A list of online resources
The idea was to rely only on digital options, since going to my local and awesome library is out of question. I also started to engage with audio books more, and realized how much I had miss this connection with stories through the spoken words of a storyteller.
I have compiled here the resources I have found and come back to regularly. First, you’ll find options to read free science fiction and fantasy stories in French. Second, options to read those in English. Keep in mind that this is by no means an exhaustive list, more like my personal playlist.
Free science fiction and fantasy stories in French
1. La République du Centaure
La République du Centaure was the first resource to come to mind when I started my online journey. This magazine has published on its website an amazing amount of short stories by québécois authors such as Esther Rochon, Luc Dagenais, Joël Champetier, Élisabeth Vonarburg and many others. You can read the stories directly on the website, or you can download them in pdf and epub formats.
The online bookstore Emaginaire is currently listing over 150 stories for free. You’ll find, among others, works by Pierre Bordage, Joëlle Wintrebert, Ayerdhal, Viriginia Woolf, Jeanne-A Debats, and Stephen King. If you have a stronger appetite, they have sales going on pretty much all the time, so options are almost endless.
3. Comptoir e-Dantès
The Comptoir e-Dantès launched a cool project to keep your reader full during the confinement. They send stories (books and audio books) directly to your inbox for around ten days. Just enter your email address on their website and you’ll start getting the emails every day. Science fiction and fantasy publishers such as L’Atalante, Bragelonne, and Milady are participating.
4. Au Diable Vauvert
The publisher Au Diable Vauvert has launched a “Confinement and survival” operation and is offering 30 ebooks until May 3rd. You’ll find Ayerdhal, Paolo Bacigalupi, and Pierre Bordage in the list.
5. Damien Snyers
My friend and colleague Damien Snyers (La Stratégie des As) started to share a few weeks ago some of his stories for free. There are currently four and you can download them in epub, mobi, and pdf formats. Those will still be available after the confinement: it is a long-term project.
Audible has a collection of free audio books in French, such as Harry Potter à l’école des sorciers, De la Terre à la Lune, and Le Portrait de Dorian Gray.
Although the Utopod podcast stopped streaming a few years ago, you can still find it online and the list of featured authors is long: Xavier Mauméjean, Joël Champetier, Sylvie Lainé, Catherine Dufour, Lionel Davoust, Élisabeth Vonarburg…
8. Le Furet du Nord
Finally, Le Furet du nord is giving away 200 ebooks for free, among which you’ll find titles by Manon Bousquet, Eoin Colfer, and George R.R. Martin.
Free science fiction and fantasy stories in English
1. LeVar Burton
The English-speaking world is blessed with LeVar Burton’s soothing presence and lifelong storytelling endeavor. This amazing artist not only has an extraordinary podcast, LeVar Burton Reads, on which he has read the stories of Ken Liu, N. K. Jemisin, Ted Chiang, and Kelly Link, but he is also reading live, three times a week, on his Twitter account during the confinement. Neil Gaiman has given him license to read any of his stories.
Audible has a collection of free audio books in English just as it does in French. You’ll find Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, but also Brave New World, Frankenstein, and many fairy tales from all around the world.
3. Welcome to Night Vale
The Welcome to Night Vale podcast always has me laughing out loud. It is an exceptional piece of storytelling. Welcome to this uncanny town in the middle of nowhere, where a lot of strange events occur, including the arrival of a mighty glow cloud.
4. Reedsy Discovery
Reedsy is originally a platform that connects authors, who are looking for professional help, with editors. Their Reedsy Discovery project is a place for indie authors to share their work, which you can read and review.
5. Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg has giant bookshelves dedicated to science fiction and fantasy. H.G. Wells, Jules Vernes, and Clifford D. Simak are among the authors you’ll find there.
Finally, Pottermore has started a Harry Potter at Home hub where you can read articles about the Wizarding World, discover your Hogwarts House, and play games. Plus, J.K. Rowling has announced an open license for teachers who want to read the seven Harry Potter books to their students. More information here.
If you have other resources in mind, please do share them by commenting on this post, so that everybody can enjoy them!