May 25, 2017
The Handmaid’s Tale, written by Canadian author Margaret Atwood in 1985, has been a popular dystopian novel that’s never gone out of print. Set in a near future East coast city, the U.S government has been overthrown by a religious totalitarian regime, and due to environmental and medical catastrophes much of the population is infertile. Besides the elite, women have lost all autonomy, and the fertile few are cast as Handmaids, their only purpose to reproduce for those in charge.
Atwood’s writing comments on the social, political, and religious trends of America, speculating what reality would become if those trends were taken to the limit. The Handmaid’s Tale has been a feminist favorite that seems to never lose relevance. Often throughout her career Atwood has disagreed with the novels “sci-fi” branding. She prefers, “speculative fiction,” with the reasoning that society already has the means to create such a world.
Post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction, new and old, are having a moment in pop-culture, and The Handmaid’s Tale has not been left behind. The online streaming service, Hulu, developed a TV series adaptation of the literature that debuted this spring.
Whether you’ve been a long-time fan or you’re a new reader, these 10 read-a-likes will have you turning the pages and pondering the content as much as Atwood’s acclaimed novel.
image credit: Fair use (screen capture).