, 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 1960's, some writers felt that science fiction, or 'sci-fi,' was 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 favorite 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 practically the entire fantastic end of the Sliding Scale of Realistic Versus Fantastic
, including Fantasy
, Science Fiction
, and other, less well known genres. (In this genre, Just Here for Godzilla
is in full effect.) 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 sci-fi 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.
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Major Speculative Fiction Sub-Genres:
Fiction of the future and the question "What if...?"
subgenres of Science Fiction
Fiction of magic and mythology
subgenres of fantasy
The fiction of fear
subgenres of Horror
Speculative elements meet social commentary, philosophy, action, and intrigue.
subgenres of Punk fiction
Hybrid subgenres and other major subgenres
- Alternate History
- Bizarro Fiction: literature's equivalent to the cult section at the video store.
- Dungeon Punk: An Adventure Friendly smashup of Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Punk, and Two Fisted Tale; heavy on the grit.
- Fantastic Comedy: A comic work, usually a sitcom, with minor but central fantastical elements
- Gaslamp Fantasy: whimsical hybrid of punk and fantasy, generally lighthearted or dramatic.
- New Weird: Non derivative horror, sci-fi, and fantasy mostly blended together.
- Paranormal Investigation: A mix of the supernatural and the scientific, with a variable level of the fantastic to the mundane.
- Science Fantasy: Mix and Matched sci-fi and fantasy elements.
- Sci-Fi Horror
- Supernatural Fiction: It's all about ghosts, witches, suspense, and mystery.
- Slipstream: weird next door neighbor to Realism, who may or may not be an alien wizard.
- Two-Fisted Tales: Works inspired by the Pulp Magazines of the early 20th century