Speculative Fiction Not SF Shocker

They give with one hand and take away with the other….

Also in Saturday’s guardian review was the first part of the Guardian Book Club feature on Robert Harris’s Fatherland, wherein John Mullan says “Speculative fiction” might once have been synonymous with SF but now more strictly refers to an alternative, but plausible, historical scenario.

More strictly? There is a definition of speculative fiction which excludes SF?

This seems to me to be a dismissal of the more explicitly SF altered histories. Is Mullan attempting to distance his preferred examples from what he sees as less worthy; or am I too sensitive?

Nevertheless I had to laugh when Mullan immediately wrote that a modern classic of speculative fiction is Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America. That book not only failed as a novel, it failed as an Altered History (for my review see here). Can a story where history is restored swiftly to the “right” path really be considered speculative? Is it not then an author’s ill-thought out musings, onanistic even?

I’ve not read Fatherland but from the description it seems to invest more into its scenario than Roth ever did in his.

In that extent Fatherland is SF, and Roth’s book isn’t.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

free hit counter script