The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood

I finished reading Margaret Atwood’s The Year of the Flood last night. This novel is asequel to Oryx & Crake, which came out in 2003. Oryx & Crake establishes and develops a near-future North American dystopia that is frighteningly plausible because it is so firmly rooted in the present. In a lecture at MIT shortly after the novel was published, Atwood describes the big scrapbooks of cuttings she compioled in order to ground the novel’s scientific and technological details in present knowledge and practice. She mostly concerns herself with genetics and economics in the first book, the technology of gene splicing and cloning leading to an economy based on the production of new organisms, which are given names like “rakunk,” apet-like hybrid of raccoons and skunks, in Wikipedia’s phrase,and “pigoon,” a huge, balloon-like pig used to grow extra copies of human organs for transplantation. The names sound as if they come direct from the marketing departments of the industrial-scientific complex — cute and sinistersimultaneously. Scientists and their families live in corporate “compounds,” gated and heavily guarded communities with their own stores, medical services, and social activities; the rest of humanity lives in the “pleeblands,” definitelyungated communities of varying degrees of squalor. Continue readingThe Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood”