As another year comes to a close I look back on it with the pleasure of knowing I’m 25,000 words into writing an occult detective novel that I really like, but also with the knowledge I could and should have written more. I knocked out a few short stories on the side, but I only managed to sell one, “The Money Changer”, to The Weird and Whatnot. Of course just because I didn’t publish much doesn’t mean others didn’t produce a ton of great stories. Keeping in mind that my taste runs toward horror and darker/grittier sci-fi and urban fantasy, here is my list of the best free speculative short stories published in 2019. Grab a beverage, find a comfortable seat, click the free links and enjoy.
Published just a few weeks ago on Tor.com, author Garth Nix’s Stalin-era tale of a Russian assassin forced to go on a strange mission does a great job of building suspense.
Wren Wallis shares a tale that’s equal parts Moby Dick and Pirates of the Caribbean in the November issue of Mithila Review.
All three stories (and narrated recordings) available in PseudoPod 668 are fun, but my favorite is the second one on the page by Lora Gray. It’s my kind of creepy.
The Autumn 2019 issue of Kaleidotrope includes this dark fairy tale written by Rebecca Mix that tells of a young girl abandoned in the swamp only to find a strange new family to call her own.
Megan Arkenberg’s ghost story takes some interesting twists and turns. It was published in the August 2019 issue of Dark Magazine.
Filip Wiltgren’s short sci-fi tale of love and loss was published in July 2019 by Daily Science Fiction.
I’m cheating a bit since this wonderful piece by Seanan McGuire was first published on her Patreon site in 2016, but to my knowledge, the first time it was offered for free was in the July 2019 issue of Nightmare Magazine.
PseudoPod published some great short horror this year. This tale of a grisly plane crash investigation was included in Pod 655 and was written by Vivian Shaw.
Author Cadwell Turnbull tells the story of a father and daughter trying to survive a post-apocalypse world in the March 2019 issue of Nightmare Magazine.
This tale of a subterranean menace in London was written by Sara Saab and published in the February 2019 issue of Dark Magazine.
If you enjoyed these tales, you might want to check out the host of websites I reviewed when I made this list. I bet you’ll find even more to enjoy.