21 September, 2009

Margaret Atwood at It Again!

In an interview with PBS, the renowned Margaret Atwood explains to us why she writes "speculative fiction" and not "science fiction". Apparently, science fiction is concerned with only crazy things, such as talking cabbages. She claims to write only about technology that currently exists... such as the spider goat that spins silk. Wow, just amazing...

8 comments:

SciFiGuy said...

I think she protests too much. I actually like the term speculative fiction myself over science fiction because I think it is more inclusive, but definitely disagree with HER definition of science fiction.

Fun at the Library said...

I wish Margaret Atwood would stick to the real world. She not only tries to write science fiction, but it's bad science fiction. Any member of SFWA who wrote such treacle would be drummed out of the union. Real SF readers wouldn't touch her stuff unless they were paid to read it.

Alec said...

I googled the spider-goat. She might not be totally nuts after all, since the thing apparently exists...

Anonymous said...

"I googled the spider-goat"

Strangest out of context statement ever...

James said...

Ah, lovely. Where is all of this science fiction with talking cabbages, giant space squid, and attacking lizard men? I seem to be missing out on some insane fiction. I like the term Speculative Fiction for the very same reason SciFiGuy mentioned: it is more inclusive. What I don't get is why people keep asking Atwood what it means, because she is definitely not the first author to use it and her definition seems to be very different from the majority. All in all, the only reason to ask her what it means is to see her, once again, spout contempt for the genre she writes in.

What made me laugh while watching that video was the realization that she writes almost exactly like she speaks. I recently put down THE HANDMAID'S TALE because of the lifeless prose and I had to keep skipping through the video to finish it because her way of speaking is just as dull.

Anonymous said...

Who cares? Why do people argue endlessly over labels?

Tyson said...

I would read a book about talking cabbages on plant x. The title alone would inspire me to the cash register.

Let me know when the cover art comes out as I am curious.

Christine said...

After reading this discussion, I became curious about the actual definition of "science fiction". Alec told me that it's any fiction that takes place in the future, but after looking at various definitions on the internet I think that is insufficient. Yes, it takes place in the future, but it also incorporates some aspect of speculation or imagination as to where science and technology might take us in the future. So perhaps her definition is a bit narrow, but you can't deny the necessity of an unrealistic aspect to science fiction writing.

That being said, I don't generally consider Margaret Atwood to be a science fiction writer. Yes, some of her books fall into that genre, but I think the majority of her writing (or at least, the majority of what I've read) does not. So maybe her writing is not directed at people who really like science fiction, but instead at those of us who just want a little taste of speculation on the future.

Leave her alone, I think she's great :)