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Speculative fiction
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Speculative fiction is an umbrella term encompassing the more

fantastical fiction genres, specifically science fiction, fantasy, horror,
supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction,
apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history in

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literature as well as related static, motion, and virtual arts. [1]

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Fantasy Fiction


1 History



2 Distinguishing speculative fiction from science fiction


About Wikipedia

3 See also

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4 References

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5 External links


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Speculative fiction as a category ranges from ancient works to both

cutting edge, paradigm-changing and neotraditional works of the 21st


century. [2][3] Speculative fiction can be recognized in works whose

authors' intentions or the social contexts of the versions of stories they
portrayed is now known, since ancient Greek dramatists such as
Euripides (ca. 480406 BCE) whose play Medea seems to have
offended Athenian audiences when he fictionally speculated that
shamaness Medea killed her own children instead of their being killed


Legendary creatures


Quests & Artifacts

by other Corinthians after her departure, [4] and whose Hippolytus

(play), narratively introduced by Aphrodite, Goddess of Love in person,
is suspected to have displeased his contemporary audiences because


he portrayed Phaedra as too lusty. [5] In historiography, what is now

called speculative fiction has previously been termed "historical
invention", [6] "historical fiction," and similar names and is extensively

Fiction Magazines




noted in literary criticism of the works of William Shakespeare [7] as

when he co-locates Athenian Duke Theseus and Amazonian Queen
Hippolyta, English fairy Puck, and Roman god Cupid across time and
space in the Fairyland of its Merovingian Germanic sovereign Oberon


in A Midsummer Night's Dream;[8] in mythography it has been termed


Srpskohrvatski /


"mythopoesis" or mythopoeia, "fictional speculation," the creative

design and generation of lore, regarding such works as J.R.R.
Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.[9] Such supernatural, alternate history
and sexuality themes continue in works produced within the modern
speculative fiction genre.[10]
The creation of speculative fiction in its general sense of hypothetical
history, explanation, or ahistorical storytelling has also been attributed
to authors in ostensibly non-fiction mode since as early as Herodotus
of Halicarnassus, (fl. 5th century BCE) in his Histories, [11][12][13] and
was already both practiced and edited out by early encyclopaedic

Horror Fiction

Science Fiction
Fiction Magazines
Organizations[27/02/2012 09:25:03]

Speculative fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

writers like Sima Qian (ca. 145 or 135 BCE86 BCE), author of
Shiji,[14][15] which suggests the caveat that while many works now
considered intentional or unintentional speculative fiction existed before
the coining of the genre term, its concept in its broadest sense
captures both a conscious and unconscious aspect of human
psychology in making sense of the world, reacting to it, and creating
imaginary, inventive, and artistic expressions, some of which underlie
practical progress through interpersonal influences, social and cultural
movements, scientific research and advances, and philosophy of



Internet Speculative Fiction

The Encyclopedia of Science

In its English language usage in arts and literature since 20th century, "speculative fiction" as a genre
term is often attributed to Robert A. Heinlein. In his first known use of the term, in editorial material at
the front of the 2/8/1947 issue of The Saturday Evening Post, Heinlein used it specifically as a
synonym for "science fiction"; in a later piece, he explicitly stated that his use of the term did not
include fantasy. Heinlein may have come up with the term himself, but there are earlier citations: a
piece in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine in 1889, used the term in reference to Edward Bellamy's
Looking Backward: 20001887 and other works; and one in the May, 1900 issue of 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." [19] A variation on this term is "speculative
The use of "speculative fiction" in the sense of expressing dissatisfaction with traditional or
establishment science fiction was popularized in the 1960s and early 1970s by Judith Merril and
other writers and editors, in connection with the New Wave movement. It fell into disuse around the
mid-1970s. [21] The Internet Speculative Fiction Database contains a broad list of different subtypes.
In the 2000s, the term has come into wider use as a convenient collective term for a set of genres.
Academic journals which publish essays on speculative fiction include Extrapolation, and

Distinguishing speculative fiction from science fiction


"Speculative fiction" is sometimes abbreviated "spec-fic", "specfic", [23] "S-F", "SF", or "sf" [24] but
these last three abbreviations are ambiguous as they have long been used to refer to science fiction,
which lies within this general range of literature, [25] and in several other abbreviations.
The term has been used to express dissatisfaction with what some people consider the limitations of
science fiction, or otherwise to designate fiction that falls under readily stereotypical genres so that it
can be pigeonholed within such categorical limits as "fantasy" or "mystery". [26] For example, in
Harlan Ellison's writing, the term may signal a wish not to be pigeonholed as a science fiction writer,
and a desire to break out of science fiction's genre conventions in a literary and modernist direction;
or to escape the prejudice with which science fiction is often met by mainstream critics.[27][28]
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.[29][30][31]

See also
History of science fiction
Historical fiction
Future history
Supernatural fiction
Women in speculative fiction[27/02/2012 09:25:03]


