Sci-fi and fantasy has no shortage of short fiction, but now there’s a new “problem” where you, the reader, require trusted voices to recommend a story you’ll like. Luckily, there’s no shortage of that, either! But these resources are all scattered over all corners of the Internet, so we’ve compiled them in one place for you.
K. Tempest Bradford’s long-running column for io9 began as a summer reading reminder to not just plow through your TBR list of novels, but to appreciate shorter fiction, as well. Beginning as collections of that week’s new fiction, io9 Newsstand has expanded to cover readers’ favorite magazines, to recommend podcasts, and to arrange recommendations around tricky questions like What would you say if you could speak to the dead?, Why do aliens love the number 8?, Do all the needs of the many outweigh those of the few?, and What’s on your “at the end of all things” bucket list? Each week’s column also includes an excerpt of the piece in question and a brief analysis, making for some of the most comprehensive recommendations out there.
This Twitter account shared among a pool of publishing professionals brings you near-daily, bite-sized recommendations from the likes of Jonathan Strahan, Ellen Datlow, Gardner Dozois, Paula Guran, Michael Kelly, and more. Each tweet succinctly provides everything you need to know: what (title and type of fiction), who (wrote it), where (to find it), and why (a mini-review), signed by that recommender. A recent example: “‘The Secret Language of Stamps’ by Neil Williamson, a moving, poignant, subtle ghost story without a ghost. Maybe. (ss) Black Static 46, -MK” You can also get their recs via Facebook!
Really, is there anything you can’t find on MetaFilter? Considering that the site’s ethos since 1999 has been to filter out the best of the web, simply searching “short fiction” brings you a wealth of recommendations. Links range from individual story recommendations to databases and other websites specializing in short fiction to suggested reading lists for awards to commentaries on the form. You’ll have to do a bit of wading yourself, but the MeFi users have done the hardest part for you. And it’s not as if they’re just posting links; users also go to the effort of compiling lists on the site itself, like this roundup of notable SFF/horror short fiction from 2014.
Manic Pixie Dream Worlds
Cecily Kane describes her blog, about women writing and reading in speculative fiction, as including SFF news and discussion as well as “various cranky intersectional feminist thoughts and musings,” so that certainly influences her recommendations. But while some of her posts discuss stories about sisters or sexual violence, other entries are grouped by themes like apocalypse observed through non-human eyes. Her thought-provoking (albeit infrequent) recommendations run the gamut, and she also invites readers to share their own favorites via surveys and, later, roundups.
There are a bevy of podcasts that recommend short fiction by performing it, between your ears. Both Clarkesworld and Lightspeed highlight stories from their most recent issues, read by the familiar voices of their respective hosts. And while the weekly radio show Selected Shorts ranges from genre to mainstream, recent episodes have featured the cast of Welcome to Night Vale reading Shirley Jackson and Will Eno, and John Cameron Mitchell reading Neil Gaiman’s eerie stories.
Tor.com’s Short Fiction Spotlight
Since the start of 2013, our column has shined a light on the best and most relevant SFF and speculative short stories, novellas, and novelettes in the U.S. and abroad. Over the past three years, we’ve covered contemporary fiction from the greats at Apex, Lightspeed, and Clarkesworld; classics from luminaries like Octavia E. Butler and Ray Bradbury; and what happens when Queers Destroy Science Fiction. Currently curated by Brit Mandelo, the column aims to keep you up to date on the best that short fiction has to offer!
Another way to use Twitter to your advantage in tracking down short fiction is through the hashtag #ShortSFF. It’s a catch-all way to tag reviews of newly-released magazine issues, to organize discussions around specific stories (like these tweets from the Cabbages & Kings podcast about Jennifer Brissett’s “A Song for You”), and to just share what you love. Perhaps more than any other resource we’ve listed, there’s a keen sense of community around the signal-boosting and the mutual geeking out over SFF worlds and commentary.