Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Handmaid's Tale


This Sunday, I bought Margaret Atwood's  The Handmaid's Tale.

It is great writing, but it is a sad book and quite despairing portrayal of an alternate future. It affected me. Most well written sad stories do. And I end up spilling over the emotional overload in my daily life. Irrational, and not a good thing for people around you!

It hits because it is so well written. But I do not understand why one would envisage such a bleak future. The book is more or less a diary, of a woman in some future where women have been reduced to nothing. It depicts the implosion of a society, how the hunger for power and control (it must be that, right?)  turns life and a country upside down; how systematically the females are cut off with nowhere to turn.

It portrays fanaticism - an unrealistic world which defies a logical justification - and it is like fanaticism of any type but the anguished ones here happen to be females and not a religious sect. The world has shown us in the past what low levels humans in a group can stoop to, and perhaps those doing it do not understand what they do; perhaps they create justifications for almost any crime, giving it some religious higher purpose, or they are just mindless sheep following random directions; perhaps. How can one otherwise do such things!

I do not like the book because of the heart rending alternate reality it depicts. What happens to all the spirit, spunk, the life in people? What do they then even exist for? They are tied down with machine guns, thoughts of their loved ones who might be jeopardised, and the politics of all - it all builds up like the water coming to boil around the gradually alarmed frog.

I know it is unreal. One of the more literary sci-fi they say, but this is some kind of return to blindfolds or some kind of savagery that only religion can bring out in people. Or some kind of deep, selfish, hunger for power.
It is all so, so sad and so wrong.

It is stifling. Finishing it, I seek fresh air, some nicely ending, some wonder lending sci -fi.



PS - and I got it. I watched The Martian last night. And loved it!! Way to go, human spirit!
Also, feel like seeking out next part of Rama. They talk about a world united (more or less) facing a new common challenge.

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