Sunday, March 04, 2012
What is the difference between speculative fiction and science fiction?
A discussion by Joyce Carol Oates of Margaret Atwood's latest book of essays obfuscates rather than explains it for the lay person. (Or at least me).
If it's set in the future but does not employ aliens as a plot device, is that enough to make it speculative?
****I just read a story from STORIES, edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio, an anthology, which purports to be composed of imaginative and speculative stories. The first story I read, "Unwell" chosen by me because I had just put a book by her on reserve at the library, was by Carolyn Parkhurst. It was about a woman who subverts every chance her sister has at happiness through very ordinary and if I might say so, familiar means.
I don't see how this story "reinvigorates, redefines and expands" the boundaries of imaginative fiction. It is a very ordinary story on any terms. Gaiman's statement that "we wanted to read stories that used a lightening-flash of magic as a way of showing us something we have already seen a thousand times as something we have never seen at all" would not apply here for me at all.
So I guess I also need a definition of imaginative fiction.