With this introductory post, we're venturing into new territory on the web: a site devoted to short stories and other kinds of short content scaled for listening or reading in anywhere from ten minutes to an hour. That's not to say you can't find audio short stories on the net, but they tend to be submerged in venues in which the audiobook is the star attraction, unheralded siblings in a very large family, forced to sit at the child's table beneath the shadows of the grown-ups. We'd like to turn that equation around. Here the short story is on display, in the spotlight, and though you may find a novella or two in the mix, we're more focused on the kinds of works that are well suited to those times when you want to relax and spend half an hour or so in another world, with memorable characters, diverse settings, and thoughtful ideas to spark your imagination or inspire your own creativity.
We also plan to cater to our own tastes in genres of particular interest, in the belief that by sharing our own passions we'll reach those with similar passions and interests. Speculative fiction—from dystopias to space operas—will be a focus. Mysteries, fantasies, brooding works of horror (with a notable lack of chainsaws and dismemberings), and imaginative fiction that doesn't quite fit into a single category—all of these will have a prominent seat at the table (yes, the adult's table). We'll also seek out and produce the lost gems of prior eras, from the public domain, and bring them new life with audio narration. And, we also plan to create alliances with other like-minded sites that focus on certain specific genres. More news on that front to come. . .
As a kid, I immersed myself in the speculative works of the masters of that era: Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Silverberg, Theodore Sturgeon, Samuel R. Delany, Fredric Brown, Fritz Leiber, Kurt Vonnegut, and others (it's a long list—it was a fertile, productive era). Today, we have many unique, tremendous talents at work carrying on the tradition: Neil Gaiman, Neal Stephenson, China Miéville, Richard K. Morgan, T. Coraghessan Boyle, David Mitchell, Audrey Niffenegger, William Gibson, and Margaret Atwood, to name a few. Plan on hearing a few audio interviews with writers willing to share a story or two.
The site, as you can see, is in its infancy, but, if you love short fiction, expect to be intrigued and entertained in the weeks and months to come. In the meantime, enjoy any of the free audio stories that have been posted.
"Science fiction is the most important literature in the history of the world, because it's the history of ideas, the history of our civilization birthing itself. ...Science fiction is central to everything we've ever done, and people who make fun of science fiction writers don't know what they're talking about."
- Ray Bradbury