What is speculative fiction? Most people are familiar with genres like fantasy and sci-fi, but fewer people know what speculative fiction means. I wasn’t familiar with the term myself until a few years ago. The truth is, if you’ve read fantasy or sci-fi, you’ve read speculative fiction.
Many years ago, I discovered the Writers of the Future contest, a quarterly competition for today’s new sci-fi and fantasy authors. I’ve entered every quarter for the last four quarters, and, although I have not placed in the competition yet, I have enjoyed getting to know the Writers of the Future atmosphere through the anthologies of the twelve winning stories of each year. The stories are short, so you can read each one in about a half-hour to an hour. They also vary in tone, talent, and content, which (for me) is half the fun.
He waited for them at the foot of the Hanging Tree, an ancient gnarled oak that dominated the treeline, draped with the remnants of frayed ropes that swung like dreadlocks in the late spring breeze.
“Maggie had another bad dream last night,” Aunt Betty murmured over the tinkle of silver spoons on ceramic bowls. Dick’s spoon dipped again into the steaming peach pudding and rose to his mouth.
“They’re getting more frequent,” Aunt Betty pointed out.
Dick swallowed. “So send for a doctor. Find out what’s wrong.”
“Don’t look at the water!” Richard screamed, snatching Margaret away from the edge of the boardwalk. Her skin crawled with cold sweat. He pushed her forward. Her feet slipped on the slime that dribbled at the edges of the warping wooden planks of the boardwalk, which receded into the twilight mist like a road that led to the edge of the world.
No author is self-made, but is a composite of all authors that he or she has read. Since my writing development has been influenced by so many authors, both past and present, here is a list of those who have contributed to important milestones in my journey.