Portal:Speculative fiction

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Speculative fiction is an umbrella phrase 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 literature as well as related static, motion, and virtual arts.

It has been around since humans began to speak. The earliest forms of speculative fiction were likely mythological tales told around the campfire. Speculative fiction deals with the "What if?" scenarios imagined by dreamers and thinkers worldwide. Journeys to other worlds through the vast reaches of distant space; magical quests to free worlds enslaved by terrible beings; malevolent supernatural powers seeking to increase their spheres of influence across multiple dimensions and times; all of these fall into the realm of speculative fiction.

Speculative fiction as a category ranges from ancient works to cutting edge, paradigm-changing, and neotraditional works of the 21st century. It can be recognized in works whose authors' intentions or the social contexts of the versions of stories they portrayed is now known. For example, Ancient Greek dramatists such as Euripides, whose play Medea seemed to have offended Athenian audiences when he fictionally speculated that shamaness Medea killed her own children instead of their being killed by other Corinthians after her departure. The play Hippolytus, narratively introduced by Aphrodite, is suspected to have displeased contemporary audiences of the day because it portrayed Phaedra as too lusty.

In historiography, what is now called speculative fiction has previously been termed "historical invention", "historical fiction," and other similar names. It is extensively noted in the literary criticism of the works of William Shakespeare when he co-locates Athenian Duke Theseus and Amazonian Queen Hippolyta, English fairy Puck, and Roman god Cupid all together in the fairyland of its Merovingian Germanic sovereign Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream. In mythography it has been termed "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. Such supernatural, alternate history, and sexuality themes continue in works produced within the modern speculative fiction genre.

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Selected profile #1

Budrys at the 1985 Clarion Science Fiction Writing Workshop
Algis Budrys (January 9, 1931 – June 9, 2008) was a Lithuanian-American science fiction author, editor, and critic. He was also known under the pen names "Frank Mason", "Alger Rome", "John A. Sentry", "William Scarff", and "Paul Janvier."

Beginning in 1952 Budrys worked as editor and manager for such science fiction publishers as Gnome Press and Galaxy Science Fiction. Some of his science fiction in the 1950s was published under the pen name "John A. Sentry", a reconfigured Anglification of his Lithuanian name. Among his other pseudonyms in the SF magazines of the 1950s and elsewhere, several revived as bylines for vignettes in his magazine Tomorrow Speculative Fiction, is "William Scarff". He also wrote several stories under the names "Ivan Janvier" or "Paul Janvier." He also used the pen name "Alger Rome" in his collaborations with Jerome Bixby.

Budrys's 1960 novella Rogue Moon was nominated for a Hugo Award, and was later anthologized in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two (1973). His Cold War science fiction novel Who? was adapted for the screen in 1973. In addition to numerous Hugo Award and Nebula Award nominations, Budrys won the Science Fiction Research Association's 2007 Pilgrim Award for lifetime contributions to speculative fiction scholarship. In 2009, he was the recipient of one of the first three Solstice Awards presented by the SFWA in recognition of his contributions to the field of science fiction.

Selected profile #2

H G Wells pre 1922.jpg
Herbert George Wells (21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946) was an English author, best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary. Together with Jules Verne, Wells has been referred to as "The Father of Science Fiction". Wells was an outspoken socialist and sympathetic to pacifist views, although he supported the First World War once it was under way, and his later works became increasingly political and didactic. His middle period novels (1900–1920) were less science-fictional; they covered lower-middle class life (The History of Mr Polly) and the 'New Woman' and the Suffragettes (Ann Veronica).

His early novels, called "scientific romances", invented a number of themes now classic in science fiction in such works as The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, When the Sleeper Wakes, and The First Men in the Moon. He also wrote other, non-fantastic novels that have received critical acclaim including Kipps and the satire on Edwardian advertising, Tono-Bungay.

Wells wrote several dozen short stories and novellas, the best known of which is "The Country of the Blind" (1904). His short story "The New Accelerator" was the inspiration for the Star Trek episode Wink of an Eye.

Selected media

"The Punishment of Loki", by Louis Huard.
Credit: Illustrator: Louis Huard (1813-1874); Retouched by Adam Cuerden.

"The Punishment of Loki", by Louis Huard. (CPOTD)

Selected work

Pattern Recognition is a novel by science fiction writer William Gibson published in 2003. Set in August and September 2002, the story follows Cayce Pollard, a 32-year-old marketing consultant who has a psychological sensitivity to corporate symbols. The action takes place in London, Tokyo, and Moscow as Cayce judges the effectiveness of a proposed corporate symbol and is hired to seek the creators of film clips anonymously posted to the internet.

The novel's central theme involves the examination of the human desire to detect patterns or meaning and the risks of finding patterns in meaningless data. Other themes include methods of interpretation of history, cultural familiarity with brand names, and tensions between art and commercialization. The September 11, 2001 attacks are used as a motif representing the transition to the new century. Critics identify influences in Pattern Recognition from Thomas Pynchon's post-structuralist detective story The Crying of Lot 49.

The novel is Gibson's eighth and the first to be set in the contemporary world. Like his previous work, it has been classified as a science fiction and postmodern novel, with the action unfolding along a thriller plot line. Critics approved of the writing but found the plot unoriginal and some of the language distracting. The book peaked at #4 on the New York Times Best Seller list, was nominated for the 2003 British Science Fiction Association Award, and was shortlisted for the 2004 Arthur C. Clarke and Locus Awards.

Selected quote

Lionel Trilling (1905-1975), The Liberal Imagination (1950).

More quotes from Wikiquote: science fiction, fantasy, alternate history

Selected article

Authentic Science Fiction was a British science fiction magazine published in the 1950s that ran for 85 issues under three editors: Gordon Landsborough, H.J. Campbell, and E.C. Tubb. The magazine was published by Hamilton and Co., and began in 1951 as a series of novels appearing every two weeks; by the summer it had become a monthly magazine, with readers' letters and an editorial page, though fiction content was still restricted to a single novel. In 1952 short fiction began to appear alongside the novels, and within two more years it had completed the transformation into a science fiction magazine.

Authentic published little in the way of important or ground-breaking fiction, though it did print Charles L. Harness's "The Rose," which later became well-regarded. The poor rates of pay—£1 per 1,000 words—prevented the magazine from attracting the best writers. During much of its life it competed against three other moderately successful British science fiction magazines, as well as the American science fiction magazine market. Hamilton folded the magazine in October 1957, because they needed cash to finance an investment in the UK rights to an American best-selling novel.

Did you know...

Nancy Cartwright

On this day...

December 28:

Book releases

Film releases

Television series



Possible futures

Possible events in the future as suggested by science fiction:

  • In 5000, the Filipino Army defeats the Alliance at the Battle of Reykjavik during the closing stages of World War V.

Upcoming conventions


  • SMOFcon (moves from year to year)



Dates can usually be found on the article page.

See also these convention lists: anime, comic book, furry, gaming, multigenre, and science fiction.

Things you can do...

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Join a WikiProject or task force:

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Note: If no articles are shown below, please work on those found in the Archive. This list was generated from these rules. Questions and feedback are always welcome! The search is being run daily with the most recent ~14 days of results. Note: Some articles may not be relevant to this project.

Rules | Match log | Results page (for watching) | Last updated: 2014-12-27 21:37 (UTC)


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