Short Fiction

I have read reports that many people are finding they no longer have the attention span to read an entire novel. No problem. Start with short fiction. These are stories that can be read anywhere from about two hours to less than five minutes. The challenge can be where to find them. This page is my contribution to solving that problem. Be sure to check out the tools section at the bottom for how to save these stories to read later  without an internet connection.

My Favorite Short Stories

This is where I share the short stories, novelettes, and novellas that I have read and rated as five stars (out of five). All of these are available to read online for free. Most of the titles below are speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror) as that is my area of focus. They are sorted by publication date with the most recent at the top. To estimate how long it will take to read each story, the average adult reading speed of between 220 and 350 words per minute.

Science Fiction/Fantasy

Title Author Source Published Word Count URL
The Many Taste Grooves of the Chang Family Allison King LeVar Burton Reads November 07, 2023 3975 https://podcastaddict.com/levar-burton-reads/episode/166446043
We Will Witness Martin Cahill The Sunday Morning Transport October 22, 2023 3440 https://open.substack.com/pub/thetransport/p/we-will-witness
Through Dreams She Moves Tonya Liburd Apex September 01, 2023 5600 https://apex-magazine.com/short-fiction/through-dreams-she-moves/
Junebug Sarah Hollowell Apex September 01, 2023 6700 https://apex-magazine.com/short-fiction/junebug/
The Curing Kristina Ten Uncanny September 01, 2023 8049 https://www.uncannymagazine.com/article/the-curing/
Can You Hear Me Now? Catherynne M. Valente Uncanny September 01, 2023 5908 https://www.uncannymagazine.com/article/can-you-hear-me-now/
The Court Magician Sarah Pinsker LeVar Burton Reads October 10, 2023 4000 https://podcastaddict.com/levar-burton-reads/episode/165004128
Simmered in Their Wealth Like the Richest of Sauces Jo Miles Lightspeed September 01, 2023 1568 https://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/simmered-in-their-wealth-like-the-richest-of-sauces/
The Hole in the Garden Gene Doucette Lightspeed September 01, 2023 4353 https://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-hole-in-the-garden/
Upgrade Day RJ Taylor Clarkesworld September 01, 2023 2080 https://clarkesworldmagazine.com/taylor_09_23/
A Guide to Matchmaking on Station 9 Nika Murphy Clarkesworld September 01, 2023 4020 https://clarkesworldmagazine.com/murphy_09_23/
Alphabet of Swans E. Lily Yu The Sunday Morning Transport August 27, 2023 2190 https://open.substack.com/pub/thetransport/p/an-alphabet-of-swans
Have You Seen Bitsy? James Van Pelt Asimov’s June 08, 2023 short story
The Greeter Rick Wilber
Lisa Lanser Rose
Asimov’s June 08, 2023 short story
Hope Is the Thing With Feathers Karawynn Long Asimov’s July 01, 2023 short story
Showdown on Planetoid Pencrux Garth Nix Asimov’s June 08, 2023 novelette
Echoes of Aurora Ellen Klages The Sunday Morning Transport August 20, 2023 3950 https://open.substack.com/pub/thetransport/p/echoes-of-aurora
The Letters They Left Behind Scott Edelman Lightspeed August 01, 2023 7461 https://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-letters-they-left-behind/
The Ghasts Lavie Tidhar Uncanny July 01, 2023 4932 https://www.uncannymagazine.com/article/the-ghasts/
The Music of the Siphorophenes C.L. Polk Uncanny July 01, 2023 9232 https://www.uncannymagazine.com/article/the-music-of-the-siphorophenes/
SuperMAX Daniel H. Wilson Uncanny July 01, 2023 7914 https://www.uncannymagazine.com/article/supermax/
Tantie Merle and the Farmhand 4200 R.S.A. Garcia Uncanny July 01, 2023 6861 https://www.uncannymagazine.com/article/tantie-merle-and-the-farmhand-4200/
Muna in Barish Isha Karki Lightspeed July 01, 2023 7971 https://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/muna-in-barish/
