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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(January 9, 1931 – June 9, 2008) was a Lithuanian
-American science fiction author
, 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.
(born January 15, 1935) is an American
author, best known for writing science fiction
. He is a multiple winner of both the Hugo
and Nebula Awards
Silverberg was born in Brooklyn, New York. A voracious reader since childhood, he began submitting stories to science fiction magazines during his early teenage years. He attended Columbia University, receiving an A.B. in English Literature in 1956. His first published novel, a children's book called Revolt on Alpha C, appeared in 1955, and he won his first Hugo the following year for "best new writer". For the next four years, by his own count, he wrote a million words a year, mostly for magazines and Ace Doubles. In 1959 the market for science fiction collapsed, and Silverberg turned his ability to write copiously to other fields, from carefully researched historical nonfiction to softcore pornography.
In the mid-1960s, science fiction writers were starting to become more literarily ambitious. Frederik Pohl, then editing three science fiction magazines, offered Silverberg carte blanche in writing for them. Thus inspired, Silverberg returned to the field that gave him his start, paying far more attention to depth of character development and social background than he had in the past and mixing in elements of the modernist literature he had studied at Columbia.
This photograph, entitled Dalí Atomicus, explores the idea of suspension, depicting three cats flying, a bucket of thrown water, and Salvador Dalí in mid air. The title of the photograph is a reference to Dalí's work Leda Atomica which can be seen in the right of the photograph behind the two cats. This is an early unretouched version where the suspension wires are still visible. (POTD)
||Science fiction rarely is about scientists doing real science, in its slowness, its vagueness, the sort of tedious quality of getting out there and digging amongst rocks and then trying to convince people that what you're seeing justifies the conclusions you're making. The whole process of science is wildly under-represented in science fiction because it's not easy to write about. There are many facets of science that are almost exactly opposite of dramatic narrative. It's slow, tedious, inconclusive, it's hard to tell good guys from bad guys—it's everything that a normal hour of Star Trek is not.
—Kim Stanley Robinson
(b. 1952), Interview, Locus
was an American science fiction magazine
launched in April 1926 by Hugo Gernsback
's Experimenter Publishing
. It was the first magazine devoted solely to science fiction. Before Amazing
, science fiction stories had made regular appearances in other magazines, including some published by Gernsback, but Amazing
helped define and launch a new genre of pulp fiction
Amazing was published, with some interruptions, for almost eighty years. The title first changed hands in 1929, when Gernsback was forced into bankruptcy and lost control of the magazine. Amazing became unprofitable during the 1930s and in 1938 was purchased by Ziff-Davis, who hired Raymond A. Palmer as editor. Palmer made the magazine successful though it was not regarded as a quality magazine within the science fiction community. In the late 1940s Amazing began to print stories about the Shaver Mystery, a lurid mythos which explained accidents and disaster as the work of robots named "deros"; the stories were presented as fact, and led to dramatically increased circulation but also widespread ridicule.
Palmer was replaced by Howard Browne in 1949, who briefly entertained plans of taking Amazing upmarket. These plans came to nothing, though Amazing did switch to a digest format in 1953, shortly before the end of the pulp-magazine era. A brief period under the editorship of Paul W. Fairman was followed, at the end of 1958, by the leadership of Cele Goldsmith. Despite her lack of experience she was able to bring new life to the magazine, and her years are regarded as one of Amazing's most creative eras. She was unable to arrest the declining circulation, though, and the magazine was sold to Sol Cohen's Universal Publishing Company in 1965.
Possible events in the future as suggested by science fiction:
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- 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