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The 10 Best Web Sites for Free Online Science Fiction Short Stories

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The 10 Best Web Sites for Free Online Science Fiction Short Stories

In my search for the best science fiction short stories to read and review, I have come across several really good web sites. These are the ones to which I am constantly returning to read stories as well as get ideas and recommendations for my own posts. All of these sites either post links to free online stories, or publish their own original content, and they all post to legal, non-pirated stories. So here you go, my top ten web sites for finding free online science fiction short stories.

1. Free SF Reader

Run by Australian Blue Tyson, this site is made up entirely of links to free short stories, articles and novels that can be read online. Loads of good science fiction stories in several categories, plus he rates how well he likes each story. If you are looking for lots and lots of free online science fiction stories to read then this is the place to go.

2. Free Speculative Fiction Online

This site links to science fiction & fantasy stories and novels which can be found online. Loads of links with a special rating system for each one indicating how accessible, downloadable and persistent each link is. Plus a star rating system that lets you know how well he liked each story. The ability to search by author, magazine or award makes it super easy to find excellent short stories to read online.

3. Sci Fiction

Originally part of Scifi channel’s website, this collection is not updated anymore but has a great archive of both classic and original science fiction short stories by famous authors. All of them online and absolutely free.

4. Infinity Plus

A nice collection of science fiction short stories by famous authors. Lots of big names with stories in free HTML format.

5. Escape Pod

This is a site which offers only science fiction audio stories and podcasts in MP3 format. With a new free story each week, this site also has a large archive of great stories by famous authors. Categorized by movie ratings, it is easy to find something that suits your tastes.

6. SF Signal

This is a general science fiction fan site with news and articles about every type of media in the genre – novels, movies, art, stories – you name it. They frequently have links to free stories, several of which are brand new and all of which are online.

7. AntipodeanSF

An Australian based online magazine devoted to short science fiction stories (under 500 words) known as flash fiction. All of the stories are free and most of them have a nifty twist ending. Some amazing short stories packed into teeny-tiny spaces!

8. Variety SF

Based in Bombay, India, the owner of this site does some amazingly in-depth reviews of science fiction short stories. Although he reviews longer pieces, as well as printed ones, when he does review the free stories he makes sure you have a link to them.

9. Abyss & Apex Magazine of Speculative Fiction

A quarterly online magazine featuring short stories, flash fiction and poetry. This site has had several short stories nominated for major awards and included in best-of-year anthologies.

10. Strange Horizons

According to their site Strange Horizons is “a weekly web-based magazine of and about speculative fiction”. It includes articles, columns, reviews, poetry and stories. It has had several short stories nominated for major awards, such as the Hugo, as well as included in best-of-year anthologies. Each week you get at least one high quality original short story to read for free.

Do you know of other good web sites for finding free (and legal) science fiction stories online? If so please leave a comment telling us about them.

18 thoughts to “The 10 Best Web Sites for Free Online Science Fiction Short Stories”

  1. Thanks for linking me, Rusty.

    I’ve seen all except #9; will try that – thanks for link.

    Some personal observations on noted sites:
    a. In my experience, #2 has been most consistent in linking stories I like. Should be a good choice for those preferring science fiction to fantasy. But I’ve read only about a dozen stories linked from there & do some filtering of my own – so don’t take this remark literally.

    b. My experience so far with #3 is quite good. But I’ve only read less than a half dozen stories from there – mostly from classics section.

    c. #5 may or may not appeal to those without English as first language. Since their posts are all audio, you have to be comfortable with US accent to like them.

    d. #10 – Strange Horizons – sometimes does publish great scifi, but their focus is fantasy. I used to be a regular reader for several months.

    If you are into fantasy – with heavy political leanings – you might like clarkesworld too. They do publish may be 1 or 2 scifi stories a year – but their scifi is not top of the line.

    Another interesting source is Subterranean Online. Their scifi is very limited – mostly fantasy & non-genre. But top of the line authors. Comparable in quality & mix to Asimov’s – but free & fewer stories.

    You might also want to look at Helix SF. It’s second rung on overall quality, but not bad for new fiction.

  2. Hi Rusty;

    At the risk of self-plugging, you might like to take a look at Futurismic.

    We’re a webzine that publishes original near-future science fiction stories once a month – we just returned to schedule after a long gap with the wonderful “Uxo, Bomb Dog” by Eliot Fintushel – but we also have a daily blog that rounds up topics of science fictional interest as well as a weekly collection of links to free science fiction stories online.

    I hope you’ll come and have a look! 🙂

  3. Tinkoo,

    Yes, #2 (Free Speculative Fiction Online) is a very good site for finding high quality science fiction short stories. It was a close call between it and Free SF Reader for which one to put in the #1 spot. I ended up basing it off of which one I personally visit the most – but they are both excellent sites.

    Also, thanks for pointing out that Escape Pod may be more difficult for people whose first language is not English – I hadn’t thought of that.

    I had not visited Subterranean Press before, but it looks like a great find too, as does Helix – thanks!

  4. Paul,

    Wow – I can’t believe that I hadn’t run across Futurismic before this! It looks like there are some very interesting articles and short stories there, and those “Friday Free Fiction” posts are absolute treasure troves for finding SF stories online! I’ve added this site to my RSS feeds, thanks for pointing it out to us.

  5. Ah – and how could we forget the Science Fiction Library of Project Gutenberg. A substantial part of it is available as downloadable CD image – but only via p2p networks (I don’t think they have http download for it).

    An aside: I’ve a dedicated page for SH (no longer frequently updated, but has many entries from last year – brief story overviews). And I explicitly tag posts of Subterranean, Helix & AntiSF (not many of them, though).

  6. Please reed my story. It goes like this:
    Dream
    (a fictional story)

    Once upon a time, there were six bestfriends who were not sp intelligent. But they dreamed to be an astronomer. They want to see the outer space. Like the sun, planets, moons and the stars. They wonder how the sun, planets, moons, and the stars were formed.

    One night, they planned to sleep in the house where they usually rest. They also agreed to watch the sky because it is clear. After they watched the sky, they sleep immediately. After a while, they started to dream. All of them saw each other in their dream. All of them were surprised because they found themselves in the outer space floating. They were very happy and shocked. They were very glad because they can approach and touch the stars, sun, planets and the moons.

    In the early morning, they wake up together. They were glad when each other said that they saw each other in their dream. When they went to school, they told their classmates about their dream. But unfortunately, their classmates did not believe them.

    When they went home, they do first their homework before they will eat supper. One gloomy night, they started again to dream. For the second time they saw each other.

    But that time, they were dreaming how the planet, moons, stars and the sun were formed. The stars were formed by bumping two shiny stones. The sun was formed by also bumping the stars. The planets were formed by bumping the stars and the sun. The moons were formed by bumping the stars, the sun and the planets.

    When they wake up, they were very happy and glad. They were now contented to see the outer space even though in their dreams only.

    They told their dream in their teacher. And the teacher said “Imagination is more important than Knowledge”.

    They said why. The teacher said “For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

    -Mark Miguel Latras

    Hope you like it…………..

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