SF/F Genre Glossary

Speculative fiction only recently became a part of my vocabulary. I was browsing the web for book reviews and the term kept popping up. I checked magazine submission guidelines and there it was there again. How did I miss this?!

It hit me like a one degree shift in the axis the world…

You see, there’s a huge gaping hole in my knowledge of the book world that spans roughly 10 years, and sums up everything between high school and graduating university (yes I spent far too long in school).

So what is speculative fiction?

“is a fiction genre speculating about worlds that are unlike the real world in various important ways. In these contexts, it generally overlaps one or more of the following: science fiction, fantasy fiction, horror fiction, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history.” Thanks Wikipedia.

To summarize: speculative fiction includes stories classified as fantasy, science fiction, horror, plus everything strange and weird.

That’s a huge category. I like it. I think it frees the mind to play with the boundaries of genre.

And so, here’s a challenge, and a writing prompt for Wednesday:

How many genres can you defile at once? What’s the strangest, oddest, weirdest, story you can write up?



Addendum June 2011: There is some controversy over the use of the term Speculative Fiction. When I refer to it in this blog, I am using the definition stated above: as an umbrella term for sf / f / horror and all mixes thereof.