Speculative Fiction Wiki
Speculative fiction is a literary genre that straddles the line between science fiction and fantasy. The term is credited to Robert Heinlein, though there are many other citations as well.
Speculative fiction is often used to highlight the struggles of marginalized communities or as a way to envision brighter futures. It is a super-genre that includes everything from Jules Verne’s adventure stories to dystopian novels and beyond.
Speculative fiction is a broad term that encompasses many different genres. It includes science fiction, fantasy, magic realism, horror and utopian and dystopian fiction. It is also sometimes used as an umbrella term to describe any fiction that does not fit into the traditional literary realism category.
For example, Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein is a classic piece of speculative fiction. It is a story about a scientist who creates a monster. The monster turns out to be a hideous creature that is rejected by mankind. The story raises many questions about the nature of life and the human condition.
The exact definition of speculative fiction is often debated by critics, authors and readers. It has become a catch-all term that is used to describe any work that does not fit into the traditional categories of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Some writers, such as Margaret Atwood, have proposed new definitions for the genre that are more inclusive and less restrictive than previous ones.
Subgenres may be as loose or as strict as they like, but they tend to form around a common stylistic element. For example, magic realism describes recognizable worlds with a hint of unexplained magic that enchants readers and adds an intoxicating element of “what if?”
Other genres often have their own subgenres within the broader category of speculative fiction. For instance, the science fiction genre has many overlapping axes and a variety of subtypes including hard science fiction (characterized by a high degree of scientific detail and accuracy) and cyberpunk (which fuses elements from hacker and underground/punk culture).
Dystopian literature, another broad subgenre within speculative fiction, describes a future where society has gone wrong in a wide range of ways. It includes classic futuristic narratives such as George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange and contemporary book series such as Lois Lowry’s Giver Quartet and James Dashner’s Maze Runner books. The genre also encompasses feminist dystopian works such as Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
Science fiction is a genre full of tropes. While many of these are fun to read and watch, they can become repetitive if writers rely on them too often. To avoid this, writers should use their imagination and think of different ways to twist a classic idea.
For example, aliens in sci-fi stories should not be stereotyped as an oppressed group or a purely evil one. Instead, aliens should be unique and interesting. Similarly, it is important to avoid outdated space travel tropes such as faster-than-light travel.
Other common science fiction tropes include apocalypses, post-apocalyptic settings, and alternate universes. Speculative fiction can also incorporate science into superhero stories. However, not every apocalypse or post-apocalyptic story is sci-fi, so writers should be careful to make sure they are using the right genre. Moreover, science fiction can also be used to explore new civilizations and cultures. For example, Nnedi Okorafor’s book Binti combines some of these themes.
Speculative fiction is a literary genre that takes the “what if?” approach to examine earthly themes such as love, loss, family, and morality. It allows authors to examine these issues with a unique, fantastical twist. For example, Mary Shelley’s speculative science fiction novel Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus (1818) and Aldous Huxley’s speculative fiction novel Brave New World (1932) were both considered important novels of their time for their social commentary.
In the 2010s, speculative fiction experienced a rebirth after Margaret Atwood’s bestselling speculative fiction narrative The Handmaid’s Tale was adapted into a Hulu series. Author Alexis Schaitkin has also garnered attention for her speculative fiction novel Elsewhere, in which she explores the complexities of motherhood with a unique, fanciful lens. Other respected authors who have written speculative fiction include Kurt Vonnegut, who wrote many science fiction novels, and Mary Shelley, who penned several science fiction works including the classic Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (1818).