During the first day that we talked about Margaret Cavendish’s “The Blazing World”, we discussed what genre we thought it might fit into. At the time, I had believed that the work could best be categorized as science fiction. The fact that there are elements of fiction in this story is undeniable, as is evidenced by Lauren Pelletier’s Padlet post where she talks about the animal-human creatures that exist in the story. Thinking back on it, I still see a lot of emphasis on science in the subject matter, but I am not sure anymore that science fiction is the only genre that I could see this story falling into. After doing some research on different genres after class, I found one that I had never previously heard of that I thought was perfect for this story. That genre was speculative fiction.
The oxford dictionary definition of speculative fiction is:
- a genre of fiction that encompasses works in which the setting is other than the real world, involving supernatural, futuristic, or other imagined elements.”this classic of speculative fiction imagines an extraordinary global occurrence that forces Earth’s men and women to exist in parallel dimensions”
I think that this story could fall into this genre very easily. The story has evidence of both supernatural and imagined elements within, which I will quote below.
“The Empress asked the Fly-men, whether it was possible that she could be acquainted, and have some conferences with them? They answered, They did verily believe she might. Hereupon the Empress commanded the Fly-men to ask some of the Spirits, Whether they would be pleased to give her a Visit?”Cavendish , Margaret. “The Blazing World (1668) – Scholarly Edition.” Digital Cavendish Project, 16 Apr. 2019, http://digitalcavendish.org/complete-works/the-blazing-world-1668/.
“…upon the deck, to avoid that nauseous smell; and finding the Boat swim between two plains of Ice, as a stream that runs betwixt two shores, at last perceived land, but covered all with Snow: from which came, walking upon the Ice, strange Creatures, in shape like Bears, only they went upright as men; those Creatures coming near the Boat, catched hold of it with their Paws, that served them instead of hands;…”Cavendish , Margaret. “The Blazing World (1668) – Scholarly Edition.” Digital Cavendish Project, 16 Apr. 2019, http://digitalcavendish.org/complete-works/the-blazing-world-1668/
Despite the emphasis on science in the story, I think that speculative fiction is the genre that fits this particular story the best.