What Exactly is ‘Speculative Fiction’?

When people ask what genre I write and I say, “Speculative Fiction, specifically dystopian.” I usually receive a polite smile over a mask of confusion.


Picture from Deviant Art

I only heard the term ‘speculative fiction’ a year or two ago and realized, “Hey, that’s what I write!” So what exactly is it?

As Jeff Gerke, founder and publisher of Marcher Lord Press, likes to say, “It’s the “weird” fiction.” Or, as the eloquent Wikipedia puts it: Speculative fiction is an umbrella term encompassing the more fantastical fiction genres. Science fiction, fantasy, utopian, dystopian, time travel, steampunk, horror, alternate history, vampires, spiritual warfare, technothriller, and superheroes. I’ve still probably missed a couple.

My debut novel, A Time to Die, is dystopian (a discussion for another day), but I have some plans to write a fantasy series in the future.

How do you feel about Speculative Fiction? Do you write in any of these genres? Read them?

About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
Bookmark the permalink.


  1. That’s the same polite smile I received in college when I told people my major was Communications.

    I write speculative fiction as well, but much like you, didn’t learn the term until I was already writing in the genre. Speculative fiction brings a sense of wonder that no other literature can achieve, a unique gift from God that ignites our souls in ways difficult to describe but impossible to ignore. That’s why I love it.

  2. Pingback: Nadine Brandes – Author Spotlight | Donna's BookShelf

I love hearing from you!