Interested in traveling back in time and across dimensions? Good, because I’ve got a collection of steampunk short fiction to transport you to other worlds. The steam and clockwork-powered robots in these stories range from evil to enchanting, from sentient beings to human-piloted machines of mass destruction. The one thing they all have in common is being highly entertaining.
The Mark V Eleganté by Nelson Stanley
The Mark V Eleganté is a fantastic audio short over at Gallery of Curiosities. It’s set around an insanely dangerous race of massive steampunk contraptions where the only rule is that anything goes, and stuff gets smashed up worse than when the Hulk comes to town. The main character has a memorable voice, and the narrator fits him so perfectly that I can’t imagine anyone else reading it. The story manages to be both super fun and really tragic at the same time, and you should definitely give it a listen.
You know the feeling of finishing a good book? You loved it but end up depressed that it’s over, longing to spend more time with the characters.
If I did my job right, that’s the feeling you got at the end of The Ghost Machine. And do I have good news for you.
The Braden Banshee, a short story set after the end of The Ghost Machine, is available for free in the latest issues of Mirror Dance Fantasy Magazine. You can read the whole thing online here.
The basic premise is that Ella, working as a spirit medium after everything that happened in The Ghost Machine, is hired not to do a seance but to banish a banshee to prevent the death its wail foretells. There are plot twists, steampunk machinery, and ghosts, of course. I hope those of you who liked The Ghost Machine will enjoy another gothic adventure with Ella Rosenfeld. Continue reading Free Short Story: The Braden Banshee
There they stand, surrounded by nothing but forest, pristine as the day they were built. No sign remains of any other structure around them, no ruins of long forgotten buildings. They look… wrong. They feel wrong. Bad things happen if you get too close. Horrible things.
You must never, ever ever talk about them.
Thirty-four of today’s best up and coming writers provide wonderfully unique interpretations inspired by the urban legends of the Internet age. Tales range from science fiction to fantasy, horror to mystery, and one writer even penned a romance!
But you must never tell anyone about the stairs!
Last year, I came across a call for short story submissions about stairs in the woods, the urban legend of creepy stairs standing alone in the middle of a forest. Inspiration struck, and I wrote a story about Ella and Viktor from The Ghost Machine. Set after the events of the novel, it features a mysterious staircase that’s the center of ghostly happenings, and–well, you’ll just have to read it to find out. 😉 Continue reading Announcing the Secret Stairs Anthology
It’s that time again: time for another edition of the best superhero short fiction from around the web. Here are four free short stories to kick off your week with (and if you like these, catch up on my first and second lists).
La Gorda and the City of Silver
Written by Sabrina Vourvoulias and narrated by Sandra Espinoza, La Gorda and the City of Silver is a brilliant story about luchador vigilantes in Guatemala. Though it ventures into some dark territory, it’s heart-warming and uplifting overall, and there’s a lot of humor in the main character’s voice. You can read it at Podcastle, but I recommend listening to the audio version in the podcast on the same page, because the narrator is absolutely perfect. This is one of those stories that stayed with me after finishing it, so I whole-heartedly recommend giving it a try.
Last Stand for Lucifer’s Legion
Last Stand for Lucifer’s Legion by D.K. Latta is about superheroes in WWII and feels like it was ripped straight from an old pulp magazine. I liked the mix of American and Canadian superheroes on the team, and overall, it’s just a good action/adventure story. Fans of golden age comics should definitely check it out at Crimson Streets.
Lazarus and the Amazing Kid Phoenix
This story by Jennifer Giesbrecht features people getting superpowers after near-death experiences (or after dying and coming back, depending on your interpretation). It’s well-written and poignant, and the POV is so excellent that you can hear the main character talking even if you don’t listen to the audio version. It’s not a feel-good story, though, and it left me with a melancholy feeling at the end. But it does this really cool thing interspacing comic scripts between the main story and addresses a lot of deep questions and themes. You can find it in Issue 86 of Apex Magazine.
When the Devil Drives
Written by Melinda Snodgrass (and edited by George R. R. Martin of Game of Thrones fame), When the Devil Drives is set in the Wild Cards universe, which means it automatically has amazing world-building and a wealth of cool concepts to play with. A mystery where the protagonist has to clear his own name when he’s suspected of murder, it stars a morally gray main character who stays likable through his dry humor and relationship with his family. The whole thing can be read at Tor.com.
