Why I love Speculative Fiction

There have been some interesting discussions about Speculative Fiction in recent times Cat Valente as always wrote some interesting thought provoking stuff. The Ferret posted a poll… and from that this blog post was born. Trying to articulate what Spec Fic means to me. I don’t expect people to feel obliged to take on my values and labeling systems. But I wanted to share why I find this term inspiring and empowering.

I love the phrase Speculative Fiction, it doesn’t seem to be a very cool term right now, but I love it to the core of my being. I love how broad the sweep is, I love how if you squint you can cram almost anything into it (if you’re prepared to squint for it why the hell not?). I love the challenge it lays down. To speculate, to think, question and pose possible solutions.

I don’t write “Speculative Fiction” however. I write lots of different things that can have different labels applied to them. I feel like I belong to Speculative Fiction. I belong to literature that explores and I love being inspired by people who are also explorers.

Speculative Fiction for me is a multidisciplinary community of writers trying to do STUFF with fiction. I don’t want crisp boundaries, I don’t want clear marketing terms. For me it is a term of inclusion and refers to a being place rather than a product place. Speculative Fiction is a space at the tea house (I originally wrote bar, but tea house is more inclusive without the implied obligation for alcohol consumption) where we can all hang out (and not necessarily agree). I don’t like high walled ghettoes that can be all to easy to buy into. I believe in genre grottoes – different approaches to fiction call on different literacies, sense of place or expectation and invite different lenses – but with a grotto it is easier to go to a different part of the garden and have things spill over from one space to another. I love my community, I feel I am still exploring the edges of some of it and I’m wrapped up in a blanket of other parts of it. If you’re reading this I bet you’re part of this community too.

I like messy gardens, full of life, biodiversity and surprises

I feel like I have obligations to this community, I feel supported by this community. It’s the best label I have found for this community of writers, readers, artists, activists, nurturers, polymaths, organizers (and many other labels beside) is the inclusive country Speculative Fiction. It isn’t Interstitial Fiction, although that’s part of it. Speculative Fiction’s sweep is broader than the doorways and spaces in between. Speculative Fiction messy, imprecise, has contested boundaries and I like it that way. That’s my speculative fiction.

What do you call creative community like this? Dreaming about the edges of the world.

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