Welcome to Quantum Muse, a science fiction and fantasy ezine. Welcome to Quantum Muse, a science fiction and fantasy ezine. Your banner could be here! Find out how!
Out of Nowhere by Patrick LeClerc.
Posting the finest in science fiction, fantasy and alternative writing and artwork. For free. In our sober moments...
   Reader's login    |    Writer's login
Return to Discussion Topics Page

mark211What's in a name Science Fiction or Speculative Fiction?2014-12-08 13:50:55
mark211The term 'Science Fiction' is thought to have appeared some time during the 1930s and was coined by the Pulp magazine publishers, such as Hugo Gernsback with his 'Amazing Stories'. The pulps themselves grew out of the much derided 'Penny Dreadfuls' (in which were found stirring stories of stout British fellows wrestling tigers in the Bengal) and 'Dime Novels' (in which were found rugged Frontiersmen facing down wicked Red Indian 'savages') and perhaps this is one reason why Science Fiction came to be similarly looked down on.2014-12-08 13:51:19
mark211So now we have a situation where novels such as 'The Handmaid's Tale' (Margaret Atwood), 'The Satanic Verses' (Salman Rushdie), 'Red Earth and Pouring Rain' (Vikram Chandra) and 'Cloud Atlas' (David Mitchell) all of which are clearly works of Science and/or Fantasy Fiction, are variously labeled as Speculative, Postcolonial, Magical Realist etc. etc. basically, anything *but* Science Fiction or Fantasy. But what's in a name? Is this something that matters to you? Why does it matter at all (to anyone)? 2014-12-08 13:51:32
jessbaumI always figured that sci-fi and fantasy were sub genres within the spec fic category. Speculative is a broad term to help separate classic fiction from the fiction that delves into newer less proven ideas. Labels labels everywhere! I find that it makes my job easier to know just what type of story I'm writing. Genres are annoying and no one wants to confine themselves, but in order to create works that other people desire to read one must have some sense of who they are writing for so I don't mind. 2014-12-08 14:09:11
esullivan240You have to pick some kind of label so Amazon can track your sales. Big Brother says so......2014-12-08 16:37:50
IronspiderNever been bothered by labels - it's just a convenient way for booksellers to group their merchandise. It does make it easier when you're out browsing; head for the 'Science Fiction' section and just hope the shelf-stackers know their job! I've never seen 'Speculative Fiction' as a shelf designation, but have come across it in reviews and adverts. I just assumed that 'Speculative' was used as an alternative, when publishers were trying to pitch a sci-fi or fantasy novel at a wider audience; after all much of the sci-fi/fantasy that people are aware of relates to film and television - and not all of it is that good! But if you only choose your reading material by the label then you could miss some very enjoyable books - unless the label's 'Paranormal Romance'... 2014-12-09 00:15:20
r.tornelloLibrary of Congress and ISBN. Gotta catalog these things. If things had been done properly Da Vinci's notebooks would not have been lost.2014-12-09 04:55:46
mark211I'd always been under the impression that 'speculative fiction' was actually a label that had grown out of English Literature and Cultural Studies faculties in Universities. In other words, that calling it 'Speculative Fiction' was intended to broaden the scope out a bit (to include e.g. Fantasy fiction as jessbaum says), but also to try and shake off the image of Science Fiction as a label for cheap, trashy disposable paperbacks.2014-12-09 09:33:29
mark211'The Handmaid's Tale', 'Brave New World' and '1984' are all absolutely a works of Science Fiction - how can they not be? - but where would you expect to find them in a bookstore - in Fiction A-Z or Science Fiction or both? Besides which, it's still overwhelmingly the case that what to me is a thoughtful and highly intelligent novels such as Frank Herbert's Dune or Philip K. Dick's 'The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch' will never make it onto the short list of the Prix Goncourt or the Mann Booker Prize. But why not? And does it matter? 2014-12-09 09:38:48
jbaumgartner13I look at this as genre versus trappings. Genres are Fiction, Comedy, Horror and Romance. Trappings are the special effects applied to the genre such as slasher, fantasy, sci fi, etc.2014-12-09 14:04:54
r.tornelloScience Fiction could be a branch of philosophy or philosphical-literature, a truth seeking exercise in the form of a novel, or speculative proposition, a speculative supposition.2014-12-11 07:58:11
micheledutcherR Tornello said: "Gotta catalog these things. If things had been done properly Da Vinci's notebooks would not have been lost." - And the Lost Ark as well! - I hear that's in a warehouse in Washington DC somewhere. Funny guy! The name science fiction sets the parameters, makes the rules. In regular fiction, a scientist can meet the love of his life. In a mystery, the scientist gets murdered. In sci-fi the scientist travels backwards in time. In fantasy a scientist-elf discovers a magical portion. Having venues makes it easier for the reader to follow the plot. 2014-12-12 09:03:17





Enter the code above to post comment:

Enter a screen name:

Or login to make comments without the code
Enter your comments:





We shamelessly accept handouts!

Give generously to the United Wa - uh, we mean Quantum Muse. It keeps Mike off the streets from scaring small children and the Web Goddess from spray painting Town Hall - again.
Enter your tip amount. Then click on the tip cup!


Quantum Museletter! Be the first to know when new stories and artwork have arrived.

Subscribe to Quantum Museletter by filling out the following form.



Enter the code above to verify entry:
Your email address:
Your name (optional):
 

Do you like this site?
Recommend it to a friend by pushing the button below!