Though many of us have joked that American life post-2016 has felt a bit like a prequel to the dystopian The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel about a dystopian America in which fundamentalist Christians respond to a declining birth rate by making fertile women gestational slaves to the upper class, it's actually the sequel that's getting headlines this week. 'The Testaments', which takes place fifteen years after Atwood best-selling tale about a handmaid called Offred, was scheduled for release to the public on September 10th, more colloquially known as Next Tuesday. Critics and judges for literary awards (like The Booker Prize, for which it has been shortlisted) who had advance galleys were "warned that they would be held liable" if details about the novel leaked, reports The Guardian, which also published the "exclusive" first look at the text. According to that article, "around 800 orders" of the book were mistakenly shipped out in the United States by Amazon. Penguin Random House claims this was “due to a retailer error which has now been rectified.” In other words, Amazon did a whoopsie and now the embargo is broken.
Naturally, booksellers and independent brick-and-mortar shops are frustrated that Amazon could let so many shipments go out, especially when they've had to take extra precautions against the same issue. An article on BookRiot notes that the embargo instructions for bookstores included keeping copies "stored in a monitored and locked, secured area and not placed on the selling floor prior to the on-sale date." Amazon's algorithm must have missed the memo.
Reviews of the novel have been positive, with Slate noting that Atwood takes plot points and tonal choices from Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale adaptation and uses them to craft a story that's more "fun" than its predecessor.
Hollywood agrees. Hulu, with MGM TV, is already planning to adapt The Testaments, though it's not yet known if it will be a movie, a limited series, its own show or somehow folded into the already-expanding world of The Handmaid's Tale, its award-winning series based on the novel.
Nolite te Amazones carborundorum!