From amateur short stories to award-winning literature from famous authors, you can read some stellar science fiction online without paying a cent.
We all want to know what will happen tomorrow and how technology will change our future. Some of us can imagine and write about it better than others. From space travel to aliens, science fiction stories provide inspiration and imagination like nothing else. And the best part is there are a wealth of websites to read them.
1. Daily Science Fiction (Web): Huge Collection of Science-Fiction Short Stories and Series
As the name suggests, Daily Science Fiction publishes a piece of original science-fiction literature every week. Some are self-contained short stories, while some are chapters from more extended series. You can also subscribe to DSF to have the story emailed to you.
The website has been around for a long time and thus has built up a healthy bank of sci-fi reading material. Featured Story tries to spotlight one of these, but you can also view all recent stories chronologically. Or you can use “Transporter” to take you to a random story (but we suggest filtering by top-rated stories only if you’re new to the site).
DSF also sorts stories based on categories such as Aliens, Biotech, Clones, Future Society, Space Travel, Robots, Time Travel, Virtual Reality and Superheroes. The website accepts not just science fiction, but fantasy stories as well, so you get those categories as well. Scroll to the end of the categories to find some popular series by some DSF authors.
Like other such websites, DSF will also take submissions by new authors. You will find the story submission process on their website.
2. Free SF Online (web): Read famous sci-fi authors online for free
Fans of science fiction are familiar with such famous authors as Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clark, or Stephen Baxter. But you probably haven’t heard of Richard Sissy. Still, Sissy is a sci-fi fan’s best friend, given stellar work on his blog Free Speculative Fiction Online (FSFO).
Cissée collects links to science fiction and fantasy stories available for free on the website. He meticulously seeks out legal and copyright-free content, and has created a directory of carefully labeled stories that feature both well-known authors and amateurs. You will find that some of the best science fiction books for geeks are legally available for free online.
You can click on a name to search or browse the author list and see all of their online work that Cissée has found, helpfully curated in one page. In all likelihood, this is the most comprehensive list you can find.
FSFO starts you off with a random story (with details of any awards it won or was nominated for). Cissée also includes links to reviews for each story so you don’t feel like it’s being biased or just putting your picks online. Every month a new batch of stories are added to the website. It’s a remarkable effort that will delight any science-fiction fan.
3. Escape Pod (Web): Best Sci-Fi Podcast with Original and Classic Stories
Founded in 2005, Escape Pod is one of the longest running story podcasts with addicting stories from science fiction. Each story is narrated as audio per episode, but you can also read the full text of the story if you prefer.
Every week, the Escape Pod features a new story written by someone, especially for a podcast, that gives you regular original work. The podcast staff includes Hugo and Nebula Award nominees, who ensure they maintain a high level of quality. Sometimes, instead of an origin story, Escape Pod reviews sci-fi classics by renowned authors, giving it a whole new dimension with their expertise in sound.
Past episodes are a bit challenging to navigate the site, but you can use the Escape Pod wikia for easier browsing. The editors recommend a page for new listeners to start with some of their best episodes. You can revisit his most popular stories via the Flashback Friday series. The podcast is free, with no payment tier to unlock full episodes.
If you’re interested in writing or narrating an episode for Escape Pod, check the submission guidelines. Note that writer and narrator are usually two separate, specialized roles, so you may not be telling your own story.
4. Uncanny Magazine (Web): Best Online Science Fiction Magazine
Are you really a science-fiction geek if you don’t read Supernatural magazine? Over the past five years, it has become arguably the best online science fiction magazine, winning numerous awards for its published stories. And you can access it completely free.