All the Fiction: The Joys of RSS and Free Short Stories

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I recently went through my digital footprint as part of my prep for officially becoming Asha. This included setting up myriad new accounts and, most importantly, going through my RSS feed. I love RSS as it allows me to digest lots of information without having to go to three dozen internet sites. I got talking about the angle and short fiction the other week and the top of the month means a new injection of short fiction, in the form of updated websites and ebooks to put on my iPad.

I can’t afford to subscribe to ebooks of every magazine (right now it’s Lightspeed, DSF and Uncanny) but I try to also read BCS, Clarkesworld, ApexShimmer and a number of other websites as they update their slew of free fiction through the month. The websites, to encourage people to subscribe, unlock the entire—or most of it—over a calendar month and I enjoy reading online (plus I can easily add beloved stories to my specialise bookmark folder). But, for my commute, I prefer the ebook offerings for layout and ease of readability.

My RSS feed practically hums on the first day of each month as a row of entries pops up. Sometimes it’s the titles which intrigue me, other times it’s an author I love, art that makes me go ‘wow cool’ or a reprint that I never got to purchase due to licensing/publishing restrictions or in an anthology I couldn’t get ahold of.

Short fiction also works well with my mental state; it’s much easier to escape into short fiction than it is a novel. I like the ‘piece of cake’ like feel to short stories, easily devoured in one sitting with the promise of another slice on my journey home. Oh and, half way through the month, another half-cake arrives ready for me to enjoy.

It’s a good way to read around, plus if it helps me figure out my market, then I’m all for it.

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