“Speculative fiction is a fiction genre speculating about worlds that are unlike the real world in various important ways.” Goodreads.
Parvus Press Speculative Fiction Publisher
Over Thanksgiving, I learned to my surprise, that my sharp-witted nephew had started a publishing company called Parvus Press. As you can imagine this sparked my curiosity. Parvus Press
He had spotted an opportunity to find great writers who had not yet partnered with great publishers. When I heard about it I immediately asked, “What is speculative fiction? It sounds redundant.”
I have always been an avid reader of science fiction. I have devoured Dune, Enders Game, The Illustrated Man, Stranger in a Strange Land, Fantastic Voyage and The Martian Chronicles… to name a few. Interestingly, in my readings I never differentiated between pure science fiction and speculative fiction.
What is Speculative Fiction?
Speculative fiction is fiction, science or fantasy, that speculates about new worlds, yet maintains relevance to the real world. Slaughterhouse–Five by Kurt Vonnegut, is my favorite example of this.
Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse–Five is a semi-autobiographical novel of his POW experiences in WWII. He survived the infamous fire bombing of Dresden in the meat locker below a slaughterhouse. Why infamous? In reality, the Allies firebombed Dresden more to impress the on-coming Russians than for any real strategic value, reducing a city to ashes and killing 25,000 people just to make a point.
After the bombing, Vonnegut emerged to surreal Dresden. Unfortunately, the experience was so horrific that it took him 20 years to publish his story. Even then, instead of writing a non-fiction firsthand account of firebombed Dresden, he wrote a speculative fiction book based on his experience living through the event.
I read science fiction because, in the absence of time travel or warp speed, it enables me to travel to distant worlds. It releases me from what can be depressing news about how little humanity, in human terms, has progressed.
Why is this discovery of speculative fiction so satisfying to me? Quite simply, it increases my enjoyment of the science fiction or fantasy book by opening that hidden chapter I never knew existed.
If you just read Slaughterhouse-Five without knowing Vonnegut’s WWII experience you would think he was emotionally on the edge, almost Poe-like. Knowing that he actually went through this incident allows the reader to experience the book on a whole different level.
We all have that moment when the light burns bright, which reminds me of a great quote from Blade Runner. Tyrell to Roy, “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long – and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy.”
Now that I know about speculative fiction, I can’t wait to read the first book published by Parvus Press, Vick’s Vultures by Scott Warren.
Please send me your suggestions on great speculative fiction books. I will eagerly add them to my reading list.
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