What is Science Fabulism?

Magical real­ism, if you’re unfa­mil­iar with the term, is a genre of fic­tion that uses mag­i­cal ele­ments in oth­er­wise mun­dane sto­ries. In some of my lat­est work, I’ve been exper­i­ment­ing with adding tra­di­tion­ally sci­ence fic­tional ele­ments to sto­ries set in oth­er­wise mun­dane set­tings. For instance, the focus is on the fam­ily pol­i­tics and work­ing class trou­bles of pro­tag­o­nist Mel in “Work, With Occasional Molemen,” but it casu­ally accepts the exis­tence of giant ants, saucers, and mole­men. I very much want the sto­ries I tell in the Stranger Creek set­ting to fit into the same genre of fiction.

I wasn’t sure what to call this type of fic­tion. I played around with a cou­ple of bad port­man­teaus around “mag­i­cal real­ism” and “sci­ence fic­tion.” I put the ques­tion to Nick Mamatas and he gave me a solid name for it imme­di­ately: sci­ence fab­u­lism.

I’m hav­ing trou­ble think­ing of many exam­ples of sci­ence fab­u­lism, though. It takes a lot of arro­gance to try and pro­claim your­self as writ­ing in your own genre of fic­tion, and I’m not say­ing that. I’m cer­tain many oth­ers have com­bined toys in this fash­ion before and prob­a­bly are work­ing it today. Can you think of sto­ries, movies, and nov­els that do this? I’d love to read more of them. Or per­haps sci­ence fab­u­lism is still just sci­ence fic­tion, and not a wor­thy term, or a needed one? What do you think?

P.S.: Speaking of the guy, Nick Mamatas just became a dad! To cel­e­brate, why don’t you pick up a copy of LOVE IS THE LAW? It’s get­ting fan­tas­tic reviews.

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