Jarrah's Reviews > In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination

In Other Worlds by Margaret Atwood
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bookshelves: canada, non-fiction, woman-author

The first part of In Other Worlds feels like you're hanging out with Margaret Atwood drinking wine when she has a bit too much to drink and starts ramblingly postulating on science fiction, mostly focusing on her relationship with the genre. It was interesting but I thought told us more about Margaret Atwood than it did about "science fiction and the human imagination". The best segment was Atwood's musings on the interconnected relationship between dystopia and utopia, which provided an interesting framework to look at Atwood's books as well as many other SF works.

I felt the second part of the book, in which Atwood shares her reflections on specific works such as Brave New World and the stories of Ursula K. LeGuin, was more interesting and insightful. Though I had expected more gender analysis throughout the book, Atwood does hit on it a bit in this section. For example she points out that most dystopias have been written by men and from a male point-of-view:

"I wanted to try a dystopia from the female point of view - the world according to Julia, as it were. However, this does not make The Handmaid's Tale 'a feminist dystopia,' except insofar as giving a woman a voice and an inner life will always be considered 'feminist' by those who think women ought not to have those things."

In Part 3, Atwood shares a few of her own SF short stories, and it's interesting to see how they both draw and diverge from the other works she referenced.

Overall, this is probably a book more for the Atwood fan than the SF fan who isn't familiar with Atwood.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
December 30, 2012 – Finished Reading
January 3, 2013 – Shelved
January 3, 2013 – Shelved as: canada
January 3, 2013 – Shelved as: non-fiction
January 3, 2013 – Shelved as: woman-author

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