Thoughts Regarding Speculative Fiction


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

— Michael Dirda

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

— Dean Cavanagh

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

— Terry Pratchett, The Long Earth

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

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

— J.G. Ballard

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

Write me a creature that thinks as well as a man or better than a man, but not like a man.

— John W. Campbell

SF is a controlled way to think and dream about the future. An integration of the mood and attitude of science (the objective universe) with the fears and hopes that spring from the unconscious. Anything that turns you and your social context, the social you, inside out. Nightmares and visions, always outlined by the barely possible.

— Gregory Benford

“Science is my territory, but science fiction is the landscape of my dreams.”

— Freeman Dyson, Imagined Worlds

Take a scientific fact or theory, add a futuristic or other-worldly setting, stir in an imaginative plot and fascinating characters, and a science fiction novel emerges from the cosmic mix.

— Yvonne Coleman

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

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