Margaret Atwood is not known for her optimistic outlook of the future and “I’m Starved for You” is no exception. In this first installment of the serial Positron, the author envisions a practicable future that current mid-lifers may live to see.
This cautionary tale takes on the proverbial gated community and adds a grim twist. Societies existent issues are accelerated; paralyzing unemployment and the ultimate economic collapse leads to the social experiment of volunteer prison terms. People from all walks of life who wish to escape starvation and violence in the streets are invited to Positron. What is better for the average person in these trying times than a steady income, a safe place to sleep and good food in their stomachs? Citizens committed to Positron (aka “Consilience”) alternate between a working prison life and a simulated average life inside one “detached dwelling” that serves 4 people.
Enter Stan and Charmaine, your average bi-monthly inmates. When they become entangled with their “alternates” (the other couple who rotates into the "dwelling" during the opposite month) Positron quickly begins to show its cracks. Anything that may rile the masses to overexcitement is strictly forbidden, therefore constant surveillance is deemed necessary. Desire may cause disorder, but Attwood shows us just how quickly a tightly contained environment can turn into anarchy.
Her vision of the future in “I’m Starved for You” is not idealistic, yet it is based on sound reasoning. The dystopia she envisions holds a mirror up to the face of our society and forces us to look. Atwood writes about the future with a steely pen, and rightly so. Although the human characters remain a bit flat, it is Positron that steals the show. The plot races forward and by the end you will salivate for Episode Two.