The Handmaid's Tale (On Hulu)

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The Handmaid's Tale (On Hulu)

Postby FaxModem1 » 2017-05-03 02:35am

Hulu is releasing a new original series based on Margaret Atwood's novel, The Handmaid's Tale. So far, only four episodes are out.

So far, I'm enjoying the series, and the way it's showing us in flashbacks how the US slowly turned into Gilead. They've already made a huge change from the book, in that people of other races are not being 'displaced' out of Gilead. Take that as you will.

Why is this in OSF and not Off-Topic? Because fuck Margaret Atwood and her distaste for being considered a science fiction writer, she wrote a scifi book, and this is a scifi series, so that's where this thread goes.
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Re: The Handmaid's Tale (On Hulu)

Postby Ralin » 2017-05-03 02:53am

How is it sci-fi other than by virtue of existing in a dystopian future where...bad things explainable by science have happened?

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Re: The Handmaid's Tale (On Hulu)

Postby FaxModem1 » 2017-05-03 03:06am

Ralin wrote:How is it sci-fi other than by virtue of existing in a dystopian future where...bad things explainable by science have happened?


Because I consider speculative and dystopian fiction under the science fiction umbrella, Atwood does not.

Margaret Atwood wrote: "Science fiction has monsters and spaceships; speculative fiction could really happen."
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Re: The Handmaid's Tale (On Hulu)

Postby Terralthra » 2017-05-03 03:10am

"It takes place in the future" is a really, really poor metric for "science fiction." There is nothing in her depiction of Gilead that is beyond the technological or scientific capabilities of the time she wrote the book. The term "speculative fiction" is better in that (and other) respects. The idea that "speculative fiction" is under the umbrella of scifi is exactly backwards. Specfic is a larger group, of which scifi is a subset.

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Re: The Handmaid's Tale (On Hulu)

Postby Broomstick » 2017-05-03 06:30am

Oryx and Crake, on the other hand, is very clearly science fiction, being utterly dependent on advanced bio-science for the scenario in the book. She writes science fiction. It's hypocritical of her to refuse to acknowledge that.
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Re: The Handmaid's Tale (On Hulu)

Postby LadyTevar » 2017-05-03 04:34pm

Whether she is writing SciFi or not is for another discussion. Let's continue with the direction of the show at hand.

I have yet to catch the series myself, since I don't have Hulu access. What other changes have you noticed from the book and/or the last film?
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Re: The Handmaid's Tale (On Hulu)

Postby FaxModem1 » 2017-05-03 05:54pm

Offred/June seems a bit more intelligent in the series than she did in the book. Offred seemed to accept everything that hit her in the novel, and didn't really think about the deeper implications of a lot of her situation. Both the movie and the TV show give her a literary job (librarian in the film, book editor in the series), and flesh her out as a person.

We're also seeing that the strong support of faith and values came about as a combination of fertile women and healthy births becoming more and more rare, leading to entire crowds praying at hospitals for it to turn out okay. This means there is a large population already in support of faith based decision making.

We also see from the Commander's viewpoint a little. The international community is frowning at Gilead, which is using it's economic power to try and keep everyone from interfering in their business.
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Re: The Handmaid's Tale (On Hulu)

Postby Zor » 2017-05-04 12:51pm

FaxModem1 wrote:
Ralin wrote:How is it sci-fi other than by virtue of existing in a dystopian future where...bad things explainable by science have happened?


Because I consider speculative and dystopian fiction under the science fiction umbrella, Atwood does not.

Margaret Atwood wrote: "Science fiction has monsters and spaceships; speculative fiction could really happen."

That's weird. Generally when I see speculative fiction it's displayed as the broader genre that encompasses science fiction and fantasy. In any case assuming that no technological advances happens is silly unless you assert that we're on the very limits of what technology can do (which is setting yourself up for failure).

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Re: The Handmaid's Tale (On Hulu)

Postby Tsyroc » 2017-05-06 11:21am

FaxModem1 wrote:Offred/June seems a bit more intelligent in the series than she did in the book. Offred seemed to accept everything that hit her in the novel, and didn't really think about the deeper implications of a lot of her situation. Both the movie and the TV show give her a literary job (librarian in the film, book editor in the series), and flesh her out as a person.

We're also seeing that the strong support of faith and values came about as a combination of fertile women and healthy births becoming more and more rare, leading to entire crowds praying at hospitals for it to turn out okay. This means there is a large population already in support of faith based decision making.

We also see from the Commander's viewpoint a little. The international community is frowning at Gilead, which is using it's economic power to try and keep everyone from interfering in their business.


I'm glad that they are coming up with more for the backstory as to how Gilead came about because that was always my issue with the book. I thought the book was good but not worthy of all the hype. I felt the backstory setting up the premise was a little weak considering the change was within Offred's adult life. I think I might have liked it better if how the USA became Gilead wasn't mentioned at all and then it would just have solely been a horror story of a somewhat familiar society based on a fucked up interpretation of the Bible.

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Re: The Handmaid's Tale (On Hulu)

Postby General Mung Beans » 2017-05-11 10:08pm

Tsyroc wrote:
FaxModem1 wrote:Offred/June seems a bit more intelligent in the series than she did in the book. Offred seemed to accept everything that hit her in the novel, and didn't really think about the deeper implications of a lot of her situation. Both the movie and the TV show give her a literary job (librarian in the film, book editor in the series), and flesh her out as a person.

We're also seeing that the strong support of faith and values came about as a combination of fertile women and healthy births becoming more and more rare, leading to entire crowds praying at hospitals for it to turn out okay. This means there is a large population already in support of faith based decision making.

We also see from the Commander's viewpoint a little. The international community is frowning at Gilead, which is using it's economic power to try and keep everyone from interfering in their business.


I'm glad that they are coming up with more for the backstory as to how Gilead came about because that was always my issue with the book. I thought the book was good but not worthy of all the hype. I felt the backstory setting up the premise was a little weak considering the change was within Offred's adult life. I think I might have liked it better if how the USA became Gilead wasn't mentioned at all and then it would just have solely been a horror story of a somewhat familiar society based on a fucked up interpretation of the Bible.


Sounds like a country-sized version of Shirley Jackson's "the Lottery".
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Re: The Handmaid's Tale (On Hulu)

Postby FaxModem1 » 2017-05-11 11:18pm

General Mung Beans wrote:Sounds like a country-sized version of Shirley Jackson's "the Lottery".


Less tradition that came out of nowhere and more of a revolution based on Religious fundamentalism triumphing in a revolution over a secular soceity. The book was written around the time of the Iran revolution, and transcribes it to the not too distant future when all money has become electronic.
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Re: The Handmaid's Tale (On Hulu)

Postby FaxModem1 » 2017-05-17 02:46pm

The latest episode revealed why the rest of the world tolerates Gilead, and it's quite a doozy:

Mexico sends a trade delegation to Gilead, which Gilead desperately needs an agreement with before it's currency falls off a cliff.
Spoiler
The thing Gilead is trading that is so valuable? Fertile women, as Mexico hasn't had a child born in six years, and desperately needs children in order to stay alive as a country, whereas Gilead is having children.


So, morality is pushed aside so that countries can continue to function.
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