In Other Worlds: Sf And The Human Imagination

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In Other Worlds: Sf And The Human Imagination

by Margaret Atwood

McClelland & Stewart | October 11, 2011 | Hardcover

In Other Worlds: Sf And The Human Imagination is rated 4 out of 5 by 1.

At a time when speculative fiction seems less and less far-fetched, Margaret Atwood lends her distinctive voice and singular point of view to the genre in a series of essays that brilliantly illuminates the essential truths about the modern world. This is an exploration of her relationship with the literary form we have come to know as "science fiction,” a relationship that 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 ancestor of the form, and continuing as a writer and reviewer.  This book brings together her three heretofore unpublished Ellmann Lectures from 2010: "Flying Rabbits," which begins with Atwood's early  rabbit superhero creations, and goes on to speculate about masks, capes,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 Utopias and Dystopias.  In Other Worlds also includes some of Atwood's key reviews and thoughts about the form. Among those writers discussed are Marge Piercy, Rider Haggard, Ursula Le Guin, Ishiguro, Bryher, Huxley, and Jonathan Swift. She elucidates the differences (as she sees them) between "science fiction" proper, and "speculative fiction," as well as between "sword and sorcery/fantasy" and "slipstream fiction." For all readers who have loved The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood, In Other Worlds is a must.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 272 pages, 8.53 × 5.79 × 0.88 in

Published: October 11, 2011

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0771008481

ISBN - 13: 9780771008481

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from In Other Worlds with Margaret Atwood When is science fiction not science fiction? Or horror not horror? Or fantasy not fantasy? Or… you get the idea. These genre questions and more are thoughts Margaret Atwood tackles and ponders in a collection of essays and book reviews she had gathered into the volume called In Other Worlds. The famous Canadian writer and thinker who has published countless fiction works and multiple topical non-fiction tomes, received some harsh feedback a few years ago. She declared her books The Handmaids Tale and Oryx and Crake not sci-fi, but a different beast entirely. When the Geek and literati uproar subsided, she had this collection put out, all in order to fully explain her positions and the longterm reasons behind them. The good news is, Atwood proves her geek credentials and provides the necessary explanations for her perceived slights. The bad news is, she tends to ramble abit. With the launch of her arguments, we are subjected to quite a lot of references to tons of old comics strips, pulp novels, an decades old sci-fi and genre books. This is fine and all, with several more obscure Geek references cropping up that even my old soul had never heard of, but also feels very repetitive after awhile. In fact, sometimes it comes across as a laundry list of her youthful reading, with only a minimum slice of commentary involved. Later in the volume we get a better feel for Atwood and her thinking process when the reprints feature book reviews. Except for George Orwell, none of these authors or novels I had read, but many of them piqued my curiosity because of Atwood’s noticeable enthusiasm in the subjects. At her best here, she not only analyzes these stories but also provides a very clear literary genealogy of where the authors may have gotten their ideas from. In so many ways, I find this concept very informative and enjoyable, since seeing how the sausage is made, or even Atwood’s educated guesses, has always been a hobby of mine. In some ways, it feels like an expert giving a dvd commentary. As for Atwood’s sci-fi reasonings, she very quickly explains them away, with a logic and follow through which makes sense. While Geeks still may not be happy with her refusal to label her books the way they see fit, at least it is not because of snobbery on her part. She is a Geek, just like us.
Date published: 2013-08-22

– More About This Product –

In Other Worlds: Sf And The Human Imagination

In Other Worlds: Sf And The Human Imagination

by Margaret Atwood

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 272 pages, 8.53 × 5.79 × 0.88 in

Published: October 11, 2011

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0771008481

ISBN - 13: 9780771008481

Read from the Book

I’m a fifty-three-year-old writer who can remember being a ten-year-old writer and who expects someday to be an eighty-year-old writer.OCTAVIA BUTLERIn Other Worlds is not a catalogue of science fiction, a grand theory about it, or a literary history of it. It is not a treatise, it is not definitive, it is not exhaustive, it is not canonical. It is not the work of a practising academic or an official guardian of a body of knowledge. Rather it is an exploration of my own lifelong relationship with a literary form, or forms, or subforms, both as reader and as writer. I say “lifelong,” for among the first things I wrote as a child might well merit the initials SF. Like a great many children before and since, I was an inventor of other worlds. Mine were rudimentary, as such worlds are when you’re six or seven or eight, but they were emphatically not of this here- and- now Earth, which seems to be one of the salient features of SF. I wasn’t much interested in Dick and Jane: the creepily ultra- normal characters did not convince me. Saturn was more my speed, and other realms even more outlandish. Several- headed man- eating marine life seemed more likely to me, somehow, than Spot and Puff.  Our earliest loves, like revenants, have a way of coming back in other forms; or, to paraphrase Wordsworth, the child is mother to the woman. To date— as what I am pleased to think of as an adult— I have written three full- length fictions that nobody would ever class as sociological realism: Th
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From the Publisher

At a time when speculative fiction seems less and less far-fetched, Margaret Atwood lends her distinctive voice and singular point of view to the genre in a series of essays that brilliantly illuminates the essential truths about the modern world. This is an exploration of her relationship with the literary form we have come to know as "science fiction,” a relationship that 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 ancestor of the form, and continuing as a writer and reviewer.  This book brings together her three heretofore unpublished Ellmann Lectures from 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 Utopias and Dystopias.  In Other Worlds also includes some of Atwood's key reviews and thoughts about the form. Among those writers discussed are Marge Piercy, Rider Haggard, Ursula Le Guin, Ishiguro, Bryher, Huxley, and Jonathan Swift. She elucidates the differences (as she sees them) between "science fiction" proper, and "speculative fiction," as well as between "sword and sorcery/fantasy" and "slipstream fiction." For all readers who have loved The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood, In Other Worlds is a must.

About the Author

MARGARET ATWOOD is the internationally acclaimed author of more than forty books. Her novels include The Edible Woman, Surfacing, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin, Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood. Among the awards and honours she has received are the Booker Prize, the Giller Prize, the Governor General's Award, the Premio Mondello (Italy), the Prince of Asturias Prize for Literature (Spain), the Dan David Prize (Israel), and the World Economic Forum's Crystal Award. Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto.

Editorial Reviews

"Eminently readable and accessible. . . . Atwood revels in all aspects of the SF genre, both high- and low-brow, and her enthusiasm and level of intellectual engagement are second to none." 
—Financial Times

"Witty and astute. . . . Wholly satisfying."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"[Atwood's] prose is addictive."
Cleveland Plain Dealer