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Speculative fiction is an umbrella phrase encompassing the more fantastical fiction genres, specifically science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history in literature as well as related static, motion, and virtual arts.

It has been around since humans began to speak. The earliest forms of speculative fiction were likely mythological tales told around the campfire. Speculative fiction deals with the "What if?" scenarios imagined by dreamers and thinkers worldwide. Journeys to other worlds through the vast reaches of distant space; magical quests to free worlds enslaved by terrible beings; malevolent supernatural powers seeking to increase their spheres of influence across multiple dimensions and times; all of these fall into the realm of speculative fiction.

Speculative fiction as a category ranges from ancient works to cutting edge, paradigm-changing, and neotraditional works of the 21st century. It can be recognized in works whose authors' intentions or the social contexts of the versions of stories they portrayed is now known. For example, Ancient Greek dramatists such as Euripides, whose play Medea (play) seemed to have offended Athenian audiences when he fictionally speculated that shamaness Medea killed her own children instead of their being killed by other Corinthians after her departure. The play Hippolytus, narratively introduced by Aphrodite, is suspected to have displeased contemporary audiences of the day because it portrayed Phaedra as too lusty.

In historiography, what is now called speculative fiction has previously been termed "historical invention", "historical fiction," and other similar names. It is extensively noted in the literary criticism of the works of William Shakespeare when he co-locates Athenian Duke Theseus and Amazonian Queen Hippolyta, English fairy Puck, and Roman god Cupid all together in the fairyland of its Merovingian Germanic sovereign Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream. In mythography it has been termed "mythopoesis" or mythopoeia, "fictional speculation", the creative design and generation of lore, regarding such works as J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Such supernatural, alternate history, and sexuality themes continue in works produced within the modern speculative fiction genre.

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Selected profile

Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963) was a British writer and lay theologian. He held academic positions in English literature at both Oxford University (Magdalen College, 1925–1954) and Cambridge University (Magdalene College, 1954–1963). He is best known for his works of fiction, especially The Screwtape Letters, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Space Trilogy, and for his non-fiction Christian apologetics, such as Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Problem of Pain. Lewis and fellow novelist J. R. R. Tolkien were close friends. They both served on the English faculty at Oxford University and were active in the informal Oxford literary group known as the Inklings. According to Lewis's memoir Surprised by Joy, he was baptised in the Church of Ireland, but fell away from his faith during adolescence. Lewis returned to Anglicanism at the age of 32, owing to the influence of Tolkien and other friends, and he became an "ordinary layman of the Church of England". Lewis's faith profoundly affected his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim. Read more...

Selected work

Theatrical release poster

Night of the Living Dead is a 1968 American independent horror film written, directed, photographed and edited by George A. Romero, co-written by John Russo, and starring Duane Jones and Judith O'Dea. The story follows seven people who are trapped in a rural farmhouse in western Pennsylvania, which is besieged by a large and growing group of "living dead" monsters.

The film was completed on a US$114,000 budget and shot outside Pittsburgh, where it had its theatrical premiere on October 1, 1968. The film grossed US$12 million domestically and US$18 million internationally, earning more than 250 times its budget. Night of the Living Dead has been regarded as a cult classic by film scholars and critics, despite being heavily criticized upon its release for its explicit gore. It eventually garnered critical acclaim and was selected in 1999 by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry as a film deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". (more)

Selected quote


T. O'Conor Sloane (1851–1940), "Discussions" Amazing Stories (January 1927). This quote is notable for being the first "modern use" of the term science fiction.[1]
  1. ^ Westfahl, Gary. Science Fiction Quotations. Yale University Press. 2005.
More quotes from Wikiquote: science fiction, fantasy, alternate history

Selected article

Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore is a fictional character in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. For most of the series, he is the headmaster of the wizarding school Hogwarts. As part of his backstory, it is revealed that he is the founder and leader of the Order of the Phoenix, an organisation dedicated to fighting Lord Voldemort, the chief antagonist of the series. Dumbledore was portrayed by Richard Harris in the film adaptations of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (known as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the USA) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. After Harris' death, Michael Gambon portrayed Dumbledore for all of the remaining Harry Potter films. Jude Law portrayed Dumbledore in the prequel film Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Read more...

Selected media

Illustration to Tennyson's "Sleeping Beauty" by W. E. F. Britten. Like a lot of Tennyson poems based on a literary source, Tennyson only focuses on a tiny part of the whole. Hence, the poem leaves out all the setup and the conclusion, instead describing what her sleep was like
Credit: William Edward Frank Britten (artist), Tennyson (poem), Adam Cuerden (restoration, image description)

Illustration to Tennyson's "Sleeping Beauty" by W. E. F. Britten. Like a lot of Tennyson poems based on a literary source, Tennyson only focuses on a tiny part of the whole. Hence, the poem leaves out all the setup and the conclusion, instead describing what her sleep was like:

Year after year unto her feet,
She lying on her couch alone,
Across the purpled coverlet,
The maiden's jet-black hair has grown,
On either side her tranced form
Forth streaming from a braid of pearl:
The slumbrous light is rich and warm,
And moves not on the rounded curl.
 
The silk star-broider'd coverlid
Unto her limbs itself doth mould
Languidly ever; and, amid
Her full black ringlets downward roll'd,
Glows forth each softly-shadow'd arm,
With bracelets of the diamond bright:
Her constant beauty doth inform
Stillness with love, and day with light.
 
She sleeps: her breathings are not heard
In palace chambers far apart.
The fragrant tresses are not stirr'd
That lie upon her charmed heart.
She sleeps: on either hand upswells
The gold-fringed pillow lightly prest:
She sleeps, nor dreams, but ever dwells
A perfect form in perfect rest.

Did you know...

Owl Island from The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin

On this day...

November 17:

Television series

Possible futures

Possible events in the future as suggested by science fiction:

  • A geological survey on Zeta Minor is almost annihilated by anti-matter creatures in 37166.

Upcoming conventions

November:


December:

 

Dates can usually be found on the article page.


See also these convention lists: anime, comic book, furry, gaming, multigenre, and science fiction.

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The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

Wikibooks
Books

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