From adrenaline-packed battles to long-lost prophecies, speculative fiction has a way to take the reader and keep them invested in a story. It is also the main genre I have been reading the past couple of years, and the one my WIPs tend to gravitate towards. So, without further ado, here are ten things that make this genre so appealing to thousands of readers around the world.
I know that this might be the first reason anyone will give you to love SFF, but there is a good explanation for it. Sometimes, when we are tired or bored, speculative fiction is the genre we turn to. Because it allows us to go on adventures that go beyond our world, and feel that we are the characters who can save the day, who can impact a story, who can go wherever they want to.
Closely related to the first point, sometimes what sets a good book aside in this genre is its worldbuilding. Can’t buy a train ticket to a fantastical realm? How about we go to the bookstore, to the library, play an audiobook, or turn on a kindle instead. Speculative fictions allow us to discover new landscapes, languages, and traditions.
3.Diversifying our mindsets
During the last decade, diversity has become increasingly important in the book industry. It allows writers to portray their culture and experiences, and it gives readers the representation we long for. It also helps us broaden our perspectives and points of view. I enjoy reading stories that include mythology from different cultures, and I find it empowering that I can share my traditions and customs through speculative fiction. I am glad to see it is developing into a platform that celebrates diversity.
1. Magic Systems
Whether they are hard, soft, or somewhere in between, I always look forward to reading about how magic works. I love the descriptions of how it feels to bear a certain power, and it is interesting to know how do characters learn to work with their magic. When magic systems intertwine with politics and society, or have their own “origin story”, it gives a book potential to be a fan favorite.
Hear me out: dragons. And centaurs. And mermaids. And anything in between. There is such a variety of wondrous beings in fantasy, it makes myths come alive through stories. In some books, they take on important roles. In others, they take part in setting the tone and ambiance.
Present in most fantasy books, quests lead characters to those epic battles that keep readers at the edge of their seats. Stakes are high, and characters must face development. Plus, when reading about them, writers can learn about pacing and balancing light-hearted scenes with ones full of tension.
1. What-ifs of science & technology
A couple of months ago I read Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, a beloved dystopian s.f. novel. I was surprised by the number of inventions the author had “predicted”. He described flat-screen televisions and Bluetooth earphones long before they existed. This genre allows writers to ask themselves, what will the future look like? Maybe we will not get attacked by aliens anytime soon (or will we?), but we can always inquire how science and technology will affect the lives of future generations. And in the process, we might guess forthcoming inventions too.
2. Realistic… but not really
This genre can tackle all kinds of machines, inventions, and scientific advances ranging from unconventional submarines to vicious robots. But it does not necessarily need to include a list of technical terms and descriptions. It is a genre that will explore sciences, but readers can enjoy it without having an engineering degree.
George Orwell mentioned this as well in his 6 writing rules “Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.”
3. Impact on our society
Now, it is no secret that technology can drastically change human interactions and societies. This theme is recurrent in science fiction pieces, and it allows writers to both criticize and praise current developments, and sometimes even issue a warning, all while including a spaceship battle or two.
There is an assortment of subgenres for both science fiction and fantasy, which means that more often than not, the line between the two will get blurry, as in steampunk, for example. On the other hand, some pieces blend speculative fiction with other genres, such as magical realism. SFF is not a limiting category, but rather one that invites people to use their imagination to craft worlds of their own.
is a young planster with too much passion and too little time on a day. She has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, whether they are thoroughly researched flash fiction pieces or improvised bedtime stories.
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