This issue is twice the size of normal.

Partly because it’s my birthday and I can do what I want.

Partly because I was overwhelmed by such wonderful submissions.

Partly because this is a super crucial genre and has been for millennia.

But mostly because fan fiction is rad as hell.

Twelve authors, twelve micro stories spanning from a 12th century chess set to last year’s indie hit Into the Breach.

This issue is a testament to the deep personal understandings and critical capacities of fan-created media. It’s also a celebration of robust enthusiasm, ceaseless inquiries, a desire to explore the gaps left by original creators, an alternative way of critically interrogating media.

Fan fiction is a laboratory, playground, artist studio, and meeting hall.

We test and experiment with how characters and settings interact. We frappe properties. We debate how characters would and should interact. We ask hard questions and pull on threads left hanging by original narratives. We throw things at the wall and use elements in ways unintended or anticipated.

We break canon.

We make something better.

We play, we learn, we play some more. ◒