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 both cutting edge, paradigm-changing and neotraditional works of the 21st century. 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 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 by other Corinthians after her departure, 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.
In historiography, what is now called speculative fiction has previously been termed "historical invention", "historical fiction," and similar names and is extensively noted in literary criticism of the works of William Shakespeare 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. 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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(née Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin
; 30 August 1797 – 1 February 1851) was a British novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer
, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus
(1818). She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet
and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley
. Her father was the political philosopher William Godwin
, and her mother was the philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft
Mary Godwin's mother died when she was eleven days old; afterwards, she and her older half-sister, Fanny Imlay, were raised by her father. When Mary was four, Godwin married his neighbour, Mary Jane Clairmont. Godwin provided his daughter with a rich, if informal, education, encouraging her to adhere to his liberal political theories. In 1814, Mary Godwin began a romantic relationship with one of her father’s political followers, the married Percy Bysshe Shelley. Together with Mary's stepsister, Claire Clairmont, they left for France and travelled through Europe; upon their return to England, Mary was pregnant with Percy's child. Over the next two years, she and Percy faced ostracism, constant debt, and the death of their prematurely born daughter. They married in late 1816 after the suicide of Percy Shelley's first wife, Harriet.
Robert Anson Heinlein
(July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) was an American science fiction writer
. Often called "the dean of science fiction writers", he was one of the most popular, influential, and controversial authors of the genre. He set a high standard for science and engineering plausibility and helped to raise the genre's standards of literary quality. He was one of the first writers to break into mainstream, general magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post
, in the late 1940s, with unvarnished science fiction. He was among the first authors of bestselling, novel-length science fiction in the modern, mass-market era. For many years, Heinlein, Isaac Asimov
, and Arthur C. Clarke
were known as the "Big Three" of science fiction.
Within the framework of his science fiction stories, Heinlein repeatedly integrated recognizable social themes: The importance of individual liberty and self-reliance, the obligation individuals owe to their societies, the influence of organized religion on culture and government, and the tendency of society to repress non-conformist thought. He also examined the relationship between physical and emotional love, explored various unorthodox family structures, and speculated on the influence of space travel on human cultural practices. His 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land put him in the unexpected role of a pied piper of the sexual revolution, and of the counterculture, and through this book he was credited with popularizing the notion of polyamory.
Dorothy (left) douses the Wicked Witch of the West with water, melting her, in this illustration from the first edition of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The appearance of the witch in the 1939 film adaptation of the novel has become an archetype for human wickedness. This film is the source of the oft-quoted phrase, "I'll get you, my pretty ... and your little dog too!" The unique Broadway musical, Wicked, The Untold Story Of the Witches of Oz, tells of The Wicked Witch of the West, the Tin Man, The Cowardly Lion, The Scarecrow, and Glinda's shared history. (POTD)
Bride of Frankenstein (advertised as The Bride of Frankenstein) is a 1935 American horror film, the first sequel to the influential Frankenstein (1931). Bride of Frankenstein was directed by James Whale and stars Boris Karloff as The Monster, Elsa Lanchester in the dual role of his mate and Mary Shelley, Colin Clive as Henry Frankenstein, and Ernest Thesiger as Doctor Septimus Pretorius.
The film follows on immediately from the events of the first film, and is rooted in a subplot of the original novel, Frankenstein (1818). In the film, a chastened Henry Frankenstein abandons his plans to create life, only to be tempted and finally coerced by the Monster, encouraged by Henry's old mentor Dr Pretorius, into constructing a mate for him. The Bride rejects the Monster however, resulting in her death, that of Pretorius, and apparently the Monster's own death, when he destroys Henry's laboratory.
Preparation began shortly after the first film premiered, but script problems delayed the project. Principal photography started in January 1935, with creative personnel from the original returning in front of and behind the camera. Bride of Frankenstein was released to critical and popular acclaim, although it encountered difficulties with some state and national censorship boards. Since its release the film's reputation has grown, and it is hailed as Whale's masterpiece. Modern film scholars, noting Whale's homosexuality and that of others involved in the production, have found a gay sensibility in the film, although a number of Whale's associates have dismissed the idea.
||The poet is in command of his fantasy, while it is exactly the mark of the neurotic that he is possessed by his fantasy.
(1905-1975), The Liberal Imagination
Survival horror is a subgenre of action-adventure video game inspired by horror fiction. These games make the player vulnerable by providing them with less ammunition and fewer heavy weapons than other action games. Although combat is a part of the gameplay, the player must ration ammunition by evading enemies and avoiding direct confrontation. The player is also challenged to find items that unlock the path to new areas, and solve puzzles at certain locations. Games make use of strong horror themes, and the player is often challenged to navigate dark maze-like environments, and react to unexpected attacks from enemies.
The term "survival horror" was first used for the original Japanese release of Resident Evil in 1996, which was influenced by earlier games with a horror theme such as Sweet Home and Alone in the Dark. The name has been used since then for games with similar gameplay, and has been retroactively applied to games as old as Haunted House from 1981. Starting with the release of Resident Evil 4 in 2005, the genre began to incorporate more features from action games, which has led game journalists to question whether long-standing survival horror franchises have abandoned the genre. Still, the survival horror genre has persisted in one form or another.
Possible events in the future as suggested by science fiction:
Here are ideas for how you can help improve the coverage of speculative fiction topics on Wikipedia:
Join a WikiProject or task force:
- Science fiction (task force): The 4400, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, Firefly, Futurama, G.I. Joe, Heroes, Hitchhiker's Guide, Life on Mars, Lost, Pokémon, Red Dwarf, Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate, Superman, Transformers, Twilight Zone.
- Fantasy: Artemis Fowl, Discworld, Fabelhaven, Harry Potter, Highlander, His Dark Materials, Inheritance Cycle, Lemony Snicket, Middle-Earth, Narnia, Oz, Percy Jackson, Redwall, Roald Dahl, Shannara, A Song of Ice and Fire, Warriors.
- Horror: Buffy, Twilight.
- Other and related: Animation, Anime and manga, Balzac, Children's literature, Comics, Disney, Machinima, Games (Warhammer 40K, RPGs (D&D), Video games (Square Enix)).
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Speculative fiction topics