Sunday, April 18, 2010

Speculative Fiction

A couple of weeks ago, the Victoria Writer's Society was able to invite Kim Bannerman to speak to us about Speculative Fiction and about her own fiction, a very Speculative Fiction series of novels about a family of werewolves. Because of her anthropological background, a lot of it was about the evolution of Spec Fic, both as a term and as a field. When the term was first coined, and when it was used widely by Heinlein, the term was interchangeable with Science Fiction, and specifically excluded fantasy. But genre evolution and label defiance being what they are, Speculative Fiction now refers to everything that happens in a reality different from our own. That covers horror, fantasy, sci-fi, superheroes, steampunk, cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic dystopias, and magical realism. Pretty broad spectrum, there. But in some ways it's necessary, with authors like Richard Kadrey writing things like Metrophage one year, with Los Angeles futuristic and technology-laden, and then for his next book Butcher Bird, which takes you into Hell. With this variety, books that fit into science fiction and fantasy and dystopian post-apocalypse fiction, he's hard to describe as anything other than a Speculative Fiction author.

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