speculative fiction
   HOME

TheInfoList



Speculative fiction is a broad category of fiction encompassing genres with elements that do not exist in reality, recorded history, nature, or the present universe. Such fiction covers various themes in the context of
supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and . It also includes claimed abilities embodied in or provided by such beings, including , , , , and . Th ...

supernatural
,
futuristic The future is the time Time is the indefinite continued sequence, progress of existence and event (philosophy), events that occur in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the f ...
, and other imaginative realms. The genres under this umbrella category include, but are not limited to,
science fiction Science fiction (sometimes shortened to sci-fi or SF) is a of which typically deals with and futuristic concepts such as advanced and , , , , and . It has been called the " of ", and it often explores the potential consequences of . Scien ...

science fiction
,
fantasy Fantasy is a genre Genre () is any form or type of communication in any mode (written, spoken, digital, artistic, etc.) with socially-agreed-upon conventions developed over time. In popular usage, it normally describes a Category of being, c ...

fantasy
,
horror Horror may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Genres *Horror fiction, a genre of fiction **Japanese horror, Japanese horror fiction **Korean horror, Korean horror fiction *Horror film, a film genre *Horror comics, comic books focusing on h ...
,
superhero fiction Superhero fiction is a genre of speculative fiction examining the adventures, personalities Personality psychology is a branch of psychology that studies personality and its variation among individuals. It aims to show how people are indiv ...
, alternate history,
utopian and dystopian fiction Utopian and dystopian fiction are literary genre, genres of speculative fiction that explore social and political structures. Utopian fiction portrays a setting that agrees with the author's ethos, having various attributes of another reality intend ...
, and
supernatural fiction Supernatural fiction or supernaturalist fiction is a genre of speculative fiction that exploits or is centered on supernatural themes, often contradicting Naturalism (philosophy), naturalist assumptions of the real world. Description In its broa ...
, as well as combinations thereof (for example,
science fantasy Science fantasy is a hybrid genre A cross-genre (or hybrid genre) is a literary genre, genre that blends themes and elements from two or more different genres. Hybrid genres are not new but a longstanding element in the fictional process: perha ...
).


History

Speculative fiction as a category ranges from ancient works to paradigm-changing and neotraditional works of the 21st century. Characteristics of speculative fiction have been recognized in older works whose authors' intentions, or in the
social context The social environment, social context, sociocultural context or milieu refers to the immediate physical and social setting in which people live or in which something happens or develops. It includes the culture Culture () is an umbrella term ...
s of the stories they portray, are now known. For example, the ancient
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
dramatist,
Euripides Euripides (; grc, Εὐριπίδης ''Eurīpídēs'', ; ) was a of . Along with and , he is one of the three ancient Greek tragedians for whom any plays have survived in full. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him, but t ...

Euripides
, (c. 480–406 BCE) whose play ''
Medea In , Medea (; grc, Μήδεια, ''Mēdeia'' perhaps implying "planner / schemer") is the daughter of of , a niece of and the granddaughter of the sun god . Medea figures in the myth of and the , appearing in 's ' around 700 BC, but best kno ...
'' seems to have offended
Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens The Acropoli ...

Athenian
audiences when he speculated that the titular shamaness
Medea In , Medea (; grc, Μήδεια, ''Mēdeia'' perhaps implying "planner / schemer") is the daughter of of , a niece of and the granddaughter of the sun god . Medea figures in the myth of and the , appearing in 's ' around 700 BC, but best kno ...

Medea
killed her own children, as opposed to their being killed by other
Corinthians
Corinthians
after her departure. Additionally, Euripides' play, '' Hippolytus'', narratively introduced by
Aphrodite Aphrodite; , , ) is an ancient Greek goddess associated with love Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states, from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest Interpersonal relationship, interpe ...

Aphrodite
, Goddess of Love in person, is suspected to have displeased his contemporary audiences, as his portrayal of Phaedra was seen as too
lust Lust is a psychological force producing intense desire Desire is the emotion Emotions are biological states associated with all of the nerve systems brought on by neurophysiological changes variously associated with thoughts, feelings, b ...

lust
y. In
historiography Historiography is the study of the methods of historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who studies and writes about the p ...

historiography
, what is now called "speculative fiction" has previously been termed "historical invention", "historical fiction", and other similar names. These terms have been extensively noted in
literary criticism Literary criticism (or literary studies) is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often influenced by literary theory, which is the philosophical analysis, philosophical discussion of literature ...
of the works of
William Shakespeare William Shakespeare ( 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's and the " of A ...

