, Alternate History
and everything in between
The term 'Speculative Fiction' was originally a "backronym" for the initials SF; at the time, during the New Wave Science Fiction
movement of the 1960s, some writers felt that science fiction, or 'sci-fi', now equated to flying saucers and rubber monsters, and wanted to distinguish themselves with a new genre label. The desire for a separate category became even greater when people began to apply the sci-fi label to horror films containing blatantly supernatural elements (such as various immortals) but few if any science-based elements whatsoever. Over time, however, the term 'Speculative Fiction' grew to become a Super Trope
covering not only what self-described Speculative Fiction authors wrote, but also the Sci-Fi
and Horror B-movies they were trying to distinguish themselves from. Nevertheless, Speculative Fiction can be applied to a work — correctly or incorrectly — in order to help it avoid the Sci Fi Ghetto
; it can allow the more pretentious to believe that their favourite work is a proper 'literary' work with no connection to and thus obvious superiority over that geeky science fiction or fantasy.
Today Speculative Fiction covers pretty much the entire fantastic end of the Sliding Scale of Realistic Versus Fantastic
, including fantasy
, Science Fiction
, and other, less well known genres. However, there are many speculative fiction stories that fall on the border between genres, and others that may be completely unclassifiable. Furthermore, many of these genres can be either used to terrify
or Played for Laughs
, with the latter producing such genres as comic SF and comedy - horror.
See the Analysis page
for why the boundary between Fantasy
, Science Fiction
, and Horror
is fuzzy, and why a broad term like Speculative Fiction is necessary.
The individual tropes are listed on Speculative Fiction Tropes
. See the Speculative Fiction Creator Index
for a list of pages for Speculative Fiction creators.
Speculative Fiction Sub-Genres:
- Alternate History
- Comic Fantasy literature
- Dark Fantasy
- Gaslamp Fantasy
- Fairy Tale
- Fantastic Comedy on TV, fantasy elements used for parody or satire.
- Heroic Fantasy, also called Sword and Sorcery
- High Fantasy, the epitome of which is The Lord of the Rings
- Historical Fantasy
- Low Fantasy
- Medieval European Fantasy
- Magic Realism, "Hey! You got magic in my whimsical literary epic!"
- Mundane Fantastic, fantasy elements intrude on mundane everyday life.
- New Weird, non-derivative Horror, Scifi and Fantasy mostly blended together.
- Paranormal Investigation
- Paranormal Romance
- Planetary Romance
- Science Fantasy - Mix And Matched scifi and fantasy elements
- Space Opera
- Space Western
- Speculative Documentary
- Supernatural Fiction - It's all about ghosts, witches, suspense, and mystery
- Supernatural Soap Opera
- Sword And Sandal
- Twenty Minutes into the Future
- Urban Fantasy
- Vampire Fiction