It is said that fiction mirrors reality. This idea resonates with me now more than ever, as I am currently taking classes on both fiction and nonfiction. As I read collections of the best short stories and essays from 2017, I find that the line between the two is often unclear. Contemporary fiction, it seems, yearns to ground itself in reality, make itself believable, address social issues, and concern itself with both the miracles and monsters of daily life. I am proud to say that many of this year’s writers have mastered that craft quite well. From Sally Choueka’s “Gazebo” to Callie Stouffer’s “Daddy Said,” the fiction on display in this issue admirably explores the tragedy and beauty of everyday life.However, it gives me an even greater measure of pride to say that the most masterfully written pieces from this issue carry the genre back to its roots in imagination and creativity. Fatima Khan’s “Otto” is a sci-fi work that blends charming plot with expert use of mechanics, earning its title of Best Short Story. Tara Golthi’s “Strawberry Eyes” is an equally as charming exhibition of creativity and characterization. For me, both pieces do much to demonstrate the soul of the genre.

Greggory Sullivan was the fiction editor for this issue. He previously won Best Short Story.