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Speculative fiction is birthed from what author Richard Mathews called a ‘vivid mode of human consciousness’ where, unlike realistic fiction, speculative fiction comes along with a freedom to abandon reality and immerse oneself in an invented realm. The author (who is also the work’s first reader) fabulates (invention of story) that which they hope the reader will find immersion in. In Aurealismagazine, speculative fiction writer Michael Pryor explained why he loves fantasy and science fiction: while fantasy and science fiction writers must achieve everything else that a writer must in the act of good storytelling, for example robust characters, convincing plots, and appealing text, they must additionally ‘incorporate all the imaginative elements that are the hallmark of fantasy and science fiction’. Contrary to perception, genres and subgenres of speculative fiction are not different ends of a spectrum, but rather overlap.
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Mathews, R. (2002) Fantasy: The Liberation of Imagination (London: Routledge).
Borges, J. L. (1964) Labyrinths: Selected Stories & Other Writing, in D. A. Yates & J. E. Irby (eds.) (Harmondsworth: Penguin), pp. 211–212.
Card, O. S. (1990) How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy (Ohio: Writer’s Digest Books), p. 22.
Card, p. 23.
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, viewed 26 March 2017. http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com
Borges, p. 5.
Turcotte, G. (1998), ‘Australian Gothic’, in M. Mulvey Roberts (ed.), The Handbook to Gothic Literature (Basingstoke: Macmillan), pp. 10–19.
- Genres and subgenres of speculative fiction
Dr. Eugen Bacon
- Macmillan Education UK
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