Fiction River is an original anthology series. Initially, based on the anthology series of old—Universe, Orbit, Pulphouse—Fiction River rapidly evolved into its own entity. Fiction River publishes stories in many genres from all kinds of writers, with New York Times bestselling authors published alongside some of the best new voices in fiction. Fiction River also goes where no anthology series has gone before, with regular audio editions, produced in-house, and ebook and trade paperback volumes that never go out of print. And Fiction River is available in English worldwide.

Tavern Tales by Fiction River

Think you know a tavern tale when you hear one? Think again. The seventeen stories in this volume run the gamut of genre and mood. Bars filled with glitter and ghosts stand alongside taverns filled with orcs and adventurers. Exclusive members-only drinks served at the end of the universe war with coffee bars with strange employee policies in the Pacific Northwest. Dive bars, afterlife bars, gay bars—you name it, and you'll find it in Tavern Tales. So, grab a drink and get ready for one of the most entertaining Fiction River volumes yet.

"...remarkable tales..."
—Astro Guyz on Fiction River: Alchemy & Steam

Table of Contents
"Quest for Beer" by Stefon Mears
"Closing the Big Bang" by Michèle Laframboise
"Hero #8" by Ron Collins
"Girls That Glitter" by Dayle A. Dermatis
"The Kids Keep Coming" by David H. Hendrickson
"One Last Round at Cozy's Tavern" by Lisa Silverthorne
"Wider Horizons" by Diana Benedict
"Grounds for Dismissal" by Anthea Sharp
"The Next Dance" by Jamie Ferguson
"Schrodinger's Bar" by Kim May
"The Gods Are Out Inn" by M. L. Buchman
"The First Ingredient" by Eric Kent Edstrom
"The Legend of Long-Bow and Short-Staff" by Brenda Carre
"Freedom Unbound" by Dory Crowe
"Killing Spree" by Brigid Collins
"The Hot Eagle Roadhouse" by Chuck Heintzelman


An orc walked into a bar…along with every other kind of fantastic creature you can think of. There are standard tavern tales in here and tales set in the kind of taverns you can only wish you'd find somewhere in the world. Everything from secondary world fantasy to our world off on an edge. There's no social distancing in this anthology, which makes it perfect right there. So while you're stuck at home, imagine yourself in one of these places, and have the time of your life. – Kristine Kathryn Rusch



  • "[Fiction River]is one of the best and most exciting publications in the field today. Check out an issue and see why I say that."

    – Keith West, Adventures Fantastic



Drink Up
Kristine Kathryn Rusch

When I sit down to read, I make sure I have a cup of nice hot tea on a nearby end table. Since this volume hits print in the middle of winter, I would normally recommend that you get something warm as well.

But for this volume, you will want a cup of your favorite poison.

Wait! Let me rephrase. Because this is an anthology of fiction, and you might take me literally.

I mean, find a libation—an alcoholic libation—of your choice, and settle in. Because we're taking you drinking, figuratively speaking, so you probably want to enjoy a drink literally as well.

Editor Kerrie L. Hughes and the stellar writers of Fiction River have found every kind of bar in the universe—and I mean in the universe. Some bars are at the end of that universe (see Michèle Laframboise's "Closing the Big Bang") and others are in their own universe (Brigid Collins' "Killing Spree" and Stefon Mears' "Quest for Beer," just to name two).

Other stories take place in our universe. Some are suspenseful (Ron Collins' "Hero #8") and others funny (Eric Edstrom's "The First Ingredient"). Some even cross between universes (Lisa Silverthorne's "One Last Round at Cozy's Tavern" and Chuck Heintzelman's "The Hot Eagle Roadhouse").

But they all have something in common besides the drinks, the bars, the patrons. All of these stories are strong and different, and just a little unexpected.

Of course, you never find what you expect in a volume of Fiction River. Other publications cater to expectations. We cater to the adventurous reader. We know you folks can handle whatever we bring you, as long as the stories are superb, as all of these are.

We're doing something else unexpected this volume. Because Kerrie doesn't like writing the introductions to each story, I'm taking on the task. I'll be signing each with a little KKR at the bottom so you remember that the "I" in the introductions is me, and not Kerrie.

If you want to know why Kerrie chose the stories she did, take a look at her introduction.

Got that drink yet? No? Well, this is a strictly serve-yourself establishment. Go fetch that beverage, find a comfy chair, and settle in.

You're about to go bar-hopping without leaving your room—and how often can you say that?


—Kristine Kathryn Rusch
September 12, 2016
Lincoln City, Oregon