Thinking in “Speculative Fiction”

Children of Men: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9CFcTY_pik

We began our discussion of Oryx and Crake with a background on the author, Margaret Atwood. Despite writing what most people would consider “science fiction,” Atwood, in many instances, has been known to correct this improper categorization of her works to speculative fiction[1].

Speculative fiction, as Atwood describes it, is fact within fiction. In comparison to science fiction, Atwood comments “Science fiction has monsters and spaceships; speculative fiction could really happen[1].”

While ranking her works among a new genre could be interpreted as egotistical on Atwood’s part, I think this subtle differentiation has a notable affect on a reader’s relationship with a story. Whereas the undertones of a science fiction work are reflected intrinsically through the characters’ thoughts, actions, and relationships, creating a reality that fits the bill of a speculative fiction opens up the environment and history of the reality as another dimension to embed these undertones in as well.

To clarify, here’s an example:

In order to think of Oryx and Crake as a speculative fiction, I needed something “science fiction” to compare it to. My first thoughts being Ender’s Game which, appropriately enough, has both monsters and spaceships. In retrospect, the most thought-provoking questions elicited in the story were the direct result interacting with Ender Wiggin as a character, and not the future intergalactic setting of the story. In Oryx and Crake, as well as many of the other books we’ve read this semester, the setting plays a major role in our interpretation of the story. Given the current knowledge of genetics we have accessed through the Human Genome Project, coupled with theological and technological advances in this field, the future that is Oryx and Crake isn’t all that difficult to imagine. In this regard, it’s possible to extract understanding from the environment of the plot, resulting in a more intimate relationship with the story, itself.

On the same topic, the video included is the trailer for Children of Men released in 2006. Despite the rather cliché background music and voiceover, this is an excellent movie that is relevant not only because the story is rooted in future genetic failure, but it is certainly what I would consider another example of speculative fiction. Highly, highly recommended.

paige

[1] http://www.ansible.co.uk/sfx/sfx107.html

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~ by lambertpaige on April 9, 2014.

One Response to “Thinking in “Speculative Fiction””

  1. great movie!

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