Reading the World - 100 Online Stories

One of my early posts on this blogs was about reading lists and my plan to make a list of (and read) online stories from as many countries as possible. This was inspired by this blogger's project A Year of Reading the World where she read one book from each of the 196 countries in one year.

I recently got as far with this as I think I can. I stopped when I'd collected and read 100 stories, and I thought I'd share.

Below is a list of one hundred different stories from 100 different countries that are available online (for free), written or translated into English. The bias is about a half science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction etc. This reflects my tastes but also what was easiest to find. The gender balance is deliberately 50 male and 50 female authors.

There are many arguments in the definition of "from a country" (country of author's birth, country(s) of birth of author's parents, country where author lives etc.) but I've pretty much gone for self-identification. Where the author says they're from.

There's also some arguments to be had about what is a country. I've used the same list/definition as described here

My definition of story is suspect as some of these are excerpts from books. I haven't dare identify which genre (if any) I think the story belongs to as that's another set of arguments and I'd rather read than argue. Gender was determined by common pronoun use (he or she).

This exercise feels a little bit like stamp collecting but my main aim was to increase the diversity of my reading. The collection was mostly made in a magpie fashion (that one there fits my criteria - I'll grab it) with no time spent looking for the best (whatever that might mean) story or a representative story. I read at least 120 stories and choose 100 to meet the gender balance and excluded any stories I didn't finish. As I read each story I made a short comment in a notebook to keep track of my choices and have included those comments for other's amusement. Don't take the comments too seriously or too literally.

Use this as a resource to explore other works on the same web sites. Hopefully it inspires others to read outside their normal haunts.

Support the authors and the sites publishing these stories. They're a great resource. Many sites have subscriptions or donations. Use them. If you like an authors work seek out their publications and buy them.

Here is a list to the front of the sites where I've linked to more than a couple of stories.

Site Number of stories
WORDS without BORDERS 38
The World SF Blog 10
Weird Fiction Review 4
Clarkesworld 4
Tor 4
Inter Nova 3
Strange Horizons 3

