From the Fallout Shelter has been fortunate enough this year to receive several noteworthy fiction submissions. The theme for this year seemed to be suspense, as many of our submissions – including our genre winner, Emily Dempsey’s “Dead-People Eyes,” included shocking twists and spine-tingling tension. Honestly, I think there’s something to be said for the influence of our current social and political climate on modern writers. So rarely these days does one see a typical happy ending outside of children’s media, and even that genre has not managed to escape the clutches of gritty realism entirely. For many of us, the world is a terrifying place right now. You watch the news or read articles online every day about new and horrifying activities. There’s a sense of feeling out of control, especially among our generation, and I think – reading our fiction submissions – you can feel that. So many of our best submissions were heavy on the tension, the not knowing what’s going to come next. And it wasn’t in any particular genre, either. “Dead-People Eyes” by Emily Dempsey was more of a classic horror tale, but Mallory McCurdy’s “The Process” leaned more toward science fiction and Ayesha Martin’s “…And the Six Dwarves” went so far as to include elements of urban fantasy. Whatever genre you’re in to, there’s much to look forward to, and I’m excited to see the responses to this year’s short stories!