I recently finished reading Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and holy crap. This book frightened and disturbed me more than anything Stephen King has ever written.
It is the tale of a dystopian future, but instead of everyone being split up into factions or sectors and fighting for their lives they went and enslaved all the women. You’re either a wife, a Martha (cook, maid, etc.), a handmaiden, a whore or they ship you off to clean up toxic waste. Or they kill you. The subject of this story is a Handmaiden (duh) and she’s not a badass and she doesn’t have psychic abilities. She’s just an ordinary woman whose daughter and husband were ripped away from her and now she is a vessel for breeding.
Fuck that shit. I would take any other dystopian future over this one. Give me ape overlords and zombies, I don’t care. But enslavement with no hope of seeing my loved ones again? Death first motherfuckers!
It’s scary because there are too many countries around the world who oppress women or anyone else they dislike. It wasn’t even that long ago that we had slaves in this country. All throughout history we see examples of enslavement, genocide, oppression, etc. We’re not evolved enough for me to rest easy.
The most horrifying thing about this book was that the new order of things was recent. She remembered having a life similar to ours where she worked, voted, shopped with her own money, had control over her own body…
Margaret Atwood is a genius and I just bought tickets to meet her at an event in October. I’m not sure if I’m going to gush all over her or tell her she gave me nightmares. Maybe I’ll just give her the list below of my dystopia hierarchy.
Dystopias in order of preference (with the most preferred future at the top):
- The Firefly Universe (remember, Earth couldn’t be inhabited any more)
- Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Series (stupid humans done gone and blowed the Earth up, but the rest of the Universe was pretty cool)
- Panem (The Hunger Games)
- Divergent U.S.
- Planet of the Apes
- Maze Runner
- The Giver (I haven’t read this but I needed to make this list an even 10)
- The Walking Dead
- Gilead (The Handmaid’s Tale)
I haven’t read or seen every dystopian fiction so I realize there are many missing from this list. But I think it conveys the general idea. What does your list look like?