Historical or Speculative

So I wanted to write Star Trek this year but right now I’m thinking of writing the sequel to my first few nano novels, which are basically Historical AU and just noticed that on the new forum we actually have a section called Speculative Fiction. Where is the distinction between Historical and Speculative? Or isn’t there (necessarily) any? I mean, if I write a novel without supernatural elements that doesn’t change the timeline and sticks 100% to the known facts it’s straight up Historical Fiction, so much is clear. But if it changes timelines a bit and involves people whose very existence is disputed by archaeologists (not ruled out though) and has supernatural elements (and aliens), is it Speculative Fiction, even if I try to keep everything else as realistic as possible? I know that’s not that important and that maybe we’ll be able to tag/put our novels into more than one category from now on but it’s been irking me for a while (a few years actually) :upside_down_face:

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Speculative fiction is basically a catch-all for works not set in our reality. So that includes SFF, alternate history, horror (when it includes supernatural elements), etc.

I’m pretty sure historical fiction as a genre doesn’t necessarily fall under the speculative fiction umbrella, but it definitely does once you start to change things. Timeline changed? Spec-fic. Aliens? Spec-fic.

Basically, if your setting involves changes to reality as we know it, it’s speculative fiction.

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Hm. OK, that absolutely makes sense. But Speculative Fiction would basically be everything ever that isn’t 100% realistic including all kinds of Fantasy and SF. That’s, um, a lot. Maybe I could call it Speculative Historical Fiction? Yeah, I know, nitpicking, but Speculative Fiction is such a very extensive genre that I feel much safer in the cozy Historical niche :sweat_smile:

Speculative Fiction is an umbrella term for SciFi, Fantasy, Alternative History, Horror, all the Punks etc. Historical Fiction is just that as long as “it could have happened”. If you make Napoleon win in Waterloo,then it is Alt. History and under Speculative.

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I suspect the term you’re looking for is Alternate History? It includes history changed due to supernatural events, but a great deal of alternate history is based on counterfactuals/“for want of a nail” situations, where things went differently than they did in our reality for entirely ordinary reasons — if the South has won the American Civil War or if the UK had lost the Battle of Britain are the two most common examples (but I swear not every example is depressing).

I know the Worldbuilding forum has always welcomed alt history people, and I suspect the spec fic one will as well, but I see no reason the historical fiction forum wouldn’t also be welcoming. It is kind of a mix of the two genres.

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Alt. History sounds about right! Hopefully the new site will allow for that kind of labelling because so far I always had to choose between History and Fantasy and both were somehow wrong.

I usually frequent several different forums for my projects, just this one has always been a bit tricky, just as the Urban Fantasy novels were (and I just noticed that there still isn’t an Urban Fantasy forum even though it seems like this is a very popular genre. I suppose it also falls under the Spec. Fiction umbrella term). I admit, though, that even on the old siteI’ve never been to the Worldbuilding forum. Maybe I’ll have a look, thanks for the suggestion!

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If you’re talking about the forums, you don’t have to choose at all. That was true on the old site and here. You can hang out in whatever forums you want to. Granted, if you’re asking a question about your novel, it can be difficult to figure out which is the best forum to post in. If you’re talking about the genres you pick when you create your novel, you should be able to write in your own (you can definitely do it on the new site. Technically you could do it on the old site too; if you chose “Other” as your genre, it then gave you a box to write in whatever you want).

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I think I even chose “Other” when picking a genre but to me, “Other” was something reserved for Nano rebels and so I felt a little silly using it. It’ll be interesting to see what will be possible when the new site really replaces the old one. I know from earlier threads that I’m not the only one who is a little unsure how to tag their novel.

I was never a Rebel but had been using the “Other” tag for years because it allowed you to write in whatever you want and get as specific as you want. Thus, last year I wrote in my genre as “Epic Fantasy.” I had also done Historical Fantasy, YA Fantasy, Retelling, etc.

You can actually create a project on the new site now; I created one just a few days ago (though I can’t seem to update it). But it allowed me to type in a genre, so it looks like that will be possible on the new site.

So few Star Trek fans out there (that I bump into, at least). So hi!!!

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Hi! Yeah, there aren’t many of us here at the moment but I’m sure there are going to be more soon when the whole forum has been moved! :smile: