We previously touched on the concept of computer games being a great source for enjoyment of science fiction and fantasy. Warhammer 40k started out as a pimply goth teenager hobby. It consisted of painting models and using them to strategically carry out battles with another player with a strict set of rules and dice and pickup cards.
The setting was fixed in the distant future and comprised human races of space marines on the side of good. They are an almost monastic order that tapped into the powers of living an extremely long life supported by cyborg-like technology. Once the combatants passed their training they became space scouts and later space marines. Those mutilated in battle would be hooked up to machines and turned into Terminators – powerful human-cyborg warriors whose nervous system is hooked up to powerful weapons and artificial limbs. Those who show epic worth in battle then become seniors who are hooked up to the same network as the Emperor. The Chaos Marines, on the other hand, follow the dark side, and the two are locked in eternal combat to impose their values.
There are several other races such as Orks, Eldar, Tau and others. The board game Blood Bowl, largely modeled on Unites States Gridiron, spawned out of the franchise and things really snowballed after that.
It has gone from a board game to a games console game, a PC game and various different apps on tablets and Ipads, into the 40k universe to create little games that do not require the player to be knowledgeable.
As with any other type of science fiction story, the realm is very much influenced by its fans, and an official magazine regularly ran a fan fiction section. Another great example of how science fiction can be powered by its own fans.