Thoughts Regarding Speculative Fiction


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By challenging anthropocentricism and temporal provincialism, science fiction throws open the whole of civilization and its premises to constructive criticism.

— Alvin Toffler

Science fiction is not about the freedom of imagination. It’s about a free imagination pinched and howling in a vise that other people call real life.

— Bruce Sterling, Shaping Things

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

— J.G. Ballard

A better generic term would be ‘future fairy tales’. And even this is objectionable, since many science fiction stories take place in the present or the past, far and near.

— Philip José Farmer

Science fiction is, after all, the art of extrapolation.

— Michael Dirda

Science fiction is no more written for scientists than ghost stories are written for ghosts.

— Brian W. Aldiss

Science fiction isn’t just thinking about the world out there. It’s also thinking about how that world might be—a particularly important exercise for those who are oppressed, because if they’re going to change the world we live in, they—and all of us—have to be able to think about a world that works differently.

— Samuel R. Delany

The most visceral science fiction always takes place in the past and focuses on the humdrum.

— Dean Cavanagh

Literary characters… draw you in and cultivate feelings of friendship on your part. Although, no matter how much you learn about them, how much time you spend with them–how far you can see into their thoughts and words, how they interact with others, their looks, what they wear–they will never, ever know you.

— Chess Desalls, Travel Glasses

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

You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.

— Ray Bradbury

Science-fiction balances you on the cliff. Fantasy shoves you off.

— Ray Bradbury