Speculative Fiction: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Horror

Fiction is my preferred writing medium. The human mind is capable of great and wonderful imagination, and the only thing better than burying my imagination in a good story is working on creating one of my own.

Rod Serling said, of the differences between science fiction and fantasy, that:

"...science fiction is the improbable made possible
and fantasy the impossible made probable

No truer definition could ever be said (and it’s a fantastic example of chiasmus). Serling’s The Twilight Zone covered both those grounds, and then some.

Horror, of course, can often contain elements of science fiction of fantasy (but not always). These three major groups fall under the heading known as “speculative fiction”; namely, fiction with elements of speculation. Take away the speculative element, and the story ceases to be fantasy, SF, or horror. Ideally, good spec fiction would fall apart without the speculative element—or indeed not even be a story without it.

There’s nothing new under the sun, as they say, and in the past 20 years so many writers have jumped into the spec fiction field that new ideas are harder to come up with… which is fine by me. Nothing challenges a fiction writer more than writing within the boundless worlds of his own imagination: if you can imagine it, you can write it.

I always focused more on science-fiction and contemporary fantasy (i.e., fantasy set in the modern day as opposed to sword and sorcery). However, all four of my sold short stories have been horror. One was technically science fiction, focusing on the alien impregnation of a young girl, but the editor who bought it did so to go in his “Cool Horror Fiction Issue,” claiming that while it was SF, it was truly horror as well.

I wrote one straight sword and sorcery tale that sold to a big magazine, but was later killed by the publisher (the editor loved it, though).

At this point, I have published about three dozen stories and have an inventory of over 30 stories that are complete and being shopped around to various publications. In my younger years, I set my sights on The Big Publications, but the fact is, unless you’re already big, they don’t look at you (they claim they love working with new writers, but only a very tiny percentage of stories they publish are by new writers). After becoming involved with Brutarian magazine, I fell in love with the dedicated passion found in “’zines”—small press magazines usually run on shoestring budgets by people who really have a personal love for their publications.

If you’re a ‘zine publisher (or any magazine or anthology publisher) looking for good material, try reading my published stuff. If you like what you see, maybe I’ll have something that can work for you. If not, I love working on assignment! Give me a theme, plot idea, or even setting, and I'll love the challenge.

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