Today's Tune: Feathers
Tweet your scary/gross/funny Halloween microfiction along with the hashtag #hallowfic. All the cool kids are doing it!
I wanted to talk about "speculative" fiction.
What is speculative fiction? It's an all-encompassing term for fiction that doesn't take place in the "real world," basically. It includes horror, science fiction, fantasy, dystopias, alternative history, and everything in between. It's a term that's historically been used to distance oneself from science fiction and its limitations, though these days it's come into wide usage as an umbrella term.
It's a term I hadn't heard much until I started getting really involved in the writing community, and I found it interesting. It makes sense to have one term for these genres, since there are so many literary magazines that publish multiple "imaginative" genres, like horror/paranormal or science fiction/fantasy. It also includes all those weird new multi-genres that don't quite have a traditional place yet.
At first, it rubbed me the wrong way a little bit. I thought it was a jab at science fiction - a way to distance oneself from the stereotypically negative connotations of sci-fi (stuffiness, nerdiness, boring). After some pondering, I now believe that while it can be used that way, it actually can be used to break away from the truly negative ideals of science fiction - that it's male-centric, highly specific, elitist, etc.
It also defines the undefinable. Those of us who write sci-fi-that-isn't-quite-sci-fi or fantasy-but-not-really now have a term for our genre.
But what does it really mean? Does it mean the same thing to everyone, or is it one of those "I know it when I see it" things? Is it too broad? Or does it give us the freedom to work without a label while still being able to tell people where our book would be in the store?
Curious. What do you think?