The Observable Characteristics of Organisms

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In the zoo we accomplish many things. The animals are always fed and locked in their cages. Habitats are hosed down well and visitors have a decent view, even though the animals sit completely still most of the time. My daughter has a low tolerance for such things. She is four and has a low […]

Inside the Issue: “Annie Radcliffe, You Are Loved” Playlist


One of our favorite short stories in the world right now happens to be Barrett Swanson’s “Annie Radcliffe, You Are Loved,” published in our newest issue of American Short Fiction. Narrated from the perspective of three characters who are strangers to each other–a drug-addled PhD student in Applied Semiotics, a God-fearing boy watching his atheist father die of cancer, and a chubby high schooler […]

ASF Alumni: Laura van den Berg


Laura van den Berg has published three short stories in American Short Fiction. In November, her second collection of stories, the scintillating The Isle of Youth, will be released by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The book has elicited raves in advance of its publication. Kirkus Review calls The Isle of Youth “mesmerizing.” Publishers Weekly says, “If ever there was a writer going places, it’s Laura van den Berg.” […]

Scary Stories 101


Here at American Short Fiction, we’re split down the middle regarding our feelings for Halloween. Some of us want to get into costume, but just as many want to go into hiding. Thankfully, one thing we can all agree on is that we enjoy a good horror story. Below, in alphabetical order, are our staff’s […]

Online Fiction: Interview with Hannah Pass


This month, we’re bringing you a story about an astrological forecaster whose television ratings are falling. Hannah Pass’s “Nova” is a world of glitz, glitter, fiber-optic star charts and unsavory old men, a place where networks air shows on adolescent bartending and on hypnotherapy for insomniacs. But at its heart, “Nova” is a story about […]



I am the woman in your television having a great time. Behind me, the starry night projected onto green screen. I point to Ursa Major, Andromeda, make my way towards Mercury, until finally I announce the zodiacs for the day. But numbers are down, ratings low. We have been worrying about this for months. Now […]

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