In Other Worlds

In Other Worlds

SF and the Human Imagination

Book - 2011
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Publisher: Toronto : Signal, 2011.
ISBN: 9780771008481
Characteristics: x, 255 p. ;,22 cm.

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NGYSOBKNRIWFHBLMSH
Sep 03, 2017

" Wells studied under Darwin's famous apologist, t.h.huxley, at the Normal School of Science. After he was seriously injured by one of his students, while teaching, he turned to writing." " Robert Silverberg: 'every time-travel tale written since THE TIME MACHINE is fundamentally indebted to Wells'." "The imagery and cosmogony of THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU owe a lot to Darwin." She traces its antecedents to Christina Rossetti and John Milton. " Moreau isn't a real god because he cannot really create; he can only imitate, and poorly, at that." "Once the powerful, monstrous sexual cat tears her fetter out of the wall and gets loose, minus the improved brain she ought to have, look out." "THE LAW mumbled by the animal-men in MOREAU is a horrible parody of Christian and Jewish liturgy; it vanishes when the language of the beasts dissolves: it was a product of language, not some eternal, extra-lingual, God-given creed." " One motif at the core of NEVER LET ME GO is the treatment of out-groups, and the way they form in-groups, even (!) amongst themselves...proud, cruel cliques." " Ursula K. Leguin's story, THOSE WHO WALK AWAY FROM OMELAS" "NEVER LET ME GO's people aren't heroic. the ending is not comforting. it is a brilliantly executed book by a master craftsman who has chosen a difficult subject: ourselves, seen through a glass, darkly." "BRAVE NEW WORLD hasn't gone away. shopping malls stretch as far as the bulldozer can see...hypnotic persuasion....officially enforced promiscuity that does away with sexual frustration..a highly intelligent managerial class..Lenina doesn't see why she shouldn't have sex with anyone she likes whenever the occasion offers, as to do so is merely polite behavior and not to do so is selfish. John, who's been raised outside the civilized pale, idolizes Lenina until she doffs her clothes in a casual and shameless fashion. never were two sets of desiring genitalia so thoroughly at odds." "Punishment for nonconformists is exile to Iceland, where man's final end can be discussed among like-minded intellects, without pestering normal people--in a sort of university, as it were."

j
john_doh17
May 28, 2014

Some really good essays on what a dystopia is versus a utopia (it depends on your view point). It has some interesting looks at different kinds of sci fi and where people draw the lines differently.

AnneDromeda Feb 21, 2012

If you're a fan of SF (science fiction, or the more inclusive acronymic interpretation speculative fiction), and you keep up with your author news, you know that Margaret Atwood has a somewhat troubled relationship with the genre and the label. Three of her books now – *The Handmaid's Tale*, *Oryx and Crake* and *The Year of the Flood* – could arguably be considered science fiction, and definitely fall comfortably into the speculative fiction category. So, what was with the much-publicized spat between Atwood and SF giant Ursula Le Guin, in which Atwood denied authoring any science fiction books? *In Other Worlds* seems to be Atwood's explanation to the slighted genre fiction community.<br />

In the first section of the book, she declares her enthusiastic and abiding love for science and speculative fiction, and explains why she believes her work doesn't fall into the science fiction genre. She attempts a definition of science fiction, has a lively, funny discussion of why the genre's so hard to define, and deals accessibly with what functions the genre plays in our cultural psyche. The first section is, admittedly, lit theory. But Atwood's personal anecdotes and sharp sense of humour, along with her unabashed geekiness, keep the pace rolling nicely and the theory from becoming too heavy.<br />

The second section of the book contains essays she's written on different classic SF works, wherein she applies the theory she's laid out in the first section. The third section includes some very interesting short bits of SF that Atwood has admitted to authoring. These pieces tend to have appeared in her full-length works, as either short discussions or stories written and told by characters. She's deliberately chosen fragments that are entertaining, which will be good news to readers who sometimes find Atwood a little dark and depressing. The book ends off with some appendices that are not to be missed - especially a short, blazingly snarky bit on the history of women's attire on covers of SF works. For that matter, even the book's cover is lined with some pretty adorable SF-inspired doodles by Ms Atwood herself.<br />

For all her gleefully evil snarkiness, it's obvious that Atwood loves SF, and that she's been much inspired by the genre and its tropes since childhood. She's a fan, she wants you to be a fan, and she thinks SF does essential work in our cultural imagination. This book is a must-read for confirmed SF geeks, especially ones who love Atwood. And, hey, just a reminder: She'll be at the Tom Patterson Theatre discussing this book on Saturday, August 18th. Tickets are available through the Festival website for anyone who wants to take their geeking to the next level.

m
MsLit
Jan 28, 2012

I love Margaret Atwood, especially her `speculative fiction` so when she wrote this book I was very excited to read her opinions on science fiction. I loved how she infused the first part of the book with her own experiences with science fiction and fiction in general when she was growing up. I absolutely agree with her opinions about how large and completely different the science fiction genre can be. I came away from her book with a large list of books that I am very excited to read. Thank you Margaret Atwood for writing this book, you are brilliant.

g
GummiGirl
Dec 13, 2011

Fans of Atwood's science fiction will enjoy these essays on other writings that have influenced her, as well as the short stories included here. "Cold Blooded" is my favorite: a wonderful three-page satire.

