What is Speculative fiction?

So, I primarily write speculative fiction. Actually, to be fair, I mostly write fantasy. I can, and have, dabbled with science fiction. I’ve played with writing horror (not very well). Even, every once in a great while, something that isn’t speculative fiction at all. We’ll get into why write speculative fiction in another post.

So what is “Speculative Fiction”? That depends on who you ask. Almost everyone agrees that fantasy, science fiction, and most horror counts as speculative fiction, but there are other, smaller genres that do also. Alternate histories count, as does steam punk, cyber punk, and most other ‘punks’.  Fairy tales count also.

Speculative fiction is a genre for stories that cannot actually happen. At least, not yet. No, action stories where the main character can do everything short of drive on the moon don’t count. Neither do romances where one or both characters are dreamily perfect. Not usually anyway. When your action hero uses a new technology (or sufficient technobabble) to outfit his car for space, or one of your romantic leads is a vampire, now you’re in speculative fiction. Not necessarily good speculative fiction, but speculative fiction nonetheless.

Most of the oldest stories are forms of speculative fiction, involving gods, monsters, and the heroes that faced them. Even still, we love them. Good luck finding one person in the English speaking world over ten who doesn’t have at least some familiarity with Harry Potter. Twilight is currently a very popular phenomenon. Superhero stories count as speculative fiction. I watched Avengers last night, for about the fifth time. That movie made box office records. The books were best sellers, regardless of your opinion of the plot, writing, or anything else, these were popular. That is because some part of us loves to believe the impossible.

So, let’s explore the impossible.

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