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

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

— Dean Cavanagh

That’s all science fiction was ever about. Hating the way things are, wanting to make things different.

— Ray Bradbury, Quicker Than the Eye

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

— Marcus Chown, Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You

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

We hope it will not be long before we may have other works of Science-Fiction, as we believe such works likely to fulfil a good purpose, and create an interest, where, unhappily, science alone might fail.

— William Wilson, A Little Earnest Book upon a Great Old Subject, 1851

The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.

— Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings

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

— Lester Del Rey

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

To write good sci-fi today you must push further and harder, reach deeper into your own mind until you break through into the strange and terrible country wherein live your own dreams.

— Gardner Dozois

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

— Miriam Allen de Ford

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

— J.G. Ballard