Saturday, August 9, 2008

Tracking free fiction (Part 1 of 3): Online original fiction publishers

This partly grew out of my need to bring some sanity into my feed reader. I'm now subscribed to hundreds of feeds - most of which I simply ignore. Idea is to consistently track at least some topics of interest. Part 2 will deal deals with online publishers of reprints (including classics); part 3 will add free fiction link aggregators & commentators.

This machine-driven feed generates a notification whenever a new piece appears from any of the tracked publishers of original sf (mostly short fiction; tracked publishers' list below). When a publisher syndicates the entire story (as several do), feed will deliver the whole story (of course) - thus removing the need to download too.

Feed carries a style sheet - so even putting its URL into browser window should display something readable in most modern browsers. At least it does in my Firefox 3. For the uninitiated, here is a primer on feeds.

A couple of caveats:
  1. Because of sampling delays, a new fiction notification here can lag the actual publication by an hour or more.
  2. I only track publishers who not only supply a feed, but mark relevant posts in the feed in a machine-friendly way (a consistent label in title, a consistent category or tag, sometimes even a feed specific to new fiction). There is a second long list of publishers below that I wanted to track but don't because they don't supply this data.
If you know a publisher I don't track & should, let me know (via comments or private message); but the publisher should have a machine usable feed. If one of the ignored publishers has an unadvertised feed I can use, please let me know. Thank you.

Alphabetical list of publishers tracked.

Caution: This list does not incorporate changes made by 2 November 2008 update, as well as by later updates. I'll integrate them when I get some time. Here is the complete list of all updates to original free fiction bot.
  1. 365 Tomorrows - a new flash fiction sf piece everyday. Beginning 5 October 2008, these stories are marked "[scifi]".
  2. Aberrant Dreams - fiction & poetry. Feed is too unstructured. New issue announcements, apparently at unpredictable times.
  3. Afterburn SF. I pick up all stories, but label them in title as appropriate - scifi, fantasy, or horror. Last updated 15 September 2008. I also pick up new issue notification from SF Scope.
  4. Antipodean SF: Only flash fiction. I pick up stories from their own site, & new issues notifications from their site, SF Scope, & rasfa newsgroup. Scanning 3 places for new issue announcements because each appears to be unreliable. rasfa newsgroup tracking added during the week ending 20 September 2008.
  5. Apex Digest. I pick up new issue notifications from SF Scope.
  6. Arcane Twilight: "Science fiction & fantasy webzine". Gone indefinitely dormant after "September 2008" issue. My watch is for the very unlikely event it gets revived.

    This feed picks up new issue announcements. Added 12 October 2008.
  7. A Softer World comic strip: Unspecified frequency that varies from a couple of days to a fortnight. And multiple series among them. [via Tor]
  8. Barry Napier's "Blood Routes" - Horror novel from "Graveside Tales", being serialized at its own site. Added 28 September 2008.
  9. Beneath Ceaseless Skies magazine: Debuted this week. Specialize in "literary adventure fantasy." 'It could also be called "modern traditional fantasy" or "literary swords and sorcery."' "two stories per issue, with a new issue every two weeks... We will also release selected stories as audio podcasts every month."

