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The Handmaid’s Tale gets new life after book sequel

The upcoming fourth season of the dystopian drama-thriller will be based on the sequel of the novel, The Testaments, which should breathe new life into the series, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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The Handmaid’s Tale has won widespread acclaim in the online streaming world, primarily because its creator, Hulu, distributes the first look at the show on its digital platform only. While this isn’t too uncommon, with the likes of Netflix and Showmax creating digital-only content, the story behind the show is quite phenomenal.

It all starts off with Margaret Atwood, a Canadian author who published a novel that gave a dystopian look into the near-future, where a faith-based totalitarian state overthrows the United States government.

The story takes place in Gilead, in a part of what used to be the United States, which faces extreme environmental disasters and a plunging birth rate. As a result, it treats women as property of the state. The story follows a handmaid called Offred (played in the series by Elisabeth Moss) who serves in the household of the Commander (played by Joseph Fiennes in the show). She is one of many women who are forced into sexual servitude in attempts to repopulate the world.

Offred lives in a world where one wrong word could end her life, so she must navigate between commanders, their infertile (and subsequently cruel) wives, and her fellow handmaids. She has one ultimate goal: to find her daughter who was taken from her.

The story eerily mirrors the reality of women’s reproductive rights in many parts of the world, especially when considering the patriarchal and religious aspects women encounter with pregnancy, abortion, and forced adoption.

Many fans are saying Season 3 is a must-watch before the highly anticipated Season 4.

The novel was published in 1985 and was far ahead of its time, in the leagues of George Orwell’s 1984. It was adapted for opera, ballet, graphic novel and a film, with a screenplay by legendary playwright Harold Pinter. The story was then adapted by Hulu into a series, which received favourable ratings in its first season.

Thanks to the high ratings, Hulu renewed the show for a second season. According to Hulu, the premiere of the second season attracted twice as many viewers as they were expecting, which naturally gave rise to the third season.

But there was a problem: the events of the book ended with the second season. That meant writing a new storyline, and it’s safe to assume the writers and Atwood kept it reigned in for the second book, all while keeping the audience happy with the story progression.

This proved to be a tricky job. While I thought the third season was good, this sentiment was not shared by other commentators. A fair criticism was made by Beth Elderkin from Gizmodo’s io9: “It’s changed from a dystopian nightmare to a revenge fantasy”.

Thankfully, Margaret Atwood released a sequel to her novel last year, over 30 years later, to allow the saga to continue as intended. As a result, many fans are saying Season 3 is a must-watch before the highly anticipated Season 4, based on the new sequel. (Season 4 comes to Showmax later in 2020.)

Overall, the show is highly entertaining for those who are fans of dystopian future-like shows like Westworld. Seasons 1 to 3 of The Handmaid’s Tale are available to stream on Showmax.

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Saints Row IV comes to Nintendo Switch

The action-adventure, Saints Row IV Re-Elected, is now available for download from the Nintendo Switch eShop.

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Game publisher Deep Silver has announced the critically acclaimed Saints Row IV Re-Elected is now available for the Nintendo Switch, via local retailers on- and offline and available via Nintendo eShop. Fully-charged with an impressive 25 pieces of outlandish downloadable content extras (DLC) to offer a comprehensive package of high-octane gameplay. 
  
In this game, the Boss of the Saints gang has been elected as President of the United States of America charged with saving everyone from a deadly alien invasion. 
  
Developer Deep Silver Fishlabs handled the conversion to Switch and the game runs at native 720p resolution in handheld mode and 1080p when docked. Players can enable dynamic resolution to achieve a stable 30fps, although in this mode resolution will be varied in intensive gameplay situations in order to keep framerate consistent. 
  
The much-lauded gyro aim feature for Switch will be included in the digital version from the start and via the day one update for physical copies. Enabled by default, this can be switched off and on depending on gamers’ preference. 
 
Deep Silver provided the following game features: 

Super Hero-in-Chief – Leap over buildings. Kill people with your mind. Run through tanks. Those are just some of the powers on offer that you can wield in your quest. 
  
Alien Toys of Destruction – Wield an impressive array of alien vehicles and weapons.  The Inflato-Ray, the Polarizer, the Disintegrator, and many more are all are yours to utilise. 
  
Custom Weapons, Custom Mayhem – You’ve customised your character. You’ve customised your clothes. Now you also have a powerful weapon customisation system. 
  
Dynamic Duo – Seamless drop-in, drop-out co-op, a Saints Row standard, improved. The only thing better than one malicious super powered President is two. 
  
Fully Re-Elected – Saints Row IV Re-Elected contains an impressive 25 DLC Packs, including the Dubstep Gun (Remix) Pack, the Presidential Pack, the Commander-In-Chief Pack, and two celebrated episodic story expansions: Enter The Dominatrix and How The Saints Save Christmas. 
 
* For more information on Saints Row IV Re-Elected on Nintendo Switch, visit www.saintsrow.com 

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Ford showcases delivery with robots

With non-essential deliveries stopped around the world, Ford and Agility Robotics have devised another way to get parcels from A to B.

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Voice and video calls have practically replaced face-to-face boardroom meetings while instant messaging has enabled friends and family to stay in touch. But what do we do about parcel deliveries? Is there a technological solution that enables A to B parcel deliveries without requiring face-to-face human interaction at any point?  

If Ford’s autonomous logistics solution – a last-mile logistics solution combining Ford Motor Company’s autonomous vehicle technology and Agility Robotics’ bipedal robot called ‘Digit’ – goes mainstream soon, then the answer is yes. 

The spread of the COVID-19 virus and the resultant restrictions have shown there’s risk involved with face-to-face human interactions. Ford and Agility Robotics have rethought how deliveries of the future might happen.  

Key applications for further exploration are indoor or first-mile logistics and last-50-feet delivery. The research also will focus on how Ford’s commercial vehicles and Digit “talk” to each other and their surroundings through advanced connectivity technologies. For example, Ford’s connected vehicles can continually update cloud-based maps that can be shared with Digit so it doesn’t have to recreate the same type of information. 

Digit has been designed to walk upright without wasting energy, so it has no issue traversing the same types of environments most people do every day. Digit’s design also allows it to tightly fold itself up for easy storage in the back of a vehicle until it’s called into action. Once a vehicle arrives at its destination, Digit can be deployed to grab a package from the vehicle and carry out the final step in the delivery process.  

If it encounters an unexpected obstacle, it can send an image back to the vehicle to leverage additional computing power. The vehicle could even send that information into the cloud and request help from other systems to enable Digit to navigate, providing multiple levels of assistance that help keep the robot light and nimble. Digit’s light weight also helps ensure it has a long run time, which is essential for delivery businesses that operate continuously through the business day. 

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