Todd Grotenhuis

March 14, 2021

Sunday Quote 📑

No Time to Spare.png

As is often the case, Le Guin shares an insight that is simultaneously cutting-and-beautiful.

What she's described here gets at why I like and prefer the term "speculative fiction". Speculative fiction, or SpecFic, asks: what if? While we tend to think of science fiction and fantasy as the two types of speculative fiction, I think it goes further. Most genres can be speculative fiction...if they try hard enough. As a couple examples:

  • Historical fiction can ask: what if events happened differently?
  • Thriller and horror can ask: what if things went wrong?

I'm almost inclined to say that all good fiction should be speculative fiction. For me, drama alone is usually not a good enough reason to read fiction. We can watch people act out drama on the stage or the screen, appreciating the subtleties of their performances. Too, our lives are filled with drama, we experience plenty of it.

When I read, I want to consider something deeply. I want to have my worldview challenged. I want my imagination to be broadened. I want to have my premises questioned. I want to consider different scenarios and how things could be. I want to imagine steps to a better world.

I think this is why I like Le Guin so much: no matter what fiction genre she is writing, it's always speculative.

May you encounter a question that leads to more beauty and more goodness,