imaginative adj.

denoting a genre of literature, etc. that is not realistic or mimetic; science fiction, fantasy, and horror collectively

Often in imaginative fiction, imaginative literature, etc.

SF Criticism


  • 1914 H. P. Lovecraft To All-Story Weekly in Miscellaneous Writings (1995) 496 H. P. Lovecraft

    Particular professors and sober Scotchmen may denounce as childish the desire for imaginative fiction.

  • 1936 W. Conover, Jr. Letter in Thrilling Wonder Stories Dec. 124/2 page image Willis Conover

    I have some good news for every reader of T. W. S. This news is that there is a new science-fiction fan magazine, the Science-Fantasy Correspondent. The purpose of this non-profit magazine is to encourage readers of imaginative fiction to write similar fiction, and see their work in print.

  • 1946 A. Lyon Letter in Astounding Science Fiction Dec. 170/2 page image

    In case this sees light in Brass Tacks, I would like to say to all readers of imaginative fiction that live in North Carolina, that plans are in progress for an organization to bring together all fans in this state and to further the interests of science fiction.

  • 1954 R. Frazier Universe in Books in Fantastic Universe May 160/2 page image Robert Frazier (I)

    Despite clear geological and archeological evidence to the contrary, the lost continent has become a standard theme of modern imaginative fiction.

  • 1956 R. Bloch Some of Best Fans are Friends in Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Sept. 55/1 page image Robert Bloch bibliography

    Most of the dogmatically devout believers in hypnotic regression or visitors from Venus are found among those who have read little or no other imaginative fiction.

  • 1969 A. Budrys in Benchmarks (1985) 235 Algis Budrys

    In science fiction, or in any other class of imaginative literature, we tend to equate notability and serial complexity.

  • 2005 New Yorker 21 Nov. 91/3

    Throughout his own imaginative writing, [C.S.] Lewis is always trying to stuff the marvellous back into the allegorical.

Research requirements

antedating 1914

Earliest cite

H. P. Lovecraft

Research History
Fred Galvin submitted a 1953 cite from L. Sprague de Camp's "Science-Fiction Handbook".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1936 cite from a letter by Willis Conover, Jr. in Thrilling Wonder Stories.
Fred Galvin submitted 1953 cites from Anthony Boucher, Rosalie Moore, and L. Sprague de Camp in Reginald Brentor's "Modern Science Fiction".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1946 cite from a letter from Andy Lyon in Astounding.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1947 cite from a letter by Wallace Weber in Thrilling Wonder Stories.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1947 cite from a letter by Tom Pace in Startling Stories.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1956 cite from Robert Bloch's "Some of My Best Fans Are Friends".
Fred Galvin submitted a 1954 cite from Robert Frazier in Fantastic Universe.
Fred Galvin submitted a 1952 cite from Albert Hernhunter's "The Smiler".

Fred Galvin located the phrase "imaginative fiction" on a cover of Wonder Stories he found online, but the year isn't shown on the cover; the website says it is April 1936 -- we would like to verify this in a print copy.

John Locke submitted a cite from Hugo Gernsback's "Hugo Gernsback Tells" in an (unpaginated) electronic verion of Writer's Digest from April 1930; we would like to verify this in a print edition.

In addition to antedatings, we would like citations from the 1960s or later.

Last modified 2020-12-16 04:08:47
In the compilation of some entries, HDSF has drawn extensively on corresponding entries in OED.