Starpoop Sandra McDonald Lightspeed July 01, 2023 3244 https://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/starpoop/
The United Systems of Goodwill Concert Series and the Greatest Performance of All Time James Van Pelt Lightspeed July 01, 2023 1258 https://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-united-systems-goodwill-concert-series-and-the-greatest-performance-of-all-time/
Death Is Better Oluwatomiwa Ajeigbe Lightspeed July 01, 2023 1471 https://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/death-is-better/
Tigers for Sale Risa Wolf Clarkesworld July 01, 2023 6560 https://clarkesworldmagazine.com/wolf_07_23/
Timelock Davian Aw Clarkesworld July 01, 2023 5620 https://clarkesworldmagazine.com/aw_07_23/
Cheaper to Replace Marie Vibbert Clarkesworld July 01, 2023 3370 https://clarkesworldmagazine.com/vibbert_07_23
Death and Redemption, Somewhere Near Tuba City Lou J. Berger Clarkesworld July 01, 2023 5470 https://clarkesworldmagazine.com/berger_07_23/
Blowout Wole Talabi Analog July 01, 2023 short story
Recruit Stephen L. Burns Analog July 01, 2023 novelette
Skin Job Gregor Hartmann Analog July 01, 2023 short story
The Carina Nebula Kelsey Hutton Analog July 01, 2023 short story
A Synthetic’s Field Guide on Speed Dating and Birds Rhan Hunke Analog July 01, 2023 short story
First Words Michael Randle Analog July 01, 2023 short stories
The Jangler Wil McCarthy Analog July 01, 2023 novelette
‘Ain’t Houses, Ain’t Names’ Nino Cipri The Sunday Morning Transport July 16, 2023 3340 https://open.substack.com/pub/thetransport/p/aint-houses-aint-names
This Is Not a Wardrobe Door Merc Fenn Wolfmoor PodCastle July 04, 2023 1772 https://podcastle.org/2023/07/04/podcastle-794-anniversary-special-this-is-not-a-wardrobe-door/
Boomerang Bill Johnson
Gregory Frost
Asimov’s May 01, 2023 short story
The Unveiling Christopher Rowe StarShipSofa June 28, 2023 4500 http://www.starshipsofa.com/blog/2023/06/28/starshipsofa-715-christopher-rowe/
Games Without Frontiers Andy Dudak Asimov’s May 01, 2023 novelette
In the Stacks Scott Lynch PodCastle June 20, 2023 13500 https://podcastle.org/2023/06/20/podcastle-792-anniversary-special-in-the-stacks/
Saving Galileo Sean McMullen Analog May 01, 2023 short story
Hail and Farewell Joel Richards Analog May 01, 2023 short story
One For Sorrow Richard Gregson Analog May 01, 2023 short story
Vast and Trunkless Legs of Stone Carrie Vaughn Clarkesworld June 01, 2023 5570 https://clarkesworldmagazine.com/vaughn_06_23
And All the Fields Below Sarah Grey Lightspeed June 01, 2023 2625 https://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/and-all-the-fields-below/
Wanderlust LP Kindred Escape Pod June 01, 2023 3788 https://escapepod.org/2023/06/01/escape-pod-891-wanderlust/
(emet) Lauren Ring PodCastle May 30, 2023 7470 https://podcastle.org/2023/05/30/podcastle-789-emet/
The Relationship of Ink to Blood Alex Langer Apex May 01, 2023 4700 https://apex-magazine.com/short-fiction/the-relationship-of-ink-to-blood/
Want Itself Is a Treasure in Heaven Theodora Ward Uncanny May 01, 2023 5477 https://www.uncannymagazine.com/article/want-itself-is-a-treasure-in-heaven/
The Mausoleum’s Children Aliette de Bodard Uncanny May 01, 2023 5411 https://www.uncannymagazine.com/article/the-mausoleums-children/
The Belfry Keeper S.L. Harris Lightspeed May 01, 2023 845 https://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-belfry-keeper/
Saturday’s Song Wole Talabi Lightspeed May 01, 2023 8677 https://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/saturdays-song/
Blood for a Stranger Timothy Mudie Lightspeed May 01, 2023 9434 https://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/blood-for-a-stranger/
She Blooms and the World is Changed Izzy Wasserstein Lightspeed May 01, 2023 2337 https://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/she-blooms-and-the-world-is-changed/
To Sail Beyond the Botnet Suzanne Palmer Clarkesworld May 01, 2023 21920 https://clarkesworldmagazine.com/palmer_05_23
Better Living Through Algorithms Naomi Kritzer Clarkesworld May 01, 2023 5610 https://clarkesworldmagazine.com/kritzer_05_23
