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Best Speculative Fiction Ever Written


New Member
I'm an editor for a new online magazine, and I'm working on a feature article on the most influential novels in speculative fiction (i.e. science fiction, fantasy, horror, historical, etc.). The article (set to be published in December) will be a ranked list of the top 10 speculative fiction novels ever written. In order to test the validity of the list, I'm going around to online communities like this one to solicit your opinions. If anyone here would also like to participate directly by voting for their favorites (http://p068.ezboard.com/farwzdicussionforumsfrm1.showMessage?topicID=1032.topic ) we would welcome your opinion. If anyone from this page votes, I'll be happy to give the page credit for participating with a link at the end of the article.

So, what do you think? What are the most important speculative fiction novels ever published? The best written? The most compelling stories? The most fascinating characters? The most revolutionary concepts? The most influential?



New Member
Surely The Twisted Root of Baarfindor by Sean Wright! At least I think that's the title...


Active Member
I have to agree with Shade. In fact, I was going to nominate it myself but he beat me to it. :mad:


Well-Known Member
Darn, I'm just going to have get hold of that book!

Violanthe, have you taken a look at our sci-fi/fantasy forum and TBF top 100 voting?


for some reason i couldn't find the VOTE link. here are mine- i don't have 10 that i can think of right now. i am talking strictly speculative fiction- not fantasy or anything too far out sci-fi (i feel there's a difference).

1) Oryx and Crake
so many parallels to modern culture- i could really see how the things that we do now could turn out the way Atwood described in the story
2) Day of the Triffids
this story just plain fascinates me. it's fun to read and i love the characters
3) The Handmaids Tale
same as other Atwood novels- she takes society and twists it a bit. gripping read
4) Lucifer's Hammer
i could not put this book down. the character development was great, and i can really believe the events and actions in the book are how things would occur in "real life" under the same circumstances.
5) Blindness
character development is fantastic. the book takes you down the deepest, darkest, most terrible paths of humanity, then sparkles with beauty. comes as close to perfection as i've ever read.
6) The Chrysalids
another fascinating read.
those are in no particular order

i've added The Twisted Root of Baarfindor to my list!


New Member
Here are some thoughts on it, for anyone who's interested!

Rather more sincerely, I agree Jenem that The Chrysalids is one of the goodies. A classic, probably Wyndham's best in my opinion.


New Member
I'll have to take a gander. I did see it there when I posted but didn't have a chance to look.

It's okay for people to nominate the same books. In fact, the more who vote, the better for your favorite novels.

Miss Shelf

New Member
pardon mon ignorance but what exactly is "speculative fiction"? is it a cross between sci-fi and fantasy, or what?


Active Member
Miss Shelf said:
what exactly is "speculative fiction"?
An encapsulating term for sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. I suppose alternative history comes under its wing also.


New Member
Not always sci-fi and I wouldn't have thought fantasy would fit into this at all. Books like Oryx and Crake are speculative fiction. Actually Miss Shelf, you are familiar with 1984. That is an example of speculative fiction.

I apologise if I'm wrong, but I really thought that speculative fiction was a genre of it's own, not an umbrella genre that covered several others.


New Member
I haven't read much in this genre but Oryx and Crake is a tremendous book.

Not that I disagree with the idea behind calling some sci-fi/fantasy/horror/whatever work speculative but doesn't this come off at least a little pretentious to anyone else? I'm always turned off by an author that insists their book is of a certain type instead of letting the work speak for itself and find its own place.


New Member
As a writer, I'd certainly prefer to think of my writing simply as a story, but the sad fact is that marketing demands force us to identify categories.

And "speculative" may not be the umbrella term I would use, but it is a standard out there that people know. There is a link in one of the posts above to an article at wikipedia.org that defines speculative fiction in its current usage.


New Member
Actually, if anyone has any ideas for a better umbrella term than "speculative" I'd be interested to hear them. If I find one that's catchy and effective, I just might use it on the magazine.