Technology, Society and The Individual: Huxley, Orwell and Atwood

In a recent article in The Guardian by Margaret Atwood she acknowledges her debt to the writings of George Orwell. Talking about the writing her The Handmaids Tale[1] Atwood says,

The 20th century could be seen as a race between two versions of man-made hell – the jackbooted totalitarianism of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty=Four, and the hedonistic ersatz paradise of Brave New World. […] But with 9/11 all that changed. Now it appears we face the prospect of two contradictory dystopias as once  – open markets, closed minds – [because] state surveillance is back with a vengeance.

User is the first in what I hope to be a series of 3 books that follow the same protagonist, Rubi, and explore how technology increasingly shapes our lives. The Binary Futures Trilogy[2] draws on Atwood’s idea cited above that in the 21st century society will have to face the prospect of two contradictory dystopias at once and the role technology[3] will have in that possible world.

As Atwood acknowledges her debt to Orwell The Binary Futures Trilogy will undoubtedly owe a debt to Atwood, starting with The Handmaid’s Tale, which I read at fifteen and which has stayed with me like few other books have, and in addition, significantly, Atwood’s more recent futuristic narrative projections Oryx and Crake and The Flood, which share certain thematic concerns with the next two books, The Wisdom of Clouds and People Architecture[4]

The author humbly hopes that User in some small way continues the discourse on technology, society and the individual with its readers and that it opens up new stories that reflect the fast personal and social changes that media technology advancements bring to all our lives.

[Read Atwood’s article here www. ]


[1] Which she began not uncoincidentally in 1984 and where she also sought to describe a future dystopia but with a feminine protagonists’ perspective guiding the reader, a project of point of view and voice that is also very much the concern of User. So often books about technology and its impact are driven through a male lens.

 

[2] For more information see Authors Note.

[3] That entirely operates with the language of binary code, and has to translated on trust, [by those who in the know – Super Users] into the natural languages we use in our daily lives before we can even interact with it.

[4] Again refer to Author’s not page for more information on these proposed texts.

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