Wanton Gods Sheila Finch Asimov’s March 01, 2023 short story
The Repair Mark D. Jacobsen Asimov’s March 01, 2023 short story
Night Running Greg Egan Asimov’s March 01, 2023 novelette
The Nameless Dead Kristine Kathryn Rusch Asimov’s March 01, 2023 novelette
The Toll of the Snake Grace P. Fong Apex April 01, 2023 4900 https://apex-magazine.com/short-fiction/the-toll-of-the-snake/
Youth Isaac Asimov Space Science Fiction May 01, 1952 9485 https://mgherron.com/2019/03/sci-fi-short-story-youth-by-isaac-asimov/
Immune Response Robert R. Chase Analog March 01, 2023 novelette
The House on Infinity Street Allen M. Steele Analog March 01, 2023 novelette
An Inconvenient Man Adam-Troy Castro Analog March 01, 2023 short story
Every Shade of Healing Taryn Frazier Apex March 01, 2023 1000 https://apex-magazine.com/short-fiction/every-shade-of-healing/
They Could Have Been Yours Joy Baglio Apex March 01, 2023 6900 https://apex-magazine.com/short-fiction/they-could-have-been-yours/
Over Moonlit Clouds Coda Augeuy-Pegon Apex March 01, 2023 6900 https://apex-magazine.com/short-fiction/over-moonlit-clouds/
To Build a Fire Jack London Century August 01, 1908 7042 https://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/2429/pg2429-images.html#page47
The Yellow Wallpaper Charlotte Perkins Gilman New England January 01, 1892 5815 https://www.literaryladiesguide.com/full-texts-of-classic-works/the-yellow-wallpaper-by-charlotte-perkins-gilman/
The Spoil Heap Fiona Moore Clarkesworld March 01, 2023 6640 https://clarkesworldmagazine.com/moore_03_23
Pinocchio Photography Angela Liu Clarkesworld March 01, 2023 6450 https://clarkesworldmagazine.com/liu_03_23
Blank Space Delilah S. Dawson Uncanny March 01, 2023 4745 https://www.uncannymagazine.com/article/blank-space/
An Ode to Stardust R.P. Sand Clarkesworld February 01, 2023 14616 https://clarkesworldmagazine.com/sand_02_23
Silo, Sweet Silo James Castles Clarkesworld February 01, 2023 4397 https://clarkesworldmagazine.com/castles_02_23
Learning Letters Carrie Vaughn Lightspeed February 01, 2023 4384 https://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/learning-letters/
A Small, Good Thing Raymond Carver Cathedral September 15, 1983 short story https://app.thestorygraph.com/books/15155156-af7a-4407-88ba-4c90338e7f7c
The Father Provincial of Mare Imbrium E. Lily Yu Uncanny January 01, 2023 3545 https://www.uncannymagazine.com/article/the-father-provincial-of-mare-imbrium/
Waystation City A.T. Greenblatt Uncanny January 01, 2023 4274 https://www.uncannymagazine.com/article/waystation-city/
Cold Relations Mary Robinette Kowal Uncanny January 01, 2023 7980 https://www.uncannymagazine.com/article/cold-relations/
Braid Me a Howling Tongue Maria Dong Lightspeed January 01, 2023 9909 https://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/braid-me-a-howling-tongue/
A Man Walks Into a Bar; or, In Which More Than Four Decades After My Father’s Reluctant Night of Darts on West 54th Street, I Finally Understand What Needs to Be Done Scott Edelman Lightspeed January 01, 2023 5977 https://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/a-man-walks-into-a-bar-or-in-which-more-than-four-decades-after-my-fathers-reluctant-night-of-darts-on-west-54th-street-i-finally-understand-what-needs-to-be-done/
The Narrative Implications of Your Untimely Death Isabel J. Kim Lightspeed January 01, 2023 5122 https://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-narrative-implications-of-your-untimely-death/
The Last Serving Lincoln Michel Lightspeed January 01, 2023 1006 https://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fiction/the-last-serving/
Message in a Vessel V.G. Harrison Apex January 01, 2023 4900 https://apex-magazine.com/short-fiction/message-in-a-vessel/
Your Rover Is Here LP Kindred Apex January 01, 2023 3500 https://apex-magazine.com/short-fiction/your-rover-is-here/

Classic/Literary Fiction

Short Fiction on the Internet

Reading

Listening

Tools to Save and Read Later