Can you recommend a short fiction journal?
April 8, 2009 8:30 AM   Subscribe

Looking for short fiction journals.

I am looking for recommendations for good short fiction journals/magazines. They can be monthly, bimonthly, quarterly, or whatever. Preferably more often than yearly. I enjoy short fiction but don't get nearly enough of it. I don't like having to go to the store and pick out an anthology at random. I want an expert to pick out some really good pieces and send them to me on a semi-regular basis.

I am thinking of starting with McSweeny's. Can anyone recommend for/against it?

This would be bedtime reading or airplane reading.

I am male, 31. Authors whose short fiction I like include Ted Chiang, David Foster Wallace, Richard Wilbur and Isaac Bashevis Singer. I am open to any and all suggestions, whether they carry nothing but homespun American tales or fantastic tales from another galaxy.

Please don't recommend The New Yorker. It bores me.
posted by charlesv to Writing & Language (11 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Try Narrative Magazine. It might be less boring than the New Yorker.
posted by Ginkgo at 8:40 AM on April 8, 2009

check this out.

Also . . I really like McSweeney's, but sort of feel like their content has started to repeat itself. Lots of good stuff in the archives though.
posted by nameless.k at 8:42 AM on April 8, 2009

I enjoy Zoetrope: All-Story. They typically publish pretty high-quality stories from better-known writers, although I've found that every once in a while they publish a crappy piece from a big name.
posted by penchant at 8:58 AM on April 8, 2009

Tin House, out of Portland, is a great journal (one of the first to publish D.F. Wallace fiction). The Iowa Review is pretty great as well.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:02 AM on April 8, 2009

One Story is great. Like its title suggests, it publishes one short story at a time and theyre very well selected.
posted by minicloud at 9:05 AM on April 8, 2009

McSweeney's is great, both in online and in print. I'd recommend either one quite highly - and if you're just starting out you can go with The Better of McSweeney's which is sort of a greatest hits. Good stuff.
posted by bookwo3107 at 9:35 AM on April 8, 2009

If you're open to sci-fi, try Asimovs. You can view some issues online for a small fee (I think a dollar?). If you like a journal, I'd recommend getting a subscription--print journals need all the support they can get these days, and they often don't get nearly as much (if any?) income from bookstore sales.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:22 AM on April 8, 2009

Yes, One Story is indeed great.

I also like American Short Fiction, which doesn't have all that poetry and stuff in it, like a lot of others have. And I can find it at the local Borders.
posted by booth at 11:00 AM on April 8, 2009

I found The First Line at one of my local indie bookstores the other day; I really like the premise.
posted by mollymayhem at 2:26 PM on April 8, 2009

FWIW, Narrative is online-only (no print version), so it may be less good for bedtime/airplane reading, unless you've got a Kindle or somesuch.

Nthing One Story (full disclosure--I'm a One Story author, so I may be biased) but the stories they choose are always different and stand alone well, and the format is perfect for tucking into a bag or even a pocket while traveling.

There are TONS of literary magazines out there, but some of the old standbys that you might like are:
The Virginia Quarterly Review
AGNI (published out of Boston University, for "weirder," more experimental work)
Tin House (as suggested above)
Glimmer Train

Most of the above are widely available even at larger chain bookstores like Barnes & Noble. A few also put some content online, so you can try before you buy.

Also, can I say how refreshing it is to hear someone say "I enjoy short fiction"? You rock.
posted by Ms. Informed at 7:56 AM on April 9, 2009

I'm totally with you on The New Yorker's fiction.* The Paris Review and The American Scholar were both nominated for National Magazine Awards in the Fiction category this year, FWIW—both are highly-regarded publications, but I have to admit I've never read the fiction in either.

ObOffer: Mention the Metafilter discount if you call to order VQR and we'll give you a discounted rate. ...because I've been reading MeFi longer than I've been reading VQR. :)

* This doesn't represent my employer's perspective on The New Yorker. In fact, the story I called out in that blog entry just got nominated for a National Magazine Award.
posted by waldo at 12:16 PM on April 9, 2009

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