Saturday, January 26, 2013

Positron Short Stories - Episodes 1-3 by Margaret Atwood

Episode 1: I'm Starved for You
Episode 2: Choke Collar
Episode 3: Erase Me

The three short stories begin a series in a world where an experimental town has its inhabitants switch off lifestyles month-to-month. Every other month they live normal, suburban lives. Then, the odd months are spent as prisoners in jail. Not everyone is a criminal but everyone is trapped for life in this "experimental" way of life. Everyone is given a specific role to fill both inside and outside the prison. Inhabitants share homes with their alternates - those people who live outside the prison while they're serving as inmates. It might sound a little confusing here, but you definitely get a sound picture of what life is like within the series.

The series starts off rather light with Atwood taking her time showing off her community by focusing on the lives of just one couple - Stan and Charmaine. We meet them in episode 1 and spend just one day with them, the day they're heading back into prison, where we ultimately learn how imperfect their marriage is.

Episode 2 exposes a little corruption in "paradise" as the routine flow of both Stan's and Charmaine's lives are interrupted by outside forces. We get a deeper picture of the twisted interior of the community and the dissidence that's arising. Of course, in true Atwood fashion, the naive become the pawns of the plotters.

Episode 3 tightens the puppet strings on Stan and Charmaine and both are forced onto separate paths potentially dangerous and devastating. It turns out they signed away the control over their own lives when they moved into town.

Within these three short stories a lot is exposed about the world within the town on Consilience and Positron Prison, yet we have no idea what's going on beyond the city walls. People signed up for this experiment because life on the outside had gotten rough, but did it remain that way? I'm hoping Atwood will let us find out. I also hope Stan and Charmaine figure out a way to rebel against the rebellion and take back their lives.

This series is only available online so it was my first foray into reading digitally. As a staunch supporter of the printed word, I'd resisted eBooks for so long until given a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas. I really enjoyed the access to these books and the readability of my Kindle. I've already accumulated a small library of free eClassics to reread. So, if you have an eReader and are an Atwood fan, this series is for you. I'm looking forward to more.

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