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Speculative Fiction is a term used by some writers and critics in place of the recognisable tag of science fiction, in the written symposium published as ‘Of Other Worlds’ both Lloyd Esbach and Robert Heinlein proposed the term to describe a subset of science fiction involving extrapolation from the known science and technology to produce new situations and a new framework for human action.
Judith Merril borrowed the term in 1966, spelling out her version of speculative fiction, in rather more detail than Esbach and Heinlein, in such a way as to de-emphasize the science component of science fiction, which acronym can equally stand for speculative fiction.
Merril’s use of the term was useful for that kind of sociological science fiction which concentrates on social change without necessarily any great emphasis on science or technology, since the term has generally appealed to writers and readers who are interested in what is called ‘soft science fiction’ opposed to the technological driven hard science.
Though the term has proved attractive too many, especially to academics who find the term more respectable and fitting to the broad-church that is science fiction. In Sam Delany’s original-anthology series of ‘Quark’, he ingeniously uses science fiction as though it was a subset of the less established speculative fiction, the creative blurring of the boundaries which now permits complete freedom for budding authors, free from the constraints of hard science fiction.
Reference used : Sam Moskowitz.
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