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

William Olaf Stapledon (May 10, 1886 – September 6, 1950) was a British philosopher and author of several influential works of science fiction. Stapledon's writings directly influenced Arthur C. Clarke, Brian Aldiss, Stanislaw Lem, C. S. Lewis and John Maynard Smith and indirectly influenced many others, contributing many ideas to the world of science fiction. The "supermind" composed of many individual consciousnesses forms a recurring theme in his work. Star Maker contains the first known description of what are now called Dyson spheres. Freeman Dyson credits the novel with giving him the idea. Last and First Men features early descriptions of genetic engineering and terraforming. Sirius describes a dog whose intelligence is increased to the level of a human being's.

Stapledon's fiction often presents the strivings of some intelligence that is beaten down by an indifferent universe and its inhabitants who, through no fault of their own, fail to comprehend its lofty yearnings. It is filled with protagonists who are tormented by the conflict between their "higher" and "lower" impulses.

Last and First Men, a "future history" of 18 successive species of humanity, and Star Maker, an outline history of the Universe, were highly acclaimed by figures as diverse as Jorge Luis Borges, J. B. Priestley, Virginia Woolf and Winston Churchill (Stapledon maintained a long correspondence with Woolf). In contrast, Stapledon's philosophy repelled C. S. Lewis, whose Cosmic Trilogy was written partly in response to what Lewis saw as amorality, although Lewis admired Stapledon's inventiveness and described him as "a corking good writer".

Selected profile #2

Lee in 2007
Stan Lee (born Stanley Martin Lieber; December 28, 1922) is an American comic book writer, editor, actor, producer, publisher, television personality, and the former president and chairman of Marvel Comics.

In collaboration with several artists, most notably Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, he co-created Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Avengers, Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, and many other fictional characters, introducing complex, naturalistic characters and a thoroughly shared universe into superhero comic books. In addition, he headed the first major successful challenge to the industry's censorship organization, the Comics Code Authority, and forced it to reform its policies. Lee subsequently led the expansion of Marvel Comics from a small division of a publishing house to a large multimedia corporation.

With the help of his uncle, Robbie Solomon, Lee became an assistant at the new Timely Comics division of pulp magazine and comic-book publisher Martin Goodman's company in 1939. Timely, by the 1960s, would evolve into Marvel Comics. Lee, whose cousin Jean was Goodman's wife, and was formally hired by Timely editor Joe Simon. His duties were prosaic at first. "In those days [the artists] dipped the pen in ink, [so] I had to make sure the inkwells were filled", Lee recalled in 2009. "I went down and got them their lunch, I did proofreading, I erased the pencils from the finished pages for them". Marshaling his childhood ambition to be a writer, young Stanley Lieber made his comic-book debut with the text filler "Captain America Foils the Traitor's Revenge" in Captain America Comics #3 (May 1941), using the pseudonym "Stan Lee", which years later he would adopt as his legal name. Lee later explained in his autobiography and numerous other sources that he had intended to save his given name for more literary work. This initial story also introduced Captain America's trademark ricocheting shield-toss, which immediately became one of the character's signatures.

Selected media

The Hunting of the Snark
Credit: Illustration: Henry Holiday; Restoration: Adam Cuerden

Plate I of Henry Holiday's original illustrations for the first edition of Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark, a nonsense poem written in 1874 that tells the story of ten individuals who cross the ocean to hunt the Snark. In common with other Carroll works, the meaning of the poem has been queried and analysed in depth. It is divided into eight "fits" (a pun on the archaic fitt meaning a part of a song, and fit meaning a convulsion) and is by far Carroll's longest poem. (POTD)

Selected work

The Time Traveler's Wife, published in 2003, is the debut novel of American author Audrey Niffenegger. It is a love story about a man with a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel unpredictably, and about his wife, an artist, who has to cope with his frequent absences and dangerous experiences. Niffenegger, frustrated in love when she began the work, wrote the story as a metaphor for her failed relationships. The tale's central relationship came to her suddenly and subsequently supplied the novel's title. The novel, which has been classified as both science fiction and romance, examines issues of love, loss, and free will. In particular, it uses time travel to explore miscommunication and distance in relationships, while also investigating deeper existential questions.

As a first-time novelist, Niffenegger had trouble finding a literary agent. She eventually sent the novel to MacAdam/Cage unsolicited and, after an auction took place for the rights, Niffenegger selected them as her publisher. The book became a bestseller after an endorsement from author and family friend Scott Turow on The Today Show, and as of March 2009 had sold nearly 2.5 million copies in the United States and the United Kingdom. Many reviewers were impressed with Niffenegger's unique perspective on time travel. Some praised her characterization of the couple, applauding their emotional depth; others criticized her writing style as melodramatic and the plot as emotionally trite. The novel won the Exclusive Books Boeke Prize and a British Book Award. A film version was released in August 2009.

Selected quote

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

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

Selected article

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.

Did you know...

Nancy Cartwright

On this day...

October 21:

Book releases

Film releases

Television series


Possible futures

Possible events in the future as suggested by science fiction:

  • The artificial intelligence Durandal arrives in the Lh'owon system, 97 light years from the Milky Way's center, in 2811.
  • Dr. Robotnik seizes control in 3224 of the planet Mobius, the name of the former planet Earth.
  • The EVE Gate, a natural wormhole leading to New Eden, collapses in 8061.
  • In the year 500,000,000,000,000,000,000 (500 quintillion), the last descendants of humanity make some changes to our near present in order to release the universe's vacuum energy, spawn new universes, and avoid letting the Big Freeze from happening.

Upcoming conventions




Dates can usually be found on the article page.

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

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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: 2014-10-21 21:56 (UTC)


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