New story! "Fanfiction for a Grimdark Universe" in Translunar Travelers Lounge
(Note: updated on 3/07/2021)
"Fanfiction for a Grimdark Universe" is my latest story, now out at the wonderful Translunar Travelers Lounge. This story is about exactly what the title says, and it came about in early 2020 when I was spending too much time on the fanfiction site, Archive of Our Own. As I read fanfics in the early days of our global pandemic, I thought about how the grimmest, darkest of media have the fluffiest, cutest, softest of fanfics. I thought of how we consume and process dark stories. Of how some fans rewrite endings and scenarios, placing their beloved characters into more lighthearted worlds, while others lean into the darkness.
As I wrote this story, it also became about other things. About stories in general, about we look to stories to tell the meaning of our lives, of how we find inspiration—and perhaps even courage--in stories. A reader, the writer Rajiv Mote, on Twitter actually describes my story more eloquently than I ever could. As he says in the first tweet of his Twitter thread, it's "about a character who finds fanfics of himself and those in his story, allowing him to envision other possibilities. It's the kind of story-about stories I've ADORED forever." (link to his full Twitter thread here.)
Kind reviews and responses have come in from other readers, too, including LadyBusiness who said: "Fanfiction for a Grimdark Universe" is just this wonderful, fictional meta bundle of joy. It's also a love letter to stories, and their importance: how they inspire, the mirrors they can hold up; the comfort they can give."
Charles Payseur at Quick Sip reviews also had lovely words, calling this "a beautiful and shattering story."
Thank you to all who've read it. Thanks to my beta-readers for reading this through before I submitted it anywhere. And thanks to the editors at Translunar Travelers Lounge, Aimee Ogden and Bennett North, for their support and editing and publication of a beautiful magazine. This entire issue looks amazing, and I look forward to reading it all.
One last note: I don’t want to give away the spoilers for all the fanfic tropes in this, but I’d like to point out here that the story’s very structure is based on a popular fanfiction format: the “Five Times. . . and One Time. . .” format.