This is a somewhat peculiar question, and I recognize that it may end up being closed. However, it concerns something that has been puzzling me for some years about Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. (Atwood's well-known feelings about SF notwithstanding, this novel is clearly science fiction.)
Early in the book, there is the first description of The Wall:
The Wall is hundreds of years old too; or over a hundred, at least. Like the sidewalks, it's red brick, and must once have been plain but handsome. Now the gates have sentries and there are ugly new floodlights mounted on metal posts above it, and barbed wire along the bottom and broken glass set in concrete along the top.
Aside from the sidewalks being made of the same brick as the wall, there seems to be very little that marks this wall as specifically identifiable. And yet, from the first time I read this passage, I knew this wall. Having lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, I could tell that this was the wall of Harvard Yard, which I walked beside some many times over the years. Reading on in the novel, it quite clear that I was quite correct in my identification of the wall.
What I a wondering is whether this was a particularly lucky flash of insight on my part, or whether there was something in the text that pointed to Harvard Square as the location of the book. Is there something, early in The Handmaid's Tale, that points specifically to its geographic setting?