The Handmaid’s Tale author Margaret Atwood says 9/11 terrorists got the idea from Star Wars | books | ht picks | Hindustan Times
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The Handmaid’s Tale author Margaret Atwood says 9/11 terrorists got the idea from Star Wars

In a magazine interview, Margaret Atwood said she believes the terrorists behind the 9/11 attack got the idea from Star Wars, and that while Donald Trump’s win in the US presidential race was “pretty bad for the environment”, it was not the end of the world.

books Updated: Apr 15, 2018 10:59 IST
Press Trust of India
Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale is enjoying a cultural resurgence as a TV adaptation has resonated strongly with feminist movements in the Donald Trump era.
Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale is enjoying a cultural resurgence as a TV adaptation has resonated strongly with feminist movements in the Donald Trump era.(REUTERS)

Author Margaret Atwood has said that she believes the 9/11 terrorists attacks may have been inspired from a plot point of the sci-fi classic Star Wars.

Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale is enjoying a cultural resurgence as a TV adaptation has resonated strongly with feminist movements in the Donald Trump era.

In an interview with Variety, the author discussed how an opera based on the novel that premiered in Denmark in 2000 had showed various things blowing up, including the Twin Towers.

Atwood, who was recognised as one of Variety’s Power of Women honorees, said when the opera was staged again, they had to take it out “because it was no longer in the future”. She asked the interviewer whether this gave him a creepy feeling and when he said, “Yes, it does”, she replied, “They didn’t get that idea from my opera, don’t worry. They got the idea from Star Wars.

“Remember the first one? Two guys fly a plane in the middle of something and blow that up? The only difference is, in Star Wars, they get away. Right after 9/11, they hired a bunch of Hollywood screenwriters to tell them how the story might go next. Sci-fi writers are very good at this stuff, anticipating future events. They don’t all come true, but there are interesting ‘what if’ scenarios,” she added.

Talking about The Handmaid’s Tale, which is set in a future where women have no rights and are used for their womb, Atwood said she began writing the book in West Berlin in 1984.

“The wall was still in place. Because I was Canadian, we could go across to East Berlin, Czechoslovakia, and Poland, which we did. They were all Iron Curtain countries at the time. That definitely had an influence on the book, most particularly the feeling that people were very reluctant to talk to you until they absolutely trusted you and you were in a place that wasn’t bugged.

“I had been thinking about this book for a while. I had been collecting newspaper clippings, which one did in those days. There was no internet. So my rule for it was, nothing goes in that didn’t have a precedent in real life - somewhere, sometime,” she said.

Asked whether she was surprised by Trump’s win in the US presidential race, the author said she was not.

“I’m too old to really be surprised. Think of how long I’ve been on the planet. I’ve seen a lot of regime changes in different countries. The people who were devastated were young people who had never experienced anything of the kind. And some of them were quite upset. But it’s not the end of the world, although it’s pretty bad for the environment,” she said.

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