Rick Kleffel's The Agony Column is offering a podcast of his KQED interview with Margaret Atwood. No one will be too surprise to hear that he describes himself as having been "seriously conflicted" when he "signed up to interview Margaret Atwood." After all that he'd heard and read about Atwood and her attitude toward science fiction, he found himself asking "Who was Margaret Atwood and why did she write what I, at least, thought was "science fiction"? As he writes:
If I interviewed her, I'd have to ask some hard questions. And here again, at KQED, I was destined for a happy surprise. Atwood proved to be immensely charming and, what's more something of a scholar of science fiction. She wrote a paper on turn-of-the-last-century SF, and was tossing about 'The Purple Cloud' and even more obscure titles as we talked. I did ask her directly about science fiction, speculative fiction, space squids and talking cabbages. The bottom line is that Atwood is something of a science fiction fan and actually, kind of an SF geek, in that she knows all sorts of things about the genre that most folks can't spout off at the tip of a hat. The dry sense of humor you'll find in her books (you need the right sensibility to do so) is ever more apparent when she speaks. I had an absolute blast talking to her; and I think when you give the interview a listen, it should once and for all crush the idea that she's a literary elitist who sees herself above the genre. It's actually rather the opposite, because she clearly respects the knowledge of science required to write what is generally termed as "hard science fiction." To have your head turned round with regard to the delightful Margaret Atwood, just follow this link to the MP3 audio file of our conversation.