What You’ll Find in Zahir Tales

Zahir is a tri-annual print and online journal dedicated to publishing the best in speculative fiction by both new and established writers. Each issue features an eclectic mix of literary fantasy, science fiction, magical realism, and stories that are not so easily classified. Our emphasis is on great storytelling and polished prose with a fantastic slant. We proudly publish work by prize winning and established writers, but are happiest when we can introduce authors for the first time.


Issue 9 includes stories by Peter Higgins, Nicole Kornher-Stace, Margarita Engle, Craig DeLancey, Abigail Padgett, Michael Humfrey, Aaron de Long, and Matt Demo.

What is a Zahir?

The Zahir was a short science fiction fantasy first published in 1949 by Argentinian writer and poet, Jorge Luis Borges, originally named El Zahir in Spanish. What exactly is the Zahir? The Zahir is an object or a person that has the ability to gain complete control over anyone who looks upon it, to the point of absolute obsession. First beginning in the affected person’s sleep and gradually taking over, the obsession grows until perception of reality fades and all of their attention is given to the Zahir.


The story begins with Borges, playing himself, who receives the Zahir in the form of a coin found in his change he was given after paying for a drink. Suddenly, Borges thoughts are consumed completely by this coin, and his reality begins to slip away as all he can think about is the coin. To remedy himself from his sudden obsession, he attempts to rid himself of the coin by using it to buy another drink in an anonymous pub. Unfortunately, Borges new found obsession keeps his waking and dreaming thoughts constantly on the coin.

After realizing he had been completely consumed by his thoughts about the coin, Borges attempts to cure himself, beginning with searching for the very cause of his obsession.Eventually, he finds the book that can explain his ailment. In Islamic folklore, the Zahir, which dates back to the 17th century, is an object or a person which, once it has been gazed at, even from afar, has the power to trap anyone into obsession. As the obsession grows, the affected person’s reality begins diminishing, as their life becomes consumed with the Zahir and nothing else matters.


As Borges loses his reality, he begins wondering if falling into madness, where he knows not how to perceive external reality around him, is a terrible thing. After all, if his consciousness is not able to perceive external reality, as his reality shifts to his Zahir, the coin, how could he know he has become mad? The Zahir has become simply unforgettable.

To read The Zahir written by Jorge Luis Borges in its entirety, you can read it here.

Keep Updated on Up and Coming News

Keep up to date on all of the interesting News happening at Zahir Tales. We will keep all our readers and contributors updated on up and coming writing contests, we will announce when our favorite authors have new stories that we know our avid readers would surely appreciate reading and enjoy, and we will notify our readers of any other worthy announcements.

Fiction Online at Zahir Tales


While the original publication of Zahir Tales has strictly been print journal, we have been offering more stories for our readers’ pleasure online. This gives our readers more stories (and what’s better than the opportunity to read more stories?)!

Check out some of these great works that have are available for your reading pleasure currently:

  • Little Star by Daniel Brugioni: Mary, at 84 years old, moves from her home in Indiana to the Florida Keys to find solace and peace in the remainder of her life. Since the death of her husband nearly thirty years earlier, Mary has lived a lonely and isolated life. But there’s something magical and whimsical about the new place she is in. Her pains, brought about by old age, begin to fade. She falls asleep at night with ease. And then her late husband begins visiting her at night in her dreams. This sweet and magical short story will pull at your heart and leave readers with a smile on their face.
  • Saying Goodbye to Yang by Alexander Weinstein: Can humans and robots create meaningful relationships with one another? In this futuristic fantasy created by Alexander Weinstein, humans and robots live out their everyday lives together. While sitting at the breakfast table  one morning, Jim and Kyra’s “Big Brother,” Yang begins malfunctioning out of control. Yang became an addition to their household after adopting their daughter, Mika, from China to aid in keeping Mika connection to her cultural heritage. This heartwarming tale will bring readers close to Jim and understand the complex relationships that can occur between humans and robots.

We are always excited to introduce new stories and authors. Check out all the exciting works of Fiction online.

Providing More Than Just Fiction

Like what you’ve read or seen in Zahir Tales? Great writers can be an amazing resource for other writers, whether they are aspiring or professional. Learning about the lives, techniques, or inspirations of other writers can prove to be an invaluable resource to writers, which is why Zahir Tales creates the opportunity to get connection. Check out the Resources available through Zahir Tales and get connected and inspired!

Video (Worry)
Video (Confidence)
Video (Success)
Video (Esteem)
Video (Optimism)
Video (Thoughts)
Video (Subconscious)
Video (Secret)
Video (Affirmations)
Video (Development Plan)
Video (Procrastination)
Video (Ego)
Video (Girlfriend)
Video (Passion)
Video (Goalsetting)
Video (Positivity)
Video (Attitude)
Video (Yourself)
Video (women)
Video (Squirting)
Video (Stress)
Video (Self-Control)
Video (Relationships)
Video (Coaching)
Video (Attraction)
Video (Willpower)
Video (Purpose)
Video (Friends)
Video (Time)
Video (Thinking)
Video (Millionaire)
Video (Stress)
Video (Habits)

Interested in Reading More Zahir Tales?

You don’t have to have been a previous subscriber to get back copies of previous issues. Check out Back Issues of Zahir Tales to see what authors and stories have been contributed previously. You can order your copy of Zahir Tales now, or, better yet, become a new subscriber and enjoy a whole year of unforgettable tales! To get more information about a subscription to Zahir Tales, to inquire further about back issues and how you can order one, or to get in contact with us for any general inquires, please feel free to Contact Us.

In the meantime, you can read excerpts from the most current issue of Zahir Tales.

Turning Point
by Karin Gastreich
Issue 17, Fall/Winter 2008
by James W. Morris
Issue 15, Spring 2008
The Kingdom of Grey
by Davin Ireland
Issue 13, Summer 2007
How the Swan Queen Celebrated Mother’s Day
by Kiel Stuart
Issue 11, Winter 2006
The Original Word for Rain
by Peter Higgins
Issue 9, Spring 2006
The Birthday Rooms
by William Alexander
Issue 7, Summer 2005
by Brian Longbotham
Issue 6, Spring 2005
Next Sunday at the Bazaar
by David Evans Katz
Issue 4, Summer 2004
A Maid on the Shore
by Sonya Taaffe
Issue 3, Spring 2004

Three Zahir writers receive honorable mentions in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horrormore