What do I mean by SF?

I was thinking of doing a particular post about this, but I won’t bother. Here it goes. I’ve been receiving emails to clarify what I mean by “Speculative Fiction” (SF); this was first used by Heinlein, and it’s a broader term that comprises everything an author is able to create, ie, where anything can happen. It’s a place beyond reality, a place that could have been, or might have been, if only the rules of the universe were altered. “Speculative fiction” goes beyond the mundane and takes me into a world of might-have-been, science, intertextuality, transcendence, otherness, estrangement, etc. It’s a world where I leave part of myself behind when I return to the universe as I know it. It pushes the limits of the imagination. A good SF story makes me think, and also provides a new insight into human nature or even give me a new outlook on life. It’s a tall order I know, but that’s what I always aim for in a good SF book. Even if after reading this, you still have doubts about what SF is (or isn’t), I’ll give you a clue: It’s not about magic swords, spaceships, robots, dwarfs, leprechauns, pixies, elves, and the like. SF allow us to see the world with new eyes. SF is about you and me.

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