Books by Emily St. John Mandel:
THE LOLA QUARTET
THE SINGER'S GUN
LAST NIGHT IN MONTREAL
Genre of fiction featuring hypothetical scientific of technological advances, the existence of alien life,
space or time travel; stories set in the future or in an imagined, but scientifically plausible, universe.
Distinctions from fantasy: history, plausibility, adherence to rules. Compare/contrast with speculative
Selected SF subgenres: cyberpunk, biopunk, space opera, space western, dying earth, apocalyptic/post-
apocalyptic, hard SF. We mainly distinguish SF as a genre based on the setting.
Idea of Star Wars being actually fantasy instead of SF: the Force/lightsabers aren't explained in any
scientific sense. But at the same time, isn't Star Wars a space opera - think of space travel, galaxies,
etc.? Different segments of SW are maybe less or more SF than others: e.g. Dathomiri witches are very
fantasy, as is Sinkhole Station, but Yuuzhan Vong War seems fairly SF (then again, Zonama Sekot and
some of the powers behind the Yuuzhan Vong's biological warfare go unexplained). SW as a space
opera & fantasy in one.
Speculative fiction as different from SF/fantasy, or as umbrella term, or as subgenre of SF: speculative
fiction as SF with a philosophical, thoughtful approach, focused on the human response to
scientific/technological developments, and less interested in the actual technological progression or
items such as alien life. Speculative fiction can focus on cultural and societal, political, gender, class
issues. It's still a fairly vaguely defined, amorphous term. Margaret Atwood considers herself a
speculative fiction writer. Station Eleven and "upmarket" SF can also be placed under the umbrella of
speculative fiction. So I might be more speculative fiction than SF in my own writing!
The Station Eleven graphic novel within Station Eleven can be considered part of the dying earth
subgenre of SF. This means that The Outwash Order might be characterized as dying earth. Station
Eleven the novel is apocalyptic.