Online literature.
March 16, 2012 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Your favourite reading material that's available online (for free)?

So, I was scouring the internet for new things to read and started to wonder... well, but what do exactly others read online? What do they love reading about, or what makes them tic while reading?

It doesn't matter if it's original fiction, fan fiction, discussions, debates, news articles, (etc), as long as it's 1) available online with as little hassle as possible (though I will register on websites if that's necessary to access the writing) and 2) free, or at least, only need to pay a token fee for it. I'm not looking for e-books you must pay a hefty price for.

I especially enjoy (fan) fiction, so feel free to recommend your favourites.
posted by Trexsock to Grab Bag (18 answers total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
The Baen Free Library. Tons of stuff of middling-to-excellent quality (SF genre stuff, in general, with a bias towards military scifi.) Warning: There are a number of "Book 1 of a series" books on here, which may end up not being free for you, if you find something you really like.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:54 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

This MetaFilter post on Ted Chiang has links to a bunch of his stories online. There are a few broken links now but most of them still work, although some of them are cached versions that may be of dubious legality. Chiang is one of the best short story writers around today in my opinion though so especially if you haven't read his work before I suggest taking a look at some of them.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:00 AM on March 16, 2012

Longform. " posts new and classic non-fiction articles, curated from across the web..."
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 10:08 AM on March 16, 2012 [4 favorites]

Humournet is a huge, old-school (i.e. hasn't updated since 2001) collection of humor digests.
posted by griphus at 10:10 AM on March 16, 2012

Seconding Longform.
posted by R. Mutt at 10:15 AM on March 16, 2012

WOOL was written as a stand-alone novella and is $1. MetaFilter seems to like it. (If you become enamoured you can buy the entire series for $6.) For totally free books, I have enjoyed Amos Walker: The Complete Story Collection, The Score, and The Penal Colony. (Wool and the Penal Colony are light SciFi, more sort of future worlds; Amos Walker and The Score are detective fiction.)

Otherwise, yeah - Longreads, the New Yorker, Vanity Fair.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:20 AM on March 16, 2012

I download tons of free stuff from Amazon. Some of it is new writers trying to get their work out there, some of it is old stuff that you can get from Gutenburg but I'll snag it because I'm already there, and some of it is promotional. Still, it's what I can afford - Free. It's worth a shot.
posted by patheral at 10:48 AM on March 16, 2012

Project Gutenberg. So many to choose from, here are some of my favorites.
E.E. "Doc" Smith (Lensman Chronicles, Skylark)
Edgar Rice Burroughs (Tarzan, Barsoom)
Just David by Eleanor H. Porter
posted by zinon at 10:49 AM on March 16, 2012

If there's an author you like, or you're curious about, there may well be stories by that author posted by people on their personal websites. I read a handful of things by Haruki Murakami recently by searching for his short story titles, for instance.

Also, if you have a library card, your library probably subscribes to a whole bunch of journals and news archives, which can be fun to search (and can be used online at home). (I get free JSTOR access through the San Francisco Public Library, which includes many literary journals.)

This site is good for poetry.
posted by Bufo_periglenes at 10:54 AM on March 16, 2012

Project Gutenberg is also great for all those classics you've always meant to read. Or to read again if you're so inclined.

Jane Austen, Lewis Carroll, Joseph Conrad, Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, F. Scott Fitzgerald, E. M. Forster, Jack London, W. Somerset Maugham, Edgar Allan Poe, Leo Tolstoy, Jules Verne, and H.G. Wells, to name a few.
posted by zinon at 11:20 AM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Definitely Project Gutenberg. I downloaded their free DVD a couple months back - nearly 30,000 books, all completely free.
posted by Telpethoron at 11:58 AM on March 16, 2012
posted by mudpuppie at 12:20 PM on March 16, 2012

Seconding Longreads.

Also The Browser is a good timekiller of the curated-arts-and-culture variety.
posted by tempythethird at 4:07 PM on March 16, 2012

Archive Of Our Own is a great source for (generally) higher quality fanfiction. Filter by hit-count to reliably get to some of the better stuff.
posted by Gori Girl at 4:19 PM on March 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

Bookforum's Omnivore blog
posted by lalochezia at 9:45 AM on March 17, 2012

Arts and Letters Daily
SI Vault
posted by SisterHavana at 11:08 PM on March 17, 2012

This posted a ways back on Metafilter...Also, I personally like checking out Everything Is Terrible...quite fun and lot of pop culture atrocities (like those flare disco pants or crazy preachers in crappy 80s videos telling you not to play those records backwards, for example...)
posted by snap_dragon at 10:31 AM on March 24, 2012

One of my favorite fandoms is Buffy, and Twisting the Hellmouth is one of the best organized sites out there. It's primarily crossovers.

And user recommendations actually mean something there, as you can only rec 10 stories. Period. Find an 11th you adore? You have to revoke one of your old recs before you can add the new one. Therefore, the Top Fic link can really point to some great stuff. remember to also look at "all" and not just "crossovers", as one of the very best stories is a non-crossover (I Am What I Am).

Top Fic is also filterable by main character and crossover fandom, to allow you to drill down a bit more.
posted by timepiece at 6:11 PM on March 28, 2012

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