While speculative fiction is hard to define, Rjurik Davidson offers one attempt at a definition, and at the possibilities opened up by speculative fiction:
“Speculative fiction—an umbrella term for science fiction, fantasy, horror and other non-realist forms—has always been peculiarly suited to political radicalism since the form investigates a world that is ‘other’ to our own, a world which is in some way changed or altered. It is a thought experiment: by developing this sense of estrangement, science fiction asks us to think back upon our own society. Crudely put, the departure from our empirical reality attracts those who would change that reality.”
– Rjurik Davidson, Writing Against Reality
“While portrayals of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) characters didn’t become relatively common in science fiction, fantasy or horror until after the early successes of the Gay Liberation Movement in the 1970s, that didn’t mean that there was “no there there,” to borrow a phrase from Gertrude Stein. Of course, most of those early LGBT characters were depicted in coded terms, their identity only hinted at. Homosexuality was illegal nearly everywhere in the world and could carry severe legal and social consequences if it was discovered. Most queer authors flew under the radar or paid the consequences. On the page, queer characters portrayed their same sex interest with a significant glance, a passing comment or a bit too much interest in another character, an interest that often turned villainous or ended in tragedy.
Early science fiction and fantasy writers who openly experienced what one of Oscar Wilde’s lovers called “the love that dared not speak its name” and wrote fiction about it paid dearly for that choice. William Beckford, the gay author of the Orientalist fantasy The History of Caliph Vathek (1786), began his life as one of the richest men in England and ended as a bankrupt disgrace in France. A century later, Wilde himself, author of The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890), The Canterville Ghost and assorted fantastic tales, would be imprisoned on sodomy charges and end his life a broken man.”
– Catherine Lundoff, "Out of the Past – LGBTQ Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Before 1970"