Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Free Professional Science Fiction / Fantasy Short Stories

As I mentioned back in the end of May, I would like to get back into the habit of writing fantasy stories once more. After some reflection on what I can learn about the state of the industry and the skills that I need to develop in order to break in eventually, I have decided the best way forward is to continue to work on short stories with an aim to selling them to paid markets.

So, the best way to get published in these markets is to spend time actually reading what's getting published. Fortunately, this is easier than ever before, as many of the most highly regarded professional genre short-story magazines are now available online, and many of them for free. I spent some time perusing these, and today I want to share with you five such magazines that are available for free online.

 1. Apex Magazine is a monthly science fiction, fantasy, and horror magazine featuring original, mind-bending short fiction from many of the top pros of the field. New issues are released the first Tuesday of every month. I love their tagline: “Strange. Beautiful. Shocking. Surreal.

 2. Beneath Ceaseless Skies is an online magazine of literary adventure fantasy. They were runner-up for the Million Writers Award for Best New Online Magazine of 2008. They publish free online fiction and audio fiction podcasts every two weeks. They publish what they term “literary adventure fantasy”: stories with a secondary-world setting and some traditional or classic fantasy feel, but written with a literary approach. Their website also includes some great information on their editorial staff, some incredible fantasy covert art, and info about how you can support them.

3. Clarkesworld is a monthly science fiction and fantasy magazine first published in October 2006. Each issue contains interviews, thought-provoking articles and at least three pieces of original fiction. Their fiction is also available in ebook editions, audio podcasts, print issues, and in our annual print/ebook anthologies. Clarkesworld has been recognized with a World Fantasy Award, three Hugo Awards, and a British Fantasy Award. They also have their amazing cover art available on their website, and you can sign up to support them through their Patreon page.

4.  Lightspeed is a science fiction and fantasy magazine. In its pages, you will find science fiction: 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 they encourage their writers to take chances with their fiction and push the envelope. They also includes feature interviews, fiction podcasts, and Q&As with their authors that go behind-the-scenes of their stories.

5.  Tor.com is a site for science fiction, fantasy, and all the things that interest SF and fantasy readers. It publishes original fiction, art, and commentary on science fiction and related subjects by a wide range of writers from all corners of the field; both professionals working in the genres and fans. Its aim is to provoke, encourage, and enable interesting and rewarding conversations with and between its readers.

So there you have it! Even if you're not interested in actually writing fantasy, there's a whole world of short fantasy stories at your fingertips. Go check them out!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the compilation of short fiction sites!

    One thing that Brandon Sanderson lectured on in the series posted on Write About Dragons comes to mind, though. He asked students early on how many read short fiction and only one or two raised their hands. He did this to point out that the big market for speculative fiction is in novels as this is what most people read. The class itself had people write a novel for working groups.

    I'd say go with short fiction if your story can be made short enough. Or if you really enjoy reading and writing short fiction more than "feature-length" fantasy. I'm just starting out with a novel after abandoning trying my hand at short stories because the fact is I haven't read shorts, I've read novels. Of course, that may change after this post! Thanks again for sharing!