Thoughts Regarding Speculative Fiction

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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

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

— Ray Bradbury, Quicker Than the Eye

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

It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be…. This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our businessmen, our everyman must take on a science fictional way of thinking.

— Isaac Asimov

Fiction is simply dreams written out. Science fiction consists of the hopes and dreams and fears (for some dreams are nightmares) of a technically based society.

— John W. Campbell

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)

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

— Margaret Atwood

Science fiction is very well suited to asking philosophical questions; questions about the nature of reality, what it means to be human, how do we know the things that we think we know.

— Ted Chiang

Whatever creativity is, it is in part a solution to a problem.

— Brian W. Aldiss

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

…science fiction is something that could happen – but usually you wouldn’t want it to. Fantasy is something that couldn’t happen – though often you only wish that it could.

— Arthur C. Clarke

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