Friday, June 17, 2005

I Can't Watch

Notably absent from the news since announcing the invention of the ultimate in author hand sanitizers, a remote-autographing machine, Margaret Atwood tells the world why we need science fiction. In the article, she manages to dodge any mention of squids but invokes the dreaded R word and still maintains that she doesn't write science fiction.

Ladies and gentlemen, let the bloodbath begin.


  1. Anonymous8:50 PM

    Atwood does seem to suffer from periodic press withdrawl. Using hoaxes to gain attention is as gratuitous as hurling the word romance at the skiffy writers. I know Dave Langford will be delighted to quote the article in the next issue of Ansible. He's a devoted fan.

  2. Dunno.

    I don't find anything Margaret Atwood says in that article too unreasonable, apart from that overly nitpicking distinction between speculative fiction and science fiction. When she uses the R word, I take it she means romance in the technical sense; i.e. romance vs. realism.

    I know that Dave Langford likes to get on her case, but that's because Dave Langford is a very naughty boy. ;)

  3. Anonymous9:15 PM

    Atwood has a history of making pronouncements about SF while assuring everyone that she doesn't write it. That's what I see as the chief annoyance catalyst. That and the squids.

    Kinsley Caste wrote: I know that Dave Langford likes to get on her case, but that's because Dave Langford is a very naughty boy. ;)

    He's got a great sense of humor. Now if Ms. Atwood could just invent one...

  4. Dave has already picked up on the story here.

  5. Anonymous10:39 PM

    Could you explain the absence of squids, please? Why ought Atwood to have mentioned them?

  6. Anonymous10:50 PM

    In this article, Ms. Atwood "explains the difference between science fiction and speculative fiction, into which latter category Oryx and Crake and her best-known novel, the 1983 The Handmaid’s Tale, both fall."

    "This is an argument of terminology that goes back and forth in many ways. Some people use ‘speculative fiction’ as an umbrella term to define anything that isn’t realistic fiction. So under that umbrella could come science-fiction fantasy, science fiction proper, Weird Tales of the 1930s, ghost stories. You could have all kinds of stuff. That isn’t how I use it. I distinguish between speculative fiction, which deals with stuff we can already do or are on the verge of doing, and science fiction, which deals with things we can’t do and most likely never will be able to do and things that are unlikely to happen really, such as canisters being shot from Mars and creatures like giant squids."

    Evidently we're so dumb she had to explain it again to us.

  7. Anonymous10:54 PM

    Kinsley wrote: Dave has already picked up on the story here.

    How could he resist?

  8. Anonymous10:58 PM

    I should also mention that I have already paid tribute to Ms. Atwood and her squids in my novel Afterburn. I won't say how, but you anagram lovers should be able to figure it out.

  9. I don't see a bloodbath here. This is actually her most reasoned and respectful discussion of the genre in, like, forever. Even the folks on the SFWA newsgroups are standing around, jaws on the floor. They fall into two groups, the "She's finally seen the light" bunch, and the "Don't fall for it! It's a trap!" bunch.

    But at least she's not dissing the squid.

  10. But there really are giant squid.
    *bats lashes innocently*

  11. Anonymous3:50 PM

    You must respect the squid, giant or otherwise. They're going to inherit the earth.


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