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Portal:Speculative fiction

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Speculative fiction is an umbrella phrase encompassing the more fantastical fiction genres, specifically science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural fiction, superhero fiction, utopian and dystopian fiction, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction, and alternate history in literature as well as related static, motion, and virtual arts.

It has been around since humans began to speak. The earliest forms of speculative fiction were likely mythological tales told around the campfire. Speculative fiction deals with the "What if?" scenarios imagined by dreamers and thinkers worldwide. Journeys to other worlds through the vast reaches of distant space; magical quests to free worlds enslaved by terrible beings; malevolent supernatural powers seeking to increase their spheres of influence across multiple dimensions and times; all of these fall into the realm of speculative fiction.

Speculative fiction as a category ranges from ancient works to cutting edge, paradigm-changing, and neotraditional works of the 21st century. It can be recognized in works whose authors' intentions or the social contexts of the versions of stories they portrayed is now known. For example, Ancient Greek dramatists such as Euripides, whose play Medea (play) seemed to have offended Athenian audiences when he fictionally speculated that shamaness Medea killed her own children instead of their being killed by other Corinthians after her departure. The play Hippolytus, narratively introduced by Aphrodite, is suspected to have displeased contemporary audiences of the day because it portrayed Phaedra as too lusty.

In historiography, what is now called speculative fiction has previously been termed "historical invention", "historical fiction," and other similar names. It is extensively noted in the literary criticism of the works of William Shakespeare when he co-locates Athenian Duke Theseus and Amazonian Queen Hippolyta, English fairy Puck, and Roman god Cupid all together in the fairyland of its Merovingian Germanic sovereign Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream. In mythography it has been termed "mythopoesis" or mythopoeia, "fictional speculation", the creative design and generation of lore, regarding such works as J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Such supernatural, alternate history, and sexuality themes continue in works produced within the modern speculative fiction genre.

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Selected profile

Professional photograph of Robert E. Howard wearing a hat and suit.
Howard in 1934

Robert Ervin Howard (January 22, 1906 – June 11, 1936) was an American writer. He wrote pulp fiction in a diverse range of genres. He is well known for his character Conan the Barbarian and is regarded as the father of the sword and sorcery subgenre.

Howard was born and raised in Texas. He spent most of his life in the town of Cross Plains, with some time spent in nearby Brownwood. A bookish and intellectual child, he was also a fan of boxing and spent some time in his late teens bodybuilding, eventually taking up amateur boxing. From the age of nine he dreamed of becoming a writer of adventure fiction but did not have real success until he was 23. Thereafter, until his death by suicide at age 30, Howard's writings were published in a wide selection of magazines, journals, and newspapers, and he became proficient in several subgenres. His greatest success occurred after his death. (Full article...)

Selected work

Halloween III: Season of the Witch is a 1982 American science fiction horror film and the third installment in the Halloween film series. It is the first film to be written and directed by Tommy Lee Wallace. John Carpenter and Debra Hill, the creators of Halloween and Halloween II, return as producers. Halloween III is the only entry in the series that does not feature the series antagonist, Michael Myers. After the film's disappointing reception and box office performance, Michael Myers was brought back six years later in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers.

It departs from the slasher genre, which the rest of the installments were a part of, and instead features a "witchcraft" theme with science fiction aspects. John Carpenter and Debra Hill believed that the Halloween series could have been an anthology series of films that centered around Halloween night, with each sequel containing its own characters, setting, and storyline. Director Wallace stated there were many ideas for Halloween-themed films, some of which could have potentially created any number of their own sequels, and that Season of the Witch was meant to be the first. (Full article...)

Selected quote


Ray Bradbury (1920–2012), "Introduction" in The Circus of Dr. Lao and Other Improbable Stories (1956).
More quotes from Wikiquote: science fiction, fantasy, alternate history

Selected picture

Illustration to Tennyson's "Sir Galahad" by W. E. F. Britten.
Credit: William Edward Frank Britten (illustration), Tennyson (poem), Adam Cuerden (restoration)

Illustration to Tennyson's "Sir Galahad" by W. E. F. Britten:

My good blade carves the casques of men,
    My tough lance thrusteth sure,
My strength is as the strength of ten,
    Because my heart is pure.
The shattering trumpet shrilleth high,
    The hard brands shiver on the steel,
The splinter'd spear-shafts crack and fly,
    The horse and rider reel:
They reel, they roll in clanging lists,
    And when the tide of combat stands,
Perfume and flowers fall in showers,
    That lightly rain from ladies' hands.
   
