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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 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 #1

Susanna Clarke (2006)
Susanna Mary Clarke (born 1 November 1959) is a British author best known for her debut novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2004), a Hugo Award-winning alternate history. Clarke began Jonathan Strange in 1993 and worked on it during her spare time. For the next decade, she published short stories from the Strange universe, but it was not until 2003 that Bloomsbury bought her manuscript and began work on its publication. The novel became a bestseller. Two years later, she published a collection of her short stories, The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories (2006). Both Clarke's novel and her short stories are set in a magical England and written in a pastiche of the styles of nineteenth-century writers such as Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. While Strange focuses on the relationship of two men, Jonathan Strange and Gilbert Norrell, the stories in Ladies focus on the power women gain through magic.

Clarke first developed the idea for Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell while she was teaching in Bilbao: "I had a kind of waking dream ... about a man in 18th century clothes in a place rather like Venice, talking to some English tourists. And I felt strongly that he had some sort of magical background – he'd been dabbling in magic, and something had gone badly wrong." She had also recently reread J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and afterwards was inspired to "[try] writing a novel of magic and fantasy". After she returned from Spain in 1993, Clarke began to think seriously about writing her novel. She signed up for a five-day fantasy and science-fiction writing workshop, co-taught by science fiction and fantasy writers Colin Greenland and Geoff Ryman. The students were expected to prepare a short story before attending, but Clarke only had "bundles" of material for her novel. From this she extracted "The Ladies of Grace Adieu", a fairy tale about three women secretly practising magic who are discovered by the famous Jonathan Strange.

Selected profile #2

Hans Christian Anderson later in life
Hans Christian Andersen (Danish pronunciation: [ˈhanˀs ˈkʰʁæʂd̥jan ˈɑnɐsn̩], in Denmark he is referred to using the initials: H. C. Andersen) (April 2, 1805 – August 4, 1875) was a Danish author and poet noted for his children's stories. These include "The Steadfast Tin Soldier", "The Snow Queen", "The Little Mermaid", "Thumbelina", "The Little Match Girl", and "The Ugly Duckling".

During his lifetime he was acclaimed for having delighted children worldwide, and was feted by royalty. His poetry and stories have been translated into more than 150 languages. They have inspired motion pictures, plays, ballets, and animated films.

It was during 1835 that Andersen published the first installment of his immortal Fairy Tales (Danish: Eventyr). More stories, completing the first volume, were published in 1836 and 1837. The quality of these stories was not immediately recognized, and they sold poorly. At the same time, Andersen enjoyed more success with two novels: O.T. (1836) and Only a Fiddler. His Specialty book that is still known today was the Ugly Duckling (1837).

In the English-speaking world, stories such as "Thumbelina", "The Snow Queen", "The Ugly Duckling", "The Little Mermaid", "The Emperor's New Clothes", and "The Princess and the Pea" remain popular and are widely read. "The emperor's new clothes" and "ugly duckling" have both passed into the English language as well-known expressions.

Selected media

Gran calavera eléctrica
Credit: Artist: José Guadalupe Posada; Restoration: Lise Broer

Gran calavera eléctrica ("Grand electric skull", 1900–13) by José Guadalupe Posada, which depicts a large skeleton hypnotizing a group of calaveras, with an electric street car, with skeletons as passengers, in the background. Skulls are a common symbol of the Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday where people remember friends and family members who have died. (POTD)

Selected work

Alien vs. Predator, also known as AVP, is a 2004 American science fiction film directed by Paul W.S. Anderson for 20th Century Fox. The film adapts the Alien vs. Predator crossover imprint bringing together the eponymous creatures of the Alien and Predator series, a concept which originated in a 1989 comic book. Anderson, Dan O'Bannon, and Ronald Shusett wrote the story, and Anderson and Shane Salerno adapted the story into a screenplay. Their writing was influenced by Aztec mythology, the comic book series, and the writings of Erich von Däniken.

Set in 2004, the film follows a group of paleontologists, archaeologists, and others assembled by billionaire Charles Bishop Weyland (Lance Henriksen) for an expedition near the Antarctic to investigate a mysterious heat signal. Weyland hopes to claim the find for himself, and his group discovers a pyramid below the surface of a whaling station. Hieroglyphs and sculptures reveal that the pyramid is a hunting ground for Predators who kill Aliens as a rite of passage. The humans are caught in the middle of a battle between the two species and attempt to prevent the Aliens from reaching the surface.

The film was released on August 13, 2004, in North America and received mostly negative reviews from film critics. Some praised the special effects and set designs, while others dismissed the film for its "wooden dialogue" and "cardboard characters". Nevertheless, Alien vs. Predator was a commercial success, grossing over $172 million against its $60 million production budget. The film's success led to a sequel in 2007 titled Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem.

Selected quote


—William Wilson, A Little Earnest Book upon a Great Old Subject, chapter 10 (1851). This is the first recorded use of the term science fiction in history.[1]
  1. ^ Westfahl, Gary. Science Fiction Quotations. Yale University Press. 2005.
More quotes from Wikiquote: science fiction, fantasy, alternate history

Selected article

Survival horror is a subgenre of action-adventure video game inspired by horror fiction. These games make the player vulnerable by providing them with less ammunition and fewer heavy weapons than other action games. Although combat is a part of the gameplay, the player must ration ammunition by evading enemies and avoiding direct confrontation. The player is also challenged to find items that unlock the path to new areas, and solve puzzles at certain locations. Games make use of strong horror themes, and the player is often challenged to navigate dark maze-like environments, and react to unexpected attacks from enemies.

The term "survival horror" was first used for the original Japanese release of Resident Evil in 1996, which was influenced by earlier games with a horror theme such as Sweet Home and Alone in the Dark. The name has been used since then for games with similar gameplay, and has been retroactively applied to games as old as Haunted House from 1981. Starting with the release of Resident Evil 4 in 2005, the genre began to incorporate more features from action games, which has led game journalists to question whether long-standing survival horror franchises have abandoned the genre. Still, the survival horror genre has persisted in one form or another.

Did you know...

Thrill the World 2008 in Austin, Texas

On this day...

April 19:

Book releases

Film releases

Television series

Births

Deaths


Possible futures

Possible events in the future as suggested by science fiction:

  • The Terran Confederation, following five years of raids against their shipping by the Kilrathi, officially declare war against them on July 5, 2634.
  • Jenny, the daughter of the Doctor, is born on July 24, 6012 on the planet Messaline.
  • Around the year 18,000,000, a "half-plastic denizen" of the interior of a planet beyond Pluto exchanges his mind with the Great Race of Yith.

Upcoming conventions

April:


May:

 

Dates can usually be found on the article page.


See also these convention lists: anime, comic book, furry, gaming, multigenre, and science fiction.

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