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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Lester del Rey
(June 2, 1915 – May 10, 1993) was an American science fiction author
. Del Rey is especially famous for his juvenile novels such as those in the Winston Science Fiction
series, and for Del Rey Books
, the fantasy and science fiction branch of Ballantine Books
edited by Lester del Rey and his fourth wife Judy-Lynn del Rey
Del Rey first started publishing stories in pulp magazines in the late 1930s, at the dawn of the Golden Age of Science Fiction. He was closely associated with the leading science fiction magazine of the era, Astounding Science Fiction, and its editor, John W. Campbell, Jr. In the 1950s, del Rey was one of the three leading science fiction writers writing for adolescents along with Robert A. Heinlein and Andre Norton. During this time some of his fiction was published under the name "Erik van Lhin".
He later made his way into editing for several pulp magazines and then for book publishers. In 1952 and 1953, del Rey edited Space SF, Fantasy Fiction, Science Fiction Adventures (as Philip St. John), Rocket Stories (as Wade Kaempfert), and Fantasy Fiction (as Cameron Hall). He was most successful editing for Ballantine Books with his final wife, Judy-Lynn del Rey, and founded a popular science fiction imprint with her at Ballantine, Del Rey Books, in 1977.
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.
Cannibal Holocaust (1980) is a controversial exploitation film directed by Ruggero Deodato from a screenplay by Gianfranco Clerici. Filmed in the Amazon Rainforest, the movie tells the story of four documentarians who journey deep into the jungle to film indigenous tribes. Two months later, after they fail to return, famous anthropologist Harold Monroe travels on a rescue mission to find the group. Eventually, he recovers and views their lost cans of film, which reveal the missing filmmakers' fate. The film stars Robert Kerman as Monroe, Carl Gabriel Yorke as director Alan Yates, Francesca Ciardi as Alan's girlfriend Faye, Perry Pirkanen as cameraman Jack Anders, and Luca Barbareschi as fellow cameraman Mark Tomaso.
Cannibal Holocaust is a well known exploitation film because of the controversy following its release. After premiering in Italy, the film was seized by a local magistrate, and Deodato was arrested on obscenity charges. He was later accused of making a snuff film due to rumors which claimed that certain actors were killed on camera. Although Deodato was later cleared of these charges, the film was banned in Italy, the UK, Australia, and several other countries due to its graphic depiction of gore, sexual violence, and the inclusion of six genuine animal deaths. Many nations have since revoked the ban, yet the film is still barred in several countries. This notoriety notwithstanding, some critics view Cannibal Holocaust as a social commentary about civilized society.
||We hope it will not be long before we may have other works of Science-Fiction [like Richard Henry Horne’s ‘‘The Poor Artist’’], as we believe such books likely to fulfil a good purpose, and create an interest, where, unhappily, science alone might fail. [Thomas] Campbell says, that ‘‘Fiction in Poetry is not the reverse of truth, but her soft and enchanting resemblance.’’ Now this applies especially to Science-Fiction, in which the revealed truths of Science may be given, interwoven with a pleasing story which may itself be poetical and true—thus circulating a knowledge of the Poetry of Science, clothed in a garb of the Poetry of life.
—William Wilson, A Little Earnest Book upon a Great Old Subject
, chapter 10 (1851). This is the first recorded use of the term science fiction
Beyond Fantasy Fiction
was a US fantasy fiction magazine
edited by H. L. Gold
, with only ten issues published from 1953 to 1955. The last two issues carried the cover title of Beyond Fiction
, but the publication's name for copyright purposes remained as before.
Although not a commercial success, it included several significant short stories by distinguished authors, such as Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Philip K. Dick. The publication has been described by critics as a successor to the tradition of Unknown, a fantasy magazine that ceased publication in 1943. It was noted for printing fantasy with a rational basis such as werewolf stories that included scientific explanations. A selection of stories from Beyond was published in paperback form in 1963, also under the title Beyond.
James Gunn, a historian of science fiction, regarded the magazine as the best of the fantasy magazines launched in the early 1950s, and science fiction encyclopedist Donald H. Tuck contended it printed very good material. Not every critic viewed Beyond as completely successful, however; P. Schuyler Miller, in a 1963 review, commented that the stories were most successful when they did not try to emulate Unknown.
- ... that the Saw series has grossed more than one billion dollars, making it one of the highest-grossing fright franchises ever?
- ... the Halloween genes include spook, spookier, phantom, disembodied, shadow and shade?
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.
- In 802,701, The Time Traveller encounters a garden world and sees Humanity has divided into the meek Eloi on the surface and the subdwelling, cannibalistic Morlocks.
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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- Bargon Attack (edit|talk|history|protect|delete|links|watch|logs|views) by Coin945 (talk · contribs · new pages (179)) started on 2014-09-16, score: 30
- Unstoppable Gorg (edit|talk|history|protect|delete|links|watch|logs|views) by Alphansuz (talk · contribs · new pages (1)) started on 2014-09-16, score: 30
- Twilight Online (edit|talk|history|protect|delete|links|watch|logs|views) by Cattus (talk · contribs · new pages (337)) started on 2014-09-16, score: 100
- Char Dervesh (edit|talk|history|protect|delete|links|watch|logs|views) by Kaayay (talk · contribs · new pages (33)) started on 2014-09-16, score: 20
- Ischiopsopha lucivorax (edit|talk|history|protect|delete|links|watch|logs|views) by Hectonichus (talk · contribs · new pages (59)) started on 2014-09-16, score: 20
- Alibaba and 40 Thieves (1954 film) (edit|talk|history|protect|delete|links|watch|logs|views) by Kaayay (talk · contribs · new pages (33)) started on 2014-09-16, score: 20
- The Fine Young Capitalists (edit|talk|history|protect|delete|links|watch|logs|views) by The Devil's Advocate (talk · contribs · new pages (3)) started on 2014-09-16, score: 20
- Outrun music (edit|talk|history|protect|delete|links|watch|logs|views) by Audreystats (talk · contribs · new pages (1)) started on 2014-09-16, score: 20
- The Voice From the Edge (edit|talk|history|protect|delete|links|watch|logs|views) by Joe Decker (talk · contribs · new pages (3)) started on 2014-09-16, score: 20
- Satan Returns (edit|talk|history|protect|delete|links|watch|logs|views) by Soangry (talk · contribs · new pages (3)) started on 2014-09-15, score: 80
- A Braver Thing (edit|talk|history|protect|delete|links|watch|logs|views) by DragonflySixtyseven (talk · contribs · new pages (7)) started on 2014-09-10, score: 40
- World of Trouble (edit|talk|history|protect|delete|links|watch|logs|views) by Torsrthidesen (talk · contribs · new pages (2)) started on 2014-09-10, score: 40
- Countdown City (edit|talk|history|protect|delete|links|watch|logs|views) by Torsrthidesen (talk · contribs · new pages (2)) started on 2014-09-10, score: 40
- Craig Kinsey (edit|talk|history|protect|delete|links|watch|logs|views) by Coin945 (talk · contribs · new pages (179)) started on 2014-09-10, score: 20
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Speculative fiction topics
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