This article describes the emergence across several genres—poetry, fiction, and the recently coined “conceptual writing”—of a “speculative” subgenre that forgoes conventional literary content in favor of executing highly complex literary forms characterized by a preoccupation with number, the use of word sets, and a high degree of recursion in syntax and narrative structure. To this degree, these works are intent to expose the mathematical properties of language above aspiring to conventional realism and spontaneous expression. Nonetheless, through the frame of the philosophy of Quentin Meillassoux, a form of realism can be discerned in these writings, if only of a highly “speculative” sort that wishes to limn the “unkthinkable” in which a unique form of contingency (as opposed to the classical notion of necessity) in a primary feature in the apparent coherence and orderliness of our present state of the universe.

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