I'm convinced that very short fiction is the perfect medium for the post-apocalyptic world. Consider the facts: a single work conforms to the dimensions of most knapsacks and bindles. The stories can be read over a relatively short period of time, during a brief break in the journey. They can be passed along from person and person and encrypted with secret messages: distress signals, directions to the nearest treetop fortress, plans for overthrowing the zombie overlords (yes—there will be zombies). And even in the unlikely event that no such catastrophe occurs (how anticlimactic would that be?), I still believe that very short fiction will occupy a very real place in the emerging literary landscape.

This is the fifth year of the Top 50, and in that time we have witnessed tremendous growth. We have seen some of the most respected journals in the country bolster their web presence by adding short short fiction to their repertoire (see: Tin House, American Short Fiction). Collections of very short fiction are getting out into the world like never before (see: Ben Loory, Hint Fiction). Schools are introducing students to the form at an earlier and earlier age. It's reached the point where many of the people I encounter in my normal life are already familiar with very short fiction. We're encouraged by the progress. And— zombies or no zombies—we hope to continue championing the form for years to come.

A few important acknowledgments…

Thank you to Dan Chaon for putting together such a stellar list.

Thank you to Tang Yau Hoong for providing the artwork this year.

Thank you to my coconspirators, Laura Ellen Scott and Scott Garson, for dedicating so many hours to this project. Laura will be taking over as Series Editor next year. She's assembled a crack team of of Associate Editors and readers. So expect great things.

And a special thanks to Erin Fitzgerald and Sean Lovelace, who helped us out in a pinch.

Notes on Eligibility:

The Wigleaf Top 50 are chosen from a Longlist of 200 stories. Stories have to be at or under 1000 words to be eligible, and must have been posted sometime during the previous calendar year. Stories in blogzines are not considered (unless the blog is part of a larger journal with external hosting). Reprints are not considered. Stories appearing in journals based outside the U.S. are not considered (unless that journal's billing is explicitly international). Stories that are not published and/or archived in HTML are not considered. Stories without unique HTML urls are not considered, unless they are part of sets by the same author. And stories written by Wigleaf editors or appearing in Wigleaf itself are not considered. If you're an editor and want to make sure that your journal's very short fiction is considered for the next Wigleaf Top 50, please shoot us an email.

Ravi Mangla lives in Fairport, NY. His stories have appeared in many online and print journals.

To link to this directly: http://wigleaf.com/12top50foreword.htm

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