How sweet are looks that ladies bend
    On whom their favours fall!
For them I battle till the end,
    To save from shame and thrall:
But all my heart is drawn above,
    My knees are bow'd in crypt and shrine:
I never felt the kiss of love,
    Nor maiden's hand in mine.
More bounteous aspects on me beam,
    Me mightier transports move and thrill;
So keep I fair thro' faith and prayer
    A virgin heart in work and will.
   
When down the stormy crescent goes,
    A light before me swims,
Between dark stems the forest glows,
    I hear a noise of hymns:
Then by some secret shrine I ride;
    I hear a voice but none are there;
The stalls are void, the doors are wide,
    The tapers burning fair.
Fair gleams the snowy altar-cloth,
    The silver vessels sparkle clean,
The shrill bell rings, the censer swings,
    And solemn chaunts resound between.
   
Sometime on lonely mountain-meres
    I find a magic bark;
I leap on board: no helmsman steers:
    I float till all is dark.
A gentle sound, an awful light!
    Three angels bear the holy Grail:
With folded feet, in stoles of white,
    On sleeping wings they sail.
Ah, blessed vision! blood of God!
    My spirit beats her mortal bars,
As down dark tides the glory slides,
    And star-like mingles with the stars.
   
When on my goodly charger borne
    Thro' dreaming towns I go,
The cock crows ere the Christmas morn,
    The streets are dumb with snow.
The tempest crackles on the leads,
    And, ringing, springs from brand and mail;
But o'er the dark a glory spreads,
    And gilds the driving hail.
I leave the plain, I climb the height;

    No branchy thicket shelter yields;

But blessed forms in whistling storms
    Fly o'er waste fens and windy fields.
   
A maiden knight--to me is given
    Such hope, I know not fear;
I yearn to breathe the airs of heaven
    That often meet me here.
I muse on joy that will not cease,
    Pure spaces clothed in living beams,
Pure lilies of eternal peace,
    Whose odours haunt my dreams;
And, stricken by an angel's hand,
    This mortal armour that I wear,
This weight and size, this heart and eyes,
    Are touch'd, are turn'd to finest air.
   
The clouds are broken in the sky,
    And thro' the mountain-walls
A rolling organ-harmony
    Swells up, and shakes and falls.
Then move the trees, the copses nod,
    Wings flutter, voices hover clear:
"O just and faithful knight of God!
    Ride on! the prize is near."
So pass I hostel, hall, and grange;
    By bridge and ford, by park and pale,
All-arm'd I ride, whate'er betide,
    Until I find the holy Grail.

Did you know...

A top and a ball (both with human facial features) lay among other toys in an illustration by Vilhelm Pedersen, Andersen's first illustrator.

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Selected article

Hermione Jean Granger (/hɜːrˈməni ˈɡrnər/ hur-MY-ə-nee GRAYN-jər) is a fictional character in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. She first appears in the novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (1997), as a new student on her way to Hogwarts. After Harry and Ron save her from a mountain troll in the girls' restroom, she becomes best friends with them and often uses her quick wit, deft recall, and encyclopaedic knowledge to lend aid in dire situations. Rowling has stated that Hermione resembles herself as a young girl, with her insecurity and fear of failure. The character has had immense popularity. The version of Hermione portrayed by Emma Watson in all eight Harry Potter films from Philosopher's Stone in 2001 to Deathly Hallows – Part 2 in 2011 was voted the best female character of all time in a poll conducted amongst Hollywood professionals by The Hollywood Reporter in 2016. (Full article...)

On this day...

August 10:

Book releases

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Possible futures

Possible events in the future as suggested by science fiction:

  • The Committee of Public Safety seizes power in Nouveau Paris and takes control of the government in 4007.

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