By all accounts, the young Madeleine L’Engle did everything wrong.
First, she was a woman writing in a man’s genre in the 1950s and 1960s—and writing soft SF under a feminine name without the ambiguity of initials to hide behind. Her science fiction had too many fantasy elements, and as fantasy her books are far too sciency. A Wrinkle in Time is filled with foreign language quotations, references to philosophical, scientific, and religious thinkers, and jam-packed with challenging concepts in physics and metaphysics. Perhaps most deadly to a writer trying to break out in speculative fiction in the early 60s, her books are far too religious for mainstream markets, and far too speculative for Christian audiences. Moreover, A Wrinkle in Time is too complex for little kids and missing the elements that teen books need, making it hard to market even as genre fiction.
And, of course, it begins with…
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