Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Genre Identified #6: Historical Speculative Fiction

A historical speculative fiction novel takes place in an actual period of Earth's history and can be historical fantasy, historical science-fiction, historical paranormal, historical horror, etc. So you can take Speculative Fiction back to the stone age, ancient times, medieval times, clear up to near modern times. Characters and conflicts may be fictional or actual historical figures, as long as the setting and basic world building are in a familiar time period.
Many works written in olden times are now often classified under the "historical" speculative fiction stamp, even though at that time, they were the equivalent of say - urban fantasy, contemporary science-fiction, or horror. Tales such as Dracula, Frankenstein, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, etc.

One recently popular branch of historical speculative fiction is Steampunk, taking place in Victorian times with science-fiction elements to it, and in some cases, also paranormal. Steampunk also is within the fringe of Alternate History.

Another historical spec fiction favorite are Arthurian Fantasies which retell the legend of King Arthur and Camelot in a distinctive time period.

Yet another is the Gothic novel: "a traditional form depicting the encroachment of the Middle Ages upon the 18th century Enlightenment, filled with images of decay and ruin, and episodes of imprisonment and persecution." (The 2009 Guide To Literary Agents)

For further reference:
Goodreads Popular Historical Fantasy Novels list
Goodreads Historical Paranormal Romance list
Library Journal's Steampunk: 20 Core Titles
Steampunk.com: What is Steampunk?
The Gothic Novel
A list of Arthurian Fiction by the Syosset Public Library

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