These days, fantasy novels tend to be sprawling multi-book affairs that take ages to complete. Even if you do have the time to delve into one of these series, it sometimes takes years for an author to get around to writing the next book that continues the story. Thankfully, there are still short story collections for those who love the fantasy genre, but lack the time to become immersed in some of the newer novels. Even better, many of these collections are available completely free in ebook format. Here are just four short story collections that can give you your fantasy fix for free.
by Lord Dunsany
Anyone who enjoys the stories by H. P. Lovecraft, Ursula K. Le Guin and even J. R. R. Tolkien should definitely read The Gods of Pegana by Lord Dunsany. It was first published in 1905 and the work by this Irish fantasy writer is considered by many to have influenced the work of the other authors mentioned. Dunsany invented an entire pantheon of unique deities and the short stories in this collection are all linked by them. Those who enjoy the short stories contained in this collection will also be delighted to hear that Dunsay followed it up with Time and the Gods, The Sword of Welleran and Other Stories, as well as A Dreamer’s Tales.
by Brander Matthews
With titles such as “The Kinetoscope of Time,” “The Rival Ghosts” and “Sixteen Years Without A Birthday” you know you are in for some interesting tales with this compilation by Brander Matthews. While these stories stand out, most of the tales collected in this compilation feature a lot of imagination. Interestingly enough, Matthews was better known for his non-fiction writing and this collection of short stories was actually one of his attempts at fiction. However, as strange as some of the tales were, many people still considered his style closer to fact than fiction, something which he addresses rather wryly at the end of this book.
by Frank R. Stockton
The stories included in The Bee-Man of Orn and Other Fanciful Tales are skewed mostly towards younger readers, but that doesn’t mean that they cannot be enjoyed by adults too. It was first published in 1887, which makes it one of the older fantasy short story collections in the public domain, but it has held up well. Unlike many authors of his time, Stockton isn’t afraid to include a few happy endings in his tales and he is also good at weaving humor into his writing. In addition to “The Bee-Man of Orn,” this compilation also includes “The Banished King,” “The Queen’s Museum,” “The Battle of the Third Cousins,” and five other tales.
by Jean Ingelow
Wonder-Box Tales by Jean Ingelow was published in 1902 and while it only contains five stories, it is still a great read for the young and the young at heart. Older readers might find the book a little heavy-handed when it comes to the morals of the tales. Ingelow was definitely influenced by authors such as George MacDonald and Lewis Carroll, but her own work also shows a lot of imagination.