What is Speculative Fiction?

imageOne of the challenges I encountered when I began writing was classifying what genre my stories best fit into.

Since my tales didn’t consistently fit into any one genre, I always dreaded being asked what genre I wrote in because I never had an answer.

Then I discovered the existence of a genre known as speculative fiction and I immediately had an aha! moment. It was a perfect fit.

Spec-Fic is a wide genre that many other genres fall under. Everything from science fiction to dystopian fiction can be found under the Spec-Fic umbrella.

But what’s the point of Speculative Fiction? Why not just call it by whatever other genre it can be categorized by?

That’s a good question that has two good answers.

Firstly it’s because Spec-Fic has more than one objective. Not only does it exist to entertain the reader, but it is intended to evoke thought and reflection in the reader.

Countless Sci-Fi, mystery, suspense, drama, comedy, and romance stories have been written that are purely for entertainment; Speci-Fic, however, strives to not just reach you emotionally, but cognitively as well.

My second answer is because Spec-Fic is oftentimes broader than one specific genre.

This benefits an author in classifying a collection of stories of varying genres, and I am one of those authors. I have an upcoming anthology of short stories which, individually, can be classified under different genres, but collectively they can all be filed under Speculative Fiction.

imageStories like In Search of Greener Grass and The Visitor, would qualify as Sci-Fi, whereas The Island and The Great American Clubhouse Fire would qualify as suspense. Then there’s The Unrequited that could be classified as a love story. These tales are of different genres, but all of them contain the DNA of Speculative Fiction.

Still a unsure of what Spec-Fic is? Then allow me to draw your attention to the following four quotes:

“A good speculative fiction story would make you think, provide a new insight into human nature or even give you a new outlook on life.”

– Lida E. Quillen

“It is a format that informs, delights, and educates a reader. It tells a story that is pleasing to the reader and at the same time opens disturbing questions. Ones that the reader may not be able to frame on their own, or even accept as valid questions in the context of their daily life.”

– Steve Tully

“A good indicator that you’re reading Speculative Fiction is that there’s usually not a happy ending.”

J.L. Pattison

“Good Speculative Fiction transforms ‘what is’ into ‘what could be.’ It vexes, disturbs, and inspires us, becoming a catalyst for new ways of thinking that expand[s] our awareness and subvert[s] the status quo.”

– Vex Mosaic

I hope I’ve helped you to better understand this genre. I’ll conclude with examples of already published Speculative Fiction by directing you to Goodreads’ current list of popular Spec-Fic books here.

Thanks for reading and please don’t hesitate to join the conversation by leaving a comment.