Speculative fiction - what is it and why do I write it? by D L Richardson
What is it and Why do I write it?
Welcome to my new subscribers, and hello to my current subscribers. Many of you have been on my VIP list for a few years, since my first novel was published, a young adult title called The Bird With The Broken Wing. A lot has changed in that time. I’ve written two more YA novels as well as four books for adults. It’s occurred to me that some of you might have signed up while I was writing YA and my books for adults might not be to your liking. That’s okay. Today, I thought I’d give you a brief look into the world of speculative fiction.
What is speculative fiction?
It’s broadly described as a piece of fiction applying the “what if” principle. What if vampires were real? What if the world ended because of a meteor strike? What if you could become invisible for a day? All fiction is, in essence, speculative. What if the man you loved dumped you for a younger woman (chick-lit)? What if you were being chased by a serial killer (thriller)? What if you were single and looking for love (romance)?
The term ‘speculative fiction’ is usually applied to three genres and their subgenres because thrillers and romance and women’s fiction typically are called literary, historical, or commercial fiction. They don’t involve the supernatural or the predictive.
These listed subgenres are just a few examples. There are so many more with mash-ups and new styles.
Science fiction eg: apocalyptic, space opera, adventure, dystopian, futuristic,
Horror eg: supernatural thriller, ghosts, slasher, psychological thriller, magic, demons
Fantasy eg: urban fantasy, swords and sorcery, magic, epic saga, dragons, shape shifters, vampires
Why do I write speculative fiction?
In one way, the answer is I don’t know. If you look at my book shelf at home it has a vast range of genres. There’s romance, sci-fi, horror, thriller, chick-lit, YA, fantasy, classic literature. Some of my favourite books are not speculative fiction: the Secret Garden, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The Outsiders. But then some of them are: The Hobbit, Roboapocalypse, Interview with the Vampire. Marian Keyes and Maeve Binchy are two my favourite authors. But then, so are Stephen King and Dean Koontz.
However, speculative fiction something I’m draw to writing. I believe this area offers the best method for me to explore the philosophical discussions that happen inside my head. When it comes to science fiction, we can predict a future world. That’s easy. We can create policies and practices. Also easy. The beauty of this genre is that most sci-fi stories not only get a reader to ask “Can we do this?” but they can allow a reader to ask “Should we do this?” The current state of world affairs provides everyone with the chance to ask this question. My dystopian novel (currently with a major publisher son fingers crossed for me) explores the philosophical discussion around population control and oppression. These can be, but not always, very exhilarating genres to write and read.
It’s not the only genre I write in. I currently have four romance novels and one crime/thriller novel that I aim to work on over the course of next year and submit to publishers. So even if speculative fiction or fantasy or science fiction isn’t your thing, maybe one of my future books might make it onto your reading pile.
Thanks for the opportunity to chat to you. Take care till we next chat.
D L Richardson