What Exactly is ‘Speculative Fiction’?

When people ask what genre I write and I say, “Speculative Fiction, specifically dystopian.” I usually receive a polite smile over a mask of confusion.


Picture from Deviant Art

I only heard the term ‘speculative fiction’ a year or two ago and realized, “Hey, that’s what I write!” So what exactly is it?

As Jeff Gerke, founder and publisher of Marcher Lord Press, likes to say, “It’s the “weird” fiction.” Or, as the eloquent Wikipedia puts it: Speculative fiction is an umbrella term encompassing the more fantastical fiction genres. Science fiction, fantasy, utopian, dystopian, time travel, steampunk, horror, alternate history, vampires, spiritual warfare, technothriller, and superheroes. I’ve still probably missed a couple.

My debut novel, A Time to Die, is dystopian (a discussion for another day), but I have some plans to write a fantasy series in the future.

How do you feel about Speculative Fiction? Do you write in any of these genres? Read them?


2 thoughts on “What Exactly is ‘Speculative Fiction’?

  1. That’s the same polite smile I received in college when I told people my major was Communications.

    I write speculative fiction as well, but much like you, didn’t learn the term until I was already writing in the genre. Speculative fiction brings a sense of wonder that no other literature can achieve, a unique gift from God that ignites our souls in ways difficult to describe but impossible to ignore. That’s why I love it.

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