Sometimes it feels that there is nothing more fictitious than the ‘found’ family: a community of people who choose to relate to each other like family without being forced into it by accident of birth. Fictitious, because it seems too good to be true – and because as a trope, it’s everywhere. Found families fight crimes and demons, hunt kings and animals, save the world and start the apocalypse. ‘Real’ families, on the other hand, joke around in group chats, argue over the dinner table and forget each other’s birthdays.

In this issue of PEN Transmissions, we explore different types of family, different ways of building community.

We spoke to Samanta Schweblin about the danger posed by the concept of normality, technology, and how she dissects relationships in her writing.

Saskia Vogel writes about the ‘logical family‘ she found in the fetish scene in LA – which is also the topic of her debut novel.

Sarah Shaffi explores the found family as a beloved trope – and nowhere is it more beloved than in superhero (or, as Sarah points out, supervillain) fiction. Having superpowers is lonely, and who better to team up with than others who deal with the same issue?

Finally, Ege Dündar explores what family means to him, having been forced to live separated from those closest to him.

We hope you enjoy this issue of Transmissions. Until next time!

– Theodora Danek, editor