First of all, speculative fiction, what is it?
This blog, What is Speculative Fiction, goes into more detail, but I understand spec-fic to be a kind of cross-over or middle ground between the following:
- Alternate histories
- Science ficiton
- Dystopian fiction
- Fantasy (ish)
- Post Apocalypic
It’s that middle ground between hard core Sci Fi and a character-driven story, that place where reality seems normal enough until you realise it isn’t. It’s where the reader is challenged to think, what if the world had taken a different course, what if things were not as they appeared? In conversations with readers and fellow writers alike, I often hear people saying you can’t mix Sci Fi with romance or you can’t mix fantasy with literary fiction (well, what about magical realism, for a start?). This is an assumption which is lacking in imagination.
For readers who like to see traditional genres turned on their heads, or who like to journey further into imaginary worlds, there’s speculative fiction.
Literary speculative fiction titles
This excellent blog about novels which straddle the fence between literary fiction and speculative fiction goes into more detail about how this is done. It lists a whole host of well known ‘literary’ works which could be considered ‘speculative’, but some of my favourites in this area are:
- Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
- The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
- 1Q84, Haruki Murakami
- The Road, Cormac McCarthy
Speculative fiction to try out
Aside from my Borderliners trilogy, the first book of which will be out in the new year, there is a wealth of speculative fiction out there. If you’re interested in this mixed genre approach to fiction, why not look at this comprehensive 2013 list of speculative fiction titles to try? I particularly like the following suggestions:
- In Search of and Others, Will Ludwigsen
- Anything by Aldous Huxley
- Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
Happy holiday reading!