It is rare now for people to stay where they were raised, and when we encounter one another—whether in person or, increasingly, online—it is usually in contexts that obscure if not outright hide details about our past. But even in moments of pure self-invention, we are always shaped by the past. In ‘Ancestors’, some of today’s most imaginative writers consider what it means to be made and fashioned by others. Are we shaped by grandparents, family, the deep past, political forebears, inherited social and economic circumstances? Can we choose our family, or is blood always thicker? And looking forward, what will it mean to be ancestors ourselves, and how will our descendants remember us?