A Few Things You Should Know About Speculative Fiction

Flynn Hannan
Writers Republic
Published in
3 min readJan 23


speculative fiction

If you are planning on writing a fiction book, you should be aware of speculative fiction. This type of fiction is widely used in various writer’s works, and poses concepts that will make readers wonder. If you are going to utilize speculative fiction in your works though, you should be aware of its key characteristics, and how you could properly use the genre in your work. Here are a few things you should know about speculative fiction.

What is speculative fiction?

Speculative fiction is an all-encompassing term that covers a multitude of fiction genres. However, the main concept of speculative fiction, is to pose a what-if scenario to readers, and have them wonder at the overall outcome of the situation. This type of fiction explores the possibilities of what’s real and not real in our current reality. In short, this type of fiction speculates on specific concepts, and thoroughly expounds on them.

The term speculative fiction was first coined by author Robert A. Heinlein in 1947. The term was closely linked to the science fiction genre, because science fiction has many concepts that writers could speculate on. However, as time passed, a myriad of other sub-genres have started coming up. Nowadays speculative fiction is an all-encompassing term for story concepts that are out of the normal.

Speculative fiction sub-genres

When it comes to writing in the speculative fiction genre, you should know that it has sub-genres that you could use. Here are some key examples of speculative fiction sub-genres that you could write in.

· Supernatural fiction

This sub-genre utilizes concepts such as ghostly encounters, magic, and psychic powers. If you are going to use this sub-genre you should create storylines wherein these concepts exist, and how society reacts to them.

· Utopian fiction

The utopian fiction sub-genre delves into the concepts of perfect civilizations, where people lived harmonious lives. If you are going to write about this sub-genre, it is important that you show the key details of this utopian world. How is this utopian society that you created any different from our society? How did it come to be? What were the events that created this utopia?

· Space opera fiction

The sub-genre uses the concept of wars and political intrigue taking place in space. If you are going to write about this sub-genre it is a good idea to create factions and key historical events that your audience could keep track of.

· Science fiction

If you are going to use this sub-genre, you should use concepts such as time travel, mutations, aliens and robots. For example, you could write a story that revolves around a world where robots and humans coexist, and the advantages and dangers that this coexistence brings to the table.

· Post-Apocalyptic fiction

This sub-genre uses end of the world scenarios, and takes place after an apocalyptic event has occurred. If you are going to write in this sub-genre, it is important that you are detailed about the key differences of the apocalyptic world, and our current world. It is also important that you show how the world came to be this way. These causes could be practically anything, from a nuclear war to a demonic invasion.

· Dystopian fiction

This sub-genre is similar to the apocalyptic sub-genre, because it uses dire scenarios as the main theme. The key difference is that dystopian fiction uses societal factors to create these scenarios. For example, you could create a story about a world run by a tyrannical oligarchy, and the common people are controlled through harsh sanctions and brute force.


When it comes to using speculative fiction, it is important that you know what it is, and the sub-genres of speculative fiction. By doing so, you will be able to utilize speculative fiction in your work as effectively as possible.

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Flynn Hannan
Writers Republic

Bibliophile , Senior Indie Editor at Writers Republic