Today is not only the shortest day of the year but it’s also National Short Story Day. I was recently asked to recommend two science fiction short stories, one classic and another modern, to appear on the National Short Story website. Click on the link if you’d like to hear what I had to say about Adjustment Team by Philip K. Dick and The Calorie Man by Paolo Bacigalupi.
This was a difficult decision to make. My tastes vary from month to month depending on what I’m reading / writing / playing at the time. Ask me next year and I’ll probably give you a completely different answer!
If you click on the link for Adjustment Team you can read a free online copy, scanned-in from the first publication that appeared in Orbit Science Fiction magazine back in 1954. My personal copy of The Calorie Man came with Rewired: The Post-Cyberpunk Anthology a 2007 collection of short stories from veteran punks Gibson, Sterling and Cadigan as well as a bunch of other well-knowns including Jones, Stross and Doctorow.
Anyway, I digress . . .
What I wanted to talk about was free stuff. Specifically, free science fiction and speculative fiction short stories that are available to read online. I was asked to recommend two short stories for National Short Story Day, one classic, another modern. Now I’m going to recommend two entire collections of short stories, each one featuring hundreds of stories, and again, one classic, one modern. Then you can make up your own mind.
This is a great place for readers and writers alike. Daily Science Fiction is a professional online magazine featuring a whole host of modern science fiction, fantasy and slipstream stories. If you’re not sure where to start I’d recommend the Friday Features from 2013. If you have a favourite sub-genre I’d also recommend you check out Story Categories & Topics where you can dive into some Nanotech, Modern Fantasy, Alternate History or whatever tickles your fancy. If you get hooked, you can always sign up for the daily email via the subscribe box on the main page.
Time for the shameless plug. DSF is a great market for up-and-coming writers. My story Silver Sixpence was published with DSF back in 2011 and it’s now available in their bundled-up paper anthology Rocket Dragons Ignite: DSF Year 2.
A great place for readers looking for classic works. This incredible resource features over 42,000 free ebooks! You’re going to need to whittle this down. You could visit their Science Fiction bookshelf but you still get a fairly long list. I’d suggest you pop an author name into the ‘search book catalog’ box on the main page — just remember that Project Gutenberg features out-of-copyright material, so we’re generally dealing with the long lost and dearly departed. There are over a dozen hits for Philip K Dick. Pop in your favourite classic author and see what drops out!
The only tricky bit with Project Gutenberg is figuring out which format to download. If you’re not sure, just click HTML or Plain Text. Kindle and EPUB work very well but you’ll need to get those files on your reader (connect your reader to your computer with a USB cable then drag and drop the files over).
So you now have plenty of reading to keep you busy. Enjoy the holidays! Speak to you again in the New Year.