Fight Crime! (A Love Story) is over. Looking back, the first post is dated June 28, 2016, which feels like forever ago. Now that it’s finished, I find myself with a gap in my blog schedule and no idea what to fill it with. So help me out, super readers, especially those of you who signed up to get these posts by email. What do you want to read on this blog? I’ve thrown out some ideas I’ve been considering below, but if you have another request, feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear what you think.
Fight Crime! (A Love Story) is taking a break between episodes this week, but that doesn’t matter, because you’re reading Almost Invincible, right? 😉 For you voracious readers who finished the novel already and need more superhero stories to consume, here’s a selection of free superhero short fiction from around the web.
Author Jenn Gott wrote a list of recommended superhero novels that inspired her while she was writing The Private Life of Jane Maxwell. The titles are definitely worth checking out—as is her debut superhero novel.
The Halloween-themed anthology Witch or Treat has a short story by Joynell Schultz, The Supernatural Life of a Superhero Wife, which ties in to the world of her upcoming novel, The Secret Lives of Superhero Wives. You can grab another of her short stories, The Stellar Life of a Superhero Wife, for free by signing up for the author’s mailing list on Instafreebie.
Intuitive Writing Guide recently posted an article titled Genre 101: Superhero, summarizing superhero fiction as a genre. Do you agree with the classification and list of common tropes?
Ravenclaw Book Geek wrote a review of Vicious by V.E. Schwab, which isn’t a new release but one of those acclaimed superhero novels that I can’t believe I haven’t read yet.
Blots of Ink & Words has an interview with April Daniels, author of Dreadnought and Sovereign. There’s also a giveaway that you have two more days to enter to win copies of the books.
Big congratulations to Martin Von Cannon, who has been posting superhero short stories to his website for two years as of yesterday. Here’s to another two years and beyond!
Any news I missed? What superhero fiction are you currently reading? Let me know in the comments!
Hey, guys! My free superhero web serial Fight Crime (A Love Story) is taking a break between episodes this week, but I don’t want to leave you without reading material. Here are four excellent superhero short stories to brighten your Monday.
Falling by Susan Jane Bigelow
This short story is set in Bigelow’s Extrahuman Union universe, but you don’t need to read the other books in the series to enjoy it. Instead of following the superhero, this story is from the point of view of the cool old lady who nurses the injured hero back to health and inspires him to get back in the fight. The futuristic and slightly dystopian setting hints at an awesomely bigger narrative, but this self-contained short story will leave you entertained and inspired. You can read it at the Book Smugglers.
Doctor was a Madman, Family Man by Paul Blonsky
This is a very short, very funny story written in the style of an obituary for a supervillain. It’ll take less than five minutes of your time and will leave you laughing. Check it out at Daily Science Fiction.
The Terrible by John Wiswell
I tweeted about The Terrible a few months ago, but if you haven’t read it yet, it’s a great, punchy little story about a supervillain who learns his nemesis was never quite at his mercy like things appeared. There’s a fantastic twist at the beginning, lots of hilarious dialogue, and a wonderfully uplifting ending. Read it at Flash Fiction Online.
The Ways Out by Sam J. Miller
This is another one I mentioned on Twitter. It’s a moving story about a crapsack world where people with superpowers are second-class citizens closely monitored by the government. It has a fantastically creative format, presented as surveillance clips summarized by the agent spying on two superpowered subjects. I won’t spoil the twist at the end, but it’s great, and there’s a beautiful theme of resistance throughout the story. You can find it at Clarkesworld Magazine.
I’m very happy to announce that my short story, “How Lady Nightmare Stole Captain Alpha’s Girlfriend” is the featured story in Issue 29 of Luna Station Quarterly. It was just released today, and you can read the full thing right here.
Lady Nightmare made a short cameo in Villainous, so if you’ve ever been curious about her, check this story out. It’s a fun little tale of action and romance, and I might have snuck in a deeper theme or two. The basic premise is a damsel-in-distress falling for the villainess who kidnapped her, and complications when a superhero comes to the “rescue.”
If you’re even remotely interested in science fiction and fantasy, I’d highly recommend you take a look at the other stories in the issue here. “How Lady Nightmare Stole Captain Alpha’s Girlfriend” is in very good company, and you’re looking at hours of free entertainment (or days if you go through all of Luna Station Quarterly’s back issues). Also, check out that cover. Isn’t it the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?