William Shakespeare
, such as when he co-locates
Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens The Acropoli ...

Athenian
Duke
Theseus Theseus (, ; grc-gre, Θησεύς ) was the myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually gods, de ...

Theseus
,
Amazonian
Amazonian
Queen
Hippolyta In Classical Greek mythology, Hippolyta, or Hippolyte (; grc-gre, Ἱππολύτη ''Hippolyte'') "was a daughter of Ares and Otrera, queen of the Amazons, and a sister of Antiope (Amazon), Antiope and Melanippe. She wore her father Ares' ''zos ...
, English fairy Puck, and
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of the Christian Bible Roman ...
god
Cupid In classical mythology, Cupid (Latin Cupīdō , meaning "passionate desire") is the god of desire, lust, erotic love, attraction and affection. He is often portrayed as the son of the love goddess Venus (mythology), Venus and the god of war Mars ...
across time and space in the
Fairy A fairy (also ''fay'', ''fae'', ''fey'', ''fair folk'', or ''faerie'') is a type of mythical Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions comm ...

Fairy
land of the fictional
Merovingian The Merovingian dynasty () was the ruling family of the Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of Germanic peoples whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the Lower Rhine and ...
Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Germanic language, a reconstructed proto-language of ...

Germanic
sovereign
Oberon Oberon () is a king of the fairy, fairies in Middle ages, medieval and Renaissance literature. He is best known as a character in William Shakespeare's play ''A Midsummer Night's Dream'', in which he is King of the Fairies and spouse of Titania, ...

Oberon
, in ''
A Midsummer Night's Dream ''A Midsummer Night's Dream'' is a comedy Comedy (from the el, wikt:κωμῳδία, κωμῳδία, ''kōmōdía'') is a genre of fiction that consists of discourses or works intended to be humorous or amusing by inducing laughter, es ...

A Midsummer Night's Dream
''. In
mythography Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the traditions common to that culture, subculture or group. This includes oral traditions such as Narrative, tales, pr ...
the concept of speculative fiction has been termed "mythopoesis", or
mythopoeia Mythopoeia ()—or mythopoesis ()—is a narrative genre in modern literature and film where a fictional or artificial mythology is created by the writer of prose fiction, prose or other fiction. This meaning of the word follows its use by #Tol ...
. This practice involves the creative design and generation of lore and mythology for works of fiction. The term's definition comes from its use by J. R. R. Tolkien, whose novel, ''
The Lord of the Rings ''The Lord of the Rings'' is an Epic (genre), epic high-fantasy novel by English author and scholar J. R. R. Tolkien. Set in Middle-earth, intended to be Earth at some distant time in the past, the story began as a sequel to Tolkien's 1937 ...
'', demonstrates a clear application of this process. Themes common in mythopoeia, such as the
supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and . It also includes claimed abilities embodied in or provided by such beings, including , , , , and . Th ...

supernatural
, alternate history and
sexuality Human sexuality is the way people experience and express themselves sexually. This involves biological Biology is the natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning " ...
, continue to be explored in works produced within the modern speculative fiction genre. The creation of speculative fiction in its general sense of hypothetical history,
explanation An explanation is a set of statements usually constructed to describe a set of facts which clarifies the causes, context Context may refer to: * Context (language use), the relevant constraints of the communicative situation that influence l ...
, or
ahistorical Ahistoricism refers to a lack of concern for history, historical development, or tradition. Charges of ahistoricism are frequently critical, implying that the subject is historically inaccurate or ignorant (for example, an ''ahistorical'' attitude) ...
storytelling Storytelling describes the social and cultural activity of sharing narrative, stories, sometimes with improvisation, theatre, theatrics or embellishment. Every culture has its own stories or narratives, which are shared as a means of entertainmen ...

storytelling
, has also been attributed to authors in ostensibly non-fiction modes since as early as
Herodotus Herodotus ( ; grc, Ἡρόδοτος, Hēródotos, ; BC) was an ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: (), Da ...
of
Halicarnassus Halicarnassus (; grc, Ἁλικαρνᾱσσός ''Halikarnāssós'' or ''Alikarnāssós''; tr, Halikarnas; : 𐊠𐊣𐊫𐊰 𐊴𐊠𐊥𐊵𐊫𐊰 ''alos k̂arnos'') was an city in , in . It was located in southwest , on an advantageous ...
(fl. 5th century BCE), for his ''
Histories Histories or, in Latin, Historiae may refer to: * the plural of history * Histories (Herodotus), ''Histories'' (Herodotus), by Herodotus * ''The Histories'', by Timaeus (historian), Timaeus * The Histories (Polybius), ''The Histories'' (Polybius), ...
'', and was already both practiced and edited out by early encyclopedic writers like
Sima Qian Sima Qian (; ; ) was a Chinese historian of the early Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu B ...

