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More from Margaret Atwood, this time in New Scientist:
What do you make of science fiction?

A lot of science fiction is fantasy. It's people flying around on dragons, other worlds of strange life forms. Some of them are quite well thought through, they know what the strange creatures eat, they know that life could be sustainable. Others are just having fun.

Oryx and Crake is not science fiction. It is fact within fiction. Science fiction is when you have rockets and chemicals. Speculative fiction is when you have all the materials to actually do it. We've taken a path that is already visible to us. In 1984 and Brave New World, you could see all the elements that were farther down that particular path. I don't like science fiction except for the science fiction of the 1930s, the bug-eyed monster genre in full bloom.


(Did I mention that I'm going to see her talk in a couple of weeks? Suggestions for questions I should throw at her gratefully received...)

Anyway, after I've finished banging my head on my desk I'm off to Oxford for the day. And given that I plan to go to tonight's library meeting, probably a non-trivial chunk of the night, as well.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Are you sure it's *questions* you want to throw at her?
You know, the charitable interpretation is that she's just playing name-games to escape the science fiction ghetto. To think that if she sat down and read Axiomatic or Red Mars, she'd recognise that they're in the same area as her work.

The sad thing is, I'm not sure she's even aware of current work within the science fiction genre. I'm getting the strong impression that she really does think that what she's doing is New! and Shockingly Original!

*sigh*
Well, I know next to nothing about the 'science fiction ghetto' but even as a lay person it's pretty obvious she's talking out of her hat. For a Booker Prize winning writer (i.e. supposedly with the intellect)her grasp on definitions is interesting:

Science fiction is when you have rockets and chemicals. Speculative fiction is when you have all the materials to actually do it.

'Cause we don't actually have rockets and chemicals.

Having said all this, I do think she's a damn fine writer and am looking forward to getting my mitts on Oryx and Crake.
The sad thing is, I'm not sure she's even aware of current work within the science fiction genre. I'm getting the strong impression that she really does think that what she's doing is New! and Shockingly Original!

..which is the exact feeling I get when reading what she's describing. What to ask her? How to adress it? Ask her if she's read much, or any, science fiction of ilk similar to that which she herself writes. Also point out that you consider her work to be SciFi, for the best of all possible reasons.

More decent way of phrasing it: take quotes along of what she's said (or rephrase what she repeats), and outright state that for whatever reason, you simply think she's playing name games to avoid that label of 'Science Fiction'. And then ask her why, since her characterization of the genre *in those specific quotes* is at best simplistic and unresearched (just say it, 'cause it is. Respect is an overrated commodity.)

Short of that, simply accuse her of not understanding the genre she herself writes within

Alternately...don't. Ah, shucks...
Frankly, she strikes me as a writer who quite simply fails to understand the genre she's written herself into (twice now).

On the other hand, she does cross genre boundaries a lot, and I can understand the fear of getting stuck in SF.

That said, there's a nice pule of Oryx and Crake on the Science Fiction table now, and I'll be putting it into the appropriate slot in the top 10 of sci-fi too.
You know, you should be posting these to the OUSFG list.

At any rate, this review intrigued me, I really should read her stuff, as I've not done so, ever. :-)

http://www.economist.com/books/displayStory.cfm?story_id=1748439

"Contemporary novelists rarely write about science or technology. Margaret Atwood tackles both—and more—in one of the year's most surprising novels."

---
"Did you fall down and hit your head on something?"
"Do you normally make pig-ignorant statements about matters you're hopelessly ill-informed about?"

Oh hell, I read The Handmaiden's Tale, so I pretty much know the answer to that.