One of the consequences of getting me more interested in the Hugos, and especially this year's nonsense with slates, is that I've started actively looking for new short SFF so that I can collect a list of good short stories, novellettes, novellas to nominate.
(I am firmly of the belief that you don't need to have read "everything" to nominate, out of some idea that you have to know "what's best". Just read stuff, and when you find something you think is amazing
and would like others to read a) talk about it at the time b) put it on a list to nominate so you don't forget. If you're really lucky you'll end up with more on the list than there are slots and then you'll get to choose from that. But the whole point of a crowd-sourced nomination process like the Hugos is to get a shortlist of things that lots of different people thought were amazing
So, where do I go to read new stuff?Lightspeed Magazine
(winner of Best Semiprozine Hugo for 2015)
I have a 12-month ebook subscription, and the entire back catalogue, thanks to backing the Queers Destroy SF
kickstarter earlier this year. However, Lightspeed also make the short fiction and non-fiction available freely online, releasing in stages over the month of the issue. They also release podcasts of the stories, if that's to your taste.
To quote their About page: "Our current publication schedule each month includes four pieces of original fiction and four fiction reprints, along with two feature interviews and an artist gallery showcasing our cover artist.". The fiction is equally split between SF and Fantasy. They also give word counts and publication dates, which makes working out what a story is eligible for much easier.Clarkesworld
Again, I have an ebook subscription to this magazine, this time via Patreon
. Again, the contents are published online for free each month, and again there are podcasts of the fiction, which get released in stages over the month of the relevant issue. There's a mixture of new fiction and reprints, and Clarkesworld describes itself as a "science fiction and fantasy magazine". Again, they supply word counts and publication dates, which I find very handy.Strange Horizons
This is mostly funded by an annual fund drive (currently in progress) although they seem to be trying out Patreon
too. Strange Horizons is a "speculative fiction magazine", published entirely online, which updates weekly on Mondays, with a mixture of fiction, poetry and reviews. Almost all its published work is available in the archives. No word counts though.
I tend to prioritise the first two, as I've paid for them, and then Strange Horizons. I'm also collecting a list of other places that publish online, mostly through finding places where authors or artists I already am interested in are getting published, but I'm not yet really in a position to recommend
them, as I barely keep up with the three venues above, before I get onto these others.
I will however mention Beneath Ceaseless Skie
s, which was a non-slate finalist in the Semiprozine category for the Hugos (alongside Lightspeed Magazine
and Strange Horizons
), and whose sample in the voting packet I rather liked. It describes itself as publishing "Literary Adventure Fantasy" and publishes every two weeks: two new stories, and one from the archives, plus podcast versions of (some of?) the stories. Issues can be read online or downloaded in a variety for formats. Funding seems to be by donations or Weightless Books subscriptions. A quick look suggests publication dates but not word counts are provided as a matter of course. I think I'm adding this to my list under Strange Horizons
Finally, there is an interesting Kickstarter running right now: Long List Anthology
which aims to publish the "longlisted" short fiction from this year's Hugos, where it's available for reprint. It's already made its base goal, so supporting it at the $10 ebook level is essentially pre-ordering a lovely-looking anthology.