More useful sites

100 Countries - 100 Online Stories

Country Author Gender Title Comment
Afghanistan Zalmay Babakohi M The Idol’s Dust Destruction of the Baniyam Buddha has consequences
Albania Luan Starova M from My Father’s Books We left everything but always took the books
Algeria Leïla Marouane F Is This How Women Grow Up? Escaping patriarchy
Angola Ondjaki M Comrade António and the Cuban Teachers Going to school in a free country
Argentina Hernán Domínguez Nimo M Motor home Alien’s rent a motor home
Armenia Anna Davtyan F Wide Shot Multi generations of unhappy families
Australia Justine Larbalestier F The Cruel Brother Hansel and Gretal grow up and leave the forest
Austria Helmuth W. Mommers M Like a Fly Caught in a Web -or- To Catch Mice Apartment hunter attracts Spam
Bangladesh Anwara Syed Haq F Hands Repairman fixes doll and child
Barbados Karen Lord F The Astronomy Lesson On a planet far away a boy studies astronomy
Belgium Nadine Monfils F The Red Dress Red Riding Hood in Venice
Benin Olympe Bhêly-Quénum M The Night Watchman Household gods deter thieves
Bosnia Saša Stanišić M from “How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone” An engineer comes to the village to build a dam
Botswana Wame Molefhe F from Go Tell the Sun Married to the wrong person
Brazil Joyce Cavalccante F The Man who had a Fish Between his Legs City woman has beach holiday romance
Bulgaria Harry Markov M Cosmic Love Star searching for love
Cameroon Wise Nzikie Ngasa M My Good Old Woman Rich kid rebels against corruption
Canada Doctorow, Cory M Andas Game Bad-ass girl gamer does good
Chile Carlos Franz M Spaniards Lost in America Organizing the burial of a stranger
China Xia, Jia F A Hundred Ghosts Parade Tonight Animatronic ghosts in a theme park
Colombia Gabriel García Márquez M A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings An old angel comes to stay
Congo Wilfried N’Sonde M Flowers in Concrete Police attempt to close down a party
Côte d’Ivoire Edwige-Renée Dro F Love Is Not Found At Bus Stops Love, marriage and visas
Croatia Milena Benini F Dancing Together Under Polarized Skies Bees, aliens and dinosaurs
Cuba Yoss M A Planet for Rent Making hard choices to escape Earth
Czech Republic Cyril Simsa M On the Feast of Stephen The dangers of waking up heroes
Denmark H.H. Løyche M The Good Things in Life Brain control for elite cyclists
Egypt Salwa Bakr F The Rooster’s Egg: A Fable of Ancient Thebes Rooster teaches pharaoh about power of gods
Equatorial Guinea Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel M By Night the Mountain Burns Shortages on an island
Eritrea Haregu Keleta F The Girl Who Carried a Gun Love, marriage amid war
Finland Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen M Where the Trains Turn Trains that escape the rails
France Aliette de Bodard F The Lost Xuyan Bride Private detective beats gangster in alt history California
Gambia Biram Mboob M Harabella Orphan sons against more Chinese colonizers
Georgia Tamta Melashvili F Counting Out Children in war get bad news
Germany Thorsten Küper M Haptic Addictive drug enhanced virtual reality
Greece Aathena Andreadis F Planetfall Colonizing a planet and 1st contact
Grenada Tobias S. Buckell M Toy Planes Another country joins the space race
Guatemala Carol Zardetto F from “With Absolute Passion” Returning to childhood home
Haiti Évelyne Trouillot F Detour Inequality in a traffic jam
Hungary Zoltán László M A Hundred Thousand Armstrongs Third world escapes to Mars
India Shweta Narayan F A Fairy Tale Princess Imaginary princess
Indonesia Shi, Eve F defying gravity and other daily grievances Twins learn a new superpower
Iran Reza Negarestani M The Dust Enforcer Encyclopedia entry for strange deity
Iraq Bakhtiyar Ali M The Beginnings of Ja’far-i-Magholi and Hasan Tofan The art of political assassination
Ireland Kiernan, Caitlín R. F Bus Fare Trading riddles waiting for a bus
Israel Gail Hareven F The Slows Modern versus old fashioned child rearing
Italy Luigi Pirandello M The Jar Mending a broken olive jar
Jamaica Nalo Hopkinson F The Easthound Twins and werewolves
Japan Yukimi Ogawa F Town’s End Hook up service for other people
Jordan Fadi Zaghmout M from “The Amman Bride” The husband’s boyfriend and being effeminate in Cairo
Kazakhstan Ilya Odegov M Old Fazyl’s Advice A child meets her father
Kenya Mwenda Mbatiah M The Wretched of Uhuru Witchcraft vs education in small village
Kuwait Saud Alsanousi M The Bamboo Stalk Forgetting wallet leads to prison
Latvia Tom Crosshill M Fragmentation, or Ten Thousand Goodbyes Virtual reality uploads
Libya Razan Naim Moghrabi F Two Excerpts from Women of the Wind Boat migration to Europe
Malawi Daliso Chaponda M Trees of Bone Hutu vsTutsi in the future
Malaysia Zen Cho F The House of Aunts Aunts and vampires and high school romance in the jungle
Malta Michael Vella M Valletta, City of Guilt Detective and ghost side kick investigate in old Malta
Mexico Silvia Moreno-Garcia F A Puddle of Blood Vampire and street kid
Morocco Abdelilah Hamdouchi M Bled Dry Prostitute and client need to bribe police
Namibia Richard Kunzmann M Lost in Recollection Virtual reality brain interface break down
Nepal Amar Nyaupane M The Latch Wedding night
Netherlands Jetse de Vries M Guidelines for First Contact in Simplified Technical English Manual on how to deal with aliens
New Zealand Elizabeth Knox F A Visit to the House on Terminal Hill Negotiations for a land purchase turn strange
Nigeria Tade Thompson M The Madwoman of Igbobi Hospital Ghost dosen’t scare people into better behavior
Norway Jo Nesbø M MS Hitra A women in every port
Pakistan Usman Malik M The Pauper Prince and The Eucalyptus Jinn A Jinn protects a family
Palestine Ahlam Bisharat F Nom de Guerre: Butterfly Hiding questions away in wallet
Peru Jorge Eduardo Benavides M Distinguishing Marks: None Double identity confusion
Philippines Kristin Mandigma F Excerpt from a Letter by a Social-realist Aswang Marxist vampire rant
Poland Pyotr Kowalczyk M An Orbital Flight With a Small Surprise Tourist in space
Portugal João Barreiros M Silent Night Killing Santa Claus
Republic of Korea Koo Byung-Mo F Wizard Bakery Webmaster for a wizard
Romania Tatiana Niculescu Bran F The Agent Making pastries to sell an apartment
Russian Federation Ekaterina Sedia F Zombie Lenin Student haunted by Lenin
Saudi Arabia Mohammed Hasan Alwan M Mukhtar Young man loses virginity to prostitute
Serbia Zoran Živković M Words Collecting beautiful words
Singapore Joyce Chng F Eagle Feathers An eagle protects the forest
Slovakia Uršuľa Kovalyk F Sea Anemone Old age of a former strip tease dancer
Slovenia Suzana Tratnik F Letters without Envelopes Woman sells her soul to the devil for love but ends up separated by war
Somalia Sofia Samatar F Selkie Stories Are for Losers Daughter runs away to Colorado
South Africa Lauren Beukes F Branded Corporate sponsored highs at pool hall
Spain Sofia Rhei F Bluebeard Possibilities Variations on the door you shouldn’t open
Sri Lanka Vajra Chandrasekera M Pockets Full of Stones Talking to grandfather on a colony ship
Sudan Sabah Babiker Ibraheem Sanhouri F Isolation Alone in a post apocalyptic town
Sweden Karin Tidbeck F Brita’s Holiday Village Ideas growing and partying in an off season resort
Syria Salwa Al Neimi F The Masseuse and Her Adulterous Husband Female client and masseuse swap relationship stories
Taiwan Egoyan Zheng M The Blue Child Romance and jellyfish on a beach
Tanzania Sandra A. Mushi F Shattered Dreams Living with an Aunt
Thailand S.P. Somtow M The Bird Catcher Grandfather’s tale about a serial killer
Tunisia Hassan Nasr M A Feast and The New Mona Lisa The king gets lost on the wrong side of town and Mona Lisa grows old
Turkey Nazli Eray F The Map Lost in a map of relationships
Uganda Glaydah Namukasa F My New Home Going drinking with grandfather
Ukraine Tania Malyarchuk F The Demon of Hunger Retelling Grandmother’s stories of hardship
United Kingdom Jo Walton F Sleeper Virtual personality might start a revolution
United States of America Ursula K. Le Guin F Elementals Whimsical mythical creatures
Venzelua Slavko Zupcic M Requiem Stealing books has consequences
VietNam Kim Thuy F from “Ru” Vietnames immigrants in Quebec
Yemen Wajdi Muhammad Abduh al-Ahdal M Declining Freedom A trip to the market and a grammar lesson
Zimbabwe NoViolet Bulawayo F Blak Power Kids explore an empty house

If you would like an offline epub of these stories for your own use have a look at the grabmybooks add on for Firefox or Chrome. Select the table then use the "Grab Selected Links" from the right click menu and it will download them into an ebook.

Please note any errors you spot in the comments. Also feel free to add links in the comments to a story from any of the 96 countries I've missed.