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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ v ‘The Wrong Side of History’

Excerpt of Adam White artwork.
By José Cano (2015). © Paul Hair.
Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is back in vogue thanks to a Hulu adaptation of it and the fevered imaginations of politicians, pundits, and the entertainment industry. And its popularity is the perfect time to reveal a long-off, in-development story I’ve outlined called, “The Wrong Side of History.”

The Handmaid’s Tale is about a fanatic taking over America and installing a Christian theocracy that oppresses women. The Hulu series has American leaders obsessed with it, saying the outlandish fantasy is more relevant than ever due to the current state of American politics and culture.

Suffice it to say that I entirely disagree with all this.

Mortal Gods: “The Wrong Side of History” is one of the chronologically last (if not the last) tales of Adam White. I have outlined the general plot but I am nowhere near completing the story or even starting to write it. Nor do I have any idea when I would start writing it. (I have announced so many other stories at this point that I have to focus on them.) But now is a good time to mention it because it is the exact opposite of The Handmaid’s Tale.

One of the things that occurs in the universe of Mortal Gods is a cycle of good triumphing over evil, evil slowly subverting that triumph, evil taking control, and then a hero (or group of heroes) rising up to defeat evil again. This is similar to what we see in the Bible. For instance, in the Old Testament, God frees the Israelites from bondage and blesses them. The Israelites prosper. But then they turn to false gods and other evil (evil subverts them). So God hands them over to evil. They suffer and cry out for forgiveness and mercy. And then God raises a hero or heroes to free them.

On a grander scale in the Bible (and even to this day) this cycle continues. At the end of time, however, God does triumph over evil.

“The Wrong Side of History” is Adam White’s final battle in his larger war with evil. Does he win or lose? Does he live or die? The tale will reveal that.

And unlike The Handmaid’s Tale, it isn’t a Christian theocracy that overtakes the U.S. in “The Wrong Side of History.” Rather, an autotheocracy—a theocracy with man as god—overtakes it. The leader of this autotheocracy tells Adam at the beginning of the story he is on the wrong side of history for refusing to say that a man is a woman as the state religion requires him to do. The final, great battle of Adam’s war against evil begins because of this.

So while our Ruling Class gushes over The Handmaid’s Tale and talks about how it is strikingly close to reality, I’m working on “The Wrong Side of History,” a tale that is entirely the opposite of Atwood’s novel.