Thoughts Regarding Speculative Fiction


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All worlds of fiction are alternative realities.

— Hal Duncan

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

This is what I get from being a Science Fiction writer: not fame and fortune, but good friends. That’s what makes it worth it to me.

— Philip K. Dick

“But then science is nothing but a series of questions that lead to more questions.”

— Terry Pratchett, The Long Earth

“Science fiction deals with improbable possibilities, fantasy with plausible impossibilities.”

— Miriam Allen de Ford

At some point, every science fiction and fantasy story must challenge the reader’s experience and learning. That’s much of the reason why the genre is so open to experimentation and innovation that other genres reject–strangeness is our bread and butter. Spread it thick or slice it thin, it’s still our staff of life.

— Orson Scott Card

Individual science fiction stories may seem as trivial as ever to the blinder critics and philosophers of today – but the core of science fiction, its essence has become crucial to our salvation if we are to be saved at all.

— Isaac Asimov

If poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world, science fiction writers are its court jesters. We are Wise Fools who can leap, caper, utter prophecies, and scratch ourselves in public. We can play with Big Ideas because the garish motley of our pulp origins make us seem harmless.

— Bruce Sterling, Burning Chrome

Science fiction at its best should be crazy and dangerous, not sane and safe.

— Paul Di Filippo, How to Write Science Fiction

[Science fiction is] the attempt to deal rationally with alternate possibilities in a manner which will be entertaining.

— Lester Del Rey

At its best, SF is the medium in which our miserable certainty that tomorrow will be different from today in ways we can’t predict, can be transmuted to a sense of excitement and anticipation, occasionally evolving into awe. Poised between intransigent skepticism and uncritical credulity, it is par excellence the literature of the open mind.

— John Brunner

Science fiction reflects scientific thought; a fiction of things-to-come based on things-on-hand.

— Benjamin Appel, The Fantastic Mirror-SF Across The Ages (Panthenon 1969)