7 reasons why the future is female

Elisabeth Moss and Yvonne Strahovski star as Offred and Serena Joy in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Have you heard? Sci-fi isn’t just for geeks these days: three of the top five grossing movies in the US last year and two of the three most acclaimed TV series fit into the genre. These are the women of the future… By ANNABEL BROG


THE AUTHOR: Margaret Atwood

Last year, non-readers of dystopian feminist literature finally experienced Margaret Atwood’s uncanny foresight via the award-winning TV adaptation of her prescient novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. This year Elisabeth Moss, Yvonne Strahovski and Samira Wiley return as Offred, Serena Joy and Moira in season 2, based on Atwood’s unpublished vision. Fans have had 33 years to work up an appetite for this sequel. It’s coming in April.


North set a new standard for the sci-fantasy genre with her brain-straining (in a good way) first novel, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. Her latest, 84k, is out in May, and is set in a future where the value of everything is assessed in purely financial terms – including human life. So, it asks, what is the cost of murder? North has the skill to take a gripping, nuanced idea and follow it through in a simple and colloquial narrative – it’s a must-read for those who like their sci-fi light.

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ author Margaret Atwood with Elisabeth Moss
Thandie Newton (pictured with Angela Sarafyan) stars as brothel madam Maeve in ‘Westworld’, while Evan Rachel Wood plays rancher’s daughter Dolores

THE ACTORS: Thandie Newton, Evan Rachel Wood and Tessa Thompson

Everything about HBO’s Westworld debut was intense, but nothing more so than the brilliance with which it subverted female stereotypes; Newton’s brothel madam Maeve is most memorable as an estranged mother, while Dolores – the damsel in distress played by Evan Rachel Wood – is the fiercest fighter in the theme park of horrors. Don’t miss season two when it airs in April, as management monster Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) cranks things up a gear.

THE DIRECTOR: Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Mandy Moore, Gwendoline Christie and Amandla Stenberg will take center stage in Nelson’s post-apocalyptic movie, The Darkest Mind, out in September. It tells of a plague which wipes out 98% of American children, while those left alive develop such terrifying powers that the US government incarcerates them in camps. South Korean-born Nelson started out as a storyboard artist and subsequently became a director on the hugely successful Kung Fu Panda franchise, so expect big things.

THE BOSS: Laeta Kalgridis

Netflix’s Altered Carbon – based on Richard Morgan’s cult novel and starring Joel Kinnaman as a mercenary operating in a future where human consciousness is digitally downloaded into different bodies – is every bit as original as it sounds. And not least because the showrunner, writer and producer of this otherwise typical (read: male dominated) series is woman. Meet Laeta Kalogridis: a visionary to watch. She also co-wrote the screenplay for Roberto Rodriguez’s upcoming cyberpunk film Alita: Battle Angel.

‘Altered Carbon’ is set in a technologically advanced world 300 years in the future

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