Manifesto Multilinko
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Saturday, September 12, 2009
Marge Atwood talks a lot of nonsense

Writers know that words mean things.
Atwood's denial that her work is science fiction can only be one of three things

1. She's being deliberately disingenuous
2. She doesn't actually know what science fiction is
3. She is hiding in the "literary", invented non-genre of "speculative fiction", lest she be put on shelves with--shudder--books by men! for boys! about space! ewww

I suspect #3.

Look at this total nonsense:

What the book absolutely is not, she insists, is science fiction – a statement she has made repeatedly since the 2003 publication of Oryx and Crake, a novel that shares the same future as Flood and some of the same characters.

Science fiction takes place “somewhere in space, far, far away in a distant galaxy,” she explains. “That's where hell and heaven went after Milton, escaping literarily.”

On Planet X, you can still have voices speaking out of burning bushes and “strange creatures with bat wings and horns on their heads flying through the air – dragons, of which I'm very fond.” But “speculative fiction” of the sort she writes deals strictly with things people can experience on Earth “without being stoned,” she says. “It has to be based on real technology, real science, real possibility.”

Atwood: ‘Have I ever eaten maggots? Perhaps …' - Globe and Mail - September 12, 2009

Ok first of all, "somewhere in space" is the definition of space opera, a 1950s era sub-genre of SF that, while still the popular image of much SF in clueless media circles, hasn't actually been written SF since the Golden Age of Heinlein and such.

Second of all, she then conflates space opera with fantasy, which is a completely different genre.

Third of all "based on real technology, real science, real possibility" is the DEFINITION of hard science fiction.

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