We’ve all seen the ‘funny’ little photos and memes being shared, like the chalkboard sign in front of a bookstore reading “Dystopian section has been moved to non-fiction” and things like that. We’ve heard about 1984 selling out on Amazon. The wall-screens, reality TV, and controlled news of Fahrenheit 451 make me look at the world around me and gulp a mighty gulp.
The big book drawing attention lately is Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. And for good reason. Women writers have done a lot of their own predictions about possible futures for us in their writing. And Atwood’s hits…very close to home.
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…
Her imagined world doesn’t seem far off from our possible reality, does it? And that is scary as hell.
The Guardian has an excellent article on this subject. Click here to read more.