Full record for speculative fiction n.

Definition science fiction; fiction which includes science-fictional elements but which is perceived to fall outside that genre
OED requirements antedating 1889
Earliest cite Lippincontt's Monthly Magazine
Comment David Silver submitted a cite from a 1971 reprint of Robert Heinlein's "On the Writing of Speculative Fiction", from Lloyd Eshbach's symposium "Of Worlds Beyond"; Rick Hauptmann verified the cite in the 1947 first edition. Bill Mullins submitted an example from Robert Heinlein earlier in 1947, in the Saturday Evening Post. Bill Mullins submitted an 1889 cite from Lippincott's Monthly Magazine.

Earliest cite in OED: 1953.

In addition to antedatings, we are also still interested in pre-1947 cites.

Last modified 28 April, 2009

Citations for speculative fiction n.

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1889 M. F. Egan Book-Talk in Lippincott's Monthly Mag. Oct. 597 Edward Bellamy, in ‘Looking Backward,’ and George Parsons Lathrop, in a short story, ‘The New Poverty,’ have followed the example of Anthony Trollope and Bulwer in speculative fiction put in the future tense.
a1948 R. A. Heinlein On Writing of Speculative Fiction in L. A. Eshbach Of Worlds Beyond (1947) 11 There are at least two principal ways to write speculative fiction—write about people, or write about gadgets.
1949 R. A. Heinlein Let. 4 Mar. in R. A. Heinlein & V. Heinlein Grumbles from Grave (1990) 49 Speculative fiction (I prefer that term to science fiction) is also concerned with sociology, psychology, esoteric aspects of biology, impact of terrestrial culture on the other cultures we may encounter when we conquer space, etc., without end.
1949 R. A. Heinlein Let. 4 Mar. in R. A. Heinlein & V. Heinlein Grumbles from Grave (1990) 49 Speculative fiction is not fantasy fiction, as it rules out the use of anything as material which violates established scientific fact, laws of nature, call it what you will, i.e., it must [be] possible to the universe as we know it. Thus, Wind in the Willows is fantasy, but the much more incredible extravaganzas of Dr. Olaf Stapledon are speculative fiction—science fiction.
1949 R. A. Heinlein Let. 4 Mar. in R. A. Heinlein & V. Heinlein Grumbles from Grave (1990) 49 Speculative fiction (I prefer that term to science fiction) is also concerned with sociology, psychology, esoteric aspects of biology, impact of terrestrial culture on the other cultures we may encounter when we conquer space, etc., without end.
1949 R. A. Heinlein Let. 4 Mar. in R. A. Heinlein & V. Heinlein Grumbles from Grave (1990) 49 Speculative fiction is not fantasy fiction, as it rules out the use of anything as material which violates established scientific fact, laws of nature, call it what you will, i.e., it must [be] possible to the universe as we know it. Thus, Wind in the Willows is fantasy, but the much more incredible extravaganzas of Dr. Olaf Stapledon are speculative fiction—science fiction.
1970 A. McCaffrey Ship who Sang (1991) vi. 249 In writing speculative fiction, I feel I have not failed the auspices of my natal day.
1972 R. A. Heinlein Let. 20 Jan. in R. A. Heinlein & V. Heinlein Grumbles from Grave (1990) 245 I have written almost every sort of thing—filler paragraphs, motion picture and TV scripts, poetry‥. I found that what I did enjoy and did best was speculative fiction. I do not think that this is just a happy coincidence.
1972 R. A. Heinlein Let. 20 Jan. in R. A. Heinlein & V. Heinlein Grumbles from Grave (1990) 245 I have written almost every sort of thing—filler paragraphs, motion picture and TV scripts, poetry‥. I found that what I did enjoy and did best was speculative fiction. I do not think that this is just a happy coincidence.
1985 B. Hambly Ishmael iv.62 Writers of speculative fiction revel in it.
1985 B. Hambly Ishmael xv. 207 The fathers of speculative fiction. Wells dealt in invasion of the Earth.
1991 Locus Sept. 57/1 BBR—Chris Reed, ed. ‥quarterly, 56pp, 21x30 cm. Speculative fiction small-press quarterly‥with stories by Misha and others, plus news, reviews, etc.
1991 Locus Nov. 5/3 Omni has the opportunity to introduce to a large number of readers the delights and fascination of rigorous speculative fiction and non-fiction.
1993 SFRA Rev. May 28 We have tried to include works that are representative of the various modalities of‥speculative fiction, ghost stories, hard science fiction, absurdist fiction.
2001 Sci. Fiction Chron. July 38/1 The conflict seems an internal one to the genre as well, reappearing year after year in new garb, whether as cries bemoaning the loss of the ‘sense of wonder’ or cries to reanimate Heinlein's serious term ‘speculative fiction’.
2001 Sci. Fiction Chron. July 32/1 As to whether or not it's science-fiction, that's one of the questions it asks the audience to answer. Speculative fiction it most certainly is.
2003 Dreamwatch Aug. 73/1 Margaret Atwood finds the label of ‘science fiction’ distasteful, and would prefer her work in this area to be known as ‘speculative fiction.’