At a time when speculative fiction seems less and less far-fetched, Margaret Atwood lends her distinctive voice and singular point of view to the genre in a series of essays that brilliantly illuminates the essential truths about the modern world. This is an exploration of her relationship with the literary form we have come to know as "science fiction,” a relationship that has been lifelong, 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 ancestor of the form, and continuing as a writer and reviewer. This book brings together her three heretofore unpublished Ellmann Lectures from 2010: "Flying Rabbits," which begins with Atwood's early rabbit superhero creations, and goes on to speculate about masks, capes, weakling alter egos, and Things with Wings; "Burning Bushes," which follows her into Victorian otherlands and beyond; and "Dire Cartographies," which investigates Utopias and Dystopias. In Other Worlds also includes some of Atwood's key reviews and thoughts about the form. Among those writers discussed are Marge Piercy, Rider Haggard, Ursula Le Guin, Ishiguro, Bryher, Huxley, and Jonathan Swift. She elucidates the differences (as she sees them) between "science fiction" proper, and "speculative fiction," as well as between "sword and sorcery/fantasy" and "slipstream fiction." For all readers who have loved The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake, and The Year of the Flood, In Other Worlds is a must.
It seems as though some people carry out their interests in many ways. Such has been the life of Canadian born Margaret Atwood. For someone who did not begin school until the age of 12, Atwood became an avid reader, which probably encouraged her development of varied interests. She identifies as a poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, inventor, teacher, and environmental activist. I doubt that spare time is in her agenda.
Beginning in 1961, Atwood has published 18 poetry collections, 18 novels, 11 non-fiction books, short fiction writings, two graphic novels, and various other smaller writings, both fiction and non-fiction. She has received several awards for her writings, with some of her works having been adapted for television and film. Those works increased her public exposure even more.
Atwood was married twice, divorced from one husband, and lost her second husband in 2019, after his unfortunate struggle with dimentia. The family, Atwood and her daughter, Eleanor Jess Atwood Gibson, had moved to a farm near Alliston, Ontario. Atwood has sister, Ruth, and a brother, Harold.