorcery, and contemporary urban tales, to magical realism, science-fantasy, and folktales. No subject is off-limits, and we encourage our writers to take chances with their fiction and push the envelope.” 

Songs of the Dying EarthSongs of the Dying Earth

If you’ve never read any of the Dying Earth novels by Jack Vance be prepared to have your mind blown! All you need to know going in is that it’s the very distant future where the aging Sun is bloated, dim and red on the precipice of extinguishing. Vance’s highly stylized approach to this world favors wit, chicanery and lyrical embellishments over swordplay and epic battles. Think Dickens, Lovecraft and David Foster Wallace all writing a book together and you’re halfway there. You can feel a palpable joy as the various authors in this collection try their hand at creating a story in classic Dying Earth-style. 

This collection doesn’t have a clunker in it and has at least two or three of your favorite authors, such as Dan Simmons, Neil Gaiman, Tad Williams, Kage Baker, Mike Resnick, Tanith Lee, Robert Silverberg and many, many more. The audiobook is particularly awesome!

The Collected Stories of Carol Emshwiller

Carol Emshwiller is one of those authors that doesn’t so much write stories with a clear beginning, middle and end. She summons magic from unlikely disparate parts and whips them into a frenzy before they disperse into dust, leaving the reader dazed. Her stories are magic, even when they don’t feature magic in them. She’s always struck me as a more whimsical Joyce Carol Oates, with a mean streak of humor straight out of a Flannery O’ Connor story.

Alternate Gerroldsalternate gerrolds

A hilarious and thought-provoking collection from the criminally underrated David Gerrold. Seriously, if you’ve never read The Martian Child, or The Man Who Folded Himself or seen his episode of Star Trek (“The Trouble with Tribbles”) you are missing out. The story “Franz Kafka, Superhero” is worth the price of admission alone, but all these stories are guaranteed to put a smile (or at least a wry smirk) on your face.

Less Is More

Who likes short shorts? 

How short can a story be and still be a story?  The term flash fiction (aka microfiction, sudden fiction, postcard fiction, prosetry, short short story) originated in the early 1990s, but has roots going back as far as Aesop and his fables.  Some flash fiction has an exact word count – the drabble is exactly 100 words, the 69er just 69 (the title is extra).  In this fast-paced world, sometimes there’s only time for the shortest reads.  Try these suggestions for proof that less is often more, and check for a new piece each day.

Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs from Smith Magazine (2008)
For sale – “wedding dress worn once by mistake.” Every sentence here has six words. Almost the shortest of the short.  Could be shorter by five words.  Thoughtful, funny, perceptive, sad, brilliant, inspired.  No space to say very much.  Try writing your own wee memoir.  Six words only though, remember that. 

Novels In Three Lines by Felix Feneon (2007)
“On the bowling lawn a stroke leveled M. Andre, 75, of Levallois.  While his ball was still rolling he was no more.”  That’s just one of this book’s 1000+ short news items/novels that appeared in the French newspaper Le Matin in 1906.  Feneon was a Parisian anarchist Continue reading “Less Is More”