Thoughts Regarding Speculative Fiction


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“Science is my territory, but science fiction is the landscape of my dreams.”

— Freeman Dyson, Imagined Worlds

The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.

— Philip K. Dick

The main thing about aliens is that they are alien. They feel no responsibility for fulfilling any of your expectations.

— Robert Silverberg, Dark City Lights

A common complaint about science fiction is that it promises more than our world’s humdrum reality ever delivers—a refrain summed up in the question: “Where’s my flying car?”

— Alastair Reynolds, The Economist, The World in 2015

I am constantly amazed by how much stranger science is than science fiction.

— Marcus Chown, Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You

…Science-Fiction, in which the revealed truths of Science may be given, interwoven with a pleasing story which may itself be poetical and true.

— William Wilson, A Little Earnest Book upon a Great Old Subject

What’s wrong with the modern times is that the future isn’t what it used to be.

— Paul Valery

Once it gets off the ground into space, all science fiction is fantasy.

— J.G. Ballard

My briefest ever definition of science fiction is ‘Hubris clobbered by Nemesis.’

— Brian W. Aldiss

Expand your world. (Stories about wizards and spells) are very frequently about power relationships…

— Margaret Atwood

I am chaos in this ordered society, the flaw in a carefully wrought plan. I am turbulence in the queen’s eternal river.

— Eugie Foster, Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast

SF is a controlled way to think and dream about the future. An integration of the mood and attitude of science (the objective universe) with the fears and hopes that spring from the unconscious. Anything that turns you and your social context, the social you, inside out. Nightmares and visions, always outlined by the barely possible.

— Gregory Benford