Barbara Kay: The problem with Handmaid’s Tale is that it’s not a believable dystopia. It’s sci-fi

The current Hulu remake of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, is getting rave reviews. But I passed on it.

Handmaids projects a Christian theocracy — the Republic of Gilead — that has replaced American democracy, and consigned women to their most reductive biological roles as forced breeders in a mysteriously infertile society. I’m interested in artistic dystopias — the word always associated with Handmaids — but science fiction, the genre to which this story more correctly belongs, isn’t for me.

  • vimy

    Most of here know it started out as a commentary on Islam if I am not Mistaken.

    • andycanuck

      I had read a commenter somewhere saying she wrote it after visiting post-Shah Iran. Too bad about changing it to the unbelievable fiction of it being a Christian America instead of setting it in a sci-fi-style Islamic state. Dune anyone? (At least over spice = oil if nothing else.)

      • El Martyachi

        Dune was totally awesome though.

  • mauser 98

    women not allowed to work, control money, read
    fundamentalist government

  • SDMatt

    A normal person looks at this theme and thinks “that’s obviously Islam.”

    A totally fucking West-loathing moron like Atwood naturally blames the foundations of Western civilization. Honestly, the Left do not live reality-based lives, they are mentally unbalanced.

  • FactsWillOut

    I’m OK with it being sci-fi.
    I have a problem with “1984” being an accurate prophecy, though.

  • bargogx1

    The whole thing is an excercise in deflection, and we all know what they’re trying to deflect from. Even though it’s blatantly obvious to anyone with a functioning, unbrainwashed brain that it’s the very thing currently most likely to lead to the type of scenario depicted.

  • UCSPanther

    OK, so say I was a horny, raging patriarchal post-apocalyptic warlord looking for women to take as concubines to continue my bloodline. I would be after attractive feminine women to take as mates. The ugly SJW broads and trannies need not worry about my raids…

    • canminuteman

      “that has replaced American democracy, and consigned women to their most reductive biological roles as forced breeders in a mysteriously infertile society.”

      “In a mysteriously infertile society” wouldn’t that be a good idea? isn’t trying to not become extinct a good thing? I remember arguing this with my teacher when they made us read this dross in high school.

  • Hard Little Machine

    Speculative fiction always plays the line between criticism and worship. For instance, Brave New World isn’t entirely a negative view, according to Huxley himself. He saw his own book as partially a how-to instruction manual. Similarly, Frank Herbert took a lot of shit for publishing “The White Plague” since it was essentially a condemnation of women and he more or less admitted that’s how he felt.

  • Sugarlarry

    It’s totally believable. Here’s why. The Taliban came into being in part because Afghanistan had been reduced to a post-Apocalyptic landscape after years of fighting the Russian occupation. Living though something like that probably does something to people. Especially the religious loonies.

    I mean, look at the United States. The Christian loonies are already 1/4 of the way that’s living in a normal, stable state. Throw a few post-Apocalyptic events their way, and they’ll completely lose their minds.

    That’s what happened in Handmaid’s tale. For whatever reason, disease or pollution, birthrates have dropped catastrophically low. No matter what anybody does, civilization in Handmaid’s Tale will ultimately collapse due to radical de-population, and everybody knows that is coming. The religious sorts would obviously think it was god’s judgement, and go hyper radical. That’s how you get to dystopia.