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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

Connie Willis by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Connie Willis at WonderCon, 2017

Constance Elaine Trimmer Willis (born December 31, 1945), commonly known as Connie Willis, is an American science fiction and fantasy writer. She has won eleven Hugo Awards and seven Nebula Awards for particular works—more major SF awards than any other writer—most recently the "Best Novel" Hugo and Nebula Awards for Blackout/All Clear (2010). She was inducted by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Science Fiction Writers of America named her its 28th SFWA Grand Master in 2011.

Several of her works feature time travel by history students at the future University of Oxford—sometimes called the Time Travel series. They are the short story "Fire Watch" (1982, also in several anthologies and the 1985 collection of the same name), the novels Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog (1992 and 1997), and the two-part novel Blackout/All Clear (2010). All four won the annual Hugo Award, and Doomsday Book and Blackout/All Clear won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards, making her the first author to win Hugo awards for all books in a series. (Full article...)

Selected work

Hellraiser: Judgment is a 2018 American horror film written and directed by Gary J. Tunnicliffe, based on the characters created by Clive Barker. The tenth installment in the Hellraiser film series, the film stars Damon Carney, Randy Wayne, Alexandra Harris, Heather Langenkamp, and Paul T. Taylor, and centers on three police detectives who, investigating a series of murders, are confronted by the denizens of hell. The film expands the fictional universe by introducing a new faction of hell: the Stygian Inquisition. While the Cenobites offer sadomasochistic pleasures to humans that enter their dominion, the Inquisition processes the souls of sinners. Tunnicliffe plays the Inquisition's auditor, a prominent role in the film.

Unable to direct his screenplay for Hellraiser: Revelations due to a scheduling conflict, Tunnicliffe initially removed all references to the series from his Judgment concept and tried to have it funded as an independent film in 2013. He intended on making a "true" Hellraiser film because of his disappointment with the later films. Several years later, Dimension Films was required to make another Hellraiser film to retain the rights, giving Tunnicliffe a chance to propose his vision. The concept was initially rejected but accepted after he negotiated changes with the studio executives. It was filmed in Oklahoma with Children of the Corn: Runaway, both films produced by Michael Leahy. It is the second Hellraiser film without Doug Bradley as Pinhead; newcomer Taylor was cast after impressing Tunnicliffe in an audition. He and Tunnicliffe decided to develop a new look and interpretation, rather than imitating Bradley's performance. (Full article...)

Selected quote


David Brin (b.1950), Interview, Locus (March 1997).[1]
More quotes from Wikiquote: science fiction, fantasy, alternate history

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"The Man That Pleased None", from Walter Crane
Credit: Restoration: Lise Broer

"The Man That Pleased None", from Walter Crane's 1887 illustrated book The Baby's Own Aesop, a collection of Aesop's Fables retold in limerick format. Aesop lived in Ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BCE, and his fables are some of the most well known in the world, remaining a popular choice for moral education of children today. Crane, a member of the Arts and Crafts movement, popularised the child-in-the-garden motifs that would characterise many nursery rhymes and children's stories for decades to come. (POTD)

Did you know...

Portrait of ballet master Jean-Georges Noverre

Upcoming conventions

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Selected article

Defense of the Ancients (DotA) is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) mod for the video game Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (2002) and its expansion, The Frozen Throne. The objective of the game is for each team to destroy their opponents' Ancient, a heavily guarded structure at the opposing corner of the map. Players use powerful units known as heroes, and are assisted by allied teammates and AI-controlled fighters. As in role-playing games, players level up their heroes and use gold to buy equipment during the game. DotA has its roots in the "Aeon of Strife" custom map for StarCraft. The scenario was developed with the World Editor of Reign of Chaos, and was updated upon the release of its expansion, The Frozen Throne. There have been many variations of the original concept, the most popular being DotA Allstars, eventually simplified to DotA. The mod has been maintained by several authors during development, with the pseudonymous designer known as IceFrog maintaining the game since the mid-2000s. (Full article...)

On this day...

December 20:

Film releases

Television series

Deaths

  • 1996 - Carl Sagan (b. 1934), an American astronomer, astrophysicist, author, and cosmologist


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.
  • In the year 500,000,000,000,000,000,000 (500 quintillion), the last descendants of humanity make some changes to our near present in order to release the universe's vacuum energy, spawn new universes, and prevent the Big Freeze from happening.

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