Speculative Fiction: A Diagram

Following up our conversation a couple weeks ago, I present Adam Heine's Official Definition of Speculative Fiction:

1. Speculative Fiction is an umbrella term covering everything that is either science fiction or fantasy.

2. Science Fiction and Fantasy are the two main branches of speculative fiction. Sometimes they overlap.

3. Horror is fiction intended to frighten or scare. It could be sci-fi, fantasy, both, or neither.

4. Magical Realism is not sci-fi, but to quote Terry Pratchett, it's "like a polite way of saying you write fantasy."

5. Everything Else -- paranormal, utopian, dystopian, superhero, apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, alternate history, urban fantasy, weird fiction, supernatural, and all of the -punks -- is a sub-genre of sci-fi/fantasy.

Among other things, this means there is no speculative fiction that is not either sci-fi or fantasy. You will be very hard-pressed to convince me otherwise.

Here, I made a diagram to help.

6 comments:

Matthew MacNish said...

That's a great graphic. As hard as spec-fic is to nail down, I think magical realism is even harder. It can sometimes exist on the edge of what is possible, but mainly I've found it to differ from standard fantasy in that it contains some minor fantastical element(s), but the setting is essentially realistic (whether contemporary, historical, or otherwise). How does that differ from Urban Fantasy? Good question.

Rena said...

Can I just say, "Thank you" for including Science Fantasy as a real genre? My Dragon Riding Space Opera is jumping for joy right now...

And Yay for Venn Diagrams!

maine character said...

Well, that puts it into perspective. :-)

Laura Hughes, MittensMorgul said...

Thanks for this! I love Venn Diagrams. And this one is particularly useful, especially for the difficult-to-categorize novels. When you're writing something that isn't exactly urban fantasy, but not exactly anything else, either, it's good to know we still fall under the Speculative Umbrella.

Melodie Wright said...

Very helpful! I'm embarrassed to say I thought spec-fic mainly meant urban fantasy fiction. No idea why. Thanks!!

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Three dimensional Venn Diagrams. *faints from the awesome*