Please God Make Winterson Stop Talking

I don’t always like the focus within the specualtive fiction community on ‘How Others See Us’ but I feel compelled  to redistribute this peach from  Jeanette Winterson. Have you ever seen someone barge into a debate half-way through, repeat things that have already been said, refuse to listen to anybody else and then claim they won? IE – make a total arse of themselves? Well, here it is in action (I was tempted to call this post ‘Winterarse’ but then thought better of it.)

JW on why her new book is not science fiction… 

‘I hate science fiction. But good writers about science, such as Jim Crace and Margaret Atwood, are great. They take on science because it’s crucial to our world, and they use language to give energy to ideas. Others just
borrow from science and it ends up like the emperor’s new clothes, with no understanding of the material. But you shouldn’t fake it because science is too important, it’s the basis for our lives. I expect a lot more science in fiction because science is so rich.’ (New Scientist, 25 th August)

Re-iterating the plot of her new book… 

‘Billie Crusoe flees an authoritarian society in the company of a highly evolved robot of the species Robo sapiens, to join the perilous voyage to a new Blue Planet, a pristine place of apparently infinite possibilities. […] Another part of the book is set in Wreck City, a no-go zone peopled by outcasts and casualties post 3-War, a conflict which has ravaged the world.’ Winterson explains: ‘This part of the book is far from fantasy […] Everything in that part of the book has been written about scientifically already, it’s very near.’

And rvealing the plot of her next book…

‘It’s called _Robot Love_ and it’s for kids. A girl builds a multi-gendered robot, which then kills her parents because it sees them mistreat her, so they both go on the run. I’m fascinated be artificial intelligence and where it will lead. These robots couldn’t build anything as bad as us — so why would they keep us?’

What SF author could have imagined such novel concepts?

Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.

5 thoughts on “Please God Make Winterson Stop Talking

  1. Definitely not sci fi then. Nope. No way nohow. Absolutely un-sci-fi-tastic. It’s what Joyce would be writing today, if he was Jeanette Winterson and didn’t write sci fi. It’s science and it’s fiction. Next week Jeanette Winterson defends buying a Big Mac by explaining it’s food, and it came fast, but actually it’s a carbon neutral fair trade three course dinner.


  2. I just don’t like JW very much. Not at all, in fact. Met her once and she was a disappointment even for someone who hadn’t expected much. On principle I’m refusing to read her children’s books, even though I suppose I should, if only to be able to criticise her.


  3. I can’t really blame her, some people would mistake Buffy the Vampire Slayer for Sci-Fi. o.O Kinda funny though that she writes science fiction and hates it. I blame TV for defining what science fiction is to most people.



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