SAN FRANCISCO, March 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Margaret Atwood, the Booker Prize-winning author of the internationally bestselling novel The Handmaid's Tale and one of the most prophetic writers of our time, publishes I'm Starved for You today with the digital publisher Byliner. I'm Starved for You is a tale of love and lust in an Orwellian near future. An entertaining yet harrowing story that lays bare the very real dangers of trading liberty for safety, the story evokes the irrepressibility of human appetite and asks just how far a man and a woman are willing to go to get what they're truly hungry for.
"I'm excited about Byliner, which I see as part of the short fiction revival that's taking place online," says Atwood. "The inspiration for I'm Starved for You is, as usual with my 'speculative fictions,' real life. This is a story that imagines what might happen if certain present-day trends continue." The result is a remarkable tale that is equal parts Tom Jones and Brave New World.
The gated community of Consilience isn't your average American town, but in a future envisioned by Atwood, it may be as close as anyone can hope to get. Husband and wife Stan and Charmaine are among thousands who have signed up for a new social order because the old one is all but broken. Outside the walls of Consilience, half the country is out of work, gangs of the drug-addicted and disaffected menace the streets, warlords disrupt the food supply, and overcrowded correctional facilities churn out offenders to make room for more.
The Consilience prison, Positron, is something else altogether. The very heart of the community and its economic engine, it's a bold experiment in voluntary incarceration. In exchange for a house, food, and what the online brochure hails as "A Meaningful Life," residents agree to spend one month as inmates, the next as civilians, working as guards or whatever's required.
Stan and Charmaine have no complaints—until the day Stan discovers an erotic note under the fridge of the house he and Charmaine take turns sharing with another couple on the weeks they're out of Positron. It's a missive of erotic longing, pressed with a vivid lipstick kiss: "I'm starved for you!" it breathes. If Stan rarely thought about the house's other residents before—they've never met them and don't know their names; it's not allowed—now he can't stop thinking about them, especially the note's author, a woman who signs herself Jasmine, so unlike his girlish wife, Charmaine. He has to meet her, but in this highly ordered and increasingly surveilled world, disorderly thoughts are a risk, and breaking the rules has dire consequences.
Margaret Atwood is the author of the internationally bestselling novel The Handmaid's Tale as well as forty other books of fiction and nonfiction, including The Blind Assassin, Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, and Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, which was made into a documentary film that recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Atwood was awarded the Booker Prize in 2000 for The Blind Assassin.
Byliner publishes compelling works of original fiction and nonfiction written to be read in a single sitting. Among its bestselling titles are Amy Tan's Rules for Virgins, Jon Krakauer's Three Cups of Deceit, Ann Patchett's The Getaway Car, William T. Vollmann's Into the Forbidden Zone, Taylor Branch's The Cartel, and Mark Bittman's Cooking Solves Everything. The companion website, Byliner.com, features curated archives of the best fiction and nonfiction writing and allows readers to easily find, share, and buy new and classic stories by their favorite authors.
I'm Starved for You will be available on March 7, 2012, for $2.99 as a Kindle Single at Amazon, a Quick Read at Apple's iBookstore, a Nook Snap at BarnesAndNoble.com, and at Kobo.