Consider what the words “speculative fiction” mean for our purposes.
Speculative = conjectural, suppositional, theoretical, hypothetical, academic, abstract, risky, hazardous, unsafe.
Fiction = novels, stories, creative writing, prose literature, narration, storytelling, romance, fable, imaginative writing, works of the imagination.
Put together, speculative fiction takes risky abstract ideas and expresses them through prose.
Those words give an author permission to leave the boundaries of our known world and go off to explore profound and meaningful concepts through a fictional environment.
Neil Gaiman’s Stardust qualifies as a speculative fiction novel that is a “literary fantasy.” This is because it is a fairytale told with beautiful prose in an unhurried fashion. Lean prose can be leisurely, poetic, and still pack a punch.
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