    I'm picking up new issue announcements. Added 12 October 2008.
  10. Ben Rawluk's "Wildcat": No schedule, but frequent fiction posts on this site by Ben under one of the creative commons licenses. [via Futurismic]. Added 19 October 2008.
  11. Behind the Wainscot/Farrago's Wainscot magazine: I watch for their new issue announcements on SF Scope as well as from the their own twin sites. SF Scope watch added on 26 August 2008; own site watch added 5 October 2008. 19 October 2008: Now individual stories also picked up from "Behind the Wainscot" magazine feed, when available.
  12. Black Gate - no feed. I can sometimes catch it because SF Scope advertises new issues.
  13. Burst Fiction - scifi in flash fiction size.
  14. Byzarium magazine - quarterly publication. I pick up stories marked science fiction & flash fiction. Added this watch on 26 August 2008. all stories & issue announcements except those marked "bad-fic" (one "bad-fic" story I read to understand the meaning of the term was very close to porn). But I also put tags in heading to identify story type - scifi, fantasy, horror, slipstream, ... Last updated 15 September 2008.
  15. ChiZine aka Chiaroscuro magazine: Fiction, poetry, reviews, columns, ... While they don't have feed, I can sometimes pick up the new issue announcements via SF Scope. Added 12 October 2008. 19 October 2008: New issue announcements are now marked "[maybe horror]". I think it's a horror magazine, but I've not read anything from here - so not sure.
  16. Clarkesworld: Their feed is actually very unstructured. I try my best to cut everything but fiction, but something or the other keeps slipping through. Fixed 10 August 2008 thanks to Neil Clarke of Clarkesworld. I also watch for their new issue announcements at SF Scope.
  17. Clive Birnie's "Five Minute Fiction": Occasional flash fiction, no set schedule. [via Futurismic]. Added 12 October 2008.
  18. Concept Sci-fi - feed too unstructured new issue announcements. About once a month, I think.
  19. COSMOS Magazine: Actually I've a feeling that what they put online is a reprint of something already published. For the moment, I'll leave it here; might later move to reprints feed.
  20. "Ctrl+Alt+Del": Online comic. [via ComixMix]. Added 19 October 2008.
  21. Daikaijuzine - a quarterly genre magazine - "science fiction, fantasy, horror, and even mainstream fiction if it tickles our fancy." 'Instead of quarterly "issues", Daikaijuzine will have quarterly "releases", numbered appropriately and with appropriate codewords. The first release is Release 1.0 (Godzilla). In addition, we’ll be updating the site with monthly release patches featuring reviews, classic stories, and other content. Our major releases will come out on the solstices and equinoxes: September 21, December 21, and so on.' [via QuasarDragon]. Added 5 October 2008.

    Because I only pick up content posted during last 3 days at watched site, their content won't be picked up by feed till next issue. But their site has the last issue - a fortnight old.

    I pick up both new issue notifications, & stories. But for the moment, the only reliable content picked up is actual stories marked Fantasy or Horror. Identifying other things involves heuristics that might fail.
  22. DragonZine: "The longest-running ezine on the Internet offers hundreds of free fantasy short stories". Running "24 years, ... short stories set in a shared fantasy world." "Written by aspiring collaborative fiction authors". "original medieval fantasy stories ... set in a common milieu ... founded in 1985 as a way for aspiring fantasy writers on the Internet to meet and improve their craft through mutual contact and collaboration as well as feedback from a representative readership via the Internet."

    New issues a bit less frequent than quarterly, but on no fixed schedule. Most recent issue is dated "August 23, 2008", & won't be caught by my feed because of 3 day rule. Next issue due November & later ones should be caught.

    [via QuasarDragon]. Added 12 October 2008.
  23. Every Day Fiction - "Every day, ... a new short story of 1000 words or fewer". Added 15 September 2008.
  24. Expanded Horizons: New webzine - "to increase diversity in the field of speculative fiction, both in the authors who contribute and in the perspectives presented.". Mix of reprints & original stories. [via SF Scope]. Added 19 October 2008.

