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In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination by [Atwood, Margaret]
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In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Length: 268 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Eminently readable and accessible . . . The lectures are insightful and cogently argued with a neat comic turn of phrase . . . Her enthusiasm and level of intellectual engagement are second to none (James Lovegrove Financial Times)


"A witty, astute collection of essays and lectures on science fiction . . . It's clear that [Atwood's] affection for the genre is deep and genuine . . . Wholly satisfying, with plenty of insights for Atwood and sci-fi fans alike."
--"Kirkus Reviews," starred
"Atwood archly and profoundly delves into her 'lifelong relationship' with science fiction in a collection of glimmering essays."
"A speculative-fiction visionary . . . Atwood has an uncanny knack for tapping into humanity's uncertain future and predicting mankind's cultural, scientific and sociopolitical falls from glory . . . Her fiction has peeled back the skin of our disturbing subcutaneous nightmares."
""One of the most intelligent and talented writers to set herself the task of deciphering life in the late twentieth century."
"Throughout her literary career . . . Margaret Atwood has impressed and delighted readers with her wit, lyric virtuosity, and imagi

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 10228 KB
  • Print Length: 268 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0771008481
  • Publisher: Virago (20 Oct. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005I4WB9Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #219,999 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover
I remember reading a very negative piece somewhere that claimed Margaret Atwood didn't want to be labelled as a science fiction writer and thought `that's a bit snobby' but this was taken out of context. Then came the Ursula K. Le Guin review of Atwood's last novel `The Year of the Flood' in which she quoted from (are you keeping up) Atwood's essays `Moving Targets', which I now really want to read, saying that Atwood didn't believe her books were science fiction because the things in them were possible and may be happening, therefore they are speculative. Longer story shorter, `In Other Worlds' is Margaret Atwood's response to this and is even dedicated to Le Guin. It is so much more than a simple SFF vs. the rest of the literary world book though.

The book is set into three sections. In the first `In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination' we are treated to three long essays. The first of which Margaret Atwood discusses her love of science fiction, based on the fact that growing up in rural Canada she would read anything and everything and this meant a lot of her father's science fiction, comic books, pulp, noir, you name it. She went on to draw and create stories of her own superhero's... flying rabbits, and looks at the myth of the superhero and compares it to science fiction. The second looks at the myths and religions that make up science fiction in varying ways and the third how Margaret Atwood created `ustopia's' based on merging utopias and dystopias. I loved this section, in part because the way Atwood writes makes it feel like you are sat having a conversation about these things with her (if only), there is a humour and knowingness as you go along, secondly because it shows the forming of a writer which I always find fascinating and thirdly because it made me think. A lot.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rather like some of Atwood's own literary creations, Science Fiction is quite hard to pin down. Is it techno-fantasy, reinvented myth or legend, crystal ball gazing or all of these combined? There is no short answer.

In this remarkable, sometimes autobiographical work, Atwood takes the reader on an anthropological journey , a history of science fiction if you like, delving as far back as the time of cave paintings before turning, reluctantly perhaps, towards our present era. And taking in - as you will - Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, and the Industrial Revolution along the way.

Were the Mayans there too, with their alleged end-of-the-world apocalypse (or five thousand year hoax) or did I just imagine that bit?

By the time the phrase was coined (sometime between the world wars) the fiction that now is preceded with the word 'science', was already many millennia old. Woven into this fascinating story are the modern era pioneers: Wells, Huxley, Haggard, Swift, McKibben and of course Le Guin. Piercy (Woman on the Edge of Time) gets a deserved mention too.

And to this list, we must now add Atwood herself, taking SF into a new realm that she terms Speculative Fiction: fiction that might turn out to be true. Or at least, some bits of it.

Having read the blurb for the book, with its mention of childhood superhero rabbits and other odd creatures, I wasn't quite sure what to expect (superhero bunnies not really being my thing). But then, I didn't think 'science fiction' was my bag either, before I read Le Guin and Piercy and leaned they also belonged to this eclectic gang.

As it turned out, I couldn't put the book down. Thanks to Atwood, the superhero bobtails have their place too (even, yes really, if their fur is green and they glow in the dark).
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Format: Kindle Edition
Margaret Atwood writes so well in everything she does, and this selection of essays, observations, literary criticisms as well as original pieces by the author, is no exception.

I've read an awful lot of literary criticism in my time and - even though I'm an enthusiast and I LOVE my subject, I'll be the first to admit, some of the essays written on the subject are just DULL, DULL, DULL. Indeed, it cannot be overstated enough the wonder, when as a student of the subject you find someone who can actually write about it enlighteningly and do it well. Margaret Atwood does just that in this book. In fact, I've got to say, it would be rare for me to pick up a book like this and not just focus on the area I was studying at the time (for instance, in this selection you can find pieces on Gulliver's Travels and Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go), but I felt compelled to read the entire book. This, I've got to say, is a miracle in itself. She is so funny, so witty and always with such a neat turn of phrase, it was hard to put it down.

I loved the original pieces and I loved the pieces about works I've read (I hadn't read them all). The stuff about Ishiguro I particularly enjoyed, as I did the essay on Mad Scientists. Cannot recommend this enough, particularly if you are studying Lit - merely including a few quotations from this book in your essays is going to liven up any written work and provide those marking them with a treat.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Pure genius as ever by Margaret Atwood. I read in one sitting. It also has inspired me to get into Ursula k Le Guin. Many casual readers of Margaret atwood may have missed the science Fiction elements. I for one am delighted that the medium of Science Fiction is beginning to be acknowledged as the potentially valueable literary form it can be. Margaret highlights the various differences within the genre very convincingly. If you want 'hard' sci-fi with guns and ship, go for it. However the genre contains many more genuinely questioning authors with serious thought about society and the nature of reality. You can not go wrong if nervous about entering the worls of sci-fi, than read this extremely readeable work.
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