Margaret Atwood to Publish Non-Fiction Work on “SF”

I was not aware until now, but apparently Margaret Atwood is putting the final touches on a volume called “In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination.” Every time she speaks about SF, to my ear at least, she decries a real love/hate relationship with the form; even stronger than Vonnegut’s love/hate relationship with it. I am looking forward to this book. Despite the vitriol she occasionally spews I think that there is something to what she has to say about the science-fiction/speculative-fiction divide. I believe that the speculative fiction tag has some value, and those who cast it off as meaningless are missing an important point.  I can easily see how some of the literary writers see the term “science fiction” to be too limiting to describe what it is they are trying to do. And I can certainly sympathize with the fear that being cast down with the unwashed masses of SF writers can really curtail the earnings potential of low volume authors, which the literary ones tend more often to be. I’m most interested to see of she can hold her tongue; perhaps even mend a few fences. She has a fantastic SF output. It’d be nice to see her sharing civil words with the fans and not merely denouncing the thing that we all love.  It has occurred to me that she is on the slow path to recovery, though.  To wit, she is no longer of a mind to call SF the genre of “talking squids in outer space,” (which is not entirely untrue, but it’s the way she said it), and she has acknowledged that her books use motifs from the genre.  But I wonder if she’s ready to cross that one last milestone and give the genre some credit for making her work what it is.

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