Oh, dear listeners, today we have a treat for you! It’s a story commissioned by the the gold standard in audio drama – the BBC!
The show is producer John Dryden’s inspired adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood. The story tells of a dismal future where the lines between church and state are no longer distinguishable, and the nature of femininity has been revised to fit a more religious bent.
Free young women are conscripted to become “handmaid’s” – women used as stand-ins for infertile wives in a world where sterility seems rampant… And this is the story of one of those Handmaids.
Part 1 is available now, parts 2 and 3 will appear in future podcasts…
A full-cast dramatization based on one of the 20th century’s most outstanding novels about the future. When religious extremists take over the US government, they create the Republic of Gilead where women are prohibited from owning property and all money is transferred to male relations.
Here is the first episode |MP3| of The Incomparable Podcast. It appears to be all about SFF books! Huzzah! Here’s the description:
Climb in your Zeppelin, grab a self-burning book, and prepare for the first Incomparable Podcast, in which we discuss “The City and The City,” “The Windup Girl,” “For The Win,” and more. Plus we mispronounce the names of writers.
The Incomparable Participants: Glenn Fleishman, Scott McNulty, Dan Moren, and Jason Snell. The Incomparable Theme Song composed by Christopher Breen.
Prominently mentioned in this Incomparable episode:
* “The City & The City” by China Miéville
* “The Windup Girl” by Paolo Bacigalupi
* “For the Win” by Cory Doctorow
* “Perdido Street Station” by China Miéville
* “Little Brother” by Cory Doctorow
* “Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom” by Cory Doctorow
* “Boneshaker” by Cherie Priest
* “The Gone-Away World” by Nick Harkaway
* “Ship Breaker” by Paolo Bacigalupi
* “Tongues Of Serpents” by Naomi Novik
* “The Dream Of Perpetual Motion” by Dexter Palmer
* “A Storm Of Swords” by George R.R. Martin
* “Oryx And Crake” by Margaret Atwood
* “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union” by Michael Chabon
* “Bitter Seeds” by Ian Tregillis
* “The Adamantine Palace” by Stephen Deas
* “Shades Of Grey” by Jasper Fforde
* “Fables” by Bill Willingham and Lan Medina
Spartan Youth Radio (a Northern Ontario high school radio station) has an interview with Margaret Atwood. Reporter Madeline Lemire talked to Atwood during her book tour for The Year Of The Flood. In the interview Atwood talks about her novel, moon landing conspiracy theories, biotechnology, religion, environmentalism, coffee, twitter and “the future of novels.”
I always thought Margaret Atwood’s position on ‘not being a Science Fiction writer’ had some merit. She’s never been all that interested in science. After listening to Atwood explain her position on the moon landings being fake (she thinks that they were) I have to agree she’s definitely not all that interested in science. I shake my head at your smug oleaginousness Margaret Atwood. You are a history denier. The moon landings were not fake. We did them, they were done.
The Year Of The Flood
By Margaret Atwood; Read by Bernadette Dunne, Katie MacNichol and Mark Bramhall
11 CDs – Approx. 14 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: September 22, 2009
Themes: / Science Fiction / Dystopia / Disaster / Environmentalism / Environmental Disaster / Ecology / Planetary Ecology / Religion / Genetic Engineering / Sex / Activism / Genetics /
The long-awaited new novel from Margaret Atwood. The Year of the Flood is a dystopic masterpiece and a testament to her visionary power. The times and species have been changing at a rapid rate, and the social compact is wearing as thin as environmental stability. Adam One, the kindly leader of the God’s Gardeners—a religion devoted to the melding of science and religion, as well as the preservation of all plant and animal life—has long predicted a natural disaster that will alter Earth as we know it. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women have survived: Ren, a young trapeze dancer locked inside the high-end sex club Scales and Tails, and Toby, a God’s Gardener barricaded inside a luxurious spa where many of the treatments are edible. Have others survived? Ren’s bioartist friend Amanda? Zeb, her eco-fighter stepfather? Her onetime lover, Jimmy? Or the murderous Painballers, survivors of the mutual-elimination Painball prison? Not to mention the shadowy, corrupt policing force of the ruling powers . . .Meanwhile, gene-spliced life forms are proliferating: the lion/lamb blends, the Mo’hair sheep with human hair, the pigs with human brain tissue. As Adam One and his intrepid hemp-clad band make their way through this strange new world, Ren and Toby will have to decide on their next move. They can’t stay locked away . . .By turns dark, tender, violent, thoughtful, and uneasily hilarious, The Year Of The Flood is Atwood at her most brilliant and inventive.
Margaret Atwood’s book The Year Of The Flood spans several years, before, after and during the waterless flood which is a plague that affects only humans. There are three readers, Bernadette Dunne, Katie MacNichol and Mark Bramhall. Throughout the eleven discs (14 hours), I enjoyed listening to the women, and began to dread the onset of the male reader. He was certainly professional. Was it his character, Adam One, a religious cult leader of God’s Gardeners? Was it the inevitable sermon he would read in a church-appropriate voice? Or was it the hymns, written by Atwood and set to “original” music that would have me engaging in positive procrastination in order to avoid finishing this audiobook.
The loveliest parts of the book take place from the point of view of Ren, a child in God’s Garden. The religion is a logical outcome for a near future on Earth following environmental disasters not too difficult to imagine. Technologies we toy with today lead to some A Clockwork Orange style vocabulary. Words such as “garboil” (a kind of petroleum made from trash) lend a frighteningly vital immersion into this eco-nightmare. Other wonderful vocabulary delights come through the genetic alterations of food and creature such as soydines and bugs with little smiley faces engineered thereon so thoughts of squishing them would be repugnant. The Gardeners have a host of saints to celebrate, showing Atwood’s ability to relate some important environmentalists and peaceniks to her tale including Saint Rachel Carson, Saint David Suzuki and Saint Mahatma Gandhi.
The main female characters, Ren and Toby, both fully developed, are compelling. Throughout the story, one is interested in them as human beings, in their suffering, in their losses, in their desires. Despite the time shifts, the readers manage to keep the characters believable; one is lost in the story (as one should be!) until the final disc. Maybe Atwood can’t write optimistic endings. With all the violence, sadistic sex and death in the world of the Gardeners who are staunch vegetarians who don’t even kill the insects that invade their gardens; with spray guns, layabout body parts and a world of human-pig hybrids conducting funerals, the last disc felt wrong. Ren’s character becomes childish. Toby becomes a murderous cold-blooded killer and then suddenly has another personality shift. The only character to remain true is the one-dimensional ADAM ONE. I was strung along on the brilliant imagination, left flat on story line, and confused in the end by the characters I thought I liked.
Am I waiting for that third expected book in a TRILOGY featuring some of these characters? My interest in Atwood’s “exfernal” world is now lukewarm.