Talking squid in outer space!

Margaret Atwood, writer of quality dystopias, apparently dismissed scifi as “talking squid in outer space.” Clearly, her brain has been eaten by Ursula Le Guin’s decaying corpse of genre fiction. But before you angrily stick your copy of Handmaid’s Tale where the sun don’t shine (that is, right next to the mouldering stack of Xanth books), please take a moment to contemplate the horrifying truth: Atwood is NOT WRONG.

This glorious website from scifi author Vonda McIntyre features the finest collection of “talking squid in outer space” novels, stories, and illustrations this side of the Goodwill Store. Please enjoy such treasures as the featured story and the Squidliography. If you still require more scifi squid, head over to Space Squid Zine. Or just get yourself a pet squid.

Via Metafilter


8 Responses to Talking squid in outer space!

  1. Gila says:

    Thanks for the link –both to the website and to UKL’s website (love her–and can not find her books here!)

    You know, in one of my articles (sneak preview) I compare Bibi Netanyahu to a giant squid.

    Squids are good.


  2. wetlandstom says:

    Seeing your post reminds me that I have not read any Margaret Atwood in a long time. I have this vivid image in my mind of laughing out load at something she wrote. Was it a precarious dinner table that collapsed? It’s time I got reacquainted with her.


  3. Sam says:

    I like Paul McAuley’s characterization of genres as “toolkits” (in your first link). But does that mean that authors, like Cormac McCarthy and Margaret Atwood, who don’t think of themselves as “science fiction authors,” aren’t using those toolkits, and therefore aren’t writing sci-fi?

  4. Sam – I think they ARE using the toolkits – after all, they certainly follow the classic Last Man on Earth/Brave New World tropes. (Oryx and Crake is in the scifi section in OUR house, dammit.) I just think they don’t want to play with the uncool kids on the literature block. As Le Guin says in her mocking essay linked above:

    “Could he not see that Cormac McCarthy — although everything in his book (except the wonderfully blatant use of an egregiously obscure vocabulary) was remarkably similar to a great many earlier works of science fiction about men crossing the country after a holocaust — could never under any circumstances be said to be a sci fi writer, because Cormac McCarthy was a serious writer and so by definition incapable of lowering himself to commit genre?”

  5. jebyrnes says:

    My question is, where does this leave authors like Jablokov? I mean, they don’t have talking squids – just talking dolphins… and killer whales speaking obtuse Elizabethan English. In space.

    I guess that’s not sci-fi enough.

  6. […] One point, which may not be terribly original but seems worth making anyway: the stories tend to look backward. The best one on the list is a pastiche of two 19th C. novels. The worst one is at least talking about a social change that seems to be underway in the western world (but has nothing to say about said change but “Aauugh!”). Another is a historical fantasy and the other two are retakes of ideas that have been done before. Where’s the future? Where are the stars? Where’s the talking squid in outer space? […]

  7. […] IV.  So, please, sci-fi writers, I beg you, no more talking dolphins! Can we at least have some talking squids in outer space? Date Posted: Today at 7:09 AM Leave a […]

  8. […] these stories are not exactly what you’d call “literature,” there are plenty of talking squid in outer space and not a single psychic […]

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