Speculative fiction portal

Speculative fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gender in speculative fiction

Sex and sexuality in speculative fiction
LGBT themes in speculative fiction
Reproduction and pregnancy in speculative fiction
Genre fiction
List of genres
Speculative fiction by writers of color

1. ^ Atwood, Margaret. "The Handmaid's Tale
Study Guide: About Speculative Fiction" .
Archived from the original on April 18, 2010.
Retrieved April 18, 2010.
2. ^ Barry Baldwin, Emeritus Professor of
Classics, University of Calgary, Fellow of the
Royal Society of Canada, "Ancient Science
Fiction," Shattercolors Literary Review
3. ^ Paradox:The Magazine of Historical and
Speculative Fiction,
4. ^ This theory of Euripides' invention has
gained wide acceptance. See (e.g.) McDermott
1989, 12; Powell 1990, 35; Sommerstein 2002,
16; Griffiths, 2006 81; Ewans 2007, 55.
5. ^ See, e.g., Barrett 1964; McDermott 2000.
6. ^ "Mark Wagstaff Historical invention and
political purpose," Re-public,
7. ^ Martha Tuck Rozett, "Creating a Context for
Shakespeare with Historical Fiction,"
Shakespeare Quarterly Vol. 46, No. 2 (Summer,
1995), pp. 220-227
8. ^ Dorothea Kehler, A midsummer night's
dream: critical essays, 2001
9. ^ Adcox, John, "Can Fantasy be Myth?
Mythopoeia and The Lord of the Rings" in "The
Newsletter of the Mythic Imagination Institute,
September/October, 2003"
10. ^ Eric Garber, Lyn Paleo Uranian Worlds: A
Guide to Alternative Sexuality in Science
Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, 2nd Edition, G K
Hall: 1990 ISBN 978-0816118328
11. ^ Herodotus and Myth Conference, Christ
Church, Oxford, 2003
12. ^ John M. Marincola, Introduction and Notes,
The Histories by Herodotus, tr. Aubrey De
Slincourt, 2007
13. ^ John Lendering, "Herodotus of
14. ^ Stephen W. Durrant, The cloudy mirror:
tension and conflict in the writings of Sima
Qian, 1995[27/02/2012 09:25:03]








and the Founding of Analytical Psychology,

^ Relativity, The Special and the General
Theory by Albert Einstein (1920), with an
introduction by Niger Calder, 2006
Dictionary citations for the term "speculative
^ The Speculative Literature Foundation, ,
^ Clemson University Science Fiction course,
^ The Science Fiction Foundation,
^ SpecFicWorld,
^ SFSignal - A Speculative Fiction Blog,
^ SFSite, Science Fiction and Fantasy,
Citations and definitions for the term
"speculative fiction" by speculative fiction
^ Watts, Peter. "Margaret Atwood and the
Hierarchy of Contempt," On Spec 15(2)
(Summer 2003); pp. 3-5.
^ Davies, Philip. "Review [untitled; reviewed
work(s): Science Fiction: Its Criticism and
Teaching by Patrick Parrinder; Fantastic Lives:
Autobiographical Essays by Notable Science
Fiction Writers by Martin Greenberg; Robert A.
Heinlein: America as Science Fiction by H.
Bruce Franklin; Bridges to Science Fiction by
George E. Slusser, George R. Guffey, Mark
Rose]. Journal of American Studies Vol. 16, No.
1 (Apr., 1982). pp. 157-159.

29. ^ Izenberg, Orin. Being Numerous: Poetry and

the Ground of Social Life. Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 2011; p. 210
30. ^ Leitch, Thomas M. What Stories Are:

Speculative fiction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

15. ^ Craig A. Lockard, Societies, Networks, and
Transitions: A Global History: To 1500, 2007, p
16. ^ Heather Urbanski, Plagues, apocalypses and
bug-eyed monsters: how speculative fiction
shows us us our nightmares, 2007, pp 127
17. ^ Sonu Shamdasani, Cult Fictions: C.G. Jung

Narrative Theory and Interpretation University

Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State
University Press, 1986; p. 127
31. ^ Domaska, Ewa. Encounters: Philosophy of
History After Postmodernism Charlottesville,
Virginia: University Press of Virginia, 1998; p.

External links


Dictionary citations for the term "speculative fiction"

Citations and definitions for the term "speculative fiction" by speculative fiction reviewers
The Speculative Literature Foundation
Internet Speculative Fiction Database
Speculative Vision Fantasy and Science Fiction Art Gallery
Speculative Vision, speculative fiction by youth
The SF Page

at Project Gutenberg of Australia

Strange Horizons, a weekly speculative fiction magazine





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Foil character Protagonist Supporting character Tritagonist Viewpoint character
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Plot device Subplot Trope-Clich


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Subjective) Stream of consciousness The narrative types of the narrator Unreliable
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