Cdnbookworm Dec 03, 2011

This book was a thoroughly enjoyable read. This is a book that while discussing speculative fiction, science fiction, their definitions and histories, also discusses Atwood's personal experiences around them. Atwood's reading, writing, and reviewing of these forms the core of the book.
Atwood has broken the book into three parts. The first part deals with her personal experiences and consists of her previously unpublished Ellman Lectures from 2010. The second part collects several of Atwood's reviews of works in the speculative and science fiction genres. The third part has tributes by Atwood to the genre in form of short pieces. She also includes a letter to a school district where her book The Handmaid's Tale was challenged in favor of intellectual freedom, and a discussion of cover art from a book series in the 1930s.
I found this a very personal experience, full of Atwood's usual openness and humour. She is a writer who knows her stuff and this book shows how she thinks about these genres. She looks at the history and gives examples and different points of view, and continuously uses her own experiences as a reflective tool. Her humour comes through again and again, and I found that made it even more personal. While the issues brought to the fore through speculative and science fiction are often serious ones, and need to be taken seriously and addressed, there are also things we can do to lighten the load. I love her sense of humour and also loved finding out about works I hadn't come across before. One line she quoted from Visa for Avalon by Bryher stuck with me "If an individual's right to a place of his own were not respected," Robinson muses, "it was the first link in a chain that would ultimately lead to the elimination of the unwanted by any group that happened to be in power." If that doesn't speak to the current Occupy movement, what does!
I also loved her take on works I was familiar with, and enjoyed nodding in agreement or wanting to go back and take a second look.
Well worth the read, and although I read this as a library book, I think I shall have to go buy my own copy now.

debwalker Aug 18, 2011

The roots of science fiction and speculative fiction from the great Atwood.

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AnneDromeda Feb 21, 2012

If you're a fan of SF (science fiction, or the more inclusive acronymic interpretation speculative fiction), and you keep up with your author news, you know that Margaret Atwood has a somewhat troubled relationship with the genre and the label. Three of her books now – *The Handmaid's Tale*, *Oryx and Crake* and *The Year of the Flood* – could arguably be considered science fiction, and definitely fall comfortably into the speculative fiction category. So, what was with the much-publicized spat between Atwood and SF giant Ursula Le Guin, in which Atwood denied authoring any science fiction books? *In Other Worlds* seems to be Atwood's explanation to the slighted genre fiction community.<br />

In the first section of the book, she declares her enthusiastic and abiding love for science and speculative fiction, and explains why she believes her work doesn't fall into the science fiction genre. She attempts a definition of science fiction, has a lively, funny discussion of why the genre's so hard to define, and deals accessibly with what functions the genre plays in our cultural psyche. The first section is, admittedly, lit theory. But Atwood's personal anecdotes and sharp sense of humour, along with her unabashed geekiness, keep the pace rolling nicely and the theory from becoming too heavy.<br />

The second section of the book contains essays she's written on different classic SF works, wherein she applies the theory she's laid out in the first section. The third section includes some very interesting short bits of SF that Atwood has admitted to authoring. These pieces tend to have appeared in her full-length works, as either short discussions or stories written and told by characters. She's deliberately chosen fragments that are entertaining, which will be good news to readers who sometimes find Atwood a little dark and depressing. The book ends off with some appendices that are not to be missed - especially a short, blazingly snarky bit on the history of women's attire on covers of SF works. For that matter, even the book's cover is lined with some pretty adorable SF-inspired doodles by Ms Atwood herself.<br />

For all her gleefully evil snarkiness, it's obvious that Atwood loves SF, and that she's been much inspired by the genre and its tropes since childhood. She's a fan, she wants you to be a fan, and she thinks SF does essential work in our cultural imagination. This book is a must-read for confirmed SF geeks, especially ones who love Atwood. And, hey, just a reminder: She'll be at the Tom Patterson Theatre discussing this book on Saturday, August 18th. Tickets are available through the Festival website for anyone who wants to take their geeking to the next level.

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