IN OTHER WORLDS: SF AND THE HUMAN IMAGINATION is Margaret Atwood's account of her relationship with the literary form we have come to know as 'science fiction'. This relationship has been lifelong, stretching from her days as a child reader in the 1940s, through her time as a graduate student at Harvard, where she worked on the Victorian ancestors ...
IN OTHER WORLDS: SF AND THE HUMAN IMAGINATION is Margaret Atwood's account of her relationship with the literary form we have come to know as 'science fiction'. This relationship has been lifelong, stretching from her days as a child reader in the 1940s, through her time as a graduate student at Harvard, where she worked on the Victorian ancestors of the form, and continuing as a writer and reviewer. This book brings together her three Ellman Lectures on 2010 - 'Flying Rabbits', which begins with Atwood's early rabbit superhero creations, and goes on to speculate about masks, capes, weakling alter egos, and Things with Wings; 'Burning Bushes', which follows her into Victorian otherlands and beyond; and 'Dire Cartographies', which investigates Ustopias -Utopia/Dystopia - including her own ventures into those constructions. IN OTHER WORLDS also reprints some of Atwood's key reviews and speculations about the form, or forms - for she also elucidates the differences - as she sees them - between 'science fiction' proper, and 'speculative fiction', not to mention 'sword and sorcery/fantasy' and 'slipstream fiction'.
Publishers Weekly, 2011-08-15 Atwood has a long and complex relationship with science fiction, and this mix of essays and short fiction represents her most sustained examination of the genre to date. Famously having refused the label "science fiction" for such novels as The Handmaid's Tale, she prefers to call her work "speculative fiction," though she here reveals herself to be both friendly to and well-read in genre SF. The book opens with three personal essays on her relationship with the fantastic, beginning with a delicious piece on her childhood obsession with rabbit superheroes, followed by a look at the connections between mythology and modern SF, and a useful discussion of her own work as dystopian fiction. Although there is little for scholars of the fantastic per se, these pieces do give significant insight into Atwood's formative influences. Following are 10 more tightly focused essays, on Wells's The Island of Doctor Moreau, H. Rider Haggard's She, and other works. The six short stories are all minor but enjoyable satires on standard SF tropes such as alien invasion and cryogenics. This enjoyable volume, tellingly dedicated to Ursula K. Le Guin, reveals a writer with strong, often fascinating, if idiosyncratic opinions about genre SF. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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