Do you ever get a hankering to sink into reading some good fiction but don’t have the time or energy to devote to a whole novel? Lucky for you, there are tons of places where you can read high-quality short stories online—often for very cheap, or even free. Here are the 10 best spots online to read short stories. 

1) American Literature 

If you are looking for some classic short stories to read, American Literature is the way to go. Here you’ll find stories by legendary authors like Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe, and Edith Wharton. The site features various lists that will help you to narrow down your search. There’s even a list of 75 Short Short Stories that will whisk you away on a fictional adventure in less time than it takes to drink a cup of coffee.

Here are some of the short stories you can enjoy on American Literature:

2) Bellevue Literary Review 

Inspired by Bellevue Hospital, Bellevue Literary Review (BLR) is the first literary journal to arise from a medical setting. It publishes “fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that brings together the perspectives of patients, caregivers, family members, students, healthcare professionals, and the general public”. Stories from this journal have won Pushcart Prizes and been recognized by Best American Short Stories and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Here are some of the short stories you can enjoy on BLR’s website:

3) Tor.com 

Since it was founded in 1980, Tor Books has been one of the top publishers of science fiction and fantasy in the industry. Their website is a treasure trove of short fiction by renowned authors. Tor.com features original fiction, book excerpts, reprinted stories, poetry, and comics. You can browse by categories like “Alternate History”, “Space Opera”, and “Urban Fantasy”.

Here are some of the stories you can read on Tor.com:

4) Reedsy 

Every week, Reedsy holds a writing contest where writers compose short stories based on one of the provided prompts. Not only is this great practice for writers and a chance to win some extra cash, but it is a boon to readers as well. Contest entries are posted publicly on Reedsy, which means that every week, there will be thousands of new stories for you to peruse. You can browse by categories like “Fantasy” or “Thriller” and can use the number of likes each story has to help you pick which one to read.

Here are some contest-winning short stories you can read on Reedsy:

5) Lightspeed 

Launched in 2010, Lightspeed is a digital literary magazine that specializes in science fiction and fantasy. The magazine has published authors like Ursula K. Le Guin, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Stephen King. John Joseph Adams, Lightspeed’s editor, has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award eight times and the Hugo Award twelve times.

Here are some of the short stories available to read on Lightspeed’s website:

6) Commaful 

Commaful is an e-library of multimedia stories where you can read short stories, fanfiction, comics, and poetry in the site’s distinctive “picture book” format. Each page of a story is paired with a visual component like a photo or drawing, enhancing your reading experience (particularly for those of us who are particularly visually inclined). This site will expose you to new, exciting talents and bite-sized stories in several genres for you to enjoy.

Here are some of the multimedia stories you can read on Commaful:

7) Guernica 

Guernica is an online magazine centered around the intersection between art and politics. It publishes fiction, poetry, art, and photography from all over the world. It is a highly regarded publication and many of its author’s short stories have gone on to win prestigious prizes and be included in anthologies like Dzanc Books’ Best of the Web.

Here are some short stories available to read on Guernica’s website:

8) Super Short Scary Stories 

If you’re a horror lover who’s running especially short on time, this Reddit community might be the perfect fit for you. Super Short Scary Stories is full of exactly that—tons of short, creepy stories that will give you a thrill and keep you up at night. New stories are posted quite frequently, so you’ll never have to worry about running out of fresh content.

Here are some popular horror stories you can read on this subreddit:

9) American Short Fiction

American Short Fiction was founded back in 1991 and over the past 30 years has garnered a strong reputation for putting out first-rate fiction. The literary magazine won the 2019 Whiting Literary Magazine Prize and has been a two-time finalist for the National Magazine Award for Fiction. Authors published by the magazine include Joyce Carol Oates and Dagoberto Gilb.

Here are some of the Web Exclusive stories you can find on American Short Fiction’s website:

10) Fictionate.Me

Like Commaful, Fictionate.Me will expose you to the work of exciting indie authors you won’t find elsewhere. Being a relatively new site, Fictionate has some of the freshest talent on the online writing scene. The site publishes several genres, but the most popular ones tend to fall under the umbrella of speculative fiction—science fiction, fantasy, horror, etc. A bonus with Fictionate.Me is that you are able to listen to short stories on the go, providing even more time-saving convenience.

Here are some of the Trending short stories you can read on Fictionate.Me:

Author’s Bio:- Jillian Karger was born in Ohio but has lived in and around New York City for over a decade. Since graduating from NYU in 2009, Jillian has had a long string of jobs doing things like scouting books to be adapted for film and researching trivia questions for “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”.

She has done freelance writing as well for sites like Cracked.com and had her Twitter jokes featured on BuzzFeed and funnyordie.com. Jillian has also self-published two novels on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/Jillian-Karger/e/B07B894DNW).

Follow her blog posts about books and writing advice, read books and publish them for free at: https://www.fictionate.me.