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The author of The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake engagingly explores her lifelong relationship to science fiction, both as a reader and as a writer.
At a time when the borders between literary genres are increasingly porous, Margaret Atwood maps the richly fertile crosscurrents of speculative and science fiction, slipstream, utopias and dystopias, and fantasy, and muses on their roots in the age-old human impulse to imagine new worlds. She shares the evolution of her personal fascination with this branch of literature, from her days as a child inventing a race of flying superhero rabbits, to her graduate study of the Victorian ancestors of SF to her appreciations of such influential writers as Marge Piercy, Rider Haggard, Ursula K. LeGuin, Kazuo Ishiguro, Aldous Huxley, and Jonathan Swift. As humorous and charming as it is insightful and provocative, In Other Worlds brilliantly illuminates “the wilder storms on the wilder seas of invention.”
“Atwood is a perceptive and enthusiastic literary critic, dryly funny and eclectically curious.” —The San Francisco Chronicle
“Interesting, entertaining and thoughtful. . . . Atwood fans, sci-fi fans, indeed fiction fans, have reason to rejoice. In Other Worlds is a delightful read full of Atwood’s well-honed prose and sly sense of humor.” —The Miami Herald
“Margaret Atwood is a valiant champion [of science fiction]. . . . Her prose is addictive. . . . She crafts sentences with grace and pitch-perfect highbrow humor.” —The Plain Dealer
“A smart and often playful book.” —Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
“In Other Worlds is an eminently readable and accessible clarification of [Atwood’s] relationship with SF and the SF tradition. . . . The lectures are insightful and cogently argued with a neat comic turn of phrase. . . . [Atwood’s] enthusiasm and level of intellectual engagement are second to none.” —Financial Times
“It’s a delight to see Atwood revisit Mischiefland, both because of the lovely details she remembers (the flying bunnies kept cats as pets and ate only ice cream), and because this retelling leads Atwood to speculate on the origins—cultural, literary, mythic, religious—of the science fiction genre. . . . In Other Worlds reminds us that all genres are capable of deepening and developing this one human story.” —The Boston Globe
“Atwood gives us a bracing tour of the writers and books she admires (like Ursula Le Guin and ‘She’ by H. Rider Haggard), her interest in ustopia (a mix of utopia and dystopia) in her fiction, as well as some autobiography. . . . Explains how the genre fits into a continuum dating to the world’s oldest myths and continuing today with authors who use the genre to examine social ills, not run away from them.” —Los Angeles Times
“Atwood certainly has read a fair bit of and thought deeply about science fiction, and she shares generously with her readers.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“Fascinating. . . . Vibrant. . . . Compelling. . . . Not only is In Other Worlds powerfully readable and mentally refreshing, it’s also one heck of a joyride through the limitless imagination of a national (and international) treasure.” —Bookreporter