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

Tolkien in 1916
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, CBE (/ˈtɒlkn/ or US /ˈtlkn/; 3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973), was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.

Tolkien was Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University from 1925 to 1945 and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature there from 1945 to 1959. He was a close friend of C. S. Lewis—they were both members of the informal literary discussion group known as the Inklings. Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972.

After his death, Tolkien's son, Christopher, published a series of works based on his father's extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion. These, together with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, form a connected body of tales, poems, fictional histories, invented languages, and literary essays about an imagined world called Arda, and Middle-earth within it. Between 1951 and 1955 Tolkien applied the word legendarium to the larger part of these writings.

Selected profile #2

Dickens ca.1867-1868
Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was the most popular English novelist of the Victorian era, and one of the most popular of all time, responsible for some of English literature's most iconic characters. Many of his novels, with their recurrent theme of social reform, first appeared in magazines in serialised form, a popular format at the time. Unlike other authors who completed entire novels before serialisation, Dickens often created the episodes as they were being serialized. The practice lent his stories a particular rhythm, punctuated by cliffhangers to keep the public looking forward to the next instalment. The continuing popularity of his novels and short stories is such that they have never gone out of print. His work has been praised for its mastery of prose and unique personalities by writers such as George Gissing and G. K. Chesterton, though the same characteristics prompted others, such as Henry James and Virginia Woolf, to criticise him for sentimentality and implausibility.

While much of his work was considered mainstream fiction, he wrote several well-known genre pieces, including A Christmas Carol, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain, and the collaborative story The Haunted House.

Selected media

Illustration by Édouard Manet for a French translation by Stéphane Mallarmé of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven". Part 4 of 4 full page plates (two smaller illustrations at beginning and end omitted).
Credit: Édouard Manet (illustration), Durova and Adam Cuerden (restoration)

Illustration by Édouard Manet for a French translation by Stéphane Mallarmé of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven". Part 4 of 4 full page plates.

Selected work

BioShock is a first-person shooter video game developed by 2K Boston/2K Australia—previously known as Irrational Games—designed by Ken Levine. It was released for the Windows operating system and Xbox 360 video game console on 21 August 2007 in North America, and three days later in Europe and Australia. A PlayStation 3 version of the game, which was developed by 2K Marin, was released internationally on 17 October 2008 and in North America on 21 October 2008 with some additional features. The game was also released for the Mac OS X operating system on October 7, 2009. A version of the game for mobile platforms is currently being developed by IG Fun. A sequel, BioShock 2, is scheduled for release on February 9, 2010.

Set in an alternate history 1960, the game places the player in the role of a plane crash survivor named Jack, who must explore the underwater city of Rapture, and survive attacks by the mutated beings and mechanical drones that populate it. The game incorporates elements found in role-playing and survival games, and is described by the developers and Levine as a "spiritual successor" to their previous titles in the System Shock series.

The game received overwhelmingly positive reviews, being particularly well-reviewed in the mainstream press, which praised its "morality-based" storyline, immersive environment and Ayn Rand-inspired dystopian back-story.

Selected quote


—Harold C. Deutsch (1904-1995), Introduction, What If? Strategic Alternatives of WWII (December 1997).
More quotes from Wikiquote: science fiction, fantasy, alternate history

Selected article

Professor Bernard Quatermass is a fictional character, originally created by the writer Nigel Kneale for BBC Television. Quatermass appeared in three influential BBC science fiction serials of the 1950s (The Quatermass Experiment, Quatermass II, and Quatermass and the Pit), and returned in a final serial for Thames Television in 1979 (Quatermass). A remake of the first serial appeared on BBC Four in 2005.

The character also appeared in films, on the radio and in print over a fifty-year period. Kneale picked the character's unusual surname from a London telephone directory, while the first name was in honour of the astronomer Bernard Lovell. Quatermass is an intelligent and highly moral British scientist, who continually finds himself confronting sinister alien forces that threaten to destroy humanity. In the initial three serials he is a pioneer of the British space programme, heading up the British Experimental Rocket Group.

The character of Quatermass has been described by BBC News Online as Britain's first television hero, and by The Independent newspaper as "A brilliantly conceived and finely crafted creation... [He] remained a modern 'Mr Standfast', the one fixed point in an increasingly dreadful and ever-shifting universe." In 2005, an article in The Daily Telegraph suggested that "You can see a line running through him and many other British heroes. He shares elements with both Sherlock Holmes and Ellen MacArthur."

Did you know...

Thrill the World 2008 in Austin, Texas

On this day...

September 2:

Book releases

Births

Anniversaries and events

Possible futures

Possible events in the future as suggested by science fiction:

  • Around the year 18,000,000, a "half-plastic denizen" of the interior of a planet beyond Pluto exchanges his mind with the Great Race of Yith.

Upcoming conventions

September:


October:

 

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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