I read The Handmaid’s Tale a long time ago, but could only stomach the first season on the box. Maybe it feels a bit more real or even possible, or perhaps the dramatisation was all a bit much, but I just couldn’t cope with more terror or the gruesome relentless treatment of the women.
Dystopian fiction has always had a following, the stories are gripping and usually paint a vivid picture of a life in the margins. The Handmaid’s tale has been the most well-known book with a feminist perspective, but P.D. James wrote a book called The Children of Men in 1992 which was about a world with plummeting birthrates – no children and no future, and The Parable of the Sower was written by Octavia Butler in 1993 and set in 2025 when communities have to protect themselves from marauding scavengers and roaming bands of ‘Paints’, people addicted to a drug that activates an orgasmic desire to burn, rape and murder.
In recent years a good deal more titles have been published and range from women coping with climate change, war, isolation and issues around fertility. A bit of a “trend” perhaps, but one that more and more seems to have the fiction set in reality.
Read more: The remarkable rise of the feminist dystopia The Atlantic Weekly
Check out my BiblioCommons list of Dystopian feminist fiction.