Science Fiction and Fantasy Fiction. Where past and future meet under one genre.
Speculative fiction. Where anything could happen, and where anything could have happened.
The term became well-known due to its use by noted science fiction author Robert Heinlein. His use of the term was meant to only include science fiction, as a staple of the genre is to extrapolate on the scientific progresses of a writer’s time to any possible point in the future.
The term’s use grew, and it is now considered an umbrella term. Wikipedia notes the two most prominent genres noted above, while also noting genres associately more closely with comic books (superhero fiction) and video games (dystopian and apocalyptic fiction).
I thought another well-known that, while not noted, could be added. The definition of speculate as per the Collins English Dictionary is ‘to conjecture without knowing the complete facts’. This would allow historical fiction to be included. A series I have recently started, the ‘Khan’ series by Conn Iggulden, is considered historical fiction. The author himself notes that very little is known of Genghis Khan during his early years, and some of the events were altered to make for a more cohesive and interesting read.
A well-known regarding history is that it is written by the winners. Because of this, much of the research that authors use to craft their stories could be incredibly biased. Can anyone remember the last time the victor, when having the events of their lives or rule documented, declared that they were the bad guys? Due to this, the very nature of historical fiction will always have a degree of speculation and bias to the true motives of the victor and the loser. The dead do not tell stories, unless you work in a crime lab of course.
Therefore, every genre I write would be classed under the term of speculative fiction. My first story, ‘Mune and Mura’, I class as a mix of historical fiction and fantasy. The timeframe the story is set in is the transition period from the Sengoku Period to the establishment of the Tokugawa Shogunate, a well-documented area of Japanese history. Throw in some characters inspired by the legendary Japanese swordsmiths Masamune and Muramasa. I in no way claim to have all the facts of the period to create the story, but I researched as much as possible to make it believable, and speculated from there.
Using historical fact in a fantasy setting? It seems that that is just plain old fantasy.
How can we find new ground in established genres? Why stomp the old grounds, go find a whole new patch of land!
What have you tried to make your story stand out amongst the many others in your genre?
Have you created a whole new genre?