Margaret Atwood's meditation on science fiction will have old-school "Weird Tales"-style illustrations

Illustration for article titled Margaret Atwoods meditation on science fiction will have old-school Weird Tales-style illustrations

Margaret Atwood used her Twitter account to look for graphic designers to make "1930s Weird Tales"-style illustrations for her new book about science fiction, In Other Worlds.


On Saturday, the author of Oryx and Crake tweeted:

To Graphics T-pals: good idea to solicit/do contest for yr. pics for my Oct. 11 In Other Worlds: SF & the Human Imagination e-book? Or not?


And then soon afterwards, she clarified:

Re: graphic artists: Wouldn't be for free. Would be looking for 1930s Weird Tales kind of style, & for a specific piece of work.

So what is this book about "science fiction and the human imagination?" According to her agent's website, it's a collection of three lectures she delivered last fall at Emory University:

In Other Worlds is Margaret Atwood's account of her relationship with the literary form we have come to know as "science fiction." This relationship has been life-long, stretching from her days as a child reader in the 1940s, through her time as a graduate student at Harvard, where she worked on the Victorian ancestors of the form, and continuing as a writer and reviewer.

This book brings together her three Ellman Lectures on 2010 – "Flying Rabbits," "Burning Bushes," and "Dire Cartigraphies" – and also her key reviews and speculations about the form, or forms – for she also elucidates the differences – as she sees them – between "science fiction" proper, and "speculative fiction." For all readers who have loved The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood – not to mention the mini-sci-fi tales about Lizard Men and Peach Women embedded in The Blind Assassin – In Other Worlds is a must.


So it sounds like the book will both celebrate Atwood's science fiction, and continue her attempts to create a distinction between "science fiction" and "speculative fiction" — with her work classified as the latter.

And in case you missed it, Atwood also recently said she's working on a third book in the series that currently comprises Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood. The third book will be called Maddaddam, and it'll focus on the leader of the Gardners. Atwood told a reader Q&A last September: "I am indeed working on a third book — it is tentatively called MaddAddam and will follow the fortunes of that group of people, including Zeb."


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Wow, a book length argument breaking a genre into subgenres to stroke the author's ego? Sign me UP! It is because of idiots like Atwood that 'good' sci-fi (read: whatever sells) gets put in the literature section on a whim. Oh, and O&C sucked.