MaddAddam

Margaret Atwood
4
May 23, 2015

This volume completes Atwood's trilogy that began with Oryx and Crake and continued in The Year of the Flood. In the not-too-distant future, most of humanity has been wiped out by a man-made global pandemic, known by God's Gardeners, a new environmental religious sect, as the waterless flood. But as the trilogy's main characters have discovered, there are more survivors than they originally imagined, and they're not all friendly and supportive. In this installment, the main characters of the previous two novels have converged together with other human survivors and the Crakers (the new human hybrids who were designed to survive the plague), and grapple with questions such as how they got to this point, how they will live now, and what kind of society they want to create, all while their literal survival is constantly under threat from disease, lack of food and other basic supplies, and other extremely violent survivors who cross their paths. While Jimmy/Snowman, Ren, and Toby and other major characters from the first two novels are present, this one focuses primarily on Toby and Zeb, the "Mad Adam" from God's Gardeners, with the story of his past revealing a great deal about the formation of both God's Gardeners and the online MaddAddam game which featured heavily in the first two novels. 

This book is recommended for fans of dystopian fiction and realistic science fiction - the kind of thing that could actually happen if we're very stupid, or very unlucky. Atwood tends to refer to her books not as science fiction, but as speculative fiction (creating disdain from some science fiction fans, who believe she's either spurning the genre, or else doesn't understand what it really is), which she defines as "stories set on Earth and employing elements that already exist in some form, like genetic engineering, as opposed to more wildly hypothetical science fiction ideas like time travel, faster-than-light drives, and transporters" (X). If that description appeals to you, or if you want to prime yourself for the forthcoming HBO mini-series based on the trilogy, which will be produced and possibly directed by Darren Aronofsky, then you should check out not just MaddAddam, but the entire trilogy. 

Written by Heather B.

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