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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Daguerreotype taken in 1842

Honoré de Balzac (/ˈbælzæk/ BAL-zak, more commonly US: /ˈbɔːl-/ BAWL-, French: [ɔnɔʁe d(ə) balzak]; born Honoré Balzac; 20 May 1799 – 18 August 1850) was a French novelist and playwright. The novel sequence La Comédie humaine, which presents a panorama of post-Napoleonic French life, is generally viewed as his magnum opus.

Owing to his keen observation of detail and unfiltered representation of society, Balzac is regarded as one of the founders of realism in European literature. He is renowned for his multi-faceted characters; even his lesser characters are complex, morally ambiguous and fully human. Inanimate objects are imbued with character as well; the city of Paris, a backdrop for much of his writing, takes on many human qualities. His writing influenced many famous writers, including the novelists Émile Zola, Charles Dickens, Gustave Flaubert, and Henry James, filmmaker François Truffaut as well as important philosophers such as Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx. Many of Balzac's works have been made into films, and they continue to inspire other writers. Read more...

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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 is based on the Hegelian Dialectic, following a repetitive cycle with many varied civilisations rising from and descending back into savagery over millions of years, but it is also one of progress, 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. (more)

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Peter Nicholls (b.1939), True Rat 7 (1976).
More quotes from Wikiquote: science fiction, fantasy, alternate history

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Jason Voorhees (/ˈvɔːrhz/) is the main character from the Friday the 13th series. He first appeared in Friday the 13th (1980) as the young son of camp cook-turned-killer Mrs. Voorhees, in which he was portrayed by Ari Lehman. Created by Victor Miller, with contributions by Ron Kurz, Sean S. Cunningham and Tom Savini, Jason was not originally intended to carry the series as the main antagonist. The character has subsequently been represented in various other media, including novels, video games, comic books, and a crossover film with another iconic horror film character, Freddy Krueger. The character has primarily been an antagonist in the films, whether by stalking and killing the other characters, or acting as a psychological threat to the protagonist, as is the case in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning. Since Lehman's portrayal, the character has been represented by numerous actors and stuntmen, sometimes by more than one at a time; this has caused some controversy as to who should receive credit for the portrayal. Kane Hodder is the best known of the stuntmen to portray Jason Voorhees, having played the character in four consecutive films. Read more...

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Titans and giants in Hell
Credit: Artist: Gustave Doré; Restoration: Adam Cuerden

Titans and giants imprisoned in Hell, in this engraving by Gustave Doré that accompanied Canto XXXI of an 1890 publication of Dante Alighieri's Inferno. The titan on the left is Ephialtes, a son of Poseidon. In Dante's Divine Comedy, he is one of four giants placed in the great pit that separates Dis from Cocytus, the Ninth Circle of Hell. (POTD)

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Portrait of ballet master Jean-Georges Noverre

On this day...

June 3:

Film releases

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Possible futures

Possible events in the future as suggested by science fiction:

  • In 5000, the Filipino Army defeats the Alliance at the Battle of Reykjavik during the closing stages of World War V.

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