I read A LOT of wonderful short fiction this past year, so I want to share a list of my favorites.
Some of these of were published in anthologies that are available for purchase, others are free to read online. I will link to as many as possible! I'll also add my one sentence description of each story.
In no particular order, here are my favorite speculative stories read in 2021:
"With the Nectar Comes the Sting"
By Jennifer Hudak
A shifting POV between mother and daughter tells a very unexpected superhero origin story.
Published January 25, 2021 in Apparition Lit, free to read online here:
"What the Humans Call Heartache"
By Jiksun Cheung
A drone takes a detour from her regular path.
Published April 26, 2021 by Arsenika, free to read online here:
By J. Nelson Jr.
Some very, very, very old friends meet up... once again.
Published July 27, 2021 in Alphanumeric from Zoetic Press, free to read online here:
"The Robots of Eden"
By Anil Menon
A family in the future deals easily with life's troubles in this story I wanted to read again and again.
Published March 12, 2019 in New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color,
link to buy the anthology here: Bookshop paperback
By Sarah L. Hawthorn
A slow-burn creepy tale about a college student consumed with caring for a houseplant.
Published August 19, 2021 in GROWTH: A Speculative Young Adult Collection from TL;DR Press,
By Jennifer Lee Rossman
A teen in a solarpunk future avoids her homework and follows her crush to a protest.
Published in Fall 2021: Issue 1 by HyphenPunk, free to read online here:
By Jared Millet
A captain tries to keep her sanity and her memories to complete her vital mission through space.
Published September 17, 2021 in Issue 125 of Apex Magazine, free to read online here:
By Rich Larson
Time jump through a future with creative solutions to some of society's biggest problems.
Published September 14, 2021 in Fix's Climate Fiction contest from Grist, free to read here:
"The Catcher in the Eye"
By Ai Jiang
A girl who sees ghosts through only her right eye tries to keep it closed until... she doesn't.
Published in November 2021 in Issue 78 of The Dark Magazine, free to read online here:
By Christopher R. Muscato
When ships are damaged and stranded in space, one young woman proposes an unconventional solution.
Published on December 20, 2021 in Optopia Zine, free to read inside Issue 4 here:
I encourage you to not only read these stories, but also purchase or donate to the magazines and presses that have published such great work!