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Reproductive Technology

March 02, 1986

Elaine Kendall, in her review of "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood (The Book Review, Feb. 9), states: "Unlike science fiction, which is sharply fanciful, this sort of speculative literature merely extrapolates from past and present experience to a future firmly based upon actuality, beginning with events that have already taken place and extending them a bit beyond the inevitable conclusions." This statement is not supported by the material presented in the review.

For a novel that is set in the late 22nd Century to be based on the forcing of fertile females to reproduce against their will with partners forced on them, in order to relieve a birthrate that has fallen below replacement level, makes no sense when already in the late 20th Century there exists such technologies as in-vitro fertilization and embryo transfer and sperm banks that allow for donor insemination, and these alone herald the future development of yet other and more successful technologies.

This does not necessarily detract from "The Handmaid's Tale," but does detract from its review which is rather more fanciful than factual.

SYLVAIN FRIBOURG

Woodland Hills

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