I thought I’d answer this question before getting asked. I like to stay ahead in life. So, what is visionary fiction and how is it like and how does it differ from speculative fiction genres like science fiction and fantasy, etc.?
Here’s my personal take on this. I imagine you could find other responses on the web and with other writers. To start with I’d say that speculative fiction is the umbrella under which you’ll find:
- Science Fiction
- And other ‘weird’ stuff including a combo of the above
So where do we find visionary fiction (VF)? Almost certainly under the same speculative fiction umbrella because one of the distinguishing characteristics of VF is that it explores new possibilities — new and different world, futures, species, ways of being, and the like. Often you might expect to find VF sitting comfortably under one of the speculative fiction sub-genres listed above.
For example, Dominion Over All fits nicely under fantasy (YA fantasy to be exact). After all, two of the main characters are Ra-Kit, a magic cat, and Sampson, a flying dog.
So what makes it VR sitting under the fantasy genre and not just fantasy? Well, that’s where the second distinguishing characteristic of VR comes in. The intention of visionary fiction is to “first and foremost entertain the readers while also inspiring, enlightening and encouraging readers to expand their awareness of greater possibilities, not just while they are reading but also after they close the book and return to their “real life.”
So, doesn’t other books not classified as VF do this already? Sure — at least I hope so. The point to my creating or borrowing the term for my own writing is to help me stay focused on this as a primary intention — all the distinguishing characters of VF.
Visionary Fiction: Stories that first and foremost entertain the readers while also inspiring, enlightening and encouraging readers to expand their awareness of greater possibilities, not just while they are reading but also after they close the book and return to their “real life.”
So, to borrow some terms and concept from the Life On Purpose Perspective, you could say that VF then becomes the context, vessel and container into which I pour…not my life this time, but my fiction writing. When I do this by staying awake and aware that this is the kind of fiction I’m out to write, this awareness will shape and influence the final product.
At least that the idea.
I trust my readers will let me know how well or poorly I’m doing.
I’ve also learned there’s even an emerging organization to encourage the writing of visionary fiction started by Michael Gurian, a well-known author of science-based nonfiction. There you will find this definition:
“Visionary fiction” is fiction in which the expansion of the human mind drives the plot.
I can get behind that. How about you? What would you say are some of your favorite books that would fall under the heading of visionary fiction?