Margaret Atwood - In Other Worlds (3 stars)

Margaret Atwood - In Other Worlds

Slightly patchy collection of critical sci-fi essays


A companion to Margaret Atwood’s published science fiction rather than an essential purchase in its own right, In Other Worlds charts the Canadian Booker Prize winner’s relationship with SF from an early age, bringing a welcome clarity and lack of pretension to this most ill-defined genre. Confirmed fans of The Handmaid’s Tale, Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood will appreciate the insights she offers into their creation. But her analysis of classic works – though compellingly argued, especially in science fiction’s relation to myth and religion – feels bitty, with great chunks no doubt appropriated from her unfinished thesis on the subject.

Elsewhere, she reproduces some of her published essays, offering fresh thoughts on even the perennial Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World comparison, though it’s worth noting that several of these are freely available online. Regardless, Atwood’s perceptive wit and reappraisal of the likes of HG Wells and H Rider Haggard for the digital age and post-9/11 era are handy primers if you’ve never encountered their work.

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