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The Handmaid's Tale: This dystopic future is closer than we think

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Satyagraha

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Hulu has created a new TV series based on the Margaret Atwood book, "The Handmaid's Tale." This book was originally published in 1986, which is when I read it. At that time, it was pure science fiction, and I have always loved scifi books. So when I read this one, I was intrigued, but in a way that was more, "isn't this imaginative writing," and less "oh my God this is possible."



Here's the first part of a brief summary, if you're interested:

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Plot Overview

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian and theocratic state that has replaced the United States of America. Because of dangerously low reproduction rates, Handmaids are assigned to bear children for elite couples that have trouble conceiving. Offred serves the Commander and his wife, Serena Joy, a former gospel singer and advocate for “traditional values.” Offred is not the narrator’s real name—Handmaid names consist of the word “of” followed by the name of the Handmaid’s Commander. Every month, when Offred is at the right point in her menstrual cycle, she must have impersonal, wordless sex with the Commander while Serena sits behind her, holding her hands. Offred’s freedom, like the freedom of all women, is completely restricted. She can leave the house only on shopping trips, the door to her room cannot be completely shut, and the Eyes, Gilead’s secret police force, watch her every public move.
(continued)

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In this society, in "Giliead", all people are oppressed, all are slaves to the elite. The drive for returning to "traditional values" is the excuse used by the elite to keep people dumbed down (no reading allowed), ignorant of what is happening outside their own personal experience: no tv, no internet, no communication allowed with non-authorized people, and when communication does occur, it is narrow and filled with catch phrases and 'biblical' sayings. There is no longer any debate among people - resistance is illegal, and people are gunned down in the streets if they protest.

There are a few pockets of resistance; people who are 'awake' to the totalitarian regime, and they get slammed down as soon as they are discovered. Everyone spies on everyone else - there is no trust among people. It's like the exponential, and expected growth of "see something say something." The protagonist, "Offred," was captured and forced into becoming a breeding machine for the elite. She speaks about how they first needed advanced security and surveillance because the terrorists were out there. Then she begins to question whether there were any 'real' terrorists at all...

Worth watching, if you are interested: it's on Hulu.com


http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5834204/
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
 

Re: The Handmaid's Tale: This dystopic future is closer than we think
« Reply #1 on: Apr 27, 2017, 03:49:19 pm »
 

Satyagraha

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Here's another excellent book, also about a dystopic future, that, 20 years after publication, doesn't seem so 'scifi' anymore.


The Children of Men
by P.D. James
https://www.amazon.com/Children-Men-P-D-James/dp/0679418733/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1493325785&sr=1-1

In her 12th book, the British author of the two series featuring Adam Dalgleish and Cordelia Gray ( Devices and Desires and An Unsuitable Job for a Woman , respectively) poses a premise that chills and darkens its setting in the year 2021. Near the end of the 20th century, for reasons beyond the grasp of modern science, human sperm count went to zero. The last birth occurred in 1995, and in the space of a generation humanity has lost its future. In England, under the rule of an increasingly despotic Warden, the infirm are encouraged to commit group suicide, criminals are exiled and abandoned and immigrants are subjected to semi-legalized slavery. Divorced, middle-aged Oxford history professor Theo Faron, an emotionally constrained man of means and intelligence who is the Warden's cousin, plods through an ordered, bleak existence. But a chance involvement with a group of dissidents moves him onto unexpected paths, leading him, in the novel's compelling second half, toward risk, commitment and the joys and anguish of love. In this convincingly detailed world--where kittens are (illegally) christened, sex has lost its allure and the arts have been abandoned--James concretely explores an unthinkable prospect. Readers should persevere through the slow start, for the rewards of this story, including its reminder of the transforming power of hope, are many and lasting. 125,000 first printing; BOMC main selection.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Also made into a movie starring Clive Owen

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0206634/?ref_=nv_sr_1
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
 

 

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