Speculative Fiction: a broad literary genre encompassing any fiction with supernatural, fantastical, or futuristic elements – Collins Dictionary
When I was ten or eleven years old, I read a post-apocalyptic trilogy, called The Tripods, by John Christopher. Those three books—The White Mountains, The City of Gold and Lead and The Pool of Fire—set me on a long and happy love affair with speculative fiction. For the next decade or more, I was absorbed by Isaac Asimov, Anne McCaffrey, J.R.R. Tolkien, Arthur C. Clarke, Ursula Le Guin, Robert Asprin, Marion Zimmer Bradley, all the great science fiction and fantasy authors of my formative years.
Then I went to college and started reading “important” books—the classics and the literary greats. Along the way, my expectations about quality of writing changed. Once I was introduced to truly excellent craftsmanship, there was no going back. Speculative fiction dropped out of my life as I started making room on my bookshelf for the Great American Novels, the Pulitzer Prize winners, the finest examples of art and craft. Boxes of my once beloved science fiction and fantasy novels went to new homes in my friends’ libraries or to the used bookstore.
It turns out, though, that while I was immersing myself in these literary endeavors, speculative fiction was growing up. continue reading >>