What Is "Speculative Fiction"?
The Fantastic "What if?" Genre
Speculative Fiction, or "SpecFic", is hard to define. It's "What If?" - the fantastic in a fictional setting. Sound vague? Read on.
"Speculative literature is a catch-all term meant to inclusively span the breadth of fantastic literature, encompassing literature ranging from hard science fiction to epic fantasy to ghost stories to horror to folk and fairy tales to slipstream to magical realism to modern myth-making -- and more."
What Literary Genres & Subgenres Are Considered Speculative Fiction? - Â© J. Golden
- Alternate History
Alternate History poses questions about different outcomes to historic events, and how that would alter our known world.
Apocalypse/Holocaust is set in a reality where The World As We Know It ends or has ended.
- Coming of Age (as a species)
Coming of Age stories redefine what it means to be human when we make an evolutionary leap as a species.
- Contemporary Fantasy
Contemporary Fantasy has a realistic modern world setting with elements of supernatural forces such as magic or mythological deities occurring through access to another world, realm, or plane.
Cyberpunk is actually one of the more likely SF genres, with virtual reality & technology inundating every level of society, most of which still have a low quality of life.
Dystopian literature is set in dysfunctional utopias.
- Fairy Tales
Fairy Tales tell a lesson story via human-like beings (fairies, elves), animals with human traits (goblins, trolls), and enchantments and charms, set in a rustic setting.
Fantasy is set in medieval or low technology environments with strong dependence on magic and other supernatural elements.
- First Contact
First Contact stories are about how we react as a species when confronted with other intelligent life for the first time.
- Horror/Dark Fantasy
Horror/Dark Fantasy develops from supernatural evil or human evil/mental disorder encroaching on ordinary people's lives.
- Magical Realism
Magical Realism is set in a realistic modern world with the addition of magical elements.
- Science Fiction
Science Fiction explores potential (far) future developments in technology, space exploration, and human evolution.
Slipstream is set in our world ~ almost. There are slight, uneasy making distortions in our reality or else the protagonist has fallen out of the consensual reality but is not insane in any way.
Steampunk gives the Victorian era modern technology.
More Opinions About The Definition of Speculative Fiction
- What Is Speculative Fiction?
What Is Speculative Fiction? by D. D. Shade Lost Book Archives
- Visions of Paradise: Defining speculative fiction
Visions of Paradise Blog, Sunday, August 22, 2004
- What is Speculative Fiction? - Articles That Never Die (GreenTentacles)
As a part of our on-going mission, with the help of others in the speculative fiction industry, we try to define the genre, in this living article...
Studies In Speculative Fiction - Scholars Take On SpecFic
Speculative Fiction Related Lenses At Squidoo
- The Speculative Literature Foundation
The Speculative Literature Foundation's mission is "to promote literary quality in speculative fiction, by encouraging promising new writers, assisting established writers, facilitating the work of quality magazines and small presses in the genre, an
- Free Speculative Fiction Online
This site provides links to free online Speculative Fiction. SpecFic is a broad and wonderous term that encompasses many forms of speculative genre writing. Care has been taken to choose only sites that do not infringe on the authors' copyright.
- The Neil Gaiman Reader: Critical Essays
Essays & literary criticisms of Neil Gaiman's work, edited by Darrell Schweitzer of Weird Tales. Neil Gaiman calls The Neil Gaiman Reader "Essays on things I've written, by a dozen different very smart people."
- The Prisoner
I AM NOT A NUMBER, I AM A FREE MAN!