Perhaps it’s too broad a genre for this kind of list, but I couldn’t help myself. Almost every book of fiction I’ve read has been speculative. A historical or contemporary fiction may sneak in there sometimes (looking at you All the Light We Cannot See and Fangirl), but it’s mostly this genre, ever since I could read. The first time I even remember enjoying a book was A Wrinkle in Time, and then I went through that crazy Cussler/Clancy/King time in high school when I devoured all of their books published up to that point and that’s was kind of a lot, in retrospect. Anyway, without further ado, the top ten reasons why of all the genres and sub-genres, this umbrella is my fave!
- The possibilities! Anything can be made possible or even impossible. The only requirement is to be consistent throughout a “world”. Okay, not all authors have mastered this, but to be good, it must be consistent throughout that world or have a compelling reason why things have changed.
- The choices! Speculative fiction includes science fiction, fantasy, alternate history, horror and magic realism. Which means that Ender’s Game, A Song of Ice and Fire, every Stephen King book and Harry Potter are all a part of this genre. I don’t have to choose one to be my favorite.
- Every time is the right time. I’m not forced to choose between books in the past, the present, or the future.
- Exploring all the “what if”s of the past. What if the Nazi’s had won? I haven’t actually read any alternate history yet, but I love that I could. Still, Steampunk has it’s own set of what ifs here. What if we had made some of these advances before electricity? Would we still be flying in planes or would we use dirigibles? What if proper young ladies were really spies that could hide secret codes in pillow embroidery?
- Technology. No technology is off-limits, even if it can’t be explained sometimes. Perhaps cars will fly, perhaps we will get to explore the universe. There’s even some who put amazing technology in the past that was erased or destroyed or forgotten somehow.
- There could be so much more out there. Seriously, there could be magic and vampires and werewolves hiding in plain sight and we don’t even know it. Probably not, but these books make it seem possible.
- New well-built worlds. Not every author does this well, but there quite a few that are, like the Enderverse. Another great one is the Lunar Chronicles. There is so much to some of these worlds, it just amazes me that it all came from someone’s mind.
- Major fandoms. Yeah, lot’s of people have a fan base for their books. And then there’s A Song of Ice and Fire and the Big 3 of YA. Fandoms mean getting to gush to random strangers about how much you love everything that someone created. Okay, it also means bitching about the things you feel like they got wrong and mourning the death of fictional characters. I’m not saying it’s always a sane gathering. On the other hand, fandoms have enriched my Pinterest experience.Yes, other genres have fandoms, but not like the collection of genres that make up Spec Fic.
- Adventure. Not all of these books have adventure in them, but so many do. My favorites do. And yes, there are great books that are not in this genre and have adventure, I’m sure. I don’t know those books, but I’m sure they’re out there. As it is, every adventure story that I’ve read falls in here. The best part is that the adventure can be anywhere and at any time.
- Of course, the feminism. Yeah, I didn’t want to go full on feminist on this post, but come on, you knew I was going to mention it.
- The Big 3 of YA all fall into this genre and are all written by women.
- For better or worse, these are far more likely to have a female protagonist. Even when they’re bad, they’re worth discussing.
- Almost every time I hear a debate about whether this or that character in a book is a “strong female character” or a feminist, we’re talking about speculative fiction. Yes, there are those in the more realistic books, and maybe I’m skewed because these are my favorite for the other nine reasons, but it happens here and I can appreciate that all by itself.
Don’t forget to check out this week’s post from the originator of this tag, The Broke and the Bookish!