Portal:Speculative fiction

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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

Rowling in 2010

Joanne Rowling CH OBE HonFRSE FRCPE FRSL (/ˈrlɪŋ/ ROH-ling; born 31 July 1965), also known by her pen name J. K. Rowling, is a British author and philanthropist. She wrote a seven-volume children's fantasy series, Harry Potter, published from 1997 to 2007. The series has been enormously successful: it has sold over 500 million copies, been translated into at least 70 languages, and spawned a global media franchise including films and video games. The Casual Vacancy (2012) was her first novel for adults. She writes Cormoran Strike, an ongoing crime fiction series, as Robert Galbraith.

Born in Yate, Rowling graduated with a degree in French from the University of Exeter in 1987 and began working temp jobs as a bilingual secretary. In 1990, the idea for the characters of Harry Potter came to her while she waited on a delayed train; later that year, her mother died of multiple sclerosis. In the seven years before publication of the first Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (1997), Rowling moved to Portugal, married, had a daughter, relocated to Scotland when her marriage failed, divorced, and earned a teaching certificate. She wrote while living on state assistance as a single parent, deeply affected by her mother's death. By 2008, Forbes had named her the world's highest-paid author. (Full article...)

Selected work

Last and First Men: A Story of the Near and Far Future is a "future history" science fiction novel written in 1930 by the British author Olaf Stapledon. A work of unprecedented scale in the genre, it describes the history of humanity from the present onwards across two billion years and eighteen distinct human species, of which our own is the first. The book employs a narrative conceit that, under subtle inspiration, the novelist has unknowingly been dictated a channelled text from the last human species.

Stapledon's conception of history follows a repetitive cycle with many varied civilisations rising from and descending back into savagery over millions of years, as the later civilisations rise to far greater heights than the first. The book anticipates the science of genetic engineering, and is an early example of the fictional supermind; a consciousness composed of many telepathically linked individuals. (Full article...)

Selected quote


Peter Nicholls (b.1939), True Rat 7 (1976).

More quotes from Wikiquote: science fiction, fantasy, alternate history

Selected picture

Credit: Creators: Winsor McCay, John McCay, John Fitzsimmons.

The Centaurs was an animated film produced by Winsor McCay between 1918 and 1921. There is no record that the film was completed or publicly screened. The film was destroyed by negligent storage that allowed the sole surviving nitrate film print to deteriorate into dust. All that remains are isolated fragments that total approximately 90 seconds.

Did you know...

a blue monster without a head and with a big face on his chest. Two men holding swords seated on his two arms

  • ... that the 101 Dalmatians Musical has several performers working on 15" stilts to simulate a canine perspective, and uses 15 real Dalmatian dogs for several scenes?

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

Selected article

Michael Myers is a fictional character from the Halloween series of slasher films. He first appears in 1978 in John Carpenter's Halloween as a young boy who murders his elder sister, Judith Myers. Fifteen years later, he returns home to Haddonfield, Illinois, to murder more teenagers. In the original Halloween, the adult Michael Myers, referred to as The Shape in the closing credits, was portrayed by Nick Castle for most of the film and substituted by Tony Moran in the final scene where Michael's face is revealed. The character was created by John Carpenter and has appeared in eleven films, as well as novels, multiple video games, and several comic books. The character is the primary antagonist in the Halloween film series, except Halloween III: Season of the Witch, which is not connected in continuity to the rest of the films. Since Castle, Moran, and Wallace put on the mask in the original film, six people have stepped into the same role. Castle, George P. Wilbur, Tyler Mane, and James Jude Courtney are the only actors to have portrayed Michael Myers more than once, with Mane and Courtney being the only actors to do so in consecutive films. Michael Myers is characterized as pure evil, both directly in the films, by the filmmakers who created and developed the character over nine films, and by random participants in a survey. In the first two films, Michael wears a Captain Kirk mask that is painted white. The mask, which was made from a cast of William Shatner's face, was originally used in the 1975 horror film The Devil's Rain. (Full article...)

On this day...

May 26:

Book releases

Film releases

Possible futures

Possible events in the future as suggested by science fiction:

  • A race of moon dwarves searches for a route back to Earth through spiritual enlightenment during the 27th Century.
  • Dr. Robotnik seizes control in 3224 of the planet Mobius, the name of the former planet Earth.
  • The Committee of Public Safety seizes power in Nouveau Paris and takes control of the government in 4007.
  • The planet Rubi-Ka is discovered in 28702 by the Omni-Tek Corporation.

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