A latter-day Margaret Atwood, or just gross sensationalism? Readers respond to Robert J. Howe's "Miscarriage of Justice."

By Salon Staff
Published March 31, 2004 8:30PM (EST)

[Read the story.]

Loved it! Maybe on your next installment you can have one where people are killed simply because they are too inconvenient... Oh wait, we're already there. Never mind.

-- Reuben L. Owens

What an amazing piece of writing -- it's on a par with Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale." I read it with chills and a profound relief -- chills because the world depicted may yet come to pass, and relief that I am beyond childbearing. Thank you for publishing such a gutsy, well-written piece.

-- Signe Hovde

Robert J. Howe's sky-is-falling horror story is yet another example of a very poor trend in Salon's articles. When I subscribed to Salon, it was for your intelligent content and brutally moderate attitude (oxymoron intended: you guys made it work). Whence the sharp turn to sensational extremism in the past month, and especially just this week? Jane Doe Austen's help-me-I'm-significantly-above-the-poverty-line masturbation was simply not fit for print, and all I have to say to Howe is: "I've read George Orwell and you, sir, are no George Orwell."

Make no mistake, I read the whole story; Howe's writing style is indeed compelling. And I was waiting, hoping for the moment when someone would break forward and inject a positive note, extend kindness, even just find something to be happy or passionate about. Make it a story about humans, instead of robots and "victims." But there was no such thing: This was a work of pessimism and sealed fates. Predetermined, over before it began: a meaningless, useless, empty tale. Not even redeemable for entertainment value! Unless suicide by cervical rupture was supposed to be a fun, happy ending?

Bill Maher makes me laugh, and I'm glad you've added him. Cary Tennis makes me think, and I'm glad to see such a level-headed humanitarian getting published. The fact that Salon didn't seem to lean too far in any direction other than "forward" with your articles and regular features (not counting "This Modern World"), tipped me over the edge, and I shelled out some bucks plasticwise.

Nihilistic rants, perspectiveless whining, and a sudden hard swing to the left (or rather the anti-right, which is even worse in its adolescent cliquishness) are making me feel like I'm the victim of a bait and switch -- not to mention insulting the intelligence of what is, from the looks of your Letters section, a distinctly intelligent and mature readership. Please, guys, recapture my faith!

-- Lief Clennon

This was a great read. Unfortunately for us in 2004, it sounds like John Ashcroft's wet dream.

-- Maryann Gorman

"Imagine a future where the punishment for not having your baby is a life sentence?" Margaret Atwood already did, over 20 years ago with her "novel" "The Handmaid's Tale."

The sharp difference in the dramatic approach of Ms. Atwood and Mr. Howe being Ms. Atwood gave us a incredibly precise epilogue/prologue of what forced surrogate parenthood would really get us in the end -- actually, it would get us the end of civilization. Mr. Howe's story seems to be "all about me."

I smell a Lifetime TV movie comin' round the bend.

-- Alice Singleton

Your recent foray into future fiction regarding women's right to choose was gross. No one wants to read over breakfast about blood shooting out of every orifice.

If you're going to print fiction, make it thought-provoking instead of just shocking and politically charged. Any hack could amateurishly construct a brute nightmarish world according to their own political leanings (see "The Turner Diaries"), but we'd like to see better. For example, see "Beggars in Spain" for a thoughtful treatment of genetic engineering.

Otherwise, I love Salon.

-- Christian Burlingame

Salon Staff

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