How have the following Speculative Fiction texts you studied gone beyond the expectations of the genre?

Essay by swesty2001High School, 12th grade July 2006

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For a text to be classified as Speculative Fiction it must be a combination of both Fantasy and Science Fiction and include the conventions which are traditionally associated with the genre. The elements commonly found in Speculative Fiction include the examination of humanity's misuse of technology, abuse of power, politics, religion, perceptions of freedom and above all presenting a question as to what may be in the future?

The three texts which I have studied, "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood, Peter Jackson's "The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring" and Frank Herbert's "Dune", all follow the nature of Speculative Fiction, containing the conventions and themes which make Speculative Fiction such an interesting and dynamic genre to study. However, these texts have done more than simply adhere to the customary aspects of Speculative Fiction; they have gone beyond the usual expectations of the genre, constructing worlds and environments which expand the elements of the genre to provide a more comprehensive insight into the state of humanity and possible futures.

"The Handmaid's Tale"

Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" has been described as a 'dystopian novel, that is, one which describes a future world which is the antithesis of a utopia. George Orwell and Aldous Huxley have described horrifying dystopian societies, where certain recognizable elements of our own world are extended and entrenched to create societies where the values, attitudes and practices of the worlds are truly frightening.

In the "The Handmaid's Tale" Atwood creates the new world of Gilead, which has arisen out of the United States of the 1980's, yet is a future few people would find a desirable place to live. In creating Gilead, Atwood has not only constructed a frightening dystopia, but has extended the story...