Fun + Lifestyle

When You Have Time—Short Stories for Sci-Fi Lovers


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  • The heavy reading required by law school and working as a lawyer can sap your love of reading
  • Short stories are a great way to enjoy reading without committing to the hours required to complete a novel
  • Stories by masters like Octavia E. Butler and Kim Stanley Robinson are heaven for sci-fi lovers

Now, we know that years of law school followed by constantly being drowned in briefs and contracts and reams of other documents can all but kill a person’s love of reading.

Not to mention, who has the time? But even the lawyer life can’t keep a fiction lover down, so why not read (or listen to) a short story when you can grab some time to yourself? Commuting to and from work, while eating lunch, or during your morning jog—there are plenty of opportunities to read if you’re just trying to get through a snippet of a story rather than a 500-page novel.

Here, we provide a few suggestions for the science fiction lovers among the legally inclined. All these short story collections are available through Kindle and/or Audible as well as in physical form.

Bloodchild and Other Stories, by Octavia E. Butler

If you’re not familiar with the late Octavia E. Butler, who knows how can you consider yourself a sci-fi fan—or maybe you just haven’t been properly introduced to her yet. Get a taste of her unique brand of sci-fi from Bloodchild and Other Stories, which contains Hugo and Nebula Award-winning work from a one of modern sci-fi’s masters. This collection is a particular treat, since Butler primarily wrote novels. The story Bloodchild features a distant planet where human children spend their lives preparing to become hosts for the offspring of an alien race, while Speech Sounds imagines a near future in which humans must adapt after an apocalyptic event leaves them unable to speak; these are just two of the imaginative worlds Butler takes readers to.

The Wind’s Twelve Quarters, by Ursula K. Le Guin

The recipient of numerous literary awards (The Kafka Award, the National Book Award, etc.), Ursula K. Le Guin is renowned for her literary brand of speculative fiction. Le Guin’s focus ranges from scientific, fantasy, medieval, and futuristic concepts. She explores the human condition and how people navigate relationships and survival in all these settings. There are also the author’s introductory notes for each story, which give the reader a bit of insight into Le Guin’s process. Whether writing about time travel in April in Paris or cloning in Nine Lives, Le Guin is not only a master of the literary turn of phrase but an excellent world builder.

The Martians, Kim Stanley Robinson

Kim Stanley Robinson’s short story collection is set in the same universe as his Mars Trilogy, which was written first. This is an especially good read for those who are interested in Robinson’s brand of detailed, hard sci-fi but don’t have time to get through his usually thick books. He is a master at using science to tell stories about life, love, and work, and is particularly adept at a well-researched style of world building.

A People’s Future of the United States, edited by Victor LaValle

Edited by Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams, this collection includes both dystopian and utopian visions of the future. You’ll recognize the names of well-regarded authors such as N. K. Jemisin, Daniel José Older, and Tananarive Due. These stories make you think, make you laugh, make you angry, and entertain you—and they’re just super well written.

Happy reading!