    I'm currently watching for new issue announcements via SF Scope. Magazine editor assures me next issue announcement on will be in a form my feed can pick up.
  25. Fantasy Magazine: Added 2 September 2008. Their stories are labeled "[fantasy]" in my feed.
  26. Flash Fiction Online.
  27. Flurb magazine: Apparently unspecified frequency, but features some well known authors. Since they don't have a feed, I pick up new issue announcements via SF Scope.
  28. FreakAngels: Weekly "ongoing comic" from Avatar Press. New "episode" every Friday. "written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Paul Duffield". Their posts are marked "[comic] [serial] " in my feed. [via BlueTyson]. Added 19 October 2008.
  29. Futurismic - original fiction once a month.
  30. Gareth D Jones - Flash fiction on some Fridays. [via Futurismic]. Added 28 September 2008.
  31. Gareth L Powell's Friday Flash Fiction. New story usually once a fortnight. [via Futurismic] Added 5 October 2008.
  32. Girl Genius Online Comics - "Adventure, romance, mad science". New piece alternate week days. Added 15 September 2008.
  33. Greg O'Byrne's Friday Flash Fiction. Unpredictable schedule, but usually at least one story a month. [via Futurismic]. Added 5 October 2008.
  34. Heliotrope Magazine.
  35. Hub Magazine.
  36. Jayme Lynn Blaschke's weekly serial fiction "Memory" at No Fear of the Future: "a literary experiment ... to attempt a weekly serial ... a story with no idea as to where it would end up... a week to produce each installment, roughly a thousand words in length... It may turn out to be a short story ... or it could be a novel. Most likely somewhere in between." [via Futurismic]. Added 28 September 2008.
  37. Jeff Parish's "Jennings Grove" - Horror novel being serialized at "Graveside Tales". Added 28 September 2008.
  38. Jim Owens & Carlo N Samson's (apparently a serialized novel) The Kethrios Cycle: A shared-world multi-part story set on "the planet called Kethrios, a world where magic is prevalent and humans are dominant. But many mysteries lurk in the unknown places, and an unseen force looms over all!" Story begins here.

    Last post was on "July 28, 2008", & posts were regular till then - so it may be dormant. Watch placed so any future posts will be caught. Added 12 October 2008.
  39. Kevin Sweeney & Nathaniel Lambert's "Sideshow PI" - Horror novel from "Graveside Tales", being serialized at its own site. Nearing end now. Added September 2008.
  40. Lilith Saintcrow's serialized novel "Selene". "New chapters ... every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday... contains adult material." I'm not sure if it is new or reprint; for the moment, keeping in this feed. [via SF Signal]. Added 28 September 2008. Added "[18+]" marker on 5 October 2008.
  41. Lone Star Stories - ss + poetry. I'm not able to filter out poetry.
  42. MechMuse Audio Magazine: Currently dormant, but placed on watch list in the unlikely case it revives. I don't know the frequency when it lived.

    Stories are ad-supported ".m4a" audio files (podcasts). Apparently horror stories - but I'm not sure. "serialized novels, short stories, columns and interviews in audio format."

    Feed will up individual audio stories - whenever (& if) a next issue appears. Added 12 October 2008.
  43. Neil Beynon's Friday Flash Fiction.
  44. Oddlands Magazine - science fiction & fantasy. September 2008 is the last issue.
  45. Pantechnicon - Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror magazine. "new fiction every quarter". I pick up all stories, labeled in my feed based on source classifications: short stories as scifi, fantasy, horror, or slipstream; plus unclassified flash fiction. Added 4 September 2008.
  46. Paul McAuley's serialized novel "The Quiet War": A chapter "Every Monday and Friday until its publication on October 16". I suppose that is October 16 2009? [via Futurismic]. 19 October 2008: Moved to reprints feed , its correct location.
  47. Paul Raven's Vecro City Tourist Board. Flash fiction. Currently dormant. Used to be a bit less than 1 story a month. Added 5 October 2008.
  48. Phred Serenissima's Flash Fiction Fridays - Stories posted most Fridays. [via Futurismic] Added 5 October 2008.
  49. Plot Medics' Friday Flash feature: New flash fiction every Friday. Alternate weeks by Sarah Ellender & Gaie Sebold. [via Futurismic]. Added 28 September 2008.
  50. Polu Texni: "A magazine of many arts". "about mixed-media arts and speculative or weird fiction... in the intersection where different media, styles, crafts, and genres meet to create something more interesting than what they would be alone." I pick up both new issue announcements & specific stories. Their debut issue appeared this week.
  51. Reflection's Edge magazine: Specializing in 'marginalized fiction - genre fiction which many "literary magazines" do not accept (i.e., sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery, the supernatural, westerns, adventure, magical realism, erotica [not pornography], fables - non-mainstream fiction).' 'published on a monthly basis, excepting the December/January and June/July issues.' [via QuasarDragon]. Added 5 October 2008.

