Places to Find Great Free Science Fiction Short Stories Online

Want to explore some new authors or subgenres, but don’t quite have the money to spend on anthologies or novels? Here’s just a few places to find great science fiction short stories on the web for free!

Clarkesworld Magazine -- Clarkesworld is one of the best magazines out there right now. Each month they publish several science fiction/fantasy short stories, as well as nonfiction articles, and an absolutely stunning piece of cover art. It’s also published a helluva lot of award winners in the past couple of years. Get started: All the Young Kirks and Their Good Intentions by Helena Bell || Fade to White by Catherynne M. Valente

Strange Horizons -- Nominated for a Hugo this year, this magazine is one of the longest running online short story magazines, publishing once a week steadily since 2001. This is an amazing magazine, with an incredible backlog of science fiction and fantasy short stories, reviews, poetry, and articles -- you’re bound to find something you’ll love. Get started: Another End of Empire by Tim Pratt || Librarians in the Branch Library of Babel by Shaenon K. Garrity

Tor.com -- Tor is, of course, one of the major publishers of science fiction and fantasy right now. But their website also features free short fiction, with an original short story up every week or so, along with excerpts from larger works. Each short story is also accompanied by a beautiful piece of original art. Get started: Six Months, Three Days by Charlie Jane Anders || The Cage by Alyx Dellamonica

Escape Pod -- If podcasts are more your style, Escape Pod is the magazine for you. Running once a week since 2005, Escape Pod publishes podcast reprints of some of the best current science fiction stories, as well as the occasional older classic (like Asimov’s “Nightfall” or Heinlein’s “All You Zombies”). They also podcast all the Hugo nominated short stories every year for WorldCon members. Dive into their archives and you’re sure to find something interesting to mull over while commuting. Get started: Exhalation by Ted Chiang || Start the Clock by Benjamin Rosenbaum

Of course, there's tons more places to get your SF fix online. If you find a particularly great website or 'zine, be sure to tell us about it!