In Other Worlds by Margaret Atwood
SF and the Human Imagination

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Like a giant-brained Martian with a probe, she tests the boundaries and definitions of the genre, arguing that the coordinates for "Planet X" are nearer than we might think.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Note: The electronic version of this title contains over thirty additional, illuminating eBook-exclusive illustrations by the author.

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  This book brings together her three heretofore unpublished Ellmann Lectures from 2010: "Flying Rabbits," which begins with Atwood's early  rabbit superhero creations, and goes on to speculate about masks, capes,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.

 

From the Hardcover edition.

 

About Margaret Atwood

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Born November 18, 1939, in Ottawa, Canada, Margaret Atwood spent her early years in the northern Quebec wilderness. Settling in Toronto in 1946, she continued to spend summers in the northern woods. This experience provided much of the thematic material for her verse. She began her writing career as a poet, short story writer, cartoonist, and reviewer for her high school paper. She received a B.A. from Victoria College, University of Toronto in 1961 and an M.A. from Radcliff College in 1962. Atwood's first book of verse, Double Persephone, was published in 1961 and was awarded the E. J. Pratt Medal. She has published numerous books of poetry, novels, story collections, critical work, juvenile work, and radio and teleplays. Her works include The Journals of Susanna Moodie (1970), Power Politics (1971), Cat's Eye (1986), The Robber Bride (1993), Morning in the Buried House (1995), and Alias Grace (1996). Many of her works focus on women's issues. She has won numerous awards for her poetry and fiction including the Prince of Asturias award for Literature, the Booker Prize, the Governor General's Award in 1966 for The Circle Game and in 1986 for The Handmaid's Tale, which also won the very first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987.
 
Published October 11, 2011 by Anchor. 273 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Nature & Wildlife, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Science & Math, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for In Other Worlds
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Victoria Segal on Oct 16 2012

Like a giant-brained Martian with a probe, she tests the boundaries and definitions of the genre, arguing that the coordinates for "Planet X" are nearer than we might think.

Read Full Review of In Other Worlds: SF and the H... | See more reviews from Guardian

National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by Zsuzsi Gartner on Oct 14 2011

See, this is the thing about Atwood: in a few pages she can go from gene-splicing, to HRH and Dickens, to the film Key Largo, Rachel Welch, and the Pyramids of mummified Egyptian kings, and then turn deadly serious again.

Read Full Review of In Other Worlds: SF and the H... | See more reviews from National Post arts

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