koralleen (koralleen) wrote,

SRP: In Other Worlds by Margaret Atwood

If you haven't read much science fiction you might not be inclined to pick up a book with a roboty gal on the cover and the subtitle SF and the Human Imagination. But, as it turns out, if you're only a casual SF reader—like myself—there is still plenty to keep you moving through this collection of essays and lectures. The book opens with her reminiscence of reading and writing as she grew up, then moves into explanations of how her writing grew. I loved these stories.

It really is a collection of disparate essays, which is unfortunate because it's easy to finish one and then set the book down and wander off. She talks about "other worlds", of course, and gives a great introduction to the idea of "ustopias". The final essays are reviews of other authors' works, nothing awful but it was hard not to feel as if they were trying to fill a minimum page count by adding these reviews. One, Ten Ways of Looking at The Island of Dr. Moreau, was practically a Powerpoint presentation. Then there were some excerpts from previously-published fiction and finally a letter from Atwood to a school system that had proposed removing The Handmaid’s Tale from classrooms or libraries or something. Bit of a jumble there, by the end. I'd say the first half was quite strong, though, and worth a look.

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