short stories – a personal take

Among the many lay-offs, early retirement packages, and re-organizing announcements coming out of the economic stress facing publishing (and everything else), my friends list was crowded yesterday with the announcement of Realms of Fantasy declaring its last issue will be April 2009 (as reported here among other sources). Many of my clients short stories have graced the pages of this magazine over the last several years. It’s hard to say how many of their paths would have been different without this venue.

Here’s an example:

Ken Scholes’ story “Of Metal Men and Scarlet Thread and Dancing with the Sunrise,” was published in the August 2006 issue. Later that same year, through the auspices of Jay Lake, I was introduced to Ken at the World Fantasy Convention. He had, at that time, just finished the draft of a novel based on that story. He handed me that same issue of the magazine and I read his story on the way home from the conference on the plane. And I was hooked. And that was the beginning of my part in the journey that resulted in Ken’s novel, Lamentation, the first of five in the Psalms of Isaak series, finding an agent (me) and a publisher (Tor — the book comes out officially on February 17th).

I don’t often have time to read a lot of short fiction in between the queries and the manuscripts. But I do try to keep my eye on it. So, where do you go for your short fiction? What sites or magazines would you highly recommend? And who are your favorite writers that you hope to see a novel from someday?

18 responses to “short stories – a personal take

  1. I would have said ROF. :sigh: I like Fantasy Magazine, Lone Star Stories, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Shimmer was great, and I hope it comes back.
    Mary Robinette Kowal writes excellent stories, and I think she’d be just as good at novels. And of course I’d recommend the Carpe Libris writers, but I have to confess I’m biased.
    I’m really going to miss ROF. It was my longest-running subscription.

  2. I love Glimmer Train. Not only are the stories excellent, but I went on the website and was very impressed with the great attitudes of the owners and the respect they have for writers who submit to them.

  3. Clarkesworld is excellent (and has also published several of your clients), though I’m curious about how it may change now that Nick Mamatas is no longer one of the editors.

  4. Electric Velocipede and Apex Digest are my two favorites right now.

  5. If the question is what I would like to see rather than what may be marketable to the mainstream…I would like to see a full novel-length work by Jetse de Vries (Jetse are you out there? I’m calling you out!). I like his experimental style and would love to see sustainability over complete story-arc — or even loosely connected vignettes.

  6. My current favorite is Fantasy Magazine, which, incidentally, has recently qualified as a pro magazine for SFWA membership purposes.

  7. RoF was my favorite–I’m so sad it’s gone!
    I’ll vote for Fantasy Magazine and Clarkesworld as the best alternatives out there, though really, no existing magazine quite fills the niche that RoF did.
    After reading the comments, I’ll jump on board with hoping for novels from Dora Goss and Kelly Link.

  8. My usual approach for short story buying is either markets I intend to submit to, or anthologies in which friends are published. The latter way, not only am I supporting them, but I’m guarenteed to get at least one story I like!
    Favourites at the moment are Riptide, and the anthologies Morrigan’s Books anthologies and ezines.

  9. I was rooting for an agent to pick up Amanda Downum for awhile, but you fixed that one for me. 🙂
    People have mostly mentioned the short fiction magazines/sites I like, though I’ll add ChiZine and Weird Tales. I also really like Bust Down The Door And Eat All The Chickens.

  10. I like Hub and various podcasts including Pseudopod. Disclaimer: I read slushpile for both of the above. Which doesn’t mean they don’t also publish great stories.

  11. Someone already mentioned Chizine, which I love. I also read a dark fiction online mag: Necrotic Tissue-
    And, in the name of shameless self-promotion, I will mention that I have a flash piece entitled MARGIE that is coming out in Necrotic Tissue’s first print issue in July 2009. 😀

  12. This website: is very helpful. I’ve submitted to a number of anthologies that have been listed here. That’s how I found out about the anthology “Monstrous: 20 Tales of Giant Creature Terror” where my first piece of fiction (“Savage”) was picked up for publication.

  13. Dark Fiction Markets
    I administer a market database for The Australian Horror Writers Association where we list at least 100 markets either specifically looking for, or have a liking for, short dark fiction of all levels.
    In doing so, I have a need to read many of the markets. Favourites include, but are not limited to:
    ChiZine; Apex SF & Horror Digest; Murky Depths; Midnight Echo; Weird Tales; Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine; Aurealis; Borderlands and many others.

  14. Thanks for the calling out, Jeff.
    However, as I mentioned on Twitter, I’m so busy at the day job (which is completely out of publishing) and editing and promoting both the Shine anthology and @outshine on Twitter that I barely have time to write short stories, let alone a novel.
    I used to write 2 to 3 shorts stories a mont, now I’m happy if I manage that in a year. A novel is not going to happen in the foreseeable future. But many thanks for the support.
    Since I was part of the Interzone editorial team, my tips for short story writers that — I think — will write great novels are Jason Stoddard, Aliette de Bodard, Jason Sanford, Eugie Foster, Hannu Rajaniemi (already snapped up for a three-book contract after the publisher read *only* the first chapter), Jamie Barrass, Jennifer Linnae, Will McIntosh, and Jae Brim. Of course, I’m biased.
    (I almost added Alaya Dawn Johnson, Adrienne Jones, Tim Akers and Lauren McLaughlin, but they already have their first novel out.)

  15. Good suggestions, all. Another dark fantasy option is Talebones ( From their website, “a semi-pro magazine featuring science fiction and dark fantasy from established and up-and-coming writers.” I have a subscription and really enjoy it.

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