Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale used to be comfortably unrealistic. The YA novel focuses on a young woman, Offred, as she navigates a society so dominated by men that she doesn't even get her own name. (Offred means "Of Fred," so her identity is completely connected to a man.)
Margaret Atwood's America has seen society completely changed by a religious coup. Offred once had a husband and child, but she torn away from her family and forced to become a handmaid. That means her only job is to bear the children of high-ranking officials. Her journey through the dystopian Republic of Gilead is a journey through a society completely dominated by violence and depersonalization. She has to fight just to maintain her identity.
Now, the novel is coming to the small screen courtesy Hulu, which will soon air an adaptation. While that news has brought The Handmaid's Tale a surge in popularity, Atwood herself has gotten into the dire prediction business. Her latest interview, with Time for its 100 Most Influential People feature, is no exception.
"When I first published that book, at the outset some people were saying, 'Oh, Margaret, how could you suggest that we would ever do such a thing?'" Atwood tells Time. "I don't hear that so much anymore."
If the most recent election is any guide, Atwood's dire predictions may not be far off. We're hoping that the show, at least, raises awareness enough to head that off at the pass.
Watch a video featuring Atwood, below.