There is no science in this fiction so the tag "speculative fiction" is more appropriate. This story was written in 1984 but contains many similarities to western life in 2017. For example, many people in this story pretend to be pious bible-thumpers but are secretly very sexual if not perverse. Computerized banking enabled their society to become hijacked. Young men have very little to do so are employed by the military, or paramilitary, groups to protect the theocracy. Pollution (chemical, genetic and radioactive) is everywhere which has robbed many of the ability to reproduce but only the women are blamed. The new nation's capital has been moved to Anchorage Alaska [ 24 years before anyone ever heard the name Sarah Palin ]. Many people are obsessed with "the wall".
A Book Within a Book? The Handmaid's Tale covers 313 pages divided into 46 chapters and stands on its own as a chillingly brilliant cautionary tale. What follows is another 15 pages in an apparent appendix titled "Historical Notes" and I wonder how many people read this title then closed the book. This last fictional chapter is even more chilling if not down-right scary. It begins as follows: Being a partial transcript of the proceedings of the Twelfth Symposium on Gileadean Studies, held as part of the International Historical Association Convention, held at the University of Denay, Nunavit, on June 25, 2195.