Thoughts Regarding Speculative Fiction


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In fact, one good working definition of science fiction may be the literature which, growing with science and technology, evaluates it and relates it meaningfully to the rest of human existence.

— H. Bruce Franklin

Science fiction frequently tries to imagine what life would be like on a plane as far above us as we are above savagery; its setting is often of a kind that appears to us technologically miraculous. It is thus a mode of romance with a strong inherent tendency to myth.

— Northrop Frye

Language exists less to record the actual than to liberate the imagination.

— Anthony Burgess

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

— Octavia E. Butler

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

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

Good science fiction has its roots in good science.

— Dan Brown

The reasons for writing about the day after tomorrow, and all the tomorrows that follow it, are as many and as varied as the people writing.

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

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.

— Isaac Asimov

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

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

In short, the straw of a manufactured realism with which the sf writer makes his particular literary bricks must be entirely convincing to the reader in it own right, or the whole story will lose its power to convince.

— Gordon R. Dickson