2017 Goal: Short Story Reading

One of my goals from this year has been to read more short stories, and since that’s a very vague goal, I rewrote it to say one short story per week. That’s a very easy goal to accomplish. Is it too easy? Well, since at this point in the year, I’ve read more short stories than all of 2016, I’m gonna say it’s right in line. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate short stories more and more. They aren’t my preferred form of fiction, though. As a reader, I get invested in the world of the story, and in good stories, it’s difficult to leave that world. Novels allow me to spend more time in those wonderful fictions than short stories do. As with everything, short stories have their strengths as well. There can be more emotional punch in a good short story because it’s compact and immediate. Short stories are much more difficult to pull off than a novel as well, and the result is that really good short stories have me thinking about them long after I finish. As part of my 2017 approach to short stories, I thought I’d share with you the sources that I return to again and again.

By source, fair use: http://blogs.umsl.edu/naturalbridge/
By source, fair use:
http://blogs.umsl.edu/naturalbridge/

Full disclosure: I attended UMSL’s Master of Fine Arts in creative writing program, and I worked on Natural Bridge for one issue. I enjoyed my time there, and the process of creating a journal was enlightening as to how human the publishing side is. What impresses me is the quality that Natural Bridge maintains issue after issue. It is a literary magazine so the content falls along the literary genre lines. It is the only literary journal that I subscribe to; being an alumni, I’ve not submitted there. Regardless of my affiliation, I’ve enjoyed the last few issues, and I recommend that anyone check them out.

By Source, Fair use: https://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/ By Source, Fair use:
https://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/

Lightspeed magazine is an online science fiction and fantasy (SFF) magazine. It’s a monthly publication with stories from both the science fiction genre and the fantasy genre; it also has a few essays as well. I enjoy the breadth that this magazine publishes. I tend to read more fantasy than sci fi, and this site helps me balance out that equation. For those who pay, there is additional content in the form of novellas. Subscriptions are available, and individual issues can be downloaded. I backed Women Destroy Science Fiction on Kickstarter. This special issue is worth a look; it contains excellent stories by known authors, and I also found some new voices in that issue. I’ve not submitted to this magazine.

By source, fair use: http://uncannymagazine.com/
By source, fair use:
http://uncannymagazine.com/

Uncanny magazine is a fun source for stories, poetry, and essays in the SFF genre. I’m pretty new to this magazine, but I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read so far. They publish original fiction and reprints as well. The artwork for each issue gets better and better. Subscriptions are available, and individual issues can be downloaded. I bought issue 5, and while I haven’t finished it completely, it was a steal at the price. I’ve not submitted to this magazine.

By source, fair use: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/
By source, fair use:
http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/

Clarkesworld is my favorite SFF magazine. It publishes both fiction and non-fiction. Lately, due to the generosity of their readers, they’ve begun publishing/reprinting novellas as well. It’s a good stop for top tier SFF content. Many of my favorite authors publish here, and I’ve found quite a few new authors to watch here. The first Ken Liu story that I read, The Clockwork Soldier, was published in this magazine. He has become one of my favorite short fiction writers in any genre. Subscriptions are available, and individual issues can be downloaded. I have subscribed in the past and plan to again when my finances allow. I have submitted to Clarkesworld, and the reply was fast and courteous.*

By source, fair use: http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com
By source, fair use:
http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com/

Beneath Ceaseless Skies publishes two stories per issue on a twice a month basis. The authors published here aren’t always big names, but that doesn’t diminish the quality of the stories. Beneath Ceaseless Skies is a good place to find adventure stories as well. Subscriptions are available, and individual issues can be downloaded. I bought a few issues, and they were well worth the money. I have submitted to this magazine and am currently waiting a reply.

stack-letters-447579_1920

These aren’t the only places that I go for short stories, but these are the places that I return to regularly. While I won’t enjoy every piece of work in every issue, I find more worth my time in these sources than not. It should be noted that each of these journals also has an associated podcast. However, I don’t listen to any of them and cannot critique them. Other than Natural Bridge**, I would love to get published in each of these magazine because I admire the content that I’ve read in them. Regardless of acceptance or not, these are publications that I will continue to read and support in the future. If you’re in the mood for short fiction, check out these publications and support them if you can. They’re highly recommended.


*When I submitted to Clarkesworld, I didn’t format my manuscript correctly. Since it wasn’t professionally presented, the editors probably didn’t even read the story. This is not to say that they would have liked it. Simply that I did not submit correctly. Research and pay attention to the submission guidelines before sending off your work!

**I won’t submit since I’m an alumni. It’s a quality journal, but as an alumni, it’s best not to submit to where I attended.

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