Top ten online sci-fi magazines

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Enjoy reading short speculative fiction? Here’s the latest list of the world’s top English-language magazines, ranked by popularity. I’m including science fiction, fantasy, and horror magazines in this list.

Reading magazines is a great way to find new authors and help support the speculative fiction community. Many of science fiction’s top writers started out writing short stories

I’ve also listed each magazine’s Patreon page if I know it so that you can support these magazines more directly. You know, with money.

I used ranking data from SimilarWeb for the traffic numbers. Those numbers fluctuate quite a bit month-to-month and aren’t the same as Google Analytics pageviews. SimilarWeb says they count visits differently than other companies, in such a way as to have consistent measurements between different websites. Plus, their numbers don’t include print copies. Many magazines, especially the older ones, still primarily distribute offline. So take these rankings with a big grain of salt. And if you’re a visitor from the future, please note that they have almost definitely changed since we published this article.

Am I missing anyone? Please email me at [email protected] and I’ll add them to this list!

1. Clarkesworld

According to today’s SimilarWeb report, Clarkesworld gets more than 160,000 visits a month. Visit their website for free stories, non-fiction pieces, and their audio podcast features all of their fiction in audio form. You can also buy print editions of the magazine and of their annual anthologies. These guys have won all the awards. They are the gold standard of online sci-fi magazines. They’ve been in the news lately because of their stand on AI-generated fiction and art — they’re against it — so if you want to support real, human writers and artists, this is the place to go. If you want to help them out, check out their Patreon, which has more than 1,000 contributors.

2. MetaStellar

That’s us. Can you believe it? We launched less than three years ago and are run fully by volunteers. But, according to SimilarWeb, we’re already seeing more than 120,000 visits a month. We publish original fiction — our submissions windows are in the spring and the fall — as well as reprints, excerpts, essays, reviews, and lots more. We’ve published nearly 400 short stories since we launched, and hundreds of other articles, including our popular Free Friday reviews of top free books and Writing Advice of the Week series. Oh, and we also have a Patreon page, with all donations being used to pay for original fiction. Nothing goes to overhead. It all goes to the writers. Our first anthology is also available for purchase and our second one is due out this summer.

3. Strange Horizons

According to today’s SimilarWeb report, Strange Horizons gets more than 100,000 visits a month, and has a Patreon page, as well. Visit their website to read full stories and listen to their podcast. It’s a gorgeous website. And they’re an official non-profit, so if you’re in the United States, your contribution is tax-deductible. Their goal is to support the widest possible range of new voices and perspectives, to provide content free of charge, and not depend on advertisers or corporate interests. And they’re also fully volunteer-run, so all your contributions go to pay for original fiction or artwork.

4. Lightspeed

According to today’s SimilarWeb report, Lightspeed gets nearly 90,000 visits a month. Visit the website to read full texts of stories and listen to their podcast. You can also buy past issues of the magazine. They also have an option where you can subscribe and get a digital magazine delivered to your Kindle app every month — and PDF and ePUB versions are also available. These guys also publish Fantasy Magazine, which gets over 38,000 visits a month, and Nightmare Magazine, which gets more than 33,000 visits a month. Their Patreon page supports all three magazines.

5. Asimov’s

According to today’s SimilarWeb report, Asimov’s gets more than 70,000 visits a month. Why so far down in the rankings, given the fact that this is probably the best-known science fiction magazine on the planet? It’s because they don’t have much available online. They only publish excerpts of short stories, though they do have the full texts of poetry, editorials and commentary. Mostly, the website is a place to buy physical or digital copies of the magazine.

6. Uncanny

According to today’s SimilarWeb report, Uncanny also gets more than 70,000 visits a month — but you can read full stories online. You can also buy merch, order digital copies of the magazine, and listen to the podcast. And you can support them on Patreon. They publish a handful of original stories a month, plus poetry, non-fiction, and interviews.

7. Apex Magazine

According to today’s SimilarWeb report, Apex Magazine gets more than 65,000 visits a month. Visit their website to read original short stories, listen to the podcast, buy issues of the magazine, and pick up cool merch. You can also support them on Patreon.

8. Analog

According to today’s SimilarWeb report, Analog gets more than 32,000 visits a month. This is another classic magazine — these guys have been around since 1930 — and are owned by the same folks who own Asimov’s.  And, like with Asimov’s, you can only read fiction excerpts on the website. It’s all about the print edition here. And the prestige.

9. The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

I don’t know what’s going on with these guys. According to today’s SimilarWeb report, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction gets more than 31,000 visits a month,  but the website hasn’t been updated since 2021 and many of the internal links are broken. If you’re looking for more recent news, you’re better off checking their Facebook page. They are still publishing, though, and you can buy new issues on Weightless Books in various digital formats. You just can’t read anything online, as far as I can tell.

10. Pseudopod

According to today’s SimilarWeb report, Pseudopod gets just over 30,000 visits a month. Visit their site to read short stories and listen to audio version of the stories on their podcast, which is billed as the world’s first audio horror magazine. Their podcast is pretty popular — Castbox says they’ve got more than 2,000 subscribers and over 177,000 plays. They also have a very well-subscribed Patreon.

Other magazines

Looking for more speculative fiction reading? The following websites get fewer visitors than the top ten listed above, but are still very much worth investigating.

MetaStellar editor and publisher Maria Korolov is a science fiction novelist, writing stories set in a future virtual world. And, during the day, she is an award-winning freelance technology journalist who covers artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and enterprise virtual reality. See her Amazon author page here and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, and check out her latest videos on the Maria Korolov YouTube channel. Email her at [email protected]. She is also the editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business, one of the top global sites covering virtual reality.