The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Jay H § Matching cuts / 2014-10-02 02:41:13

Help Me Build a Set of Short-Story Feeds

I really like A. O. Scott’s suggestion, via David Hayes, that there might be a new, more vital market for short stories sometime in the near future, thanks mostly to the Kindle (and maybe the iPhone, too).

I want to build a quick list of places on the web where new short stories are being posted with some regularity. Here’s what I have to start:

Hmm. Yeah. Gonna need some help here.

Bonus points for sources that are outside the MFA-matrix… I’m especially looking for short stories with a popular sensibility. But I’ll take anything. I’m sure you’ve got a few, just off the top of your head…!

May 5, 2009 / Uncategorized


Let me stipulate: I realize there is probably the list of websites that publish short stories is probably infinite. So I guess I’m asking for sites where you have actually read a short story. Ever.

Dude, you just cut me way down with that “sites where you have actually read a short story” restriction. I don’t read fiction online. Ever. (I may find stories online, on rare occasions, but I always print them out. Even, or especially when they’re sexy PDFs.) [Shameless plug #1]

I don’t know that I went into this explicitly in my post on Scott’s story [shameless plug #2], but part of what makes the Kindle/iPhone interfact for short fiction so exciting is that online reading doesn’t really work terribly well for extended fictional narrative, as currently practiced in most printed periodicals, and offers new opportunities for the short short, which often has a hard time justifying print publication.

New medium => new forms, right? 🙂

Printing out is fine, too. Let me rephrase: You have read a short story b/c you found it on this site.

So come on, I *know* you have some sites on your shortlist!

Actually, while I have favorite fiction sources, my online list is pretty short.

The Atlantic monthly doesn’t print fiction on an issue-by-issue basis anymore, but they still maintain a reasonable archive at

My favorite fiction-only outlets, Zoetrope: All-Story and One Story have really specific projects that involve presenting particular stories in a particular format, whether that involves extensive and individualized design like All-Story, or an intentionally minimalist format that tries to avoid anything that would detract from the words on the page like One Story, and so neither of them offer any content beyond teasers online.

Part of me wants to say that a. There aren’t that many places which do online fiction; b. The places that do it don’t do it very well; and c. Nobody reads them anyway, just because these seem to be untenable theses and I’m dying for someone to prove me wrong.

It might more accurate and useful to say that there’s a lot of space out there for the writers and [online] publishers that figure out how to do it in a way that reaches beyond the small lit mag audience.

I like McSweeney’s. The stuff in The Believer, too, if not quite always exactly short stories, usually dwells in their general aura, albeit in a webbyronic way.

Harper’s puts their fiction online, but it’s subscriber only. Question: why are stories never free? Is it because, unlike nonfiction prose, you can’t use them to sell advertising?

It’s been ages since I read a short story, let alone one on the internet.

The closest thing I’ve recently liked is “Six Sentences”, but I’d say those are closer to vignettes than stories.

I feel like there must be a mountain of fiction writers putting out blog posts that look like short stories. (Though as Gavin says, I wouldn’t be shocked if it weren’t very good.) And rarely consuming these things myself, I’m not what rock to kick to find it.

This isn’t really the *exactly* right thread – but I’ve been wanting to make this fiction recommendation to the Snarkmatrix for a while. Anyone who is not already RSS-subscribed to “Machine Man” I highly suggest it. It’s a page of fiction a day, in this increasingly creepy and surreal story. I think the experience has a been a real success of using a new medium (the RSS feed) to deliver fiction.

Matt says…

One of the better sources of science fiction short stories online is Strange Horizons:

The Snarkatron keeps eating my comments. :*-( So I’m not going to try any html.

It has been many years since I regularly read stories online, and I think some of my favorite sites have died. Besides Zoetrope, One Story, McSweeney’s, and Strange Horizons, there are the standard literary magazines which do sometimes put fiction online. The ones I buy now and then (and peruse, online, now and then) are: (better for subscribers)

These are in the MFA matrix, but they are also in the quiet regional culture matrix–the magazines that are bought and written for by English teachers, housewives, retirees. More commercially, there’s (which is very regular), and also, sometimes, (much less so these days I think, but it used to be really great about running fiction) and (Also, I think, not remotely literary these days–but perhaps more commercially tenable?)

A lot of science fiction/fantasy magazines (like Strange Horizons) sell PDFs online, and some of the ones I’ve purchased from (mainly b/c they published something by a friend) are:

and (which actually has a lot of stuff for free . .)

My childhood staples, Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock, are both available in e-book form at fictionwise. But I still don’t have a kindle, so I steer clear of that.

Matan says…

A friend of mine is writing a short story for every tube station in London…they’re good!

The snarkmatrix awaits you

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