Hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes- a piece in the New York Times this weekend encapsulated my fears quite accurately and yet we push forward. We try to find solace in books, faith, friendships, our work, and other comforts despite the new normal for the United States. Readers often migrate towards science fiction and dystopian literature in times like these seeking company, albeit fictional, in their worry.
“We take refuge in make-believe terrors so the real ones don’t overwhelm us, freezing us in place and making it impossible for us to function in our day-to-day lives.” -Stephen King, Danse Macabre
And yet, the famous Canadian author, Margaret Atwood doesn’t write science fiction as much as speculative fiction, a genre much less comforting (a fact I clearly noted when I finally got around to reading my signed copy of The Heart Goes Last two years after it was selected as a First Edition Club pick).
“Science fiction has monsters and spaceships; speculative fiction could really happen.” -Margaret Atwood
The Heart Goes Last starts with Stan and Charmaine trying to survive in a beat up car while gangs wander around trying to rob or rape whoever they can find. Stan and Charmaine’s economic hardship leaves them desperate for a solution and when Charmaine hears an advertisement for a new community, they jump at the opportunity and apply for admittance.
Reading Margaret Atwood is scary. Scary because it could happen. Scary because sometimes, it already has.
You don’t honestly believe this whole operation is being run simply to rejuvenate the rust belt and create jobs? That was the original idea, but once you’ve got a controlled population with a wall around it and no oversight, you can do anything you want. You start to see the possibilities. And some of those get profitable, very fast.
Did you get goosebumps?
Prayers to everyone everywhere, especially this weekend! May you find shelter in all its many forms.