[DWJ] Attwood

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sun Apr 19 19:45:30 EDT 2009

>> *The Blind Assassin* by Margaret Attwood (I had to read a
>> Booker *some* time; not particularly impressed, but greatly
>> amused because the publishers' blurb at the front says
>> that her novels include inter alia *The Handmaid's Tale*
>> and that it was shortlisted for a Booker, but don't
>> mention that it won the Arthur C. Clarke; at the back they
>> have nine of her published novels listed, but *not* THT,
>> which they don't apparently feel counts)
>Atwood is much resented in SF circles, I believe, for being snotty about
>SF, to the extent of claiming that her SF novels aren't sciece fiction,
>they're *proper* fiction (I expect she put it differently, mind you). It
>sounds as though her publishers share her belief that association with SF
>would be a downgrade from being a Proper Writer.
>Beck in Sawston

Ah, like Iain M Banks and Iain Banks having to be two different people
depending on whether they reckon what he wrote is Fiction or just That SF

Coincidentally, I am slowly savouring the splendid collection of Clute
reviews (as I mentioned) and today reached his account of Margaret
Attwood's 2003 *Crake and Oryx*, and I think the objection is that if what
she is writing is SF, it's very *bad* SF; but he seems to reckon that it is
skiffy, or the equivalent of books-of-the-series Star Trek or Star Wars,
and that what she is writing is "sci-fi as envisioned by Hollywood".

I think that's not entirely fair: I certainly enjoyed  some of the Star
Trek novelisations a great deal, especially the ones I read by Diane Duane;
they were fun, rather than a task I had set myself on an
I've-started-so-I'll-finish basis.

I believe that Attwood is quoted as saying that she doesn't write SF but
"speculative fiction" -- well, what other sort is there?  Factual fiction?
Is that possible, really?  (But she never gave back the money for that
Clarke award, and if she thought her work wasn't eligible for an SF award
surely she ought to have done so.)

Anyhow, I don't resent her for it.  I now never have to read any more of
her work, so I couldn't easily care less about her or her views on how what
she writes should be categorised, really.

Drat; this is hardly a recommendation for the book, and it is looking for a
home.  Anyone?  It's nice and long, it'll keep you in reading-matter for
ages...  <grin>

erm, obDWJ: she turned it down when I offered it to her.  Some people!
Looking a free book in the print, or something!  She claimed in a tactful
way that it would be too heavy for her to hold easily while she has
shingles, but I know my kind gesture was being Spurned really.  Huh.


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