Thoughts Regarding Speculative Fiction


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Writing is one of the few professions in which you can psychoanalyze yourself, get rid of hostilities and frustrations in public, and get paid for it.

— Octavia E. Butler

Science fiction is the arena of the not-yet, and every science fiction story has this element of not-yet-ness… usually a bit of technology or a scientific discovery that we don’t know about in the real world of the present but that might be a possibility in the future.

— Welch Everman

By and large, the kind of science fiction which makes tomorrow’s headlines as near as this morning’s coffee has enlarged popular awareness of the modern, miraculous world of science we live in. It has helped generations of young people feel at age with a changing world.

— Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Door Through Space

At war or at peace, more people die of unenlightened self-interest than of any other disease.

— Octavia E. Butler

SF has never really aimed to tell us when we might reach other planets, or develop new technologies, or meet aliens. SF speculates about why we might want to do these things, and how their consequences might affect our lives and our planet.

— John Clute

Science Fiction is literature about the future, telling stories of the marvels we hope to see–or for our descendants to see–tomorrow, in the next century, or in the limitless duration of time.

— Terry Carr

The most romantic creation to have come out of regret is time-travel.

— Preeti Bhonsle

All responsible writers, to some degree, have become involuntary criers of doom, because doom is in the wind; but science fiction writers more so, since science fiction has always been a protest medium.

— Philip K. Dick

“If you ever find yourself coming out of a time machine, run. Run away as fast you can. Don’t stop. Don’t try to talk. Nothing good can come out of it.”

— Charles Yu, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe

I became infected by the idea that there are an infinite number of worlds only a foot step away. And another part of the meme was this – some things are bigger on the inside than they are on the outside. And perhaps some people are bigger on the inside than they are on the outside as well. And that was only the start of it.

— Neil Gaiman, The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction

“Sometimes people say that we’re living in the future, and time’s up for science fiction, but I think that never will be, because science fiction really isn’t about the future. It’s about change and present-day concerns”

— Stephen Baxter

…hence the very best science fiction ultimately winds up being a collaboration between author and reader, in which both create – and enjoy it; joy is the essential and final ingredient of science fiction, the joy of discovery of newness.

— Philip K. Dick