Speculative Fiction: What is it?

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According to internet searches, speculative fiction is narrative that includes elements, characters, and settings that are imagined rather than science based.

  • Stories could be about mythological creatures such as dragons and fairies, or supernatural entities, such as angels and demons, or other imagined creatures or humans with inexplicable power or abilities.
  • Stories may also include ideas of what may become of the earth and humanity if global crises occur. Apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, and dystopian stories.
  • Speculative fiction may also include imagined technology; airships and time machines.

In short, any scientifically inexplicable phenomena or technology would fall into the category of speculative fiction.

So, what’s the difference? Speculative fiction sounds a lot like science fiction, and a lot like fantasy, and a lot like paranormal, and a lot like magic realism.

Perhaps the difference is, speculative fiction explores the psychological and spiritual elements of the human experience. I believe there is more to this world than what can be explained by science. Through speculative fiction, we are able to explore the possibility of realms beyond our senses and the forces behind the inexplicable. Speculative fiction allows for us to ask what if ______? What if everyone on earth were the same skin color, religion, and economic status? Would there be peace, or, would humanity still find a way to fail? Is there a driving force behind the demise of mankind? Are we at the mercy of circumstance, or is life already scripted by a supernatural force? Is there hope for humanity? What could it be, and what is the opposing force preventing our salvation?

The speculative fiction author creates worlds where the scientifically inexplicable are given the spotlight. The imagined element may be the shining star of the narrative or only a small backstage performer.

Speculative fiction allows readers to explore the possibilities of what lies beyond scientific explanation.

 

 

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Great piece, Sarah. I’d even say you could expand your definition further, to explore cutting edge science that is explicable but hasn’t happened yet. What I personally love about speculative fiction is its unique ability to give the reader an entirely new way to look at the human experience. So many surprising things happen then.

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    1. Agreed. Look at how fast technology is increasing! Light-speed, my friend.

      Like

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