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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(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.
Doris May Lessing CH
; born 22 October 1919) is an Iranian
-born British writer
, author of works such as the novels The Grass is Singing
and The Golden Notebook
Lessing's fiction is commonly divided into three distinct phases: the Communist theme (1944–1956), when she was writing radically on social issues (to which she returned in The Good Terrorist (1985)), the psychological theme (1956–1969), and after that the Sufi theme, which was explored in a science fiction setting in the Canopus series.
Lessing's switch to science fiction was not popular with many critics. For example, in the New York Times in 1982 John Leonard wrote in reference to The Making of the Representative for Planet 8 that "One of the many sins for which the 20th century will be held accountable is that it has discouraged Mrs. Lessing.... She now propagandizes on behalf of our insignificance in the cosmic razzmatazz." To which Lessing replied: "What they didn't realize was that in science fiction is some of the best social fiction of our time. I also admire the classic sort of science fiction, like Blood Music, by Greg Bear. He's a great writer." Unlike some authors primarily known for their mainstream work, she has never hesitated to admit that she writes science fiction. She was Writer Guest of Honour at the 1987 World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), and made a well-received speech in which she described her science-fictional Memoirs of a Survivor as "an attempt at an autobiography."
In the poem "The Queen of Hearts", the titular queen bakes some tarts, which are then stolen by the Knave of Hearts (shown here). The King of Hearts has the Knave punished, so he brings them back and pledges not to steal again. The poem was published anonymously in 1782, along with three lesser-known stanzas, all about characters based on playing cards. (POTD)
The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episodes, also known as The Simpsons Halloween episodes, are a series of episodes in the animated series The Simpsons. They are Halloween specials, each consisting of three separate, self-contained segments. These segments usually involve the Simpson family in some horror, science fiction, or supernatural setting. They take place outside the show's normal continuity and completely abandon any pretense of being realistic. The first, entitled "Treehouse of Horror", aired on October 25, 1990, as part of the second season and was inspired by EC Comics horror tales. The episodes are known for being far more violent and much darker than an average Simpsons episode. As of 2009, there are 20 Treehouse of Horror episodes, with one airing every year, and the newest episode, "Treehouse of Horror XX", premiered on October 18, 2009.
Episodes contain several trademarks, including the alien characters Kang and Kodos, "scary names" in the credits, a special version of the opening sequence, and parodies of horror, science fiction and fantasy films. The show's staff regard the Treehouse of Horror as being particularly difficult to produce as the scripts often go through many rewrites, and the animators typically have to design new characters and backgrounds.
||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 March 1952 by Quinn Publications, owned by James L. Quinn
. Quinn hired Paul W. Fairman
to be the first editor, but early circulation figures were disappointing, and Quinn fired Fairman after only three issues. Quinn then took over the editorial position himself. He stayed in that role until late 1958, though Larry T. Shaw
took over most editorial duties for a year from mid-1953. In 1958 Damon Knight
was hired as editor, but within three issues Quinn sold the magazine to Robert Guinn at Galaxy Publishing.
The new editor at Galaxy Publishing was Horace L. Gold, who was also editing Galaxy Science Fiction. After two years Frederik Pohl took over as editor, and it was under Pohl that If reached its greatest success, winning the Hugo Award for best professional magazine three years running from 1966 to 1968. In 1969 Guinn sold all his magazines to Universal Publishing and Distribution (UPD). Pohl decided not to continue as editor as he wanted to return to his writing career. Ejler Jakobsson became editor; the magazine was not successful under his management and circulation plummeted. In early 1974 Jim Baen took over from Jakobsson as editor, but increasing paper costs meant that UPD could no longer afford to publish both Galaxy and If. Galaxy was regarded as the senior of the two magazines, so If was merged into Galaxy after the December 1974 issue, its 175th issue overall.
Possible events in the future as suggested by science fiction:
- The planet Rubi-Ka is discovered in 28702 by the Omni-Tek Corporation.
Here are ideas for how you can help improve the coverage of speculative fiction topics on Wikipedia:
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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