Thanks to the Internet, our lives are more connected than ever. Many of us walk around with devices in our pockets that are computationally more powerful than machines that used to occupy the size of a large room. As prevalent as those Smartphone devices are—as well as desktop computers, tablets and e-readers—it's no wonder that we would turn to them to see if they can be integrated into our hobbies, like reading. As might be expected, the Internet offers a wide variety of places for readers to visit. Science fiction, fantasy and horror fans in particular have a wealth of online fiction venues that they can visit. But not every destination is worth the time it takes to type in the web address. Let's take a look at some of better online speculative fiction venues....
Given the proliferation and ubiquity of the Internet, it shouldn't be surprising that online magazines have emerged as viable venue for high-quality fiction. In fact, many of the magazines are run by folks who have had experience in the print world. For example, John Joseph Adams—the editor of such anthologies as The Living Dead series, Seeds of Change, The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination and Oz Reimagined—is currently running two great online magazines. The first is called Lightspeed, a Hugo-nominated magazine which focuses on science fiction and fantasy. Each monthly issue comes with a strong selection of fiction by top-notch writers in the field. Lightspeed also goes the extra distance by including author interviews and artist spotlights. This month's issue, for example, features fiction by (and interviews with) Karin Tidbeck, Kameron Hurley, Ken Liu, and Charlie Jane Anders among several others. The second magazine edited by Adams is Nightmare Magazine, which is the horror-genre version of Lightspeed. This month's issue features fiction by Kaaron Warren, Norman Partridge and Alaya Dawn Johnson as well as an interview with Margo Lanagan.
Another great monthly venue for fiction is the Hugo Award–winning Clarkesworld, edited by Neil Clarke. Each month brings a great selection of fiction in both written and audio formats. Recent issues included fiction by Liz Williams, Michael Swanwick, E. Catherine Tobler, James Patrick Kelly, Ian Mcdonald, Sarah Monette, Elizabeth Bear and Daryl Gregory. Clarkesworld also includes a nice handful of informative nonfiction articles and interviews, too. Clarkesworld recently celebrated their fourth year with a new anthology Clarkesworld: Year Four. (Apparently not busy enough, Neil Clarke also just crowd-funded a new anthology, Upgraded, an original science-fiction anthology "for the cyborg age.")
Apex Magazine, edited by Hugo-winning editor Lynne M. Thomas, is yet another consistent venue for great speculative-fiction reads and nonfiction content. Recent issues boasted fiction by Joe R. Lansdale, E. Lily Yu, Cherie Priest, Lavie Tidhar, Kelly Link and Rachel Swirsky. Recent nonfiction content has included interviews with some of these authors, plus articles about strong female characters and the intersection of science fiction and religion.
A wonderful quarterly venue for speculative fiction is Subterranean Online, published by Subterranean Press. Each issue's content appears piecemeal over the course of three months and it's worth the wait. Recent issues have included wonderful fiction stories by Caitlín R. Kiernan, Jay Lake, William Browning Spencer and Catherynne M. Valente, to name a few. This magazine, too, has nonfiction content, such as K.J. Parker's essay on A Social History of Armour.
What are some other fantastic destinations for speculative fiction in magazine format? Strange Horizons is a weekly online magazine that you won't regret visiting. Besides publishing excellent fiction that offers a greats escape, Strange Horizons exercises your mind with thought-provoking articles and opinion. There's Beneath Ceaseless Skies, which also offers fiction both online and anthologized in e-books. Galaxy's Edge Magazine is a relatively new but high-quality online magazine edited by Mike Resnick. Mythic Delirium, edited by Mike Allen, is another enjoyable fiction venue that publishes the contents of its magazine online in a piecemeal fashion. A recent issue featured fiction by Marie Brennan, C.S.E. Cooney, Amal El-Mohtar, Ken Liu and more. Daily Science Fiction is a website that offers bite-size content very frequently. Their focus is on short-short science fiction and fantasy served up every single weekday. You can get the stories sent to you by email, or you can read them online one week later. Last year, Editor Jonathan Laden collected the first year's stories into a massive 871-page book titled Not Just Rockets and Robots. That's a lot of fiction.
When considering online fiction, it's worth noting that the classic print magazines—Asimov's Science Fiction, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, and Fantasy and Science Fiction—often offer their printed content online. Also, be sure to check your favorite author's website. Many authors will put their stories online for all to enjoy. Finally, you should also check out publisher websites to see if they offer fiction as well. Tor.com in particular is one of the best destinations on the web for great speculative-fiction stories.
LISTEN TO THIS
Readers can't live on reading alone. Eventually, you have to look up from the page. I don't know how it is where you live, but my local law enforcement does not approve of me reading while driving. This is where audio fiction comes to the rescue! Lots of speculative fiction comes at you in audio formats, great for those times when you cannot physically be sitting down and reading.
Top venues for audio fiction include a series of sister podcasts. First up is Escape Pod, which offers science fiction stories for your listening pleasure. Podcastle bills itself as the world's first audio fantasy magazine. Pseudopod is the audio horror magazine that completes this wonderful trio. All of these sites are updated weekly, providing you listening material to help you through your reading week.
Another excellent site for audio fiction is the Hugo Award–winning (and long-running) podcast Starship Sofa. Edited and hosted by Tony C. Smith, this audio science-fiction magazine consistently has great content including fiction, interviews and commentary. Give it a listen.