Quick Start Guide

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This page is written or contains material written in the metafictional (or OOC) voice. This material may contain spoilers, Easter Eggs, or other data not generally known in the world of Fenspace. The reader is duly warned. -The Mgt.

New to Fenspace but don't want to slog through the wiki or the forum? This guide is for you.

The Rules (Abridged)

Main article: Fenspace Rules

First and most importantly, this is not a dystopia. Fenspace is inherently optimistic; neither Earth nor the rest of the solar system are wracked by war, corruption, crime, environmental collapse, economic collapse, peak oil or any other major disaster that's in vogue. Or at the very least, things are no worse than they were as of January 1, 2007. Granted, this is not a utopia, either - there are rough patches ahead ('cause we need the plots) - but most of humanity is looking forward and will muddle through without destroying civilization as we know it.

Secondly, this is a collaborative project. A whole bunch of people have added their ideas to the pot, and continue to do so. If you contribute, you're expected to behave like the adult you are, or at least are pretending to be. Like the man said, "Don't be mean, we don't have to be mean." Part of this means not hogging all the Cool Stuff, talking to people, asking for suggestions, simple stuff like that.

Those are the key rules. There's some technical stuff in there for in-world mechanics, but those can be found on the Rules page. Remember, a happy Fenspace is a productive Fenspace!


Handwavium is the magic mystery substance that makes Fenspace go. Nobody knows where it came from, who invented it or why. All we know is that it can cheerfully violate the established laws of physics, and that makes it the backbone upon which all offworld settlements are built. Handwavium has a few simple rules that nobody's been able to crack completely:

  1. It can't be used to make weapons. You can make a sharper sword, but not a working laser pistol.
  2. Handwavium modifies more than it creates. There needs to be some sort of mechanical or electronic inner workings for the handwavium to work properly.
  3. Things created by handwavium don't work 100% perfectly. They'll always have some small oddities or required rituals in order to work properly. These are called "quirks."

(If these rules are too restrictive, then you can consult the Whole Fenspace Catalog instead... but it can't make weapons, either.)


Handwavium works on people just as much as it does on objects. This process is called "biomodding" and it can be done deliberately or accidentally (usually by inhaling too much handwavium vapor, or simply falling into a vat of the stuff). Biomods are subject to the same rules as handwaved objects.


Fenspace is what the locals call the Solar System, or at least the Solar System minus Earth. The main settled worlds (Venus, the Moon, Mars, Ganymede and Callisto) are populated by Fen and governed by the Fenspace Convention.

People, and How They Get By and Get Along


Fen are... well, you and me. Science fiction and fantasy fans, given the ability to make (most of) their fantasies reality and spreading out into space, because that’s what you do when you have stuff that makes spaceships.

The Fenspace Convention

The Fenspace Convention is the main governing body everywhere but Earth. More or less. It’s the result of a hundred thousand geeks, nerds, otaku and other such folk deciding “we need a government!” and making one out of whole cloth. It’s made of “factions,” which is to say various groups descended from fanclubs, online groups, knitting circles, etc. that migrated out into space once handwavium made the journey (reasonably) cheap and (reasonably) safe. The various factions all have their grievances with each other, and those get aired out through the Convention.

The Convention is a bi-cameral governing body: there’s the SMOFs and then there’s everybody else. The SMOFs (that’s Secret Masters of Fandom for those who don’t know the old lingo) are the folks among the Fen who know what's up, and they usually meet when something needs to get done fast. In normal years the factions do most of the drudge work in governing, and the Convention is held once a year so delegates, onlookers, trolls and other interested parties can get together and review how things are going.


The History of Fenspace in Three Paragraphs

Okay, so sometime around 2006, somebody discovers handwavium. The first samples are all sent to the usual super-secret government labs, but then somebody - nobody knows who - decided to let handwavium run free, free in the wild. At this point, it's kinda neat but nobody knows what the hell it's for. Enter science fiction fan Katz Schroedinger, who literally stumbles over an abandoned chunk of the stuff in the woods outside his house, eventually hooks it up to an old cabin cruiser, and hey presto, instant spaceship. May 10, 2007 is the day Katz first flew in space, and that's where Fenspace begins.

So Katz spreads the word through his fandom buddies, they spread the word, and soon enough science fiction fans - singular and in clubs - start converting pretty much anything they can find into spaceships. At this point various governments, the USA in particular, throw a huge moral panic over the situation and start outlawing the use of handwavium. This just accelerates the process, and by the end of 2009 most of the English-speaking science fiction fandom (and noticeable minorities of other F&SF fen) has abandoned Earth for the cluster of small towns springing up on the Moon, Mars and in the upper atmosphere of Venus.

The moral panic on Earth settles down, and in 2010 relations between Earth and the Fenspacers normalize. A little anyway. People go on being people, the colonies get built up, and life goes on. Piracy problems start building up in the asteroid belt, attached to a growing situation where some weird bugger is growing new drugs for the Earth market. Things come to a head in 2012 when two things happen: first, a small chunk of West Virginia decides to head into space, reigniting the anti-handwavium panic in the United States and a few other countries; and second and more importantly, the charismatic nutcase Haruhi Suzumiya calls for the creation of a military task force to handle the drug/pirate problem. Fenspace responds to Haruhi's call, and that's where things stand as of Season One. Once that matter is taken care of, the Fenspace Convention decides in piecemeal to start exploring the Solar System, interstellar space, the mysteries of Earth, handwavium, and themselves, which is where Season Two kicks off.

Recommended Stories

Still with us? Okay, in that case here's stuff we think you'd like to read.

Mal Fnord's Picks: The Word of Mod

Rob Kelk's Picks: The Word of Noisy-Opinionated-Writer

Rob thinks origin stories make for good introductions to the setting.

Brian Webb's Picks: The Word of Hack-Cartoonist

Dartz' Picks

Proginoskes' Picks