    I pick up only new issue announcements. And this month, they seem to have forgotten making the announcement at LiveJournal - so it hasn't appeared in my feed (though the new issue is up). But they usually put the announcement - so future issues will hopefully be caught!
  52. RevolutionSF - No more than 1 story a month. Appears at unpredictable dates. Began watching it on 28 August 2008.
  53. Sarah Ennals' "Does Not Equal" weekly webcomic at Futurismic. Added 12 October 2008.
  54. Serendipity: "Magical Rrealistic Fiction"; I guess that would make it fantasy. I pick up their new issue announcements via SF Scope; they don't have a feed.
  55. SFX: Occasional short fiction. Added 4 September 2008.
  56. Shaun CG - Friday Flash Fiction. Irregular - may be once a month. [via Gareth D Jones]. Added 5 October 2008.
  57. SpaceWesterns - feed too unstructured a new short story most weeks. 19 Oct 2008: Their stories now marked "[maybe reprint]". Since I cannot distinguish its original & reprint content, & there are just too many reprints here. Probably the right place will be my miscellaneous feed - that's part 3 of Tracking Free Fiction series. But that feed is yet to debut; so, for now, it stays here with a qualifier.
  58. Subterranean magazine - their stories appear at unspecified frequency, but several times during a quarter.
  59. Tales of Zombie War: "Zombie Apocalypse Fiction", may or may not be fan fiction. I've a feeling they sometimes mix reprints with originals - not sure how to separate. For the moment, keeping all in originals feed. Posts aren't really infrequent - may be weekly - but on an unpredictable schedule.

    Site carries words of caution: "Stories on this site may contain mature language and situations, and may be inappropriate for readers under the age of 18." I mark their stories in feed with "[18+, zombie]" prefix in title.
  60. The Bearded Lady: Flash fiction & poetry of Georgina Bruce. I pick up only flash fiction. Added 19 October 2008.

    It's more of a fantasy thing; may be will mark as such in feed after reading a few stories. Only story I've read so far was clearly fantasy.
  61. The Daily Cabal - New flash fiction "every Monday through Friday". Added 29 August 2008.
  62. The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine: "Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and Other Genres". Short fiction (probably original) in audio form, with Subterranean's model. New "issue" every quarter, but "issue" keeps getting filled with one story or article at a time through the quarter. Specific stories sometimes come in 2 version - with or without introduction; I include both. [via Cynthia Ward]. Added 12 October 2008.
  63. The Edge of Propinquity - a webzine publishing "a series of short stories from four different authors in four different universes exploring the world that lurks just beneath the surface of everyday life. It is the world of the unexplained, supernatural, magic, horror, duty, responsibility, black humor, conspiracy, unknown heritage and power." New stories "on the 15th of every month." 5 stories per issue (1 by a guest author). [via SF Scope]. Added 5 October 2008.

    I'm picking up new issue announcements.
  64. The Future Fire magazine: "Speculative. Cyberpunk. Dark." Monthly. I'm picking up new issue announcements. [via QuasarDragon]. Added 12 October 2008.
  65. The Scientific Indian - currently dormant.
  66. Tom Dell Aringa's "Marooned: A Weekly Sci-Fi Webcomic" - man + AI on Mars. [via Marooned: Science Fiction books on Mars] (added 15 September 2008). Also see Tom's interview about the strip at Palace in the Sky Publishing [via Marooned: Science Fiction books on Mars] (added 29 September 2008). 19 October 2008: These posts are now labeled "[serial]". It's a single continuing story, & understanding a specific strip sometimes needs context.
  67. Tor: Occasional short original fiction, plus a comic strip series titled "A Softer World" started 17 September 2008. 5 October 2008: Now new comic strips are automatically & correctly labeled as they appear. Short stories are also always correctly marked.
  68. Twisted Tongue Magazine - New issue announcements. Currently dormant. Realized dormant status after adding watch - oops! Added 15 September 2008.
  69. Wayfarer's Journal - currently dormant. "science fiction with a" Christianity-based "spiritual dimension"; not exactly my kind of fiction. I think it used to be quarterly. I catch new issue announcements, & mark them with "[scifi, Christian]" so the uninterested or ignorant in Christianity can skip it.
  70. Weird Tales - has some online fiction, but I don't know how to extract it from feed. Fixed 10 August 2008 thanks to Neil Clarke of Clarkesworld. But I'm now getting a feeling these are probably reprints of stories already published in paid version of their magazine. Will look closely later, & move to reprints feed if necessary.
  71. Wind Tunnel Dreams: from their own site & their series at Scheherazade in Blue Jeans - flash fiction & short stories. Later site via QuasarDragon. Added 15 September 2008.
  72. XKCD: "a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, & language." About 2 comic strips a week - each independent rather than part of a series. [via SF Signal]. Added 5 October 2008.
  73. Zeashan Haider Zaidi's serialized novel "Taboot" (in Hindi): "A humorous science fiction serial". Added 28 September 2008. Moved to reprints feed on 5 October 2008 because the author clarifies (in Hindi) it's a reprint.

Alphabetical list of publishers ignored.

  1. Abyss & Apex Magazine of Speculative Fiction - no feed.
  2. AlienSkin Magazine - no feed.
  3. Allegory - SF, fantasy, horror. No feed.
  4. Aphelion - Science fiction & fantasy. No feed.
  5. AtomJack - fiction, poetry, reviews. Feed is too unstructured.
  6. Bewildering Stories - lot of departments - novels, novellas, ss, essays, columns, ... No feed.
  7. Coyote Wild Magazine - Speculative fiction, poetry, essays, ... No feed.
  8. Darker Matter - science fiction. Has a feed that is no longer interesting because the magazine is now closed (though archives are online).
  9. Darwin's Evolutions - no feed. Actually the editor does have a blog with a feed, but it appears to be mostly about why issue #2 is getting delayed etc. May be it's still too early in magazine's life.
  10. Demolition Magazine: "where literary fiction & pulp fiction fight to the death." No feed. This may be the debut issue; there are no archives at the site - only "Summer 2008" issue. [via Observations from the Balcony]. Added 19 October 2008.
  11. Electric Spec - scifi, fantasy, & the macabre. No feed.
  12. Estronomicon - scifi, fantasy, horror. No feed.
  13. Future Earth Magazine: New magazine debuting this week. Each issue a downloadable PDF. No feed. Includes fiction, among other things. [via Futurismic]. Added 19 October 2008.
  14. h+: New quarterly online magazine. May not have fiction; I'm not sure. No feed. "h+" stands for "Humanity+" - about post-human science. [via Boing Boing]. Added 19 October 2008.
  15. Horror World: Some fiction. No feed.
  16. Ideomancer Speculative Fiction - no feed.
  17. Quantum Muse - no feed.
  18. Shadowed Realms - "Dark flash fiction". No feed. [via Nostalgia for Infinity]. Added this entry here on 5 October 2008.
  19. Spacesuits & Sixguns Magazine. No feed. And very bad site design. Need to mouse all over entry page to find a place to click. Then a badly formatted page that has links to some stories.
  20. Strange Horizons - no feed that includes fiction.
  21. Terra Incognita magazine: Waiting for next issue to appear so I can correctly add watch code. Current issue announcement has vanished from their feed. Added 5 October 2008.
  22. The Future Fire - no feed.
  23. Trabuco Road - Literary speculative fiction. No feed.
  24. Transmitter Magazine - no feed.
  25. Well Told Tales: "an original audio short story in the horror, sci-fi or crime/hardboiled genre every other Thursday." They have a feed, but feed generator is buggy - cannot even send feed to browser or feedburner. Added 19 October 2008.
Credits: I first learned of several of the sites above from Futurismic's blogroll.


Anonymous said...

"Their feed is actually very unstructured. I try my best to cut everything but fiction, but something or the other keeps slipping through." in regards to Clarkesworld

Drop me an email at books(at) and let me know the specifics of what you tried and what still came through. I'm sure we can work this out for you.

Anonymous said...

Try this:

Weird Tales has one:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Neil: Clarkesworld is now correctly handled.

Weird Tales also added.

And I now catch Clarkesworld new issues announcements off SF Scope too - as backup.