As long term readers of this blog will know I am a big fan of Margaret Atwood. She is a bit of a lightening rod for genretards (latest example here) because she has the temerity to have an outsider’s perspective on science fiction. At the same time, there are occasions when I can feel an insider’s frustration. Here is Sue Arnold in her brief review of the audio book edition of The Year Of The Flood:
No one does doom and gloom with such savage, satirical humour as Margaret Atwood. Who else could imagine a facility for condemned criminals called “painball” where offenders can choose between being spray-gunned to death or doing time in the painball arena – more of a forest, really. “You got enough food for two weeks plus the painball gun like a regular paint ball gun, but a hit in the eyes would blind you and if you got hit by the paint you’d start to corrode and then you’d be an easy target for the throat-slitters on the other team.”
Who else? Well, I can think many, many purveyors of such crude satire and it is the sort of thing that is often thrown in as background colour in SF stories. It seems a strange thing to single out for praise as well. I’ve recently started reading The Year Of The Flood and the punning neologisms and silly satire are by far the most irritating thing about the novel (as was true of Oryx And Crake). Different strokes for different folks but also different horizons.