Stan and Charmaine are homeless, live in a car, make do with tips, wash in public toilets and washrooms and are miserable. Stan is more than Charmaine who tries to see the positive rather than the negative. When a program offers them a chance to better their lives, live comfortably and is certainly a step up from what they have now, they grab it.
What ensues is not exactly what they envisioned. Thrown into a society where you do exactly as you are told or else, both Stan and Charmaine comply with all the demands and end up in a situation which is frightening and certainly traumatic.
The scientific experiments carried out at Consilience are just that - experiments - and if they do go wrong which they do, then Stan and Charmaine are both doomed.
Atwood makes the unimaginable perfectly comprehensible and that is the frightening bit. She takes hitherto unimagined scenarios and makes it perfectly plausible. It can happen, it hasn't upto now but that does not make it impossible! it can.
Described as wickedly funny, I wouldn't put it quite like that. It opens one's eyes to a very real, happening. Thats' clever.
Sent to me by Edelweiss.