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Speculative Fiction

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Science Fiction, Fantasy, 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 vs. Fantastic, including Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, 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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Alternative Title(s): Scifantasy


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