Sima Qian
(c. 145 or 135 BCE–86 BCE), author of
Shiji The ''Records of the Grand Historian'', also known by its Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and depe ...

Shiji
. These examples highlight the
caveat Caveat may refer to Latin phrases: * ''Caveat lector'' ("let the reader beware") * ''Caveat emptor'' ("let the buyer beware") * ''Caveat venditor'' ("let the seller beware") Other: * CAVEAT, a Canadian lobby group * ''Caveat'', an Nuclear Death d ...
that many works, now regarded as intentional or unintentional speculative fiction, long predated the coining of the genre term; its concept, in its broadest sense, captures both a conscious and unconscious mind, unconscious aspect of human psychology in making sense of the world, and responds to it by creating Imagination, imaginative, inventive, and artistic expressions. Such expressions can contribute to practical societal progress through interpersonal influences, social movements, social and cultural movements, scientific research and advances, and the philosophy of science. In its English language, English-language usage in arts and literature since the mid 20th century, "speculative fiction" as a genre term has often been attributed to Robert A. Heinlein, who first used the term in an editorial in ''The Saturday Evening Post'', 8 February 1947. In the article, Heinlein used "Speculative Fiction" as a synonym for "science fiction"; in a later piece, he explicitly stated that his use of the term did not include fantasy. However, though Heinlein may have come up with the term on his own, there are earlier citations: a piece in ''Lippincott's Monthly Magazine'' in 1889 used the term in reference to Edward Bellamy's ''Looking Backward: 2000–1887'' and other works; and one in the May 1900 issue of ''The Bookman (New York), The Bookman'' said that John Uri Lloyd's ''Etidorhpa, The End of the Earth'' had "created a great deal of discussion among people interested in speculative fiction". A variation on this term is "speculative literature". The use of "speculative fiction" in the sense of expressing dissatisfaction with traditional or The Establishment, establishment science fiction was popularized in the 1960s and early 1970s by Judith Merril, as well as other writers and editors in connection with the New Wave (science fiction), New Wave movement. However, this use of the term fell into disuse around the mid-1970s. In the 2000s, the term came into wider use as a convenient collective term for a set of genres. However, some writers, such as Margaret Atwood, continue to distinguish "speculative fiction" specifically as a "no Martians" type of science fiction, "about things that really could happen." The Internet Speculative Fiction Database contains a broad list of different subtypes. According to publisher statistics, men outnumber women about two to one among English-language speculative fiction writers aiming for professional publication. However, the percentages vary considerably by genre, with women outnumbering men in the fields of urban fantasy, paranormal romance and young adult fiction. Academic journals which publish essays on speculative fiction include ''Extrapolation (journal), Extrapolation'', and ''Foundation - The International Review of Science Fiction, Foundation''.


Distinguishing science fiction from other speculative fiction

"Speculative fiction" is sometimes abbreviated "spec-fic", "spec fic", "specfic", "S-F", "SF" or "sf". The last three abbreviations, however, are ambiguous as they have long been used to refer to science fiction, ''science'' fiction (which lies within this general range of literature). The term has been used by some critics and writers dissatisfied with what they consider to be a limitation of science fiction: the need for the story to hold to scientific principles. They argue that "speculative fiction" better defines an expanded, open, imaginative type of fiction than does "genre fiction", and the categories of "fantasy", "mystery", "horror" and "science fiction". Harlan Ellison used the term to avoid being pigeonholing, pigeonholed as a writer. Ellison, a fervent proponent of writers embracing more literary fiction, literary and modernist literature, modernist directions, broke out of genre conventions to push the boundaries of speculative fiction. The term "suppositional fiction" is sometimes used as a sub-category designating fiction in which characters and stories are constrained by an internally consistent world, but not necessarily one defined by any particular genre.Domańska, Ewa (1998). ''Encounters: Philosophy of History After Postmodernism''. Charlottesville, Virginia: University Press of Virginia. p. 10.


Genres

Speculative fiction may include elements of one or more of the following genres:


See also

* Gender in speculative fiction * Genre fiction * List of genres * Megatext * :Comics genres, Comic genres * Speculative fiction by writers of color


References


External links


Internet Speculative Fiction Database
* Th

at Project Gutenberg of Australia {{DEFAULTSORT:Speculative